Cartoon Caricature - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

Wood Carving: Carving for fun is a great way to learn how to carve for "serious". This project demonstrates all the skills and techniques one would use to relief carve a realistic profile. With a cartoon, you can relax and enjoy yourself because absolute accuracy is not necessary.

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Cartoon Caricature



The three main steps in relief carving are: outline, contour, and detail. The remainder of this article is largely pictorial with explanatory captions. I used basswood that is ½" thick and 6" square. You could use a different wood, but basswood is very easy to carve, especially for novice carvers.
 
Outline the Entire Bust
• Copy pattern onto wood

• Start outline with V-gouge

• Use knife for sharp corners

• Match gouge to curvature

• Remove wood with #5 gouge

• Repeat process to a depth of ⅜"


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Copy pattern onto wood
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Start outline with V-gouge
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Use knife for sharp corners
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Match gouge to curvature
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Remove wood with #5 gouge
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Repeat process to a depth of ⅜"
Outline the Major Masses
• Outline the masses marked by red

• Reduce ¼ of the thickness

• Remove more wood in red areas
 

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Outline the masses marked by red
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Reduce ¼ of the thickness
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Remove more wood in red areas
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Major masses ready for contours
Contour Features
• Round edges marked by black arrows

• Use #2 gouge face down

• Arrows indicate the next edges to be rounded

• Profile view shows how contours are developing

• Rounded edges complete the contours


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Round edges marked by black arrows
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Use #2 gouge face down
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First step in contouring is complete
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Arrows indicate the next edges to be rounded
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Profile view shows how contours are developing
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Rounded edges complete contours
 
Add Details
• Use #9 gouge to hollow the ear

• Undercut the lip with #9 gouge

• Carve nostril with V-gouge

• Round lip into nostril with #2 gouge

• Outline eyelids with V-gouge then round eyeball


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Use #9 gouge to hollow the ear
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Undercut the lip with #9 gouge
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Carve nostril with V-gouge
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Round lip into nostril with #2 gouge
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Outline eyelids with V-gouge then round eyeball
Finishing the Project
For this carving, I wanted the skin areas to be smooth with the background and the hair textured. When I sanded the face, I tried to avoid the background and then refreshed any grooves that had been scratched by the sandpaper. Then, I textured the hair using a small #11 gouge. Finally, I sealed the carving with lacquer, although paste wax would have been just as nice.

Now that you have experienced the joys of carving a cartoon cameo, copy a photograph and try carving a realistic profile. You will be surprised how easy it is.




DAVID BRUCE JOHNSON
David Johnson

davidbrucejohnson.ca