Wood Spirit Carving

Wood Spirit General Instructions Part Two

By L.S. Irish

For your convenience we have placed all of the images on this page on one large file.
Click on the image name below. When the image has opened in your browser, right hand click on the image. In the menu select ‘Save Image As’. Eye Carving Details.

Once the basic planes of the face has been created, it is time to begin adding the details. For instructions of the facial planes please visit Wood Spirit General Instructions Part One. As you work, use a pencil to draw in each feature that is to be carved. These pencil lines will need to be reestablished as the carving progresses.

Begin roughing in the details to your wood spirit’s face by carving away the excess along the sides of the blank. The face curves away from the central line of the nose.

The cheek curves inward at bottom the eye line and the bottom of the nose. The brow line on the side of the face should also curve inward to the eye plane.

Carve the eye details first to your Wood Spirit. The ball of the eye is set deeply into a bony socket that is made up of the brow ridge and cheek bone area. The eye lid rolls over the ball and curves both from the brow ridge over the eye and from the bridge of the nose over the eye and down toward the side of the face.

The first cut narrows the nose at the bridge point and creates the inward corner of the eye lid. This cut lies below the cheek bone area.

The second cut separates the upper eye lid from the brow ridge. This cut is a slow gentle curve that reaches slightly past the eye into the side of the face.

Now carve the lower lid line. This cut should be fairly straight across the face. In working with the eye structure, it is the upper lid that curves, not the lower lid.

Make a cut along the bottom edge of the upper eye lid to develop a small lip area. Make a cut along the top edge of the bottom eye lid. The space between these two cuts will become the eye ball itself. Shave the eye ball area to drop it’s surface deeper into the wood than the eye lids. Now shave the eye ball the create a slight roundness.

Use a pencil line to establish where the pupil of the eye will be. If you place the pupil in the top half of the eye ball as a half circle, the eye of your Wood Spirit will look right at you. The pupil is carved down into the wood using a u-gouge.

Finally begin shaving the areas around the eye to blend in the individual cuts that you have made. Details as wrinkles, crows feet, and eye brow hair can now be added using your bench knife or v-gouge.

The first image on this page shows a well developed eye lid overhang. This dramatic drop in carving levels between the eye and the lid casts a shadow that will emphasize your carving. This image also shows the pupil placement. By carving the pupil into the eye area the pupil will be trapped in the shadow of the work. This makes the pupil appear black to the viewer, just as the pupil of the natural eye appears.


Carving the Wood Spirit Face

Wood Spirit General Instructions, Part One

Wood Spirit General Instructions, Part Two

Wood Spirit General Instructions, Part Three

Wood Spirit General Instructions, Part Four

cp112_150Leaf Eaters Pattern package at Art Designs Studio. The classic Medieval Greenman often had long stems and branches of thickly packed leaves coming from his open mouth or nose. Called Leaf Eaters, this pattern package includes fourteen traditional wood spirit-greenman designs that can be used for wood carving, laser engraving, and pyrography. Leafy corners and a new profile design are included.

2 thoughts on “Wood Spirit Carving”

  1. I’m starting out carving I use carving knives as I can’t get used to chisels can you give me some advice on which wood is best to start I’ve tried plywood but soon worked out that the layers are hard to judge depth I got oak for my pyrography but that’s hard balsa just to thin, so any advice would be greatly appreciated

  2. Hi Richard, You should start with basswood which is classified as a hardwood species but is soft and easy to cut. Go to Ebay.com and put in the search string ‘carving wood’ or ‘carving blocks’. As you skills grow you can move onto other carving woods as mahogany, maple, and cedar.

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