Flat plane character carving

Flat plane carving is a style of figire carving that uses large flat planes to create features.  Tool marks are left in the carving and there is no smoothing or rounding.  The idea is to create the figure using very deliberate cuts.  The resulting figures are typically caricatures with exaggerated features.

Gene Messer, the carver whose YouTube videos I keep linking to, is a flat plane carver, and he has quite a few character carving videos online.  He also has a couple of picture tutorials on the Woodcarving Illustrated message board.  I decided to give it a shot.  First with this bust:

That figure is about 4 inches tall and about 1-3/4 inches square.  The tutorial video used a different sized block, and included legs and feet.  I probably should have waited until I had a block of wood the right size, but I’m pretty happy with the way this one turned out.  Even if I did make plenty of mistakes.

My latest figure is from one of Gene’s picture tutorials.  The wood blank is 3-1/2″ tall and 1″ square.  I think I did much better with this little guy.

Granted, I still have a lot to learn.  But I’m surprised at how relatively few cuts it takes to make a recognizable character.  And there is a lot of room for improvisation here.  I can see where just concentrating on these little guys could keep me very busy.