Two of my latest efforts all painted up and ready for viewing. The first is the Santa from my pattern book, though I did this version without the goggles this time.
The second is simply a carving doodle that I did the other morning. I have some new paints and though I am happy with how they came out the red that I used for the skin tone has a hint of orange in it so will stick with the previous red that I have used in the past. And as you can see if you layer the colors properly you can modify any color issue that may arise.
So I finally finished up my latest carvings, the two on the right are going to become custom tool handles and the other will get an eyelet and become an ornament. I have been extremely blessed and busy lately with request for my painted study sticks but Christmas isn't that far away and soon I will need to get on some ornaments for the up coming holiday season. To all my friends and family have a safe and happy 4th of July celebration.
Carved this guy yesterday and I was so happy with how he was coming along I went ahead and painted him up yesterday afternoon. I carved him to honor my grampa who served in WWI He then returned home after his time in the service to become a successful farmer. I always remember him in his coveralls and his cigars so of course my soldier was given a smoke. This has to be the smallest cigar I have carved and painted to date. The soldier was carved from a 1" piece of bass wood and carved on the corner.
For your viewing pleasure a few of my latest efforts, all carved from 1" block. To see a video of my painting technique go to; https://www.facebook.com/cartoons2carvings. I paint a watered down acrylic and have been extremely happy with my results as of late.
Three of my latest, just some carving doodles. My family and I spent some time on the family farm in WV and I got some time to carve. The civil war soldier on the right was carved before the trip and he has had a finished coating applied and the other is unfinished as he will be painted along with my newest engineer. Didn't want you to think I am not getting anything done.
As of late the painted study sticks have kept me busy. This whole thing started as a way for me to get some time in practicing facial features and then one day I decided I would paint one just to see how that would look, from there it has taken on a life of its own.
I now have wood carvers who have requested a painted study stick and now have begun to do somewhat of a custom order. With these the carvers have requested what I start with on top of the study stick such as a pilot, sea captain or an engineer. It has even been suggested that I may try a chef as well. Sometimes you just don't know which direction things will lead but if you are open to the opportunities you never know what you may be doing next. After all it's all started as a way of practicing facial feature, the more I do hopefully the better I become, now at times I am getting paid to practice.
To paint my faces I start with a small dot of red paint and then add
water to dilute it down. This is how much water to paint I start with then add
a tad more water once it is blended to a consistency.
When first trying this take a scrap piece of wood to see how
thin the color is, always remembering you can layer the colors to darken them
I used watered-down unbleached titanium paint over the face
before I began adding color. I only do this when painting Butternut wood as it
tends to darken even with no paint and a clear sealant. Once I’ve given the paint ample time to dry, I
began to add the watered-down red.
I paint over the whole facial area with the watered-down
red. I only do one layer in the beginning. I will add more down the road, but
not before I start adding some of the shadowing to the bags under the eyes.
For the shadowing on the eyes I mix dark blue, black, and white, and
as always it will be extremely watered-down.
Once the colors are mixed together it will look like a watered-down
bluish gray. Before applying each layer always make sure to mix the colors
together to get a strong consistency in color. I applied the color to the bags under the eyes and also the thin area
right underneath the eyebrows.
I then apply 2 to 3 layers of the watered-down red to the
cheek area and the tip of the nose. After all, Santa is flying around in the
cold night air.
From this point it’s up to each carver to decide how dark
the bags under the eyes will be. The darker you want them the more layers of
color you will apply. The same is true for the cheek and nose area. Each layer
will strengthen the color. You can also add some of the red to the bags to
soften the contrast from the rest of the face. I don’t paint the lower lip
until after I have done the dry paint on the mustache and beard area.
So for a while now I have used 1" blocks for practicing facial features, I would usually carve a 6 inch piece and carve three faces in it. Then one day I thought why not do some painting as well and so I did. I then received a request to carve one for someone, nothing in particular just three different facial expressions and would I please do the partial paint as one I had previously shared on a carving page.
Then out of the blue I was approached by someone asking if I would ever consider having castings done of my sticks and so I now have. I had two sticks with three faces each that I had cast and the folks that do the castings are wonderful at what they do, the detail in each one they create for me is amazing.
So lately I have been kept pretty busy sending out castings and carving study sticks, trying to always give the carver a range of expressions on each one I carve.
Practice sticks, study sticks, whatever you like to call them. These 1" blocks are 6" long and I normally put about three faces on them. This is not only a great way for me to practice carving expressions but also a way for me to play around with painting techniques as well. I use 1" because it's an easy size to play around on and it doesn't take up a large amount of space if being kept out at the desk or work bench.
So if you never have, give it a shot, get some 1" blocks or whatever size you like to carve and give it ago, see what you can come up with.
It all began with this little guy; he is 4" long but only 1 1/4" wide. He was a fun little carve and I was happy with hoe he came out. About the time I was carving and painting him up a friend of mine and fellow carver sent me some butternut wood, a few corner cuts from 3" block 12" long. Well this one piece looked really nice and I got this thought in my head that I could re-carve the design of the little guy on this big piece of butternut and so I did.
With him being 12" long I figured I had plenty of room for some extra detailing and so I gave him a flight cap and goggles as well as the long folded cap. Of course if he was going to have a leather flight cap he would probably be a smoker so I gave him a cigar as well. I don't normally carve anything this big and at times I pondered why I was but in the end I was happy with the design and carving. Hope you enjoy him as well.
My second effort into publishing is now available on Kindle; it will soon be available in paperback as well. This was a wonderful project looking back on my cartooning efforts and deciding what would be put in the book. If you have the Kindle unlimited plan you may view the book through that program.
Recently I was asked my procedure for carving the nose and eye area, so I will share my response;
When carving the nose right
after I have cut the lower line where the tip of the nose and then cut an angled
line for each nostril flare area I take my ¼ #7 gouge and cut up
towards the area where the eyes come meet. I then take my 3/16 #9 or 10 gouge
and proceed to open up the eye area. When I do this I always cut all the way
through from one eye socket to the other across the bridge of the nose. The time we got together Dwayne Gosnell was carving a nose area and he started setting up the eyes when he said "what if have a oops moment and you accidentally go too deep" and cut out a
chunk of wood at the bridge of the nose. He then continued on with the
eyes and the nose making the "oops" moment part of the new design. Well I have made this oops moment a part of my carving
routine to make myself be sure to go deep and to get real depth.
Every carver has a different approach and uses different techniques to achieve the look he/she is going for, this is simply mine.
So as many may or may not know I had this past year published a pattern book for wood carvers in paperback. Well since then I have had numerous request to make it available in a kindle version and so now it is. The kindle version is in the Kindle Unlimited for those that are members, which means you can simply borrow the book along with thousands of other books.
There was a twofold reason for me making a Kindle version available, First and foremost because it was requested by some of my fellow carvers. Secondly, because I am now in the process of putting together a coffee table book of my history in cartooning, close to 40 years of doodles and cartoons. With this being more images and less text it seems that it would be well suited as a Kindle book but as always will have the paperback version available as well. It will take the reader from my earliest pencil sketches and doodles all the way to my present day water color cartoons and a stipple illustration or two in between. Here is a sample page from the book, set-up as a scrap book of my work. And if nothing else comes of this, my family, boys and any grandchildren God may give us will have this as a keep sake of my work and time spent here on this blue ball we call earth.
By the suggestion of a friend and fellow carver what once was a mere carving is now a bottle stopper.
On a side note what is fun for me is that the frame around the image behind the bottle stoppers was made from barn wood from my gram pa's barn in Nebraska. This is actually a display I use when doing craft shows, so every craft show a little piece of Nebraska and my family is with me.
As I was working on some study sticks for casting in an effort for working on facial expressions I carved the pencil to the left. It happen just by chance I had carved the face from a piece of scrap wood and after detailing the face I carved the pencil around the features just to finish it off in a fun way.
Upon sharing this on my pages, some folks showed interest and I carved three more mixing up the facial features and working on improving on areas I felt were weak with my faces. While carving the three and reviewing them after painting a cartoon I had sketched years ago came to mind and from there my mind came up with a thought for yet another pencil carving.
And so I carved the final one today, cowboy pencil who's not afraid to challenge anyone to draw. Corny yes, but funny, well I think so.
I know I haven't posted much lately so thought I would share these four images as these are the latest carvings I have completed. The first two were special order carvings and the last two were just because. The fist image is a relief carving carved on a corner piece of butternut and the other three are in the round carvings. Of the three, the second image was carved from a 1" piece of bass wood and the other two were carved from a 1 1/2" piece of bass wood.
Also for those interested to an insight of my painting process please visit my Cartoons2Carvings fb page where I have posted two videos on painting the ear of corn carving. Due to size constraints I am unable to post it here.