The first part of any carving project doesn't normally begin holding a piece of wood. Although, I can't say that it doesn't happen that way, sometimes. Just only on rare occasions.
It usually starts here:
That's a lie. It usually starts here:
Then, I open my software. Because staring at a blank board, without an idea, is really boring. I'm sure it's akin to a writer with writer's block.
The business owns a CarveWright machine, and I use it's Project Designer software on my laptop to create all of my projects. I feel like I'm giving away a trade secret, but I doubt all of you will run out and get one of your own.
Once a design is nailed down, that's where the blank board comes in:
I can specify the board dimensions, and pretty much create anything I want on it. Any fonts that are on my computer can be used on a project, but some do carve better than others. There are patterns inherent in the software I can use - like scrolls, filagrees, etc, but I find most of the time, I'm using some other form of clipart or artwork.
The use of Illustrator, FireWorks or other computer graphic software to manipulate pictures and text, so that it is a nice carvable object, is not uncommon. But, that part, I leave up to my husband. The last time I tried to use FireWorks, I think I cussed a lot, slammed my laptop shut, and left the room!
Since this isn't a software tutorial, I'll skip what all those nifty buttons at the top of the menu are for, so as not to bore you with details.
I just keep playing until I come up with something I like:
This whole process takes anywhere from 30 minutes to infinity. I find that sometimes nailing down the project design with my clients is the hardest part. Other times, it's easy peasy. Just depends. This is why I say the 2-3 week processing time is after the design is complete.
This software is also where the board images of the drafts originate. They look something like this, and are a screenshot of my laptop, cropped:
So, that's step one in carving a project.
Join us next time when Carving, Part II goes into detail on how a design becomes a carving on the machine.