Small details on a carving often cause your object to look stiff and “wooden”. A few tips and trick will allow you to turn your carving into a realistic figure.
On most of my carvings I create a highly detailed eye such as the one shown below on the left. Sometimes however, especially on smaller carvings, I find it almost as effective and much easier to do what I call a "cheating" eye, as shown below on the left.
I thought I would take this opportunity to give a short explanation of how I generally carve an eye. These tips are by no means in depth and they assume that all the other things that go into carving a face are done and now you are ready to tackle the eyes.
Eye Carving Tutorial
When you first start a wood carving project that involves a face, you have to think about what areas of the face stand out. The nose stands out the furthest on the face. Look at your own nose in the mirror, from a front view and a profile. Therefore, you should start by carving the nose and relieving the areas around the nose to allow for a natural looking nose in relation of the face. Below is an example of what your carving might look like when you are ready to start caving the eyes.
Let's Carve Eyes
In order to carve anything you must have the proper structure. That goes for faces, birds, fish, animals, etc. Imagine the eye. Basically it is a ball set in a hole covered with skin. Close your eyes and gently feel the structure of it. That is what you are going to try to recreate.
Carving Realistic Wrinkles and Folds
Whether you carve realistic figures or caricatures, it is important to understand how the underlying anatomy affects material. The clothing must convey the figure's movement or pose. Accurate detailing of the material's wrinkles and folds can be challenging, but the end result is worth the effort.
When I first started carving human figures carving the hands was one of the things that gave me the most trouble. Chances are I'm not the only one. I thought I would give a short little tutorial on some of the tips I have picked up over the years in regards to carving hands. I have added some directional arrows to some of the pictures below to help clarify the tips and show the directions I usually make the cuts described.
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