When instructing wood carving beginners, I try to put myself into their situation, and start with the very basics. I am taking about things that the more experienced carvers take for granted. I also try to reduce this important knowledge to one sentence statements. Of course I also say that there is not only one way to do things. There may be many ways, but what I share has been passed on to me and they work for me - "maybe they'll work for you too".
I'll add to this list as I remember them too. You all can do the same thing!
This preliminary list is in no order and is my no means complete..
KEEP YOUR KNIFE SHARP.
STROP YOUR KNIFE OFTEN
DO NOT "ROLL" YOUR KNIFE BLADE WHEN STROPPING
WEAR A CARVING GLOVE
KNOW WHERE YOUR KNIFE TIP IS AT ALL TIMES, WHEN MAKI9NG CUTS
KNOW WHERE YOUR KNIFE BLADE MAY LIKELY GO AT THE END OF A CUT
AVOID TWISTING YOUR KNIFE BLADE WHEN MAKING CUTS
WHEN MAKING CUTS NEAR OR OVER THE EDGE OF THE WOOD HOLD YOUR KNIFE STEADY AND MOVE THE WOOD INTO THE BLADE WHEN POSSIBLE
WHEN MAKING A PARING CUT TOWARDS YOUR THUMB, PLACE YOUR THUMB BELOW THE EDGE OF THE WOOD INSTEAD OF USING IT AS A STOP; even with a thumb guard on it.
WHEN CARVING IN THE ROUND MAKE THE PARTS OF THE CARVING "ROUND". TRY TO REMOVE ALL FLAT SURFACES ON THE WOOD.
What I do is spend some time the next hour or day and go over all the pieces I whittled the hour or day before, rounding cheeks and arms off even more.
IF YOU WHITTLE AND CARVE WITH YOUR POCKET KNIFE, DO NOT USE IT FOR OPENING BOXES OR CUTTING ROPE, ETC. (Or as John Dunkle says, "prying off a hubcap")
IF YOU TRANSPORT OR CARRY YOUR TOOL IN A BAG OR TOTE, DON'T REACH INTO THE BAG OR TOTE WITHOUT LOOKING FIRST.
NOTE: As I run across or think of additional one liners I'll add them. You all can leave one as a comment too, and I'll add it....