Last week my nephew Tim stopped by for a few days to sculpt a head in a piece of French limestone in direct carving method. In this picture he is far from done yet; it's finally (and especially for a first attempt) a very nice female head, with a pleasant atmosphere to it. Along the way, all the pleasures and challenges of direct carving method came by.
The most important thing that you find when carving directly is that it requires a lot of concentration and thus, energy , but also that you will learn an enormous amount by doing it this way. It is an intensive process. Carving a head is not easy: what makes a mouth, an eye, a nose, and how do these relate to each other, what are the mutual angles of the cheeks, the forehead, the chin, etc. etc. And if you change anything somewhere, that affects all other parts. Sometimes you'll notice that you're heading in the right direction, but then you'll discover that somewhere else you need to do a lot again, and sometimes you'll discover that it hasn't improved at all. And by that slow process of carving, looking and carving Tim has come from a relatively flat beginning to eventually a nice 3-dimensional head. Chapeau Tim, a good start!