Preliminary Checklist Before Execution
The reason for all this preliminary work is to be sure that
your idea is developed as you see it in your mind's eye. If
the drawing is not as you want it to be, if you don't like the
way it looks, if it does not portray the picture you have in
mind, by all means throw it away and start anew. I have often
made half a dozen drawings of a new pose or new form of eagle
before I was satisfied with the over-all picture.
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is always easier to correct your mistakes with a pencil on paper
than with a carving tool on the carving block. The care and
patience with which you make your layout sketches are reflected
in the finally executed carving.
I make my drawings I try to keep a picture of how I am going
to make out of wood the parts I have drawn. It is quite essential
that this be kept in mind. There are certain limitations to
what can be done with wood. I cannot, within the compass of
this work, begin to enumerate them. They have to be found out
you commit your drawing to the carving block, or to limbo as
the case may be, walk off and take a long look at it. Then walk
out the door. Forget it. Go about some other business for half
a day. Take up your mind with other things. This is quite important.
you come back and review the drawing, you will, in all probability,
see where it can be improved. Make the evident or obvious changes
then and there. Oftentimes a coffee break at this juncture is
a lot of help. A few minutes spent in studying your design will
show you the difficulties you may have to overcome in the actual
let these difficulties deter you from proceeding with the work.
Go ahead. If you make mistakes, keep this in mind: you can always
start over again. "The man who never does anything always
has the eraser on his pencil unused." All my pencils are
well worn down at the eraser end.
This and the next four Imagegraphs show the processes followed
in building up, hosting and detailing the elements for a Bremen
Eagle. In this illustration the wings and head are profiled
and bosted out. (Courtesy Maiden National Rank, Maiden, Massachusetts.
Gift of Mr. Harry F. Damon of Tamworth, New Hampshire)
The body and wings. The legs and claws are detail-carved; the
wings lined out with the pencil. The body is jointed for reception
The head and body pad detail-carved.
The elements are assembled. All detail carving is done. The
final step will be to polychrome the carving.
The completed carving. This eagle measures 48 inches wing tip
to wing tip, 17 inches high, with the head projecting 9½,
in mind the fact that, as you work with wood, as your carving
grows from a piece of plank to the final piece, you will see
places where you think it would be improved by departing from
your design. If that is so, make the changes forthwith. After
all, it is your design, your carving, your idea-and if you can't
change your mind, well, why say more?
you are completely satisfied with your original layout in all
respects, it may be of some help to make a projection of the
drawing so that you can see all the varying planes you want
to develop on paper. These can be done by shading in or by making
a series of isometric drawings, as the case may be. These are
only aids and should not be followed in the final work.
you have progressed from a bas-relief to an alto-relievo you
may well want to undertake a more difficult piece of work. An
illustration of this project is shown in Images above. This
Bremen Eagle has a projecting head, a body pad, and the base
plane of the wings. It is built up by joining the various pieces
with glue and wood screws and plugs.