|Pirate "go-by" by C. Hammack|
Ok, so your carving and you have done everything to make sure your figure has the proper appearance (i.e. no 3rd leg) and you're done right??
It has been my experience carving and collecting others works I have noticed that while ensuring your figure has the proper appearance (e.g. bone joints are in their proper locations) the carvings having the most visual impact have some of the greatest details through some of the smallest cuts. These cuts were created by knives some by V-gouges and yet others by veiners or u-gouges.
These cuts can have a great impact but only when done properly. Some of the best carvings I have seen have many tiny triangle cuts and small cuts, these must be practiced to ensure the proper result.
Ok so what do I mean...well...there are two things that jump to mind the first of which is something all good carvers know...your tools must be at their sharpest (not just sharp but really really sharp)...the tool should glide through the wood. The second item is the the cut should result in the proper planes being generated that will display the proper highlight or shadow. Essentially all cuts we make create highlights and shadows which in turn gives the appearance of depth. The use of a wide V-tool will open the resulting cut to more light than a narrow V-tool...this is why the vendors sell us multiple angle varieties of v-tools as there are uses for both styles depending on what the carver is trying to achieve.
A good example is to examine the image provided and look to the scar Chris cut on the nose of the pirate...he created steep, narrow and deep cuts to ensure when he added the strong paint tone that the scar would jump out at you (good composition). Also note the bag under the eye and the cuts made there.
If you move on to the mustache it has been enhanced with what appears to be a veiner/u-gouge result in a hint towards the hairs that reside there.
Of course if you examine the image you will find other examples of this. Having these examples for you to examine can be quite helpful in advancing your abilities and result in carvings that have a greater impact.
Just something to think about while your whittling by the camp fire or at that park.
I'm carving, are you??