Carving Tutorial - Part 1

Suggested Guidelines for Head Proportions

Diagram A - Facial Proportions

This diagram has been modified by Doris Sheldon from a version found at Classic Carving Patterns and is used with permission.

diagram A facial proportions for wood carving

Refer to Diagram A:

  1. Draw a vertical center line, (black), down the middle of the peeled wood.
  2. Draw the head following the general shape of an egg .
  3. The head can be divided horizontally in half (green line). The green line can be divided into 5 equal units (green line extending slightly past the outside edges of the head). The bottom of the face can also be divided vertically into 5 equal units.
  4. The mid line (green line), will divide the face at the bottom of the brow. The hair line lies about half way between the green line and the top of the head. You need to imagine the top of the head in a wood spirit carving as it will be obscured by the wild hair. Slope the forehead gently back to about the same angle as the nose.
  5. The second half of the head contains the eyes, nose, mouth and chin.
  6. The eyes can be a bit wider than the space of one unit. They are separated by 1 unit.
  7. The bottom of the nose, (blue line), lies half way between the green line and the bottom of the chin. The bottom of the nose is a bit wider than the space of 2 units and can be wider yet if you want a large nose. The mustache can be drawn below the nose. On a woman carving, the bottom of the nose would tend to be within the 2 units and probably a bit shorter than the half way mark.
  8. The mouth and chin area will slope gradually away from the bottom of the nose. It will sit a bit farther back from the bottom of the nose.
  9. The bottom of the bottom lip will be situated half way between the bottom of the nose and the chin. The mouth opening will be a bit higher than the bottom lip. I like to exaggerate the size of the mouth a bit in a wood spirit carving. The chin will be covered by the beard but it is important to know its approximate location in order to have reasonable proportions for the remainder of the head. The beard will follow the general shape of the chin and be lower than the mustache.

These distances are about equal to each other:
(Carving Eyes, Features and Expressions by I Willock)
A. The distance between the centers of the eyes.
B. The distance from the hair line to the eyebrow.
C. The distance from the eyebrow to the bottom of the nose.
D. The distance from the bottom of the nose to the bottom of the chin.

Continue to Part 2: Carving Faces in Cottonwood Bark