Wood Carving Little People
The process of wood-carving little people is one of the most fascinating and interesting variations of this age-old hobby. An already wonderful hobby, there are many variations to wood carving but when you get into this aspect of it, not only does the amount of fine craftsmanship catch your eye, it's also the minute detail that comes onto these wonderful little creations, making them look absolutely gorgeous and life-like, despite their size. The thing about wood carving is that anyone can finish off a large piece all by themselves but when it comes to wood-carving little people, you need a lot of skill, a steady hand and a sharp eye for detail.
Getting Ready to Carve
The first thing you need when you are wood-carving little people are the tools. There are a number of speciality tools that are different from regular wood carving instruments but ideal for this scenario. The first thing you need is a carving glove and a thumb-guard. Due to the amount of detail involved, you will need to pay a lot more attention to detail and that is where these elements come in.
For the actual carving bit, you will need a rough-out knife, a narrow blade knife, a few V-tools, some minute gouges and a bit of tacky glue if you are going for a pattern. You will need a pencil to mark out the lines and details on the block of wood, which is also the last thing you need from it. When cutting out the wooden block, you need to make sure that you have enough extra-wood around the size of the final sculpture you are trying to make. When wood-carving little people that are an inch in size, you might need a block that's 2 x 2 x 2 inches, instead of getting the actual 1x1x1 inch that you are going to end up with. This gives you a tiny margin for error and also the ability to slowly chip away towards the final goal instead of starting off cautiously.
Making the Pattern
When you start working on wood-carving little people out of the block of wood, you need to mark out some guides or lines on the block. The pattern is something that you can create on your own. It needs to have a six-sided view of the final sculpture you are going to make. This means, you will have the top-view, the bottom-view, the side views and the front & back views for your sculpture. Make each of these out on 1:1 scale and stick them onto the block, on the sides, using the glue. Tacky glue doesn't seep into your wood, and is the best way to keep working without destroying the quality of the wood.
To paste the pattern onto the wooden block, take your pencil and make diagonal lines on each face of the block, to mark out the centre (where they intersect). Do that on each side as it will give you the line-guides you need to position your patterns on the centre, for each face. This will also make sure that you have the right measurements for all sides of the block.
The Actual Wood-Carving Process
Now that your pattern is in place and you have the tools for the job, you need to get to the part of actually wood-carving little people out of those blocks. The important thing to remember, at this point, is that you need to make really small cuts throughout the process. Your little person is inside the block but chipping away too deep may cause problems later. Even if you are in a place where a lot of wood needs to be taken off, stay patient and just chip it away a little at a time. It just gets you into the right kind of habit for wood-carving little people, especially when you get to the more delicate parts.
Also, you need to carve with the grain of the block as that is always an easier route to carve along. If you do make a mistake, just pick up another block and start over. Don't think too much about the mistakes because you will catch up to where you were before you know it. First, you need to roughly carve out the outer-most parts of your wooden blocks and get the most rough-shape that you can, of the final sculpture you are creating.
Then, slowly, you work your way in from every single angle. Make sure you are starting with a simpler pattern in the beginning because it will make your job easier. Always go with the rounder or longer shapes/sides of the pattern first, because these lines will be easier due to their lack of finer detail and you will be able to move along quicker on these parts. That always helps you find motivation for the finer detailing that lies ahead when wood-carving little people.
Now, every single little person sculpture that you are making, will be unique in its own way. As a result, there cannot be a single route for them all and therefore, you will not be able to find the kind of generalized guidelines for carving out the details. All you need to do is make sure that you are careful, patient and meticulous with your work, paying attention to detail and moving as slowly as you need to, to get the right amount of detail on all the individual elements.
That's all it takes to get to the finishing line and if you spend enough time on it, you will be able to fine-tune your abilities to make these wonderful sculptures and you'll be hooked onto wood-carving little people for life!