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  • Instructional/reference books

    Anyone have suggestions for really excellent books on carving? Specifically, about realistic, in-the-round, wildlife (mostly mammals & plants) carving/sculpture. That would also include carving the human figure, so long as it's not too heavy on the caricature style. I'm making progress, but I'd love to learn from books & preempt my disastrous mistakes/learning experiences.

  • #2
    I would suggest going to Fox Chapel and looking over some of the books that cover your interest. You can also look on Amazon and Ebay and Etsy.
    Larry

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    • #3
      Not familiar with fox chapel, but I'll check them out.

      Obviously I can (& have) just cold search for woodcarving books, but there are tons, and I'd rather get pointed toeard the ones that will actually be effective teaching tools. Anyone can write a how-to book, but many shouldn't.

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      • #4
        How are your drawing skills?
        At some point, you need to transfer bits of drawing to the block, sustain a center line and get to making chunks and then chips.
        Promise you won't fall in love with every one of them? You will never see the junk I create.

        Of 10 of my starts,
        3 die.
        3 become the living dead for the next 10 years+.
        3 finish up looking OK.
        One is exactly what I saw in the wood.
        Brian T

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        • #5
          Oh, for sure. Your stats are a bit better than mine, I'd say!

          I do draw the initial patterns on the block, but I don't often get around to redrawing once I start to saw and slice.

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          • #6
            ll I will add is to carve a lot of different things. I was taught relief carving, learned a great deal but wasn't satisfied.
            I decided that carving in the round was all 4 sides and the top! So I began to do that.
            I have 10 carvings on my list of things to work on. I don't find that unusual.
            Then something fresh will go straight through.

            I need a center line for as long as is possible and measure everything away from that.
            So a 24" turtle is the same thing as a 64" pole, just keep the line.
            Brian T

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            • #7
              I have bought a shelf-load of books on carving, most sight unseen over the internet. My experience has been about 10% absolutely worthless, 20% had something decent but minor to impart, 20% were good but limited to specific projects, and 50% excellent.

              My experience has been that the older the book, the less helpful it is, not from the information necessarily, but the format and illustrations have improved dramatically in the last thirty years. You'll find that the same information on tools and sharpening is repeated ad nauseum in virtually every book, I suspect more as filler than anything else...appropriate in a work dedicated to beginners, sure, but not every book.

              Addressing your specific areas of interest, Fox Chapel, publishers of Woodcarving Illustrated and sponsor of this Forum, has quite a few books that would be helpful, particularly in the area of wild fauna, less so re flora. I would like to see more on carving realistic humans, but in that regard I have found two books by Ivan Whillock (another publisher), one on carving a crucifix and the other on carving the head, to be excellent.

              I suggest you also view a video on Youtube by Joe Dilette, "The Carving Shop," on carving a commissioned statue of St. Clare, in which he shows the carving from start to finish...he learned from Ivan Whillock, by the way, and mentions that in the video.
              Arthur

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              • #8
                If you click on the dark strip at the top of the page that says FAQ it will take you to the WCI homepage. Click on (“How To “). You will find a lot of help getting started including a section with 14 pages of patterns and tutorials. These are two books I have and can recommend on animals. Available at Fox Chapel Books and Amazon

                books3.jpg
                We live in the land of the free because of the brave! Semper Fi
                https://www.pinterest.com/carvingbarn0363/

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                • #9
                  I have a lot of carving books, but find the most useful instruction to be on Youtube. Doug Linker and Gene Messer have some excellent videos. I mostly use books for patterns and ideas. It all depends on what type of carving you like?
                  Bill
                  Living among knives and fire.

                  http://www.texaswoodartist.com

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                  • #10
                    You can check out the Ian Norbury books also.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Randy View Post
                      If you click on the dark strip at the top of the page that says FAQ it will take you to the WCI homepage. Click on (“How To “). You will find a lot of help getting started including a section with 14 pages of patterns and tutorials. These are two books I have and can recommend on animals. Available at Fox Chapel Books and Amazon


                      books3.jpg
                      I have both of these, and I agree that they are worthwhile. Here is a carving I did several years ago from the cover on the book on the right:
                      IMG_4423.JPG


                      Last edited by Arthur C.; 03-13-2019, 01:22 PM.
                      Arthur

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by brent View Post
                        You can check out the Ian Norbury books also.
                        I'd seen a few of his books. Cover illustrations are certainly great carvings, but hard to know if their instruction matches their skills as a carver. You've found his books illuminating?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by WildIsTheWind View Post

                          I'd seen a few of his books. Cover illustrations are certainly great carvings, but hard to know if their instruction matches their skills as a carver. You've found his books illuminating?
                          Interesting and informative.

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                          • #14
                            Personally I suggest Mark Gargac's DVD on woodspirits. It is AWESOME. Very clear and easy to follow. Also, the cool thing about carving books, etc. is that we can use them to get the basics. After we get the basics, we can put our own self into our carvings for originals. That is one of the Blessings of carving.

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