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levels vs layers

i think this is where i'm stuck most now in laying out scenes.  how to chose a layer vs a level in a relief?  when i think of what all is in front of everything else in a scene and try to translate that to depths of cut, i get overwhelmed.  i get the 5 or 6 levels of depth, but when things wrap around each other, or it's a whole forest scene with animals, is there some process for identifying level vs layer?

Jason,

Not sure if I’m following your question right...I might be as confused as you are! So if I’m following you, here’s what i have read on relief carving level vs layer.

A level is a certain elevation in a carving, like everything far away being the lowest and closer things would be the highest in the carving. And as many levels as you want for anything in between.

And a layer would be different elevations on a level, such as the closest object would have some contours to it. Maybe a barn for example having some depth to it even though it’s on the closest level of your carving.

So I’m guessing your question is how to identify all of that when there are multiple levels? If that’s what you mean, when I copy my pattern out onto my blank and number the levels, I lower everything to the desired elevations first. After that, I kind of tackle elevation layers each one at a time. Kind of like a carving made up of a few carvings if that makes sense. Before I blather on longer, is this kind of what you are asking?

it's really weird for me.  i'm an engineer and used to breaking problems down into smaller parts.  i think i'm missing some key here.  i think i need some visual guides on where to create levels.

Not sure if Mary has any examples, but try this link, it’s pretty informative:

https://www.lsirish.com/tutorials/woodcarving-tutorials/woodcarving-fundamentals-techniques/working-with-your-patterns/working-with-levels/

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