Carving the Whittle Pup

Shaping the ears

It's time to get rid of those blocky ears. First, use your pencil to extend the center line over the dog's face and up between the ears. You want to make sure that inside edges of the ears, when you're done shaping, are approximately the same distance from that center line.

With this figure, I'm going to make the ears face forward. If you blocked out the ears as I described, there should be enough material that you could angle the ears in or out a little bit. If you decide to do that, don't get carried away. A very slight angle is sufficient.

I start shaping the ears by cutting away material from the back, thinning the ear from the top down. This allows me to make the top of the ear farily thin, while leaving enough wood at the bottom to keep it from snapping off. As the ear gets thinner, I begin to shape it, rounding it slightly. You don't want the back of the ear to be flat.

Dogs' ears come in all different shapes and sizes. I prefer my Whittle Pups to have somewhat pointy ears. Otherwise the dog looks more like a bear to me. But you can shape the ears however you like.

When you get the ear almost as thin as you like it, take a moment to cut a very thin sliver from the front of the ear, straight down. That will give a flat and smooth surface to the front of the ear and get rid of any knife marks that you made when shaping the face. Here's the figure with one ear carved.

Now carve the other ear. I've never been wholly successful in getting both ears to look the same. I get them as close as I can and call it good enough. If you look closely at pretty much any dog, you'll notice that their ears aren't mirror images of each other, so a little wonkiness in the ears is okay. Still, try to get the ears to resemble each other.

You'll notice that shaping the ears changes the dog's face a bit, and you'll probably want to do some more shaping to blend the dog's face in with the new ears. You'll also want to clean up the back of the dog's head. Leave the ears with hard edges. We'll smooth those edges after we hollow out the ears.

Here's the figure with both ears shaped.

We're going to leave the head now, and finish the body. The last thing we'll do is hollow the ears, detail the snout, and carve the eyes.