4 Tips For Developing A More 3 Dimensional Power Relief Carving

By February 20, 2014Power Carving, You THE Artist
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As we learn and develop our skills there are many aspects of relief carving with power that we have to consider. This can be a difficult process, or a challenging one of best. There are four areas that we can focus on to help develop our carvings, and make them look more three-dimensional.

In this video I talk about three areas of focus that we can use to develop more three dimensionality in our woodcarvings. There is a fourth element that over lies all of these, and so I want to talk about each of them.

Three tips that we can use to overcome one dimensionality, and create more realistic three-dimensional power relief carvings are:

  • Carving deeper than we are comfortable.
  • Texturing can be used to define and enhance each element.
  • Every element has form depth flow movement and life.

The Overarching 4th Tip Is:

Understanding the subject matter.

Carving Deeper Than We Are Comfortable

Carving deeper than we are comfortable is definitely a challenge. We each have a comfort zone, and when we push past that fears and worries may creep in. However, if we want to add more depth and dimension to our carvings we have to push past that comfort zone. As we do we learn more about ourselves, and develop our carving skills more completely.

Pushing past our comfort zone helps us learn more about our tools, the surface we are carving, and gives us the ability to enhance and improve our carvings.

Texturing Can Be Used To Define And Enhance Each Element

Each element of the carving is unique even though they may all be part of the same scene or object. Texturing does many things for us. Some of these things are:

  • Defining the direction of an element.
  • Giving a sense of depth to an element.
  • Creating a visual and textural interest.

These are just a few of the many ways texturing helps enhance our carvings. Texturing gives us the ability to determine differences and similarities between elements. It helps us to tie our carvings together as an overall design.

Texturing is definitely not something to be overlooked or underestimated. It affects the overall finished quality of our carvings.

Every Element Has Form, Depth, Flow, Movement, And Life

Every single element in our carving is unique unto itself as it relates to the whole of the carving. Every element, every petal of the flower has form that is unique and different from the petal next to it. Every petal has depth and dimension. Every petal has flow, movement, and in essence, life.

We have to keep these things in the forefront of our mind as we develop our power carvings.

There are no straight lines in nature, and there are no flat surfaces in nature. Everything has form, has depth, and moves and flows, in essence it truly is alive.

To create realism even in a rock the form that we carve, the texture that we add, the hills and valleys, and cracks are what bring it to life. Even those things that are not alive in our world still have presence, and in order to make our carvings more three-dimensional we have to bring that to life.

These are some of the things that I think about while I am carving. Every element is unique unto itself as it relates to the whole. Every element has its own unique story to tell whether that is through its shape, its depth, its form, its texturing, or how raised it is above the background of the carving.

Understanding Our Subject Matter

These three areas of focus will help us to deepen our knowledge, understanding, and abilities as we relief carve with power. But there is one element that overrides them all, and ties them all together.

Understanding our subject matter is the only way that we can express what we see and feel in our carvings.

Carving deeper than we are comfortable allows us to create more form, depth, and dimension in our carvings. Texturing helps to find and enhance every element of that carving. And every element has form, depth, flow, movement, and life.

And all of these things relate to how well we understand our subject.

We cannot neglect a study of our subject before we sit down to carve. We have seen the world and experienced many things, but pulling a vague recollection from our minds and trying to carve it, as we think we see it, can be somewhat difficult.

Some ways to understand our subject matter better are:

  • Take photographs
  • Do sketches and drawings
  • Paint it
  • Sit down with clay and sculpt it.

These methods will help us gain a better understanding of our subject, and will ultimately allow us to incorporate the other three tips to complete more three-dimensional carvings.

Power relief carving is a journey and understanding our subject matter, and overcoming our fears, hesitations, and seeing what we are carving is all part of that journey.

I encourage everyone to spend time drawing, taking pictures, or contemplating what they see, so that they might better understand it. And in so doing, be able to better represent them in their power relief carvings.

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  • TX-JIM

    Very good teaching. I carve eggs but now I want to try wood carving. You are a good teacher. I’m getting carving 201 dvd. Thanks.

    • Thank you for your kind words about my teaching. The high-speed engraver can do so many different things. It is an amazing tool. Eggs, wood, metal, plastic and more… Enjoy your power relief carving journey.

      • TX-JIM

        DVDs arrived> now to carving! Thanks. Jim

  • TX-JIM

    Received the study disk and now awaiting the DVD to get started. Jim

    • That is great news. Have fun with your carving, and remember that power relief carving is a journey; not a race.

  • Warren Smith

    I don’t see you using any hand tools but dremel style tools. I find the bits to be useful for getting into tight areas, but anything else they seem to be a waste of time. I have been carving since my grandfather began teaching me at the age of five, I am sixty now, his father before him was one of the master wood workers from the old country. He and a crew of twenty five other men built a lot of the churches in England. With all of the ornate carving done in stone and wood. I never did learn stone carving, but it appears to be interesting. You use the power tools quite well but I guess I am a little old fashioned and set in my ways to modernize my equipment.

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