My dad is an avid woodcarver, and earlier this year he started hosting my mom, my girlfriend, and me at carving classes. At our first one we made wizards
, then we decided to do birds - Mom worked on a great blue heron, my girlfriend made a mallard duck, and I carved a penguin.
He's made of basswood and I used a pattern from a whittling book by Ben Hunt (I think it's just called Ben Hunt's Whittling
or something). I really wish I'd taken in-progress shots, but it didn't occur to me to do so until after I'd started painting and by then there wasn't much point.
I started with a block of basswood about 2"x2"x3". I cut out the profile view with a bandsaw, then blocked in the front view with carving knives. The wings were tricky, I put off carving them for the longest time because I was scared I'd snap them off. (I didn't, though.
The tools I used on this guy were mostly my Flexcut Carving Knife and Detail Knife, but I borrowed some of Dad's U-shaped gouges for tricky bits like under his wings and between his feet.
Once I'd finished carving, I sanded him down as smooth as I could then painted him all over with white gesso. (Then I sanded him again because the gesso had a rough texture when it dried.) I left his belly white and painted the rest of him black and orange with acrylics. I originally made his feet black and his beak gray, since that's what the pictures of actual penguins that we found looked like, but I thought it made him kind of blah so I changed it. I like him much better with that bit of color.
I finished him with some kind of furniture wax that my dad had, and it made him all lovely and shiny but it NEVER DRIED. So eventually I wiped it off. It did leave him with kind of a sheen though.
While I was working on him, my mom kept saying how cute he was, so I think I'll give him to her for Christmas.