Wood Spirit Carving

Wood Spirit General Instructions Part Four

By L.S. Irish

Click the image for a larger view.

Proportions to the Human Face

When creating a drawing of the human face, an artist will use a layout grid to determine the placement of the individual features. With slight variations for either extremely wide faces or very narrow faces the head is contained in an eight unit high x five unit wide rectangle.

Each unit to this rectangle is equal to the width of one eye. From this basic unit each individual feature can be place with great accuracy.

Begin this exercise by drawing a grid pattern that is eight inches high by five inches wide. Divide the rectangle in one inch squares. For this practice drawing we will be using a unit of one inch to equal the width of the eye of your drawing. This is create a drawing that is very close to live size.

Mark the central vertical line of the grid. This will be the dividing point for the face from left to right. Mark the central horizontal line of the gird, this becomes the dividing line between the forehead and the facial features area.

The upper half of the grid contains the brow ridge, forehead and skull area of the face. This area in the carving of a Wood Spirit will be used for hair and accent ornaments to the work. The brow ridge lies at the bottom of this portion of the grid and is about one half unit high.

The facial features area of the face takes up the lower half of the grid. This area contains the eyes, nose, mouth and chin area, and most of the ears.

Working from the grid lines:

  • The nose is created in the central top two units. It is one unit wide by two units long. The nose tapers from one half unit thick at the bridge point to one unit thick at the nostrils. The nostrils are about one half unit high.
  • The eyes are one unit wide by one half unit thick. They are separated by one full unit which holds the nose. The bottom half of this eye unit contains the fullness of the lower eye lid.
  • The pupils of the eye lie on the center line of the eye unit. They are a half circle that disappears into the upper eye lid. The pupils are a total of two units apart from each other.
  • The mouth is two units wide and directly placed underneath the pupil lines. It lies in the bottom half of the unit beneath the nose. The lower lip is fuller than the upper lip. The corners of the mouth curves to a point two third down into this unit.
  • The chin lies in the last unit underneath the nose and fills just a little more than one unit wide.
  • The jaw line begins at the middle line of the lower half of the grid. This is a slowly curving line that angles at one unit down and then reaches across the drawing to the chin area.
  • The ear begins at this middle line also reaching up into the forehead area of the face. The ear mass stops at the center of the brow ridge.
  • The highest point of the cheek bone lies where the bottom line of the unit that contains the eye is crossed by the central line for the pupil.
Click the image for a larger view.

Once you have a strong understanding of the placement of features in the human face it becomes easy to distort the face to create the Wood Spirit image. Wood Spirits mimic the human feature by over emphasizing some details and under emphasizing others.

In this example it is the nose and cheek areas of the face that has been exaggerated.

Note that the forehead and skull area have been compressed. The shortened forehead has been compensated by extending the hair line well out from the head. The nose has been elongated to three eye units instead of the normal two units in length. Finally the mouth has been lengthened from corner to corner to approximately three units wide.

By distorting the features in this drawing, a carving of this pattern will emphasis the depth of the eyes in the wood. The lengthening of the nose and mouth will mean that it will be carved higher in the face than normal. This higher nose area means that there will be more space between the tip of the nose, the highest point in the face, and the pupil of the eye, the lowest point in the face. And having fun at exaggerating the human face is what carving the Wood Spirit is all about.


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

medieval, castle, dragon, wood spirit patterns by Lora S IrishFantasy Pattern Package at Art Designs Studio. Wood Spirits, dragons, castles,and lots of Celtic Knot border ideas. This makes a great beginning package for the carver new to fantasy, medieval,dragon work. Great for Wood Burning! This package contains sixteen complete patterns for: Western Dragons Wood Spirits Castles and Fortresses. Celtic Knot Designs.

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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