Cigar Work: Nat Sherman

Picking a Nat Sherman

As with any piece of art, things can change once you really get into the work. I started off carving the basic Nat Sherman label. For a long while, the labels for the different Nat Sherman blends used the same basic designs but with different color schemes. Pictured here are four of the different blends available and their color schemes. It should be noted that there have since been a few different label designs to come out of this New York City based cigar company for new lines (Omerta and Suave), but the original lines have not changed.

My original plan for the Nat Sherman carving was to paint it like the Metropolitan Maduro Selection (Orange and Red on Gold). This is probably my favorite blend by Nat. It is medium to full-bodied but still light enough for a casual smoke. The color scheme is also very eye-catching. I love using orange when I can. It is such a vibrant color and it seemed to work well in the Opus X label.

After partially painting the Nat label, I realized I just wasn't pleased. Unfortunately, the red and orange seemed to compete instead of pop and wound up overwhelming the carving itself. I decided to scratch the Metropolitan Maduro label and decided to give the regular Metropolitan line a shot (Blue and Red on Gold). The Metropolitan color scheme popped like I hoped the Maduro would. The blue and red really played off of the gold, as well as against each other.
This post is really just an example of how life takes on a form of its own sometimes. What may look great on a 1" x 3" strip of paper may not look quite the same on a 30" wood carving.

Nat Sherman

After resolving my color issues, I was finally able to finish this beauty. This is probably the most ambitious label I've taken on since the Opus X label (a well needed break since then).

Not that other carvings haven't been difficult or painstaking. They definitely were! However, this label contained some more intricate parts, mainly the center portion with the "cigar store Indians" as well as the vine-like portions on the arms of the label. I've never been good with the human body and proportions, but I was very happy with how the Indians turned out. The vine-like parts above and below the "New York" and "Fifth Avenue" placards were difficult to carve and paint due to the tightness of the design. There were a few parts that had to be carved deeper than they were wide. Anyone who has done carvings know that this is difficult. You lose the dexterity of your carving tools once you carve that deep.

Overall, I was very happy with the way this turned out. Just like the Opus X carving, I was afraid I was not going to do the Nat Sherman label justice. Luckily I was wrong, and maybe the Sherman's will agree when I get the carving up to their headquarters.

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