Saturday, July 22, 2017

two knives and a whole lot of paint

So recently I had been playing around with one of the designs out of my book. The first one I carved, shown on the right was too happy for the design so I put him off to the side and started a new one. This one's expression matched up more with the design so now I have two knives and both are ready to paint.

At this point I make the mistake of sowing both to my friend and fellow carve Tony Harris. He then suggest instead of me painting both the same why not paint one as a Helvie knife made with a Pakkawood. If you have ever seen these, they are a multi color handle so I wondered if I could even do this. I paint with extremely watered down color and the knives were carved in bass wood. Would the colors run or bleed together? So I took out a scrap piece of wood and did some test and unfortunately this was possible. When it was first painted it seemed to be missing something so I got out my pens and added some lines between the colors and then applied to finish. Every step I could hear Tony's voice, "test it first", and I did and it worked out just fine. Yet all the way through the process I kept wondering why did I do this and in the end I was glad I did.

as always, 
Good night and May God bless

Friday, July 7, 2017

TV having an influence

I was watching the Pittsburgh Pirates with my wife the other night, as we rarely get to see them on TV. I had decided to carve but had no plan in mind. This is how a lot of my carvings come to be. I get everything all set up all my knives out on the table, my gouges in the tool holder next to my chair, carving apron on. I store some butternut next to my chair in a container where once set up. I lay out a few and pick the one that will hopefully by the end of the night transform into a carving. Well this night I had no actual thought of what to carve and then staring at the telly watching the game I thought why not, this would be something different, and so I began.

 A pirate carved with the exception of a patch, watching the game and seeing the logo for the pirates and I didn't carve him a patch. I was trying to carve the actual logo but how did I forget that most pirates I know (not that I know many) wear and eye patch, but hey no stereo typing here. I don't know about the other carvers but many times I will look at a carving when he's done and pick him apart on what I could have/should have done, yet done he was.

Yet as most know my carvings aren't done till they are painted up. Lately I have changed the technique I use with painting and now the colors aren't as strong and the wood grain shows through even more than in the past. So here is my pirate, painted and awaiting a finish. This I have changed as well and it seems to give it a more natural look as before there was a bit of a shine to the carvings. The verdict is still out which I will use for my ornaments.

as always, 
"Good night and May God bless"

it's a summer thing

Sorry I haven't been active posting here lately, been busy with so many things. here is a pictorial of what I have been up to since my last posting;


and a few more since these, I will get back into a rhythm shortly, hope everyone is having a wonderful summer to relax and be with the ones you love.

as always, 
"Good night and May God bless"

Thursday, June 8, 2017

pilot carving fini

So the carving is fini, painted finish applied cigarette lit. This one was a bit different for me as I love to paint so all my carvings get color applied. Yet from the other day I pondered should I leave some paint off and see how he might come out? My good friend Dwayne has always encouraged me to leave it without paint when carving butternut, to no avail. My wife has also said she likes the look of the wood carved without paint, to no avail. She always leaves the final verdict up to me as these represent me. Yet this one she once again said she thought he looked fine with minimal paint, so I applied just a bit more and here he is.

What do you think, butternut carvings, do you like them with more or less paint? 

as always, 
"Good night and May God bless"

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Pilot carving pt II

So as I was playing around with how I would paint the eyes I started pondering if he was a smoker and low and behold he was. Thought this guy looked like he was having a cigarette as he waited for the weather to clear so he could head out on his latest mission. So I have now carved and painted him a cigarette and then painted the eyes as these were a big piece of the puzzle to make this carving come together.

as always, 
"Good night and May God bless"

Pilot spinner :)

Just having a little fun with my latest carving and my spinner. Who says carvers don't have a sense of humor.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

carving knife

So I finally got around to carving one of my patterns out of my book. I had to make some modifications because at first he had a big smile on his face and why would he be smiling he just broke the tip of his blade? I probably should have removed the teeth as they still seem to give him a happy expression but I will do that on the next one. I also wasn't paying great attention to the blades direction when I carved him so if you look real close you will see the angle of the blade is a bit off from the angle of the face, I simply took more cuts from one side than the other and in turn changed the direction of the blade ever so slightly.

Overall I am happy with the end result but I will re-carve this one and make the said changes/corrections and see how he comes out. For those interested in carving this pattern go to Amazon and order my pattern book Cartoons 2 Carving: Making the transition from paper to wood. There is a great set of progression photos from award winning carver Tony Harris on this carving. The carving in the last photo of the two knives shows Tony's finished version. His is the larger one clinching his teeth.

as always, 
"Good night and May God bless"

Thursday, April 27, 2017

new addition

So yesterday I received a wonderful gift in the mail, a hillbilly carving from Mark Akers. This is not just any hillbilly carving, this is the hillbilly from my very first pattern book, "Cartoons 2 Carvings: making the transition from paper to wood". Mark was gracious enough to not only carve the pattern but he also took photographs of his progression while carving. But as if this were not enough look at the mini crate he built to ship this guy due to the pipe and more then that the burnt match he's holding in the other hand. He could have placed him in a box and filled it with peanuts and the carving could have made it all the way with no issue to the match stick, but that doesn't match Marks character. 

On a carving note, the boulders are carved solid from the piece of wood that forms the base, and there is a piece of felt under the wood that forms the base. Wonderful craftsmanship all the way around, I am honored to own this wonderful carving and beyond that to call him my mentor and my friend.

Please take a moment and visit his carver's page and check out all his carvings and rough-outs. I don't believe either of these Santas have been posted on his page but I do believe he does have some available for purchase. 

as always, 
"Good night and May God bless"

Sunday, April 23, 2017

even more on Amazon

A while back I created a t-shirt for wood carvers through Teespring's and it is now available on Amazon. What fun, a book and now a t-shirt and hopefully soon as I just published it today, a coffee mug from this design. Until the mug makes it's way to Amazon you can find the mug onthe Teespring page.

as always, 

"Good Night and May God bless"

hat-less cowboy pt fini


He is now done sealant and all, though I tried a new technique and am not as happy with it as I had hoped for. I will be doing some research on different techniques in finishing carvings as I want my cowboys to have a softer look to them. This finish works great for my Christmas ornaments but not as well (in my mind) with my cowboys and other characters. Always some new process or technique to learn.

as always, 
"Good Night and May God bless" 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

hat-less cowboy pt 2

Well he's all painted up and awaiting sealant. I may dip him or I may try the spray finish to compare the two. With my carvings in butternut I always like the way dipping them in Polycrylic highlights the grain of the wood. Many are not fond of the shiny finish on these but a lot of my carvings are Christmas ornaments and I like the way they gently reflect the lights from the tree.

This gentleman is carved from the same corner block piece of butternut that I carve my ornaments from. These have become popular and most seem to like the design quality of these being that he is missing a few piece to make a full body cowboy, like arms.

as always, 
"Good night and May God bless"

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

another hat-less cowboy

So I haven't gotten much carved lately but I recently carved this cowboy. The last carving of a cowboy without a hat was because of a break, so this one was done just because. I am happy with him but will tweak a few things before I consider painting him. As you can see he was carved with the same corner block I use to carve my ornaments during the holiday season. He was also carved in butternut, my favorite wood to carve.

as always, 
"Good night and May God bless"

Saturday, April 8, 2017

if a doodle gets color

If a doodle gets color is it still a doodle. Years ago, much like today, I kept small pieces of paper around that I would doodle on.

"This must be distinctly understood or nothing wonderful can come of this story I am going to relate"

Charles Dickens
First and foremost, we should probably understand the difference between a doodle vs. a sketch for

To doodle is to
verb; scribble absentmindedly
noun: a rough drawing made absentmindedly

To sketch is to
verb: a rough or unfinished drawing or painting, often made to assist in making a more finished picture
noun: make a rough drawing of

Most of my early cartoons were actually born from a doodle. I spent a good portion of my early adulthood watching TV with small pieces of paper, doodling. I would work on anything from 2.5 x 5 inch to 3.5 x 7 inch pieces. Many of these I would keep some I would simply throw away and move on to the next one. I loved the whole process of seeing a blank piece of paper slowly become a cartoon of what ever. It wasn't till later in life that I had to teach myself how to sketch for a desired outcome. Because of my early beginnings, this stage did not always come easy for me.

Now to present day and a doodle from years gone by. You may notice that my youngest son back then thought this cartoon needed color. So I recently was cleaning off my desk and found this cartoon and as I was putting him away I thought maybe he was right, he might look good with some color, any excuse to play with my water color pencils works for me. it is my dream and one I will probably never full fill to one day paint or carve every single cartoon I have. This could take me way beyond my retirement years as I have not yet thrown away my pencil.

Nowadays I do some of my doodling on water color paper, usually 5 x 7 inch. This way I am ready to go straight to the paint table with my latest cartoon such as the one shown here. Of course water color paper is not made for doodling and is a bit more pricey so not as many are discarded. For the most part though still a doodle, I have a concept of theme of what I will work on, o.k. so maybe not really a doodle after all.

as always, 
"Good night and May God bless"

Sunday, March 26, 2017

water color experiment

There is an opportunity for me in the not so distant future to do some illustration work, designing some characters with the finished product being done in water color. I didn't use to do my cartoons in water color but once I got started I got addicted to how they looked all painted up. It may just be me but the way I cartoon and then paint them seems to work well with each other, but I am biased on this topic.

So with some new illustration time I needed to replenish my water color paper supplies and before I ordered any I took some time to research the different papers out there. I knew for now I would stick with Strathmore paper as I have been happy with it thus far. I used the 140 lb. paper so the only question left was series 400 or series 500 and cold or hot press paper. I ended up buying 400 series cold press as this is what I am comfortable with but also bought some hot press 500 series to experiment and see how another paper feels.

pencil sketch
So to get back into a rhythm I thought I would just do some quick cartoons to get the juices flowing, as always I start with a pencil sketch. From the pencil sketch I get out my light table and place the water color paper on top to transfer the design. During this time I can modify and change features in an attempt to continue to tweak the design. In this experiment, I painted them both with the same exact colors to help me see any difference between the two papers.

hot press 140 lb.
cold press 140 lb.
This was a fun experiment and even though they have different facial features and detailing it still gives me a start for defining the different way the two papers work with my painting style. Before I end this I should mention that I always finish off my painted pieces with a thin black outlining, I don't feel that they are finished without this. I use a Pilot HI-TEC 0.3 mm pen for this and am extremely happy with the results.

as always, 
"Good night and May God Bless"