John Adamson shared his knowledge from a lifetime of woodcarving. His motto for carving was “Planning time is cheap, time for doing corrections is expensive.”
John encouraged us to consider several things before we start to carve.
Think carefully about perspective especially if copying from a photograph.
The item in the photo may be foreshortened, such as in an animal’s photo taken from the head end the back legs will be shorter than the front; or a photo of a person taken from above will appear to have shorter legs than in real life. It may be more obvious on this box than on a real animal. Even street scenes can have slightly curved vertical walls to the buildings.
You need several photos or plans from different view points. A photo from above is not always available. Children’s plastic animals can be bought at charity shops, etc. If needed, very accurate plastic models of animals ,etc are available from Schleich.https://www.schleich.org.uk/.
Making a clay model, if only a rough one, can help you to plan the whole or just a part of the carving. A small rough part model is good if you need to work out how something “works ” e.g. the folds of a dress” .
Check movement of the legs and arms in relation to the spine movement in the spine brings life to your carving. Look up Google “Zoological Skeletons” for accurate side views of animals. This is a good source for getting the right proportions. John also recommended Resource Box 2 in our library – a collection of useful items.
Plan how you will hold the carving whilst working on it, such as leaving a part until the end just so there is always a place to clamp.
Consider how you will display your model when finished. E.g. What sort of base does it need, Will your relief carving be viewed from above or below. A carving should look good from whichever angle you look at it.
Having thought of perspective, drawings, display, holding, and maybe a model, bring it all together and begin carving.
John finished his very informative talk by giving us many other little tips for carving including the use of cardboard cutouts to check the measurements of your carving against the original model or drawings