If the block of wood you selected has a stub tail built in, you can skip this step and go on to the next.
If you don't have a built-in tail, you need to relief carve one. Doing so is pretty easy. On the back of your figure, draw an outline of the tail as you would like it to appear. You'll want to draw the outline slightly larger than you want the tail to be when you're done.
Note that in this picture I've already outlined the back legs. You can wait until then to do the tail if you want, but I've found that it's easier to do it earlier.
With the tip of your knife, make a stop cut all around the outline of the tail. This cut should be pretty shallow, as the tail doesn't have to stick up from the body very far in order to look good. Again, be careful here. You're better off starting with the tip at the base and cutting up towards the tip of the tail. If you carve down from the tip, you risk the tip of your knife slipping off the edge of the wood and ending up in your hand.
Once you've made the stop cut around the tail outline, carefully remove wood from the body up to that stop cut. Take your time and don't go too deep. If you need to go deeper, make the stop cut again and remove more wood.
When you've finished removing wood, carefully round the edges of the tail and try to make the entire tail look rounded from side to side. The tail in the picture below has the edges rounded, but I didn't complete rounding the entire thing.
I probably could have gone a little deeper on this tail, but it will do.
When you're done rounding the tail, take a little time to round the body from the tail to the sides, to hide the flat spot you probably created when you relief carved the tail.
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