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Carving in 3d


Sam Smith

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Hey all, I was wondering if any of you carvers could point me in the right direction. I can carve fairly flat shapes well enough but when I wander into the realm of 3d or base relief I start getting into trouble.

Mainly for me its about layout in 3d, I am looking for a good book on carving, not the mechanics so much because I'm using wax, but how to draw up a design and make it 3d or semi 3d like the amazing netsuke's I have seen some of you carve, through carving.

 

Thanks.

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Hi there Sam,

 

I'm still very much in the learning curve myself - coming from 35 years of jewelry making. I'm getting the hang of relief carving pretty well - it's amazing to me how much illusion of depth you can get by just shallow cuts. Study a coin closely to see what I mean. I'm working on some 360 degree carvings now - If you can layout the top, front and side in a squared block you can pierce out a lot of waste material that gets in the way of your vision - or, like Michelangelo you can just start where ever and carve away till you uncover the piece hidden inside the stone. I'm finding it's mostly just patience and perseverence and of course vision. There are some very nice step by step photos on this forum if you search. Keep up the good work Sam!

Blessings,

Magnus

P.S.

Janel, any chance of a spellcheck sometime - my spelling is atrotious!

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Sam, you have asked quite a question! I think that drawing helps me a lot, but when I am preparing to carve I don't always seem to take time to draw the concept of the piece, but rather refer back to drawing I have made in the past and fit the concept into the piece of wood. The process of drawing helps me become familiar with the subject, as well as to become familiar with expressing its dimensions through shading and highlighting. This familiarity with the subject, drawn from different angles, places images in the mind which are then used while carving in 3D. I think it is too late at night for further attempts at wisdom.

 

I began carving by doing bas relief, or shallow relief, on clay, later on porcelain clay wheel-thrown pots. Eventually the subjects became sculptural and then I moved to using wood for the material of choice. You can see some of that on my web site. I used to prepare for the shallow carved surfaces by drawing a design on tracing paper, line drawing on one side, shading on the other, which then became my guide while carving on the porcelain. Darker shading, deeper carving. Switching to sculptural work, most pieces are not drawn on tracing paper anymore. Sometimes a series of sides are drawn on paper, but most often the drawing is only on the wood itself, relying on studies and real subjects for detail and form reference.

 

Spell check. Hmm. I don't know if the forum software has that, but my browser does. I use Firefox, and have a plugin that underlines words in red, then when I click the ABC√ instruction in the tool bar, suggestions are made for all underlined words. You get to select the right word, but at least they are in the ballpark of the word you though you were going to use. What ever browser you use, maybe there is a spelling plugin you could find to add.

 

Janel

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If you are looking for something to show you the basics of carving this will make Janel cringe but here goes 'Whittling and Woodcarving' by

E.J. Tangerman It has alot of reprints it only costs $10.95 in the US but it is well worth it for beginners in confronting the 'empty canvas' of the raw piece of wood. It is very informative and educational.

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Hmm, maybe I should find it too! I never had any training... I like to learn!

 

Janel

 

 

o.0 Man don't bother with training Janel! You might unlearn something :D I did take a glance at your site really cool stuff.

I went a googleing after I posted to look for enlightenment, in the round is a term used for 3d carving, duh.. That was confusing first time I saw it I was thinking maby what magnus does with beads.

I figured out what I want to do right now is high base relief, the knots are base relief, I guess.

But it always helps to find someone describe the different methods. I was floating around trying to figure out what direction I want to go and I think thats got it. Most jewelry is base relief anyway, even those netsuke's seem to be an extreme base relief.

 

Is it just me? I seem to spend way more time trying to come up with designs then actually carving them..

 

Yeah firefox has a really nice spell checker for text entry boxes, when the word gets underlined just left click the cursor to it, then right click to bring up a menu with correct "suggestions" greatest thing thats happened to forum chatting for me, an atrocious speller :)

 

oo btw what tools do you use for really tinny carvings Magnus?

 

Sam.

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Hi Sam,

 

I find that when trying to realize a form in 3-D, the best thing to do is work it out in clay first. The clay really helps to work out your forms, and can of course be changed easily. Once you are happy with the clay model (or maquette), you can use it as a guide for carving, or even copy it exactly using pointing techniques. You can also scale the size up or down from your model. Keep in mind that the finly detailed designs on coins and medals are usually scaled down mechanically from a plaster model the size of a dinner plate.

 

I'm not quite sure exactly what size you are working in, or what your final materials will be, but it shouldn't really matter. I use this technique often for sculptures in all sizes, in wood, bronze and stone. Often the clay model will be just a rough sketch of the form, with very little detail at all. This technique is particularly useful for any sort carving where working out proportions in advance is important, such as figurative sculpture.

 

The attached link to an earlier post of mine portrait carving shows briefly the process of going from a design on paper to a detailed clay model, to a finished 3-D portrait in stone. (note, the clay model in the photo is of a similar piece in this series, but is exactly the same size and detail as that used)

 

Hope this helps

 

Phil

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Thank You Phil!

 

The clay model is a very useful step. The piece currently on my bench, a toad, is such an example. Writing my answers so late at night, I sometimes overlook the obvious. Here are photos of the process: The first shows the drawing and the clay model, which happens to be more than ten years old. The second is where the toad has gotten to so far.

 

426_3068w.jpg 426_3111_w.jpg

 

 

Sam, I too have many more ideas than there is time to carve them. It is a beautiful way to keep the mind creatively active. Thanks for asking the good questions.

 

Janel

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I was wondering how coins could be carved with such tinny detail, how do they size them down afterwards? The clay model is a good idea, although if I use modeling wax to make the sculpture I can avoid the carving step :) I'll stick to base relief for now I really like making something you can actually ware. I'm planning an asian dragon ring, but as yet haven't had time to actually start putting anything on paper, it will be my first really serious base relief design.

 

:D I took a peek at Natasha's webpage to.. Amazing work, some of the best carvings I have ever seen, the piece "sacrifice" is unbelievable, the priest even has tinny fingernails! I'm happy to be see so many master grade carvers, it gives me something to aspire to, I also enjoy the beauty of well made art.

 

Thanks all.

 

Sam.

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If you are looking for something to show you the basics of carving this will make Janel cringe but here goes 'Whittling and Woodcarving' by

E.J. Tangerman It has alot of reprints it only costs $10.95 in the US but it is well worth it for beginners in confronting the 'empty canvas' of the raw piece of wood. It is very informative and educational.

 

Hi All,

 

Tangerman also wrote a second book call "Design and Figure Carving". These books are published by Dover Publications, Inc. which, I believe has a website that you can "Google". Both provide basic technical information as well as pictures of all types of carving. Dover also publishes other art books such as "The Styles of Ornament" by Alexander Speiltz. Dover books have no copyright restrictions and the art work can be used freely.

 

Tangerman wrote his books in the late '30's and early '40's. In his later life he published several other carving books; however, these did not do as well as his earlier books. He also wrote articles for the "Chip Chats" magazine published by the National Woodcarvers Association. I believe he died in the late '70's or early '80's.

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