Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Eye Carving - Progress Report

As a part of my strategy to learn to carve realistic small eyes, I started these posts.  The reason was that I would have to complete the series of posts. Which means that I must work on the eyes and report my progress, or lack there of.  I think my plan is working.  The only problems I am having involve the amount of waste that I am creating.  I am attempting to alter the manner in which I rough out a face, to leave more wood for the eye.  I have already decided that I first have to be able to carve eyes that are larger than what I would normally carve.  Once I can get consistent results with the larger eyes, I'll scale them down.  This photo represents where I am now, thanks to some quality time spent with Jim O'Harra.
My goal is to be able to carve an eye that is about half this size, with only my pocket knife.  I am hoping to be able to do the smaller eye without losing too much detail.  The most difficult part of the eye to carve smaller will be the eye lid.

1.  Be sure that your wood is suitable for carving.  Some wood is too dry to hold the required detail, it crumbles at the eye lid area.
2.  Proper knife - I suspect that any knife could be used to carve eyes, but I think some knife blades make eye carving a bit easier. I think a thin blade is better than a thick or heavier blade.  I think a thin blade that tapers to a point is even better than one that doesn't.

3.  Sharpness - The knife blade must be very sharp.  Not just sharp, but really sharp.

4.  Roughing out the eye area - This is a very critical step.  you must have enough wood left in the eye area to carve a proper eye.  The manner in which the eye area is roughed out may determine the success of the eye carving.  The angle of the roughed out eye area, in relation to the nose is important.  The old saying, "there's always another eye under the one carved", may be true only if you start with enough wood to carve the eye in the first place.

5.  Use a pencil to lightly draw the eye on the roughed out eye area, before making that first cut.  I would recommend drawing both eyes before starting to carve.


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