At the back of the figure, you want to create a gentle curve, sloping the head all the way up to the back of the ears. The curve should start at about the same level as the top of the nose. You also want to make sure that there is a curve from right to left. You don't want the back of the head to be flat. Take your time, starting at the top and working your way slowly down. You might also want to take this time to angle the back of the dog slightly up from the tail. Just take a few thin slices. There's probably some sapwood still on the back of the figure that you can remove to make this slope.
Make a mark on the side lines, about 1/8 inch (0.3 cm) below the top of the head, as shown in the figure above. Then, make an angled cut that slopes from that mark to about the mid-point of the blocked-out ear. Do this on both sides of the carving. This gives you a rough idea of the shape you want to make with the front of the head.
Now, starting again at the top, begin sloping the front of the head and the face back towards the ears, and rounding the face from left to right. The head should curve smoothly up from from the bottom of the two angled cuts we just made. The face should be almost flat (from side to side) in the center (about 1/4 inch or 0.6 cm wide), and begin to curve back to the sides.
From the nose, you want the face to slope up more steeply at the bottom and then flatten somewhat when it gets to the ears. The face is sloped and the top of the head is relatively flat.
You want to get nice smooth curves, but don't worry if it doesn't look exactly right. You still have to shape the snout and the sides of the head. After you do that, you'll want to come back and do some final touch-ups to the face before carving the details.
Again, strop your blade before continuing.
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