WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Carving Fantasy & Legend Figures in Wood

Carving Fantasy & Legend Figures in Wood
by Shawn Cipa

Fox Chapel Publishing: 2005
paperback, 114 pp., $17.95
ISBN 1-56523-254-2

     Dragons, gryphons, a phoenix and a fairy on a toadstool…Mr. Cipa has outlined detailed instructions for carving basswood figures of mythical creatures. On the first wizard project, he shows step by step how to bandsaw out a blank, hog off waste material with a large shallow gouge, and how to establish center lines and borders for cutting in more and more detail. The projects that follow are well drawn patterns only, with front, back and side views, as well as views from above where necessary.
     Cipa's initial chapter tells how to use patterns, a carving vise setup, and a basic selection of hand tools. He does not include power carving, but the patterns would be easily adaptable to it. One of the most detailed chapters is Cipa's inclusion of his finishing methods. His fantasy figures benefit from muted acrylic color washes applied in layers and blended at the edges, then antiqued with gel stains. He goes into great detail about adding shadow effects, highlighting the edges of a robe, and adding low lights into deep layers of a beard.
     These are fun projects that would do nicely for gifts, and the author encourages altering his patterns for different effects, by shifting masses or planning different expressions. Most of the figures are ten to twelve inches high, carved from blocks two to five inches thick. Adding Cipa's coloring techniques is an art in iteself, and looks very worthwhile to learn.

. . . Barb Siddiqui