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  • Learning to draw helpful?

    My drawing skills are abysmal if I am honest. With carving being three dimensional I am curious how beneficial spending time to learn how to draw has been for people.

    Specifically for working on whittling and small animal / caricature patterns.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    You will get widely varying opinions on this. Some will day it's hugely beneficial, some think it doesn't matter. My opinion, it can be useful, but you can carve just fine without being able to draw. It does depend quite a bit on carving style as well, for whittling I think it's not so important.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Steev View Post
      You will get widely varying opinions on this. Some will day it's hugely beneficial, some think it doesn't matter. My opinion, it can be useful, but you can carve just fine without being able to draw. It does depend quite a bit on carving style as well, for whittling I think it's not so important.
      Fair enough. I was only really thinking in regards to making basic patterns but that is also likely to get easier to visualize with more practice.

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      • #4
        Learning something that you do not know how to do now is never a bad idea. However, for carving in the round I believe you are mostly making lines and arcs. Like the nose and eyebrow is a seven on one side and a reverse seven on the other. An eye is a series of arcs. Same for the mouth, mustache, beard, arms, etc. The most important line is the center line to keep things in proportion.

        So being able to draw complex images in not really necessary, but still a useful skill if you learn it. Hopefully this makes some sense. At least that's how I approach it. Ymmv.

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        • #5
          Often I sketch out what I'm carving just to help me visualize the steps that I need to take. I'm not terribly artistic but unless you're trying to equal the work of Salvador Dalí or Fredric Remington it doesn't matter. Even stick figures come in handy.

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          • #6
            I think anything that helps your mind understand relationships and proportions is likely to help your carving. That said I work from photos and transparency sheet sized to the piece I’m carving. I do a lot of measurements and comparison. When I work from sketches I still scale to the project with the copier and print to a transparency sheet.

            70F1CBB8-033E-4802-9795-65349DD0685F.jpeg
            Ed
            Living in a pile of chips.
            https://m.facebook.com/pg/CentralNeb...ernal&mt_nav=0

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            • #7
              I have purchased some books on drawing caricatures and cartooning...the best book I bought on the human form is called Figure it Out by Christopher Hart. This is a really good book on drawing the human form. I don't intend on becoming an artist, but it will allow me to sketch out something I can turn into a pattern, which I then can transfer to wood and carve.

              Another good book is Marv Kaisersatt's book on Caricature Carving. His caricature design includes some tips on drawing what you want.

              My problem is that I have images in my head that I can't put on paper, but I am trying to turn that around by teaching myself how to sketch what I need.

              I also purchased a Crayola 'Sketch Wizard'...this handy little tool allows you to take a 3D object you may want to carve, and allows you to make a front and side image you can then transfer to a block of wood to cut out.

              Everyone above gives great advice. If all you want to do is copy someone else's work by tracing their patterns, putting them on wood and then carving, that's great...you don't need drawing skills. If you want to design your own work, then basic drawing and sketching is a must.

              Once again, just my .02!

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              • #8
                Drawing is like anything else = takes practice.
                For many, it means carrying a sketch book and a pencil or pen.
                I used to in my painting days but not any more.

                I do believe that in the beginning, draw every day.
                Anything, even a dirty soup dish on the kitchen counter.
                Do a little drawing. Can you scale that up to a whole page?
                No need to be complete, just get the basic proportions right.

                When I see things in the wood, I usually draw right on the block with a crayon, maybe a carpenter's pencil.
                Other times, I make detailed drawings on paper, the size of the carving.
                Get the centerline if there's any symmetry and work outwards from that.

                I've seen the drawings that some First Nations do for poles. Maybe 24" tall at most.
                They translate that to 40' with ease. Must be a lifetime of practice.
                Brian T

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                • #9
                  Lots of good feedback and information. Thank you everyone!

                  Definitely think some regular practice is in order just to get some ideas from my head on paper to be able to think about it more and tinker and move it onto wood.

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                  • #10
                    Humble beginnings. Fast work at work.

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                    • #11
                      Pretty good! Some good advice I can give you is to 'Begin with the end in mind'...sounds corny, but having an idea of where you want to go before you put edge to wood is a good idea, and a basic sketch will help with that!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by tbox61 View Post
                        Pretty good! Some good advice I can give you is to 'Begin with the end in mind'...sounds corny, but having an idea of where you want to go before you put edge to wood is a good idea, and a basic sketch will help with that!
                        Definitely good advice. Thank you.

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                        • #13
                          I trace patterns/images when needed via graphics programs. I like to carve and don't waste my time trying to draw. My humbel suggestion is if you are trying to carve, just do it. If you want to draw, just do it. JMO
                          Bill
                          Living among knives and fire.

                          http://www.westernwoodartist.com

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                          • #14
                            Drawing helps, I've been drawing and painting for years, but when I started carving I couldn't make my knife do what I make my pencils or brushes do.

                            Catherine V. Holmes has really good books out that help teach a person how to draw, and her books aren't intimidating, my oldest grandson wanted help drawing and her books helped him.

                            I saw this video on youtube and this helps https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5LvoGBARlg
                            He shows how to space what you want where you want it.

                            Shawna

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