I've been working on a class for this summer. It is a simple owl that can be carved in a short time and has a lot of options. It starts out square and can be a little longer. This block is a little over 1 3/4 inch square by 2 inches long. I use a washer to draw a circle on the top and bottom and draw center lines on all sides. I carve it round leaving one corner for the beak. I leave the center lines so it will be easier to draw in the ear tufts.
I carve the bottom round. I use a shallow gouge for the top and clean it up with a knife. It's a little harder to carve on the end grain. On the side I use a knife carving both directions. I leave plenty of wood around the eye. Draw in your eyes and then round and deepen the sides. Carve in the beak and eyes. Carve a few gouge marks on the front. I carve a relief line for the wings.
I'm carving several for gifts so there is a lot of ways you can carve the eyes and painting with different colors. I used gel pens for the lines in the eyes. Have fun carving.