Ram Head Sculpture: How To Carve Ram Head Statue

In this blog post, I have tried to illustrate the process of how to carve ram head statue. Hope you will like the ram head sculpture.

Step By Step Of How Carve Ram Head Sculpture By Chainsaw

All of the following rough-out cuts were done with an 066 Stihl and a 32″ bar. You can try with more affordable chainsaws too. Using the three images provided, you must first establish the location of the head using the angle of the horns to the tip of the nose (extended to give room for error) I place it as far left as I can while still giving 3-4″ to the edge.

How To Carve Ram Head Sculpture

Most all of my rough-out cuts use triangles. If you look at the rough out of the ram, you will find this to be true. The three primary shapes in the art are the circle, square, and triangle. Use them when blocking out and never start with the details. Also, use the real thing (photos of rams) for your models. It’s hard to go wrong that way.

Ram head Wood Carving

From the pictures you find, google.com then click images and type in bighorn sheep) establish proportions from actual distances such as from the onset of the ear to the tip of the nose is nearly the same length of the lower hind leg.

Ram Wood Carving

But we get to that in another set. Anyway, next, establish the width and angle of spread of the horns. Remember, the most looked at feature of this animal is its head and those magnificent horns. Do them well and half the battle is over.

Another factor to keep in mind is the skeletal structure. Do not place the ram in such a position that the skeleton cannot accommodate. After the head is located and the back of the skull between the horns is established, scribe a line with the bar in a sweeping motion along what will be the ridge of the back and spine.

You will need to keep the position of the ram on the rocks it’s climbing when roughing out these angles. Give it some flow. Always flare out your cuts to the edge of the log. You may need the extra wood as you go when locating a hip or knee later in the tutorial. You also should remember to scribe in the diameter of the horns.

Did you get them even? Don’t go much deeper than ascribe due to the fact that the ears are in there too and you need to maintain all the integrity you can for as long as you can with the horns.

A few plunge cuts must be made to obtain the hollow under the chin and down near the chest and forelegs. Remember, always keep the capabilities of the animal in mind while carving, visualize the ram climbing up the rocks, be one with the ram.

In this view, you see I’ve started to incorporate leg placement which lends itself to movement. I wanted the ram to appear as though something stopped it in its tracks as it ascended a rock face. Leg length is quite important here.

Wood Ram Carving

This leg is extended fully. Remember, if the ram is in a post or position impossible for its skeletal structure to achieve, it won’t be nearly as appealing to the eye. I have also worked the horns and face gradually into scale with more to remove.

This view shows more work on the bases and back of the horns as well as the back of the ram’s neck. I’ve also established the spine with the inverted V shape of the back of the neck. Here you can also see where I have located the right front shoulder. I most always use a shallow scribe to do this in case I need to change it a bit later.

Ram Carving

More commitment is now evident in the body of the ram. In this view notice the placement of the right rear leg as if stepping up onto another level. In retrospect, if I could change anything in this sculpture it would be here.

Big Horn Ram Carving

A little less of an extreme step up would be a better look. Also, notice the ears have been cut in and more shaping of the horns as well.

OK now in this one you can see that both front legs and shoulders are in and balance has been established. He’s not leaning one way or the other. The Center of balance is on the left front leg.

Ram Wood Carving front legs and shoulders

In this shot as well as the one above I have also worked in some rock formations. I cut under the front of the ram to look as though he’s on an outcropping. I intended it to look like heavy shale.

Not the best job but it works. This rock formation is angled to simulate slight upheaval as you would find while viewing most any rocky bluff.

Continuing on with the ram, more work is done to refine the shape of the head, ears, and horns. You will also notice in the following views that I have cut in under the body a bit to help define the overall shape.

 refine the shape of the head, ears and horns

I don’t cut through all the way for many reasons. Mainly, for a short competition, it’s not worth the extra time. If it’s a longer comp. or you have time enough you can gain extensively in the difficulty area. But for this lesson, I simply use shading with a torch to give the illusion. Unless you close to the carving, it’s not noticed.

Here I have worked more on the rocks and how they should appear. If you have ever tried to carve rocks that look real you know that it’s just as tough as the ram itself… Most of the time I will just break off of the ram from time to time to give myself a break and work on the base for a while. It seems to work itself out best that way.

 tried to carve rocks

These two views reveal the fur that I cut in with my chainsaw bought for less than 400 bucks. This is also an art in itself. You can use direction changes in the animals fur to aid in divining muscle definition, legs and things like that. Study the real thing and this part gets easier.

fur the ram I cut in with the saw
fur the ram I cut in with the saw

These views show that I have located the eyes, nose, mouth and cheek bones on the face. Make sure you get those eye socket bones on the top of the head to be somewhat pronounced. It helps to define the inverted funnel shape of the head when viewed from above. I also begin to shade many of the features. This step even further defines shoulders, muscles, eyes and other features stereotyped into the “look” of a big horned sheep.

ocated the eyes, nose, mouth and cheek bones on the face
ocated the eyes, nose, mouth and cheek bones on the face

The horns have also been finish sanded in preparation for the grooving steps that make the horns even more appealing. I sand them with a 4″ angle grinder and 36 grit. Also a Milwaukee band file belt sander with 1/2″ wide belts in the tight spots.

Some of you had asked about the base coloration technique. I purchased cheap black spray paint for the deep crevices to add depth, some olive drab green here and there and to top it off I used both black and light gray stuff called Make It Stone spray paint. Cool stuff. Use black and dark colors where you need to emphasize shade and light colors anywhere you need highlights. (mostly top surfaces of the rocks)

Concerning the rocks: I carve rocks as I have seen shale or that type of rock formation look. Lines are done at an angle, never straight across. Broken by some vertical separation lines. Rocks are tough to make look real. One day I will get it. After obtaining the general shape of each, I use an angle grinder to soften them up a bit and smooth out upper surfaces and facing surfaces.

Then I use an acetylene torch to blacken all of the cracks and crevices as well as any other surface that will have a shaded appearance. Just imagine the sun overhead (have to in Washington) and visualize the shadows. Next I applied spray paint called “Make it Stone” in black color to shaded and lower surfaces. Then using the same type of paint, I laid on some darker gray. I don’t do this at close range, I want to speckle it and shade it not coat it.

carve rocks as I have seen shale
carve rocks as I have seen shale

Allow some of that nice natural wood tone to come through, it will enhance the final look naturally. Then I use a moss green flat color (not “Make it Stone”) just plain old spray paint. And I mist it here and there on the facing (vertical) surfaces. Lastly, I highlight upper surfaces with a very light shade of the “Make it Stone” type of paint.

As for the ram itself, the horns were “ribbed” with a Makita die grinder and a cone shaped Typhoon tungsten carbide rotary bit. I use this tool for nearly all facial features. The eyes were formed using a modified 3/4″ router bit in the Makita die grinder. All shading and definition was accomplished using a torch. This is a very important step. It gives us muscle definition, shadows and some depth where light is concerned. I hope that makes sense… It does in my wee little mind.

Ram Carving Final Work
Ram Carving Final Work

I want you all to understand, I have absolutely no formal education other than a recent clay sculpting class where my art work is concerned. I can’t even draw well. (I want to real bad though) I do not and never will pretend to know more than anyone. I share my experience as I have learned it. That’s done through what I see. I carve it as I see it. Pay attention to details. The smallest are sometimes the most important. With all that said, you should know that I take in everything I read here, process it and use what I feel works.

Have fun with it. Share with me your results, confidentially or on the forum. I get a kick out of this stuff. See you. Bob

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