immiketoo

What do YOU like about figure carving?

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1 hour ago, JLSleather said:

:dunno: I just like it... never really thought much about the 'why'.

Long time ago, when I started out - I sucked at it. :dunno:  At some point, I decided to improve the skills, so I used those 'craftaid' templates so I could spend the time learning the CARVING technique, not spend the time tracing / drawing / designing.  Get the carving down, then I could worry about content.

And at some point, I decided to do a BUNCH of those templates - idea being that if 10 people all do the same design, then it should be easy to compare the skill level of those 10, side by side.  So if a person wanted one of those, I could clearly do it, but - more important -- if they wanted something ELSE, then here's a guy who can carve (well) those birds, and horses, and fish, and deer, and .... so on .... 

Here's a couple of small pics from some of those templates. 

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Every so often, though, you find someone who is skilled at both the carving AND the ability (and tendency) to teach it to the next guy.  If you haven't already, I absolutely recommend checking out Yaklady's horse carving on this site:

 

Jeff, you have truly captured the essence of Tandy kit carving.  Even the coloring is right out of the book, stroke for stroke.  Well done!  The only problem with those kits is that they teach nothing about how to interpret complex data and then manipulate or apply it to carving.  When you're told where to cut and where not to, you never really learn how to develop the intuition or skill to look at a piece of art and understand it.  Sort of like painting by number.  

You mention Kathy a lot and its funny you did it again here.  Kathy is a good friend of mine, and while we were both teaching in France a couple of years ago, we had this exact conversation about interpreting information while on a break.  It's one of the the aspects of figure carving I teach in my classes, whether live or online, because its so important.  Many people find a piece of art that looks awesome, but they start tracing it without knowing how to interpret the dark shadowy areas where there is NO information.  The brain can manage it visually and you KNOW whats there, even if you can't see it.  The problem comes in when you interpret it while tracing.  Missing data causes all kinds of derpy looking things to appear on a leather carving.

This piece was what I taught at ELWATS that year, and it is one of those where the lack of data can get you into trouble if you don't know what to look for.  Kathy did her wolf right across the hall. Good times!  At the end, you can see all the student's work.  I was proud of their accomplishments.

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You seem defensive -- did you take that as some kind of attack?@!  Weird.  I have no idea what "they teach nothing about how to interpret complex data and then manipulate or apply it" means.

You seem to miss my point.  The point of doing those "templates" is not so you can do the template... it's to get the experience with the leather.  Even the ones which were "fail" in carving, I still used for practice coloring - even though I knew I was going to pitch it when I was done.  The idea was always learn the principles needed to carve leather.  But if there were "paint by numbers" instructions for those, I have never seen them :dunno:

Kathy's horse thing was well discussed and well carved -- I've recommended it to several people.  I could do that, but I don't have that "small man complex" that causes some to duplicate another's material for the attention (or pay, or whatever).  I've never met her, and wasn't looking to date her - I just recognize that she did that little discussion very well.  Horses are hardly "original" in leather, though THOSE horses may be her original art.  You posted a number of pics.. is one of them Kathy?  She may be a "swell" gal -- but I wouldn't pay somebody to show me that ... just show me the finished picture and I'll figure it out ;)

"Many people find a piece of art that looks awesome" ... This doesn't sound particularly "original" either.  And in fairness, those USCG notebooks I made a couple of were not a "jeff original" (though I carved and colored them) nor was your "iron maiden" thing.. really not different that a stohlman scene or "figure".. just a different one.  And no "paint by numbers" tutorial for either :o

  • The pics are gone, but I was quite proud of one I did of a Santa Fe train locomotive coming down out of the mountains passing a sign (like you'd see for the name of the town you're approaching) with the guy's name on it.  Guy retired from 35 years with the RR and his son asked me for that.  BEAUTIFULLY done, painstakingly colored.  Yet, neither the mountains or the locomotive were "original" (making it look like something EXISTING was the POINT). 

You know, and I know, - but for those who don't know.. there's a reason a "shader" is called a "shader".. bop it where the "shade" is, and you got 'er.  Tooling is simple enough.. I can teach a monkey long as he aint TOO drunk. :yeah:

 

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24 minutes ago, JLSleather said:

You seem defensive -- did you take that as some kind of attack?@!  Weird.  I have no idea what "they teach nothing about how to interpret complex data and then manipulate or apply it" means.

You seem to miss my point.  The point of doing those "templates" is not so you can do the template... it's to get the experience with the leather.  Even the ones which were "fail" in carving, I still used for practice coloring - even though I knew I was going to pitch it when I was done.  The idea was always learn the principles needed to carve leather.  But if there were "paint by numbers" instructions for those, I have never seen them :dunno:

Kathy's horse thing was well discussed and well carved -- I've recommended it to several people.  I could do that, but I don't have that "small man complex" that causes some to duplicate another's material for the attention (or pay, or whatever).  I've never met her, and wasn't looking to date her - I just recognize that she did that little discussion very well.  Horses are hardly "original" in leather, though THOSE horses may be her original art.  You posted a number of pics.. is one of them Kathy?  She may be a "swell" gal -- but I wouldn't pay somebody to show me that ... just show me the finished picture and I'll figure it out ;)

"Many people find a piece of art that looks awesome" ... This doesn't sound particularly "original" either.  And in fairness, those USCG notebooks I made a couple of were not a "jeff original" (though I carved and colored them) nor was your "iron maiden" thing.. really not different that a stohlman scene or "figure".. just a different one.  And no "paint by numbers" tutorial for either :o

  • The pics are gone, but I was quite proud of one I did of a Santa Fe train locomotive coming down out of the mountains passing a sign (like you'd see for the name of the town you're approaching) with the guy's name on it.  Guy retired from 35 years with the RR and his son asked me for that.  BEAUTIFULLY done, painstakingly colored.  Yet, neither the mountains or the locomotive were "original" (making it look like something EXISTING was the POINT). 

You know, and I know, - but for those who don't know.. there's a reason a "shader" is called a "shader".. bop it where the "shade" is, and you got 'er.  Tooling is simple enough.. I can teach a monkey long as he aint TOO drunk. :yeah:

 

Me?  Defensive?  Mmmmmm... no.  Not at all, just having a discussion about my second favorite thing :P   I'm here trying to offer my opinion and perspective from things I've learned along the way.  Things that you can't find in any Tandy book.  That is all.  All the extraneous commentary about dating Kathy and originality has nothing to do with this thread, so I'll leave it at that.  
 

You mentioned learning to carve without having to bother with tracing and design etc.  This, in my opinion is the point you're missing.  Carving and content go hand in hand.  When you don't have the crutch of a craft aid, you will never learn the carving aspect.  Where NOT to cut is as important as where to cut, if you cut at all.  You may have learned how to manipulate leather, but that isn't the same as interpreting the image you want to carve from nothing more than a photograph and making it look right.  What lines should be double beveled?  What ones shouldn't?  This is what I mean.  How do you interpret what's completely black in a shadow, or completely white in a highlight?  How do you make a two dimensional image look there dimensional?  Interpreting and applying this onto leather is the difference. 

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Craftaids are a good place to start. After you've developed a feel for the leather and your tools, like Mike said, you can carve an original piece. If Kathy reads this post she will think "Huh?" and wonder if you're okay, JLS. I don't know what it is exactly, but I feel like you're picking at Mike, and I don't know why. Both of you have spent many hours helping others, so you share the same objective. Please be mindful that we are all friends here, and there is no need to go out of the way to be rude.

Charging for lessons: The old man I learned from explained that any time away from the bench cost us money. He could carve a good pic of your sailboat or girlfriend and that's how he made his money. His leatherwork was personal. I learned everything at his elbow trying to do things so he could do what only he could do, carve leather his style and the customer's way. No one is getting rich selling lessons except maybe Tandy. The lessons being offered now by Elktracks and Learnleather.com are state of the art, and expenses have to be paid. It's a fair trade, IMO, and it's helping people. Video technology has made huge strides, and most of us can understand it better when we see it, rather than read it. Most of us learned by the standard of the father of leatherwork, Al Stohlman. He was the one that wrote the books, he wasn't the best leatherworker in the world necessarily. History is always made by those who write the books. 

PS Mike, FB is holding LW's posts and shares hostage, so as an experiment I "boosted" the promo Dave made. For whatever reason they aren't showing it outside the US. I'm annoyed with FB because they want us to use them to crosslink, but they want to charge me money to share info that interests a lot of people. I'll keep you posted.

~J

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Caught me replying, so I'll continue, but let me put this in at teh top of what I started.   I don't pay for "lessons" or "classes", but it makes no difference to me if the NEXT guy does.  Not my business or my concern. Now, here's what I had started to reply...

______________

rose_paint.gifHmmm... musta read it wrong :dunno:

But if "carving and content go hand in hand", then everybody who used the craftaid would all look the same, right?  No matter.  Regardless of where I "got" it, I got it.  Here's one that is colored ONLY -- not carved at all.  It IS from a "craftaid", if I remember right.  For those wanting to carve it, simply hit it deeper where the color is richer, and there ya go (lightly double bevel down the center of the leaves).

SHOOT..... shoulda maybe added that if'n a guy wanted to , could reverse engineer that rose... go from the rose to the drawing .. just as easy ..

Edited by JLSleather

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48 minutes ago, Johanna said:

Craftaids are a good place to start. After you've developed a feel for the leather and your tools, like Mike said, you can carve an original piece. If Kathy reads this post she will think "Huh?" and wonder if you're okay, JLS. I don't know what it is exactly, but I feel like you're picking at Mike, and I don't know why. Both of you have spent many hours helping others, so you share the same objective. Please be mindful that we are all friends here, and there is no need to go out of the way to be rude.

Charging for lessons: The old man I learned from explained that any time away from the bench cost us money. He could carve a good pic of your sailboat or girlfriend and that's how he made his money. His leatherwork was personal. I learned everything at his elbow trying to do things so he could do what only he could do, carve leather his style and the customer's way. No one is getting rich selling lessons except maybe Tandy. The lessons being offered now by Elktracks and Learnleather.com are state of the art, and expenses have to be paid. It's a fair trade, IMO, and it's helping people. Video technology has made huge strides, and most of us can understand it better when we see it, rather than read it. Most of us learned by the standard of the father of leatherwork, Al Stohlman. He was the one that wrote the books, he wasn't the best leatherworker in the world necessarily. History is always made by those who write the books. 

PS Mike, FB is holding LW's posts and shares hostage, so as an experiment I "boosted" the promo Dave made. For whatever reason they aren't showing it outside the US. I'm annoyed with FB because they want us to use them to crosslink, but they want to charge me money to share info that interests a lot of people. I'll keep you posted.

~J

Thanks for the heads up about the boost, Johanna.  FB is a necessary evil, unfortunately.

35 minutes ago, JLSleather said:

Caught me replying, so I'll continue, but let me put this in at teh top of what I started.   I don't pay for "lessons" or "classes", but it makes no difference to me if the NEXT guy does.  Not my business or my concern. Now, here's what I had started to reply...

______________

rose_paint.gifHmmm... musta read it wrong :dunno:

But if "carving and content go hand in hand", then everybody who used the craftaid would all look the same, right?  No matter.  Regardless of where I "got" it, I got it.  Here's one that is colored ONLY -- not carved at all.  It IS from a "craftaid", if I remember right.  For those wanting to carve it, simply hit it deeper where the color is richer, and there ya go (lightly double bevel down the center of the leaves).

SHOOT..... shoulda maybe added that if'n a guy wanted to , could reverse engineer that rose... go from the rose to the drawing .. just as easy ..

Jeff, even professional athletes pay for coaches to critique and offer new techniques.  Pro golfers have others evaluate their swing to get the hitch out of their giddyup.  Leather carvers enter contests to have their work judged by pros in order to get a critique and maybe a prize.  If you think you have it all figured out, and you're happy, then so be it.  But, you might be surprised at what you could learn from someone else in a class setting.  

You're using a logical fallacy regarding my statement about carving and content.  "But if "carving and content go hand in hand", then everybody who used the craftaid would all look the same, right?"  Wrong. Obviously, everyone has different abilities and perceptions.  Different TOOLS.   Some have finer control of their knife or tools.  Some have better attention to details than others, and some are perfectionists, while others are not.  No matter how many people carve a craft aid, no two will look the same.  Period.   

However.  I will grant you that the results 100 people carving a craft aid will look more similar than the results of 100 people carving a portrait from a photograph.  The variances involved in interpreting the image and applying it to leather are much greater than when its spoon fed with a step by step photo carve.  Much like the dance steps where you put the shoe outlines on the floor and try to do them in order.  Eventually you might be proficient at putting your feet (tools) in the right places, but it doesn't make you a dancer.  

 

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Okay. :dunno:

 

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4 hours ago, immiketoo said:

No matter how many people carve a craft aid, no two will look the same.  Period.   

As a relative newbie to this thing called 'leathercraft' and even newer to carving, am I missing something in believing a craftaid is merely a means to an end, just a way of transposing a design on to leather so the crafter knows where to cut?

If I was a half decent artist, I could draw a picture with a stylus on the leather, but I barely know which end of a stylus or pencil is which. Is it perceived as 'cheating' or lower-in-quality in some way, if a crafter uses a craftaid?

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2 hours ago, Rockoboy said:

As a relative newbie to this thing called 'leathercraft' and even newer to carving, am I missing something in believing a craftaid is merely a means to an end, just a way of transposing a design on to leather so the crafter knows where to cut?

If I was a half decent artist, I could draw a picture with a stylus on the leather, but I barely know which end of a stylus or pencil is which. Is it perceived as 'cheating' or lower-in-quality in some way, if a crafter uses a craftaid?

You're absolutely correct.  Its to transfer a design to leather.  The same can be done with a piece of paper and a pencil.  Or a stylus or whatever.  They are handy if you want to reproduce the same image multiple times, or you have a shaky hand.  The quality is up to the carver regardless how the image is transferred to the leather.

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15 hours ago, JLSleather said:

That horse carving discussion IS amazing - but don't thank me, thank HER. :clapping:

We need a 'thumbs up' icon for this site!  :rockon:

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1 hour ago, Sheilajeanne said:

We need a 'thumbs up' icon for this site!  :rockon:

Agree! I am on a dog forum and there we have a "like" button, I miss it on this forum! 

 

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This is really holy war :)

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