How to Carve a Gnome?
To start off with, let’s gather what we'll need.
Here you see my carving knife. By the way, you could use any pocket knife. The fine blade of this woodcarving knife helps with getting into tight spaces. There is also the strop, and the bit of wood. I'm used to working with a larger piece here that I learned on, it's about two (2) fingers in diameter (probably an inch and quarter to an inch and a half). It is approximately 8 inches long, though we are going to carve on 3.5 to 4 inches of that. As with any wood carving, make sure to keep your knife sharp, and please be careful where you're holding your fingers, it would be better to pick up a glove.
Mark of the sections of the wood carving. The hat is a bit smaller than the diameter of the stick. The body and feet together are nearly twice that measurement. Usually, I bring the marking for the hat and bottom of feet all the way around the wood as the reference mark.
From the hat line, let’s start carving the end of the stick down to a point. But you don't have to be too careful with making it exactly round at this point, because you'll be trimming it down to match the size of its body later.
Make a stop cut all around the line marking the bottom of the feet. Then, using angled cuts, cut away from the bottom of the feet to mark the bottom of the carving.
Cut a stop cut at the line marking the top of the feet, and then gradually cut in from the body side of the stop cut to make a wedge. Please don’t go too deep with this cut at first. You can work it in more as you go to make sure it matches with the size of the body. This work requires patience, please don't try to take too much off at one time.
Strip the bark off the «front» of the body section. After you've done that, mark out the face like on the photo. Please note that the eyebrow ridge is actually the separating point of its hat.
Now carve the face just like on the photo, leaving out any details for eyebrows, as those are hidden by its hat.
Mark out its beard using a pencil. Please note that the beard comes all the way down to the center of the notch for the feet.
Then, cut around the marked beard using the tip of your knife: use a stop cut, then cut in from the outside of the beard.
Mark out the borders of the face.
Then, just as with the beard, make a stop, slice cuts from the outside to cut it out.
Then, mark out the hairline, and the position of the arm. Please make sure the cuff of the sleeve is on an angle like shown on the photo, and also that it doesn’t get too close to the beard.
Stop cut along the inside of the arm, and then angle cut in from the outside of the stop cut as shown here on the photo. Don’t make this very deep, just kind of play with it gradually until you like it. And then also please stop cut along the mark for the hair, and angle cut it from beneath.
Let’s repeat on another side.
Please shave down the cuff of the sleeve to make it look like the little boy’s hands are in his pockets. Then stop cut along the outside line of the arm, and again, angle cut to define the arm from the outside.
Don’t forget about the back! Let’s start working on the back and bring a curve behind the elbows. Again, don’t work this too much all at once. I’d recommend going back several times as you work the rest of the gnome. Doing this way you make sure you that don’t take off too much at once.
Then please mark out the edge of the cloak. And now let’s repeat on both sides.
Sop cut, and now we are going to work from the feet side to separate it from the «legs» you will soften the line of the cloak if you wish to make it less harsh.
Now we have to mark out the center line on the section for the feet.
Start wedging in from both sides of the center line, we do this to separate the feet. Please make sure that you don’t work only one side at a time. Split the cutting up to either side to try and please make the work as even as you can.
Now let’s work in the outside section of the feet to separate them a bit from the cloak. At this point, it would be great if you add a secondary split between the shoe and the cloak, from the «ground» to the beard just to look like the hemline of a pair of pants. (don't really have a good shot of that, sorry.)
I am glad to advise you that now the basics of the gnome are pretty much done. Then please go back over it to round out the cloak, bring the hat in, but it shouldn’t overhang the face too much, please round off any areas that need to be and work on the details a bit.
Now you can work the «eyes» in under the hat a bit more if you wish, to make them look like they are mostly hidden by this hat. Please work the face more, add more details and mood.
Note: This is where I cut myself good using my V-tool just to clean up the edges. So I haven't worked on the gnome since to show any details to the face and beard. Now it’s up to you to decide how to detail gnome more - to add details to its beard, hat or more, you could also paint the gnome as you wish.
I hope you have been enjoying this so far! :)
The reference article is https://bushcraftusa.com/forum/threads/carving-a-gnome-tutorial.17701/