Wood Spirit Carving, 13 Defining the Beard

Throughout these next few steps in this free, online wood carving project by Lora Irish for the Wood Spirit, we will focus on defining the facial hair for our Wood Spirit, including the head hair, mustache, lip beard, and full beard area.

The thirteen chapter in Lora Irish’s Great Book of Free Carving Projects and Patterns
“Wood Spirit Carving” – Defining the Beard
Steps 27 – 30

Step 27
Rounding the Eye Brows

Lora Irish Carving PatternsSince I am working to find the round of the face I am next removing the point of the corner left at the center of the eye brow ridge – right above the center line of the nose.

Step 28
Checking the Round

Round is so important and something that any carver misses when working from the corner edge of a square practice block.
An easy way to check how well you have rounded your face is to slide your carving inside of a tightly rolled piece of printer paper.

You now have the curve of the rolled paper and the pencil circle on the bottom of your block to which you can compare the curve of your face.Lora Irish Carvingpatterns

Step 29
Defining the Hair Areas

Every wood spirit is just a little different from another and you have a series of small choices from this point on in your carving that will determine what type of face you want.

In this photo my cheeks, side beard, and mustache are clearly defined as three separate areas. At this point I need to decide how much facial hair I want, how I want the facial hair to flow from the face, and what areas of facial hair I am going to carve.There are seven areas of facial hair that you can play with as you carve – head hair, sideburns, mutton chops, mustache, lower lip beard, and the full beard.

Step 30
Six Areas of Wood Spirit Hair

Carvingpatterns and projectsThe head hair includes all the hair on the top of the skull and that flows to the back of the head. On the side of the face the head hair stops just above the ear, with a thin strip of no-hair skin between the head hair and where the ear attaches to the skull.

For head hair you can have:
1. a full flowing head of hair created with v-gouge cuts
2. braided hair with beads, leather wraps, and feathers
3. short hair, mohawks, or even buzz cuts
4. half bald with the head hair starting along a line at the top of the ear
5. fully bald – no hair at all
6. leaves, flowers, and fruit in place of hair to create a greenman

Sideburns falls along the face at the top half of the ear and comes forward on the face from the head hair. The mutton chops area is the hair that grows from the cheek area below the half-way point of the ear. Where sideburns are usually shorter than head hair and beards, the mutton chops can be as long or longer than the beard.

Carvingpatterns and projectsThe mustache area on the human face faces from the upper lid at the nostril area of the nose and then moves down the upper lip. Wood spirit mustaches often flow from the sides of the nostrils and totally covers the mouth. The photo, right,  shows a very stylized wood spirit. He has all seven areas of facial hair that is worked in very defined clumps are grouping of hair. Note that he has a long lip beard that lies above his full beard. He has mutton chops that clearly fall from the bottom edge of his cheek, and his side burns unite the mutton chops and head hair. Even his eye brows are exaggerated.Under the bottom lip is a small lip beard – a small, short cluster of hair that is above the chin. Finally there is the full beard which grows along the jaw line and the chin.Take a moment and place your index finger and thumb against the corners of your lower lip. Where your fingers touch your face – about a one-half space – there is no facial hair.


carving patterns by Lora IrishThe photo right shows a wood spirit greenman that has a wide, short (for wood spirits) mustache, and a pointed full beard. He uses a crown of overlapping oak leaves in place of head hair.

The sides of his cheeks are clean-shaven so that his lower cheeks flow into the smooth round along the sides of the beard. In this example the cheek demarcation lines have been carved away so that the cheek, and neck become one unit.The photo, right, shows a wood spirit with braided head hair, extra long mustaches, and a curved full beard. In this carving the sideburns and mutton chop area comes smoothly out of the bottom area of the cheek. There is no harsh division line between his cheek skin and his mutton chops.


carving patterns and carving projectsSo, as we work the next series of steps I will be noting where and how you can make these small changes that will give your wood spirit his own unique face.

Copyright, Lora S. Irish, 1997 – 2015
Copyright, Art Designs Studio.com, 1997 – 2015
All International Rights Reserved
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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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