Carve these Simple Meerkats
Friday 15 October 2010
Paul Bignell shows you how to carve a clan of meerkats
The inspiration for this project obviously has come from the TV advert for a marketing company. Nearly every time I watched it, I saw yet another possible character to carve and so after a discussion with my class, I set about producing a teaching aid to a meerkat in the same style of my other easy to carve projects.
I had some pieces of lime 55 x 55 x 210mm which were bought whilst on the class coach-trip to Yandles earlier this year. You can of course scale up to any size you like. So to start this fascinating little character, mark the side and front profiles on your chosen piece of wood. As I said, lime is my choice on this project but the sharp-eyed among you will notice that I do use pine off-cuts to do some of my partially carved stage carving.
On this particular project it is possibly better if you only remove the surplus wood from the side profile, this then allows you to choose which way the head faces i.e. left, right or forward. Once you have decided the head position you can then go on to rough out the shape of your meerkat, but... also, by using by using this side only cut out you are able to change the positions of the arms and hands, as well as the head position.
Carving different angles
On the learning board you will see 3 different meerkats, one with its tail on the right, facing right and its right arm bent. The middle one is in the usual, familiar position we see meerkats in, facing forward with their arms down their front. The elder one on the left is looking left and has added detail, fur carved with a mini-veiner and textured colour added with a heat pen.
Facial expressions is your choice and the eyes are painted in acrylic and coated with several layers of varnish and if you are carving a family, the feet are usually slimmer on the females.
All of these example are carved from the same shape cutout and all of the carving is done with knives and palm tools. Enjoy and don't be afraid to experiment.