"Behind Blue Eyes" #2: Hair and eyes

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Blog entry by mpounders posted 09-26-2011 04:33 PM 1614 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: A week of carving Part 2 of "Behind Blue Eyes" series Part 3: Corrections and Additions »

I have spent most of the week working on the hair and deciding how I wanted to do the eyes. I had carved in the main shapes of the hair starting with larger #11 u gouges and working down to smaller sizes, with a few v tool and knife cuts thrown in. You want the hair to flow correctly and part of that is remembering where the hair grows on the head. It just doesn’t look right if you show it growing in front of the ears or sideways out from the neck! I like to make hair look softer, by sanding a lot of sharp angles away. It is similar in some ways to the flowing shapes you see in Andy’s boxes.

Some carvers are adamantly opposed to sanding their work, but I like the way certain parts, like faces and hair, look when sanded. Only my tastes and preference though! I used small drum sanders, bristle sanders, cone sanders, and hand sanding to make the hair look less like individual clumps and more of a flowing mass. I may a do a blog entry on the 5 or six different types of sanders I used, if any one is interested. Once I got the hair more like I wanted it, I started cutting in the eyes. I used a compass to measure from the center line of the nose to make sure I had the center of each I exactly the same, then I used the compass to draw the pupil using that center point. This kept the eyes located symmetrically and of equal size, which can be difficult to achieve, at least for me, without measuring.

I normally carve and undercut the entire pupil and then carve a deeper center hole for the iris. This creates good shadows and a dramatic eye, but I wanted to do these a little different. I wanted to make the eyes appear lighter, to give the impression of being blue, and I wanted to try and add highlights to the irises.

There are different methods of doing this, but basically you want to leave a bit of wood that indicates light reflecting off the eye. It is easy for me to mess this up, by cutting off too much, but I gave it a go using this method and it looke pretty good to me! I have more sanding to do and I am now thinking about how to do the bottom of the piece and how to do a base that will complement it. Thanks for looking!

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

8 comments so far

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3014 days

#1 posted 09-26-2011 05:06 PM

You must be related to Gepetto, this looks so lifelike!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Manitario's profile


2630 posts in 2879 days

#2 posted 09-26-2011 05:30 PM

This is exquisite Mike! A face you could fall in love with for sure!

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View majeagle1's profile


1426 posts in 3492 days

#3 posted 09-26-2011 05:43 PM

Beautifully done Mike…... I really like the “softness” that you apply to the hair. Are the eyebrows next?
She really does look lifelike….. and very beautiful !

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View helluvawreck's profile


31056 posts in 2863 days

#4 posted 09-26-2011 06:42 PM

Mike, this is fabulous. Your work is so realistic that is is almost as though you are looking at real person.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2790 posts in 3434 days

#5 posted 09-27-2011 01:27 AM

Not much to say.. just very, very impressed.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View jeffbranch's profile


110 posts in 2649 days

#6 posted 09-27-2011 03:02 AM

Very nice. My dad is a wood carver and he is always talking about getting the eyes just right.



View Dark_Lightning's profile


3159 posts in 3105 days

#7 posted 09-27-2011 03:49 AM

WOW! A little solemn looking, I guess she’s waiting to be finished? You do seriously nice work.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2800 days

#8 posted 09-28-2011 02:03 AM

really awesome Mike

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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