Unless you want your Santa's to have flat tummy's (6-pack) there is some shaping that needs to be done to the wood piece, before carving on the corner. Whether you're using a 1/2 x 1/2 inch or a 2 x 2 inch blank to carve a figure "on the corner" you need to shape the top of the piece where Santa's head will be carved. You will have to make some cuts to "move" that top front corner back so the bottom of the block "sticks out" further than the top. This is especially important if you are carving a Santa with a larger belly. This is also true when not carving on the corner.
This example is carved on a 1/2 x 1/2 2 1/2 inch piece of wood.