Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Tutorials

MAGNETIC FACES  are carved out of a half inch thick  by one and half inch by two inch block of basswood as an exercise in face carving.  Every carving project should be seen as a learning experience or a practice piece in which the carver learns to stretch one’s imagination and carving ability.  These particular faces  have a magnet epoxied into the back  and will serve as examples of face carving for  instructional purposes.  Such faces could also receive jewelry pin backs so they could be worn on clothing.  For this particular exercise they are simply examples of faces carved with a knife in sculpture relief or half round carving.  Each one is an attempt to carve a different feature, a certain look and a trial run of carving a different face each time.


MAGNETIC FACES  should be carved in such a way that they act like as magnet in drawing attention to some aspect of the carving.  The winking man carving has a certain magnetic appeal  that causes the viewer to take a closer look.  The winking eye is caused by the smiling corner of the mouth  pushing itself up towards the winking eye.  Such an action causes the smile line and cheek to react  as well as  making each side of the face look different.  To do this is a carving challenge that begins by imagining all the movements of the face and mentally carving those movements in order to guide the knife to actually carve those movements into the facial expression.  Beginning with a block of basswood the idea is sketched with directive guidelines and then carved toward the mental image. The first photograph on the left shows the progressive development along with the knife that carves the face to its completed appearance.  The next three photographs are of different angles to study the features of the completed face which has been stained with raw sienna artist oil paint mixed with boiled linseed oil and finished with Deft, a brushing lacquer.



Here is a generic male face with the first photograph showing the face on the left carved to the basic form of a face with the eye brows established, the nose and smile line established along with the mouth mound formed one third of the distance between the nose and chin.  Compare the left form face with the completed carved face on the right and imagine the carving cuts needed to complete the carved face.  The next three photographs are three different views to study.



A Pirate’s face has a lot of character to study with the scar under the eye patch, the ear ring, the disheveled hair and the twisting of the face following the movement of the mouth as the pirate talks out of the corner of his mouth.  The whiskers were made by pushing the point of the knife blade into the cheek in a random manner.  Notice that the teeth follow the path of the dental curve  around and under the corner of the mouth. A tooth is missing adding to the character of the rugged life a pirate experienced.


This carved face is another example of carving a face with a winking eye but in this case a very toothy grin with one missing tooth is carved to illustrate how the face wrinkles.  His knit cap sits askew at the same angle as his smiling mouth.  The texture of the knitting was done by pushing the point of the knife blade into the cap with a herring bone pattern.  Sideburns are exposed underneath the long hair.  Notice that the teeth follow the dental curve and disappear into the corners of the mouth as a deep and dark shadow created by three cut triangle chip removal.



Three view of a fellow chomping on a cigar coming out of the corner of his mouth.  The cigar is carved into the mouth opening with the lips carved around the cigar.  Notice how the face shifts to respond to the cigar in the corner of the mouth.  The fourth photograph is a close up of the knitted cap along with one eye open and one eye winking.

Civil War soldier was carved like all the others by beginning with the head covering and in this case the kepi cap’s size determined the size of the head which resulted in enough wood to carve the collar and shoulders as a bust carving.   This soldier is clean shaven except for the long bushy side burns which along with the hair were textured with waves of rolling slicing cuts.


Civil War soldier with a mustache and full beard was carved as a bust.  The hair and beard treatment were done with a two cut procedure of a perpendicular stop cut followed by an angled cut to remove a thin sliver of wood.  This kind of two cut procedure creates a hard line that when light hits it casting a shadow and gives the appearance of more detailed hair treatment.




Here are two examples of a mustached face  one with a western hat and the other with a floppy hat.  A mustache fills in the area between the nose and upper lip which is one third of the area between the nose and chin.  The second third includes  the upper lip, mouth, bottom lip and ends in the notch between bottom lip and chin.  Care must be taken not to carve the opening of the mouth and bottom lip too low as that would make the area under the nose too long for the rest of the face proportionally.  A wide  and thick mustache would cover the entire mouth area so no mouth or bottom lip would need to be carved in that case. 


Teeth are a challenge to carve and yet at the same time they are fun to carve.  The important thing is to make sure that they appear to follow the dental curve around and end  in the dark corners of the inside of the mouth.  The two front teeth are the beginning  place by separating them with a perpendicular stop cut in the middle and on either side of each tooth.  At the gum level between the front teeth and the next tooth on either side make a stop cut like the crossbar of the letter T across the previous cut.  Next stair step the tooth on either side of the front teeth by lowering that tooth along the cut dividing the teeth.  Study the first three photographs to see that effect.  The fourth photograph  shows the flat facet on  the front of the  teeth before the teeth are separated.  The corners of the bottom of each tooth should be rounded slightly and the length of each successive tooth should be shortened slightly as they travel back into the mouth in a stair step fashion.  There will be more examples of teeth in the next series of photographs for carving monkey faces. 



The monkey block is two and half inches long by one and half inch wide and half inch thick.  The first photograph shows the block, then guidelines drawn with one side of eye and forehead area lowered, then two forms of monkey face followed by a completed face.  The next three photographs are examples of toothy grin on a monkey face.


The above photographs show four examples of  teeth carved  both top and bottom teeth along with gums showing .   Carving teeth, like any aspect of carving is only learned by doing it over and over again.  “The more one carves the better one carves,”  is experienced over and over again by those who are not afraid to try realizing that every carving is a practice piece.  Every carving is a learning experience and the only way to learn is to carve as often as possible.  The Wood Bee Carver’s  motto has always been: “Would be carvers would be carvers if they would carve wood.”     So listen to the next character in the following photo who says, “Stop Monkeying around, get to carving!”



This entry was posted on Friday, February 11th, 2011 at 10:09 pm and is filed under Tutorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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