Caricature Carving
From Head to Toe
A complete step-by-step guide to capturing expression and humour in wood

by Dave Stetson

215 x 280mm

Published by Fox Chapel Publishing Co. Inc., East Petersburg PA USA


ISBN 1-56523-121-X

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Ball Player


As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 129

The title of this book begs the question: What is a Caricature?

Dave Stetson believes that good caricature is an exaggeration of realism and he is often heard to say: Caricature is not a realistic carving gone bad!

Stetson was co-creator and founding member of the Caricature Carvers of America and has been a full time instructor, artist and show judge of the craft since 1996.

His passion for caricature is obvious from the first page of this book. So is his unconventional approach. He says that he generally likes to let his figures happen, allowing his mood at the time to dictate the direction in which the figure will grow.

The book begins with a statement of rules concerning proportions of the human head. The next three chapters deal with the Use and Care of a Carving Knife, the Anatomy of the Head and Neck and Carving a Face with Expression. It is in the second of these that Stetson introduces the use of clay as a modelling tool.

The next Chapter - Carving an Old Man - contains a carefully detailed description of the carving of a typical caricature. It begins with a discussion of the use of a clay model of the figure and then proceeds, step-by-step, with the translation of this model into wood, employing well over 100 photographs and a dozen drawings.

Chapter 6 complements these instructions with advice on how the caricature of the Old Man may be painted.

The final two Chapters display other caricatures by the author which show how the ideas presented earlier may be extended to a wider range of figures.

This unusual book, well illustrated and written by a master of the craft, should provide woodcarvers with opportunities for further development. Success in carving caricatures should also give them a new range of marketable work.

Three additional patterns included:

- Santa
- Ball Player
- Cowboy

Photos: Colour


About the Author

Chapter One: Mastering the Art of Caricature Carving

Chapter Two: Using and Caring for a Carving Knife

Chapter Three: Anatomy of the Head and Neck

Chapter Four: Carving a Face with Expression

Chapter Five: Carving the Old Man

Chapter Six: Painting the Old Man

Chapter Seven: Three Additional Caricature Projects

Chapter Eight: A Gallery of Caricatrue Carvings