Carving the Whittle Pup

Detailing the snout

Whenever I'm working on one of these Whittle Pups, I'm amazed at little the thing looks like a dog until I detail the snout and add the eyes. Everything leading up to this point gives shape to the figure, but no personality. In the next few steps, we're going to make a few small cuts that really bring the carving to life.

With your pencil, draw a square outline for the nose, as shown in the picture.

Use your knife to press on the corner of the nose, making a shallow stop cut.

And then make an angled cut from the side of the snout to that stop cut.

Do the same thing on the other side. Try to make the cuts as similar as possible, but don't fret if they're a little bit off. Remember, you're not trying to win any awards with this figure--just having a little fun.

With the tip of your knife, make a shallow stop cut across the bottom line of the nose.

And then very carefully cut up to that line from the bottom. I can't stress enough how careful you should be here. If you get too aggressive, you're going to slice that little nose right off.

Again, being very careful and taking thin slices, flatten the entire snout below the nose.

Now, cut the corners off the nose so you have approximately an octagon. If you have a magnifier, it might come in handy here. And then round the snout again, giving a gentle curve from side to side below the nose.

Re-draw the center line on the snout, and then draw lines from the center line to the bottom corners. My rule of thumb is to draw from the middle of the center line, halfway between the bottom of the nose and the bottom of the snout, but that's not a requirement. You do want to leave a little space between the nose and the top of the mouth.

Now, make a stop cut along each of those angled lines. This doesn't have to be very deep. Be careful, though. The snout is curved, so the tip of your knife will have a tendency to slip off the end. You might want to just place the tip of your knife at the apes and then press the edge along the line,

After you've scored the lines on both sides, use the tip of your knife underneath the jaw to remove the triangular chip. You've already severed the fibers, so this chip should come up pretty easily. The most difficult part here is getting that cut even, so that it's the same depth on both sides of the mouth.

Using the tip of your knife, carefully remove a small sliver from the center line between the nose and the mouth. My beginning carving instructor called this the "snot trough."

This next step is optional, but I think it adds a cute little touch to the figure. Draw a curved line from one side of the mouth area to the other. This will make it look like the dog's tongue is sticking out a bit.

Use the tip of your knife to make stop cuts along the tongue line and along the edges of the mouth below the tongue. These cuts don't have to be very deep at all. Then, again from underneath the jaw, remove the wood below the tongue.

Take a few moments to remove the hard edges of the mouth line. You can round the bottom edge if you like. I prefer to keep the hard edge there. For some reason I think it looks better.