It's been a while since I shared with you one of my little monster head studies. The weathered and wrinkled old face shown here was the third that I made last winter. For a little background, here is where you can catch up on my posts about Monster Head Study No. 1 and Monster Head Study No. 2. Basically, I carve these heads when I feel stuck.
As with the first two monster heads, this one started out as a 1 inch diameter hardwood ball obtained in a package of 12. I believe they are birch. The are free of knots, which creates a nice clean look. However, they are very hard and difficult to hold and carve with conventional carving tools.
To deal with the hardness of the wood, I tried for the first time my tungsten carbide carving burrs. These 1/8 inch shank Kutzall carving burrs are made for rotary tools such as the Dremel or something like the higher-end Foredom rotary tools (also on my wish list). I used an inexpensive Dremel tool. I have a cylindrical one and a long tapered like the one shown in the photograph to the right. As advertised, the teeth on these burrs are sharp, remove material rapidly, and do not become clogged easily. Isn't it nice when advertisements turn out to be true? I am impressed with these burrs; I plan on buying the other shapes in time.
This carving didn't take me long to make, though I removed a lot of material -- probably because I was power-carving most of the time. For the dark lines above the eyes, I used a Dremel with a 1/4 inch Dremel sanding drum mounted in it. I allowed the spinning drum to burn the wood a little bit by leaving it in one place for a few moments. I like this technique for doing eyebrows, while simultaneously carving out the hallows for the eyes and defining the cheek bones. The squinty eyes were done with a basic woodburing tool.
By far the most human of the faces so far, this figure looks to be an old man. While experimenting with various things, used some black masking tape to create the pieces on his chin and sides of the head. I got used to seeing the head that way, so I eventually replaced the tape with thin pieces of black leather from an old wallet. In truth, I am not sure what those things are. The black piece on his chin might be a beard, but it could also be some sort of ceremonial false beard like those worn by Egyptian pharaohs as a sign of their divinity. In this fellow's case, I don't think it has anything to do with divinity! The pieces on the sides of his head could be ears or radically styled hair. Once again, my impression is this is a headdress of some sort. Together, the beard, headdress, weathered face, and grimace give me the overall impression that this must be some type of wizard, warlock, or alchemist. Whatever he is, I don't trust him.
I hope you enjoy these little carved monster heads; there are many more monsters to come. I have even worked on a new one recently, though I didn't do it because I felt stuck!