When I first started carving I devoured every issue of carving magazine I could. I tried a number of free patterns and ordered some carving books off the Internet. After carving a few of those I discovered something important. They weren't my carvings! I don't mean they were bad, but there was something missing....that link that every carver has with their carvings. My wife actually put me onto it when she said, "Why don't you draw and carve your own patterns?" At first I thought..."I can't draw!!". Then I decided to give it a try. needless to say the first attempts weren't pretty. However. I did come to one amazing conclusion. I didn't need someone else's ideas to be a carver. So started my journey of doing my own carvings. Something that was "mine". No longer did I need to go searching for a pattern when I wanted to carve something for a family member or friend. I could take inspiration from anywhere! You know what? My patterns still leave something to be desired!! My carvings on the other hand, are getting better, and they are my own, which makes them even better to have around. Just a thought. Even if all you can draw is stick men, give it a try. Sooner or later you are going to have to break free from doing other peoples carvings if you want to really enjoy this rewarding activity! The photos above show my own pattern scribbled on a piece of paper and the carving that resulted.