Learning to Carve with Study Sticks
9 Tips for Carving Faces with Study Sticks by Harold Enlow
Back and better than before, Harold Enlow’s Study Sticks are now made from high-quality, hand-cast resin with a natural wood stain! Study sticks are a great resource to have on hand when you’re carving a face. Master facial proportions and balance, from realistic faces to exaggerated expression caricatures, with study sticks as your reference. Below are 9 tips for carving faces from Harold Enlow’s study stick kits.
“If you have a good study stick, you can follow along and soon you have a completed carving. Now you know how to do one kind of face. You know the cuts you have to make, where you have to make them, and the order in which to make them. Now you the foundation that you can expand and change. You’ll learn a lot without all the angst and a lot faster than by going the trial and error route without a study stick.” – MackTheKnife, Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine, Forum Member.
Why are the carvings on the corner of the stick and not the flat part?
Believe it or not, the face sits at a 90-degree angle. To prove this theory, hold your hands so that the fingers touch at the end of your nose with palms touching the cheeks, the angle between the hands is about 90 degrees. Flat faces are a common problem for beginners, by carving on the corner you learn that the face has a variety of depth.
9 TIPS on how to carve faces by Harold Enlow
Eyebrows decide the mood. When carving the eye, you often rough in the shape of the eyebrow. The shape of the face can change based on the eyebrows. – Learn to Carve Eyes & Lips
DELICATE FEATURE CARVING
Since women’s features tend to be more delicate, it’s important to clean up your carving. Nothing spoils the illusion of a beautiful woman’s face more than large rough cuts. Make many small cuts rather than a few large cuts. – Learn to Carve a Female Face
The tragus is the little flap of skin sticking out of the ear near the face. Stop-cut around the tragus with a carving knife and cut up to the stop cut so the tragus sticks out. – Learn to Carve the Basic Ear
As with most caricatures, the success of the carving depends on a blend of realistic and exaggerated features. Most good caricature artists realize that you need to know how to create a realistic face in order to do a good caricature. It doesn’t take much to turn a realistic carving into a caricature. On this cowboy, the ears are a little oversized and the teeth are slightly larger than normal. Both of these features give the carving a fun and happy look. – Learn to Carve a Cowboy
Carve the beard. Carve a series of curved lines using a 3mm veiner. Carve flowing texture between the locks of hair created earlier. Use the same process to carve the sideburns and visible hair. – Learn to Carve Santas
Carve the hair. For a man’s hair, carve a series of curved lines with a 1/8″ V-tool. Use a small veiner to carve a woman’s hair. Make sure there are no straight lines. Straight lines look too static. Eliminate flat spots by carving between two nearby hairs wherever there is a flat spot. Deepen some cuts to create more shadow. – Learn to Carve Noses & Hair
Separate the nose from the cheeks. Stop-cut along the side of the nose and cut up to the stop cut to separate the nose from the cheeks. Half of the nose sticks out from the face and the other half of the nose is in the plane of the face. – Learn to Carve Noses & Hair
CHEEK BONE CARVING
Accent the cheeks. Remove more wood from the area under the cheeks with a 3/8″ #3 gouge to make the cheeks stick out more. The larger the cheeks, the more smiley the face looks. – Learn to Carve a Witch
Practice carving animal caricatures with this amusing miniature! Sample this hippo step-by-step wood carving pattern from Steve Tomachek’s new book, Scrap Wood Whittling.
Every carver should use a practice board for chip carving! Grab a scrap piece of wood and this free wood carving pattern to practice your chips.
Giles carves intricate spoons and jewelry using nothing but a knife, an axe, and wind-fallen wood from Coed Tegid, his personal nature reserve in North Wales.
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