Here's an example of getting the most out of your wood.
This photo shows the sketch, the cut out pattern, and the pattern traced on some scrap Basswood.
After cutting out the blank, roughing it out with my pocket knife, and sanding; my little polar bear is ready for finish. Finish of choice is a light spray of polyurethane to seal the wood then wax and buffing.
From start to completion 40 minutes (including sanding and dry time)......Not too hard either.