Relief Carving Tips

Silhouette Relief Carving

A silhouette is a rudimentary form of relief carving. It is one dimensional. By adding detail, shading, and shadow, it becomes two dimensional, and a true relief. The depth to which the detail is cut gives it further definition. Bas-relief, or low relief, is hereby defined..

Many early cultures pictured their religious, ceremonial or events in their daily lives in relief carvings, either in stone or in wood. Their busts and statues were full three dimensional views of flat reliefs which were typically two dimensional.

Dig into your pocket and pull out a coin. It is a good example of a relief carving: a two dimensional depiction a face, or building, which has the illusion of depth.

Carving in relief is an easy way to gain confidence in creating the two dimensional effect: carving in the shadow and the detail brings the carving to life. It is a great way of replicating nature in that there are few straight lines in nature: mostly curves and shadow-shading. One gains confidence by learning how to create the detail and shadow. it is indeed the wealth of the artist or craftsman. if you can create the illusion you are indeed an artist or craftsman, and it all begins with the proper layout of the piece you are working on. Best advice: plan your work, and then work your plan.

By laying out or transferring your pattern to the project by using tracing paper and carbon paper facing the work area, you are actually visualizing the places where your cuts are going to be, and what tools you are going to use to accomplish the completion of the work. Your mind will be thinking of the best strokes, or cuts to use so: again, plan your work, and work your plan.

Transferring your pattern or design or design using the tracing paper/carbon paper facing the work surface is a key element in this portion of your planning stage. and you can greatly simplify the effort that you are going to expend. When you have transferred the pattern to your work you will have already decided which tools you are going to use and how to read the wood and by the time you have outlined the image the shading and shadowing will already be a foredrawn conclusion. At this point, the name of the game will be to SLOW DOWN, and pay attention to the grain of the wood and pay attention to the subtle shadings and shadows you are creating. This is not the time to rush.

If you plan your work, and your layout is proper.. your work will be easier, and your success assured.

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