Wood Spirit Carving, 3 Exploring the Human Face

The features of the human face can seem overwhelming as a carving subject for a beginner, but if you first divide the face into flat planes you will discover how simple it is to create the classic Wood Spirit.  I am starting this online, free project, by exploring the angles and planes in a human face and how that relates to the first cuts that you make in your Wood Spirit.  The photos used in this tutorial are courtesy of MorgueFile.com.

While this free project focuses on wood carving the wood spirit, you will find that an understanding of the planes in the human face will enhance your pyrography portrait projects.   For more free, online pyrography and wood burning projects visit my blog, LSIrish.com.

The third chapter in Lora Irish’s Great Book of Free Carving Projects and Patterns Series
“Wood Spirit Carving”

 


Photo One:
The angle of the tip of the nose from the front point of the chin.
The jaw line separates the face from the neck and is the base line for  two important angles to the face.If you open your hand and place your thumb against the bottom of the chin line with your  chin resting in the angle of the thumb and hand. Now touch the tip of your nose to your extended first finger. Wood Carving the Human Face, Wood Spirit Carving by Lora Irish
Note that your open hand has a 90 degree angle.  Also note the tilt of your hand.  The jaw is lower at the chin than it is at the ear when the head is held erect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Two:
The angle of the flat of the face from the front point of the chin.

If you repeat this hand position against your face, with the extended finger resting at the bridge of the nose you discover a much tighter angle, approximately 70 – 75 degrees.

The upper arm – index finger area – of this angle shows that the chin, cheeks, and eye brow ridges fall along one straight line.

Wood Carving the Human Face, Wood Spirit Carving by Lora Irish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Photo Three:

The projection of the nose from the flat facial plane.
By using the front point of the chin we can determine the angles needed to allow enough room in our Wood Spirit carving for the nose to project beyond the flat plane of the face. Wood Carving the Human Face, Wood Spirit Carving by Lora Irish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Photo Four:
The angle of the front of the face, chin to forehead
For this set of photos, place the pad of your thumb against the bottom edge of the chin point.  Reach with your index finger towards the forehead.  Note that your nose touches the palm joint of the index finger.The ball of the nose falls halfway between the eye brow ridge and the chin. Wood Carving the Human Face, Wood Spirit Carving by Lora Irish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Photo Five:
Dividing the facial features from the forehead.
The facial features of the human head take up only 2/3’s of the full skull area.  In this photo, follow the red lines which mark the top 1/3 forehead and hair-line area, the second 1/3 which includes the eye brow ridge to the tip of the nose, and the last 1/3 which takes in the tip of the nose to the bottom of the chin line. Wood Carving the Human Face, Wood Spirit Carving by Lora Irish
In both of these photos, above, the blue line shows the flat plane of the front of the face.  The purple line lets us see how each area of the face either extends beyond this flat plane or drops behind it. Note that the center point of the brow ridge, the outer edge of the nostril, and the center point of the front chin all align.

 

 


Photo Six:
The angles of the eye and cheek of the human face
In this photo, the blue line shows the flat plane of the front of the face.  The purple line shows the angles and depth of the brow ridge, eye socket, cheek, and the corner of the mouth.The eye socket is a flat plane that reaches from above the upper eyelid to about 1/2″ below the lower eyelid.  The roundness of the cheek does not fall directly below the eye, but instead below the center of the nose ridge. Wood Carving the Human Face, Wood Spirit Carving by Lora Irish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Seven:
How the facial features align.

One of the most fascinating parts of carving a human face is how wonderfully all of the features align with the other features.

Note that the nose bridge is straight to the outer most point of the lower lip.

Note that the outer edge of the eye-ball is in a direct, vertical line to the outer edge of the nostril.

Wood Carving the Human Face, Wood Spirit Carving by Lora Irish
Note that the corner of the eye lid is in alignment with the corner of the mouth. Note that the nose bridge is level to the top of the ear, and that the eye aligns with the first inner roll of the ear.  The bottom of the nose aligns to the center of the ear lobe.

 

 


Photo Eight:
The near perfect square of the profile face.
Here I have drawn a line along the front edge of the hairline.  You can see that the skin area of the facial features, in profile, creates a near-perfect square. Wood Carving the Human Face, Wood Spirit Carving by Lora Irish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Photo Nine:
Using these planes to carve a Wood Spirit.
The composite photo, right, shows three stages of this Wood Spirit carving.  The first, left, shows how the planes of the face are first established in the practice stick.  The center photo shows the development of the individual features for our Wood Spirit.  The third shows the finished carving. Wood Carving the Human Face, Wood Spirit Carving by Lora Irish
As we work together through this free, online Wood Spirit Carving project, I will teach how to determine where each plane should lie, how to cut those planes, and then how to  shape the planes into individual features.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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