Wood Spirit Carving, 12 Defining the Cheek and Nose

Undercutting is an important technique in wood carving, used to create deep, dark shadows in your work.  Throughout these next few steps in this free, online wood carving project by Lora Irish for the Wood Spirit, we will focus on using the bench knife undercut in the upper eye lids to deeply set the Wood Spirit eyes.

The twelve chapter in Lora Irish’s Great Book of Free Carving Projects and Patterns
“Wood Spirit Carving” – Defining the Cheek and Nose
Steps 23 – 26

Step 23
Crease the Corner of the Eye

If you run your finger along the outer corner of your eye you can feel that the skull in this area is indented – the brow ridge and the top of the cheek bone are higher than the corner of the eye.To create this indent I am using my large round gouge to cut a curved trough from the eye corner to the hair line.Because this indent is a smooth dip the round gouge creates the right type of cut.A v-gouge in this area would leave a tight v-trough and look as if the skull were broken or scarred. wood carving patterns for wood spirits
wood carving patterns for wood spirits wood carving patterns for wood spirits

Step 24
Shaving the Cheek

Let’s round over the bottom side of the cheek using short, shaving strokes.I often use a bull-nose chisel for this type of work or you can use your straight chisel.The bull-nose has rounded corners on the sides of the cutting edge that prevent your chisel from leaving fine scratch marks as you make the cuts. how to carve a wood spirit
Note that I am using the chisel with the cutting face against the wood.This keeps it from digging in and taking large bites of wood. how to carve a wood spirit
You can make extremely thin shaving cuts by putting the sharp edge profile against the wood. how to carve a wood spirit
After the bottom of the cheek is rounded I use either my veining tool or v-gouge to lightly cut the demarcation between the cheek and the beard.The veining tool is a very small, very tight u-gouge that leaves a rounded trough cut in the wood. how to carve a wood spirit

Step 25
Defining the Cheek

While I have my veining tool in hand I also cut the line between the side of the nose and the cheeks to remove any rough cuts or small slivers of wood that may remain after the shaping of the cheeks. great book of carving projects
This is just a quick clean-up step and I will refine this area later. great book of carving projects
Since the cheek is high at the center point of the nose side I work this cut in two steps – one from the nose center towards the beard, then one from the nose center towards the eyes. This keeps me working with the grain of the wood. great book of carving projects

Step 26
Quick Check of Facial Proportions

As I have been working I noted that one cheek was longer than the others, so I am taking a few moments to reshape that area. wood carving
wood carving wood carving
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 Wood Spirit Carving,
Free Project by Lora Irish
1 Introduction and Supply List
2 Walking Stick Preparation
3 Exploring the Human Face
4 Planes of the Human Face
5 Carve The Human Face
6 Shaping the Facial Features
7 Sloping the Sides of the Face
8 Rough Cutting the Features
9 Carving the Eyes
10 Detailing the Eyes
11 Shaping the Features
12 Defining the Cheek and Nose
13 Working the Facial Hair
14 Refining the Face Shape
15 Carving the Wrinkles
16 Trimming the Beard
17 Review of the Techniques


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