Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cat Mola: Carving the Block

With the design transferred to the block, it's now time to start carving.

I use a linoleum carving tool made by Speedball. You can buy this as a set with different sizes of carving tips that insert into the handle. I also use an X-acto knife with #11 blades.

Before I start carving the block, I darken some of the areas so I know what and what not to carve. I tend to darken in the areas that I'm not carving. For this block, I am leaving the face details as is even though I will be carving those away.

I've also decided that I want to make this a shaped block so I'm drawing an extra outline around the design.

I always start by carving along the outlines of the areas I am leaving uncut. This acts as a guide so I don't accidentally cut away parts of the design I want to remain on the block. For this block, I'm starting with the #1 tip, which is the finest tip.

This is how I hold the block while I am cutting. I try not to aim the carving tool at my hand (for obvious reasons). I can also use this hand to swivel the block to make it easier to carve curves.

Sometimes there are tight spots where it is easier to use the X-acto  knife to cut a small wedge away from the design.

Here is the block with the outline carved away. Carving the interior details comes next.

Once the cat design is completely carved, I carve around the extra outline I added. I use the #2 tip for this.

Now it's time to cut away the excess parts of the block. I use the X-acto knife once again.

The completed block, ready for printing on fabric.

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