Carve a Creepy Cast of Wood Chess Characters for HalloweenComments (0)
Carve a not so ordinary chess set.
Carvers and Halloween enthusiasts who play chess or know someone who does should enjoy creating author and caricature carver Dwayne Gosnell’s chess pieces – not your ordinary King, Queen, Bishop, Knight, Pawn or Rook.
In this 56-page softcover
book from Fox Chapel Publishing, you
will find patterns and instructions for carving and painting this delightful
set of 32 caricature chess pieces (enough for two players) – 16 mummies
(pawns), 4 coffins (rooks), 4 werewolves (knights), 4 Frankensteins (bishops),
2 Draculas (kings), and 2 witches (queens).
Dwayne begins with a short
list of basic instructions that will make carving these basswood caricatures
easier, safer and more successful: use only sharp tools, carve as much as you
can every day, do not carve while tired, and wear protective gear.
“Remember that everyone
makes mistakes – it’s only a block of wood! Don’t expect to create a perfect
carving right away; the fun is the journey,” Dwayne wrote.
“Getting Started” covers wood and tools for cutting the 32 blanks needed for the Halloween chess crew, plus tips for using a carving knife. Detailed instructions and photos in “Cutting Out the Blanks,” illustrate how to trace a pattern and cut it from a piece of wood.
Dwayne provides four lists
of what you will need for this chess carving endeavor: Material, Tools, Paint,
and Paint Brushes, plus directions for using a V-tool for layering.
Before getting started on
the first chess piece, Dwayne devotes a page to practicing carving eyes and
five pages to carving noses.
How to carve eyes.
“Carving the eyes is easily the most stressful challenge to a carver of any skill level. After all, the eyes are the first thing that everyone sees when looking at a carving,” Dwayne wrote. “However, with this easy approach, I hope to show you that carving eyes is nothing to be afraid of.”
“The nose of any piece can set the tone for how the entire face will look,” Dwayne explained. “Will the nose be too small, too big, too thin, too flat?”
In 18 illustrated steps over five pages Dwayne describes how to carve a nose.
Mummy to Witch – A One-Of-A-Kind Chess Set
Ready for battle.
Inspired by his desire to relive the magical Halloween adventures of his youth, Dwayne envisioned a chess set “where a few of my favorite monsters take to the streets to battle for the best candy.”
In four- and five-page sections, Dwayne guides the reader in how to carve and paint the six different chess pieces (characters).
Dwayne begins each section with an explanation of his selection process for the Halloween characters that portray the six traditional chess pieces.
In the case of the pawn,
he wrote: “The pawns in a chess set are the most numerous, and they usually do
most of the work. When I was planning which piece would be the pawn. I thought
in terms of ‘most.’ Then it hit me: the sands of Egypt hold the secrets of many
mummies, with new ones being discovered. The mummy pawn was dreamed into
My favorite is Dewayne’s
reason for choosing the bishop character: “In my mind, the bishop in chess is
the wise recordkeeper. I found humor in making Frankenstein my recordkeeper.
With a borrowed mind and loosely sewn arms, how could anything go wrong?”
Finishing and painting.
Each section includes the featured character’s Paint Key. On a separate page in the book, Dwayne lists the paint brands and colors he used, but notes that the reader may substitute other brands and colors if they choose to.
The reader may notice that
Dwayne painted one 16-piece set with orange bases and the other with brown
bases – Halloween colors that replace the black and white of a traditional
Dwayne includes patterns for both the front and side views of each of the six caricatures.
About the Author
Dwayne enjoyed the process of creating something from nothing while helping his father with woodworking projects as a young boy. After serving in the US Marine Corps, he became interested in carving faces on walking sticks. Struggling to learn carving on his own, he began attending meetings of the Catawba Valley Woodcarvers. There he met Mitch Cartledge, who inspired and taught him caricature carving.
Dwayne lives in Hickory,
North Carolina, with his wife Melissa and two children, Payton and Mason. He is
employed in law enforcement and has found that carving is the perfect way to
unwind after a long day’s work.
A Carving Challenge
Carvers who choose to tackle
this 32-piece set of chess “characters” for two players have their work cut out
for them. Dwayne has provided lots of information, how-to instruction, photos
and illustrations, but caricature carving that many pieces will likely take a
while and require constant attention to detail and keeping tools sharp.
But the end result should
be worth it. Can you imagine playing chess with this cast of Halloween characters
– or giving them as a gift? How could you keep from laughing with every move?
the exception of the two double-page spreads, all the photos in this blog were provided
by Fox Chapel Publishing.)
WE CAN CREATE ANYTHING®
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