keep at it -- carving that is!
now try carving the "ugliest cowboy" you can think of or a witch for halloween or a santa claus or a carousel horse / figure or a wooden chain or a caricature holding an object that is hollow with a ball inside it. All these ideas will improve your carving skills and hold your interest while carving. Once you develop a little more carving skill, then try designing a carving on a "theme idea". It is much harder to carve an original idea than to carve from someone else's design and much more fun to see your idea come to "life"!
Pick up a copy of "chip chats" magazine -- the national woodcarving mag. i may have some old copies to give you? the ideas in the mag. will inspire you and some articles will really instruct. However, if you want to be a great carver, then you need to learn how to design your own patterns. Take pictures of all your carvings and keep them on a flash drive for future reference. Go back and review them once per year to check your improvement. make sure to keep all your patterns as well. I have had a friend or relative ask me to carve something for them that they have seen in the past and had to redesign from the start instead of taking the pattern and making it more interesting. Except as a training exercise, I suggest you don't initially carve a pattern that someone else supplies you with...their ideas of what they like aren't the same thing as what YOU want and that takes away most of the interest in the project. carving mistakes such as breaking off an arm or leg teaches you how to repair them. don't just throw a project away because you broke it...repair it, repair it, and you learn. another fellow and i carved an imp crouching on top of a chimney with a hot fire burning below and his bat wings spread out. he broke a wing twice and me once -- same wing. when done, you couldn't tell it had been broken. it sold in a charity auction for $90 and if the club sponsoring the show had followed through with the advertised schedule of the silent auction ending; then my sister was willing to pay up to $300 for it. the club's triple loss, because we never donated again to them and i quit the club.
More fun can be gained by going through the chip chat's schedule of contests to enter. the "ugliest cowboy" contest was sponsored via the quilceda carving club's annual show. similar contests are posted in the mag. the mag. is online; http://www.chipchats.org/
have fun carving and keep at it.
I've just about decided to ignore the patterns other than to get a basic idea started. Most of the step by step books really don't give clear instruction anyway. The walking sticks I carve are my own "patterns" though I don't really use a pattern. I usually just start carving and let the wood decide what it wants to be. Using sustainable wood for my sticks at the moment, limbs pruned out of the way or saplings that needed to be thinned out of my woods. I'll definitely check out the website. Thanks.
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