Some have said you need to jump right into CAD. I'd say that I
don't disagree that CAD needs to be a tool that you can understand
and use. But I do disagree that CAD is pushing good wax carvers out
of the business.
Sometimes to understand something, we need to look at evolution of
the process of modelmaking.
When centrifugal casting came into it’s own, the models were made
from silver. In my opinion, it is still the very best method of
creating model. Wax gained popularity when manufactures realized that
instead of paying $50 per hour, they can get away with $8. Designers
started to do puffy forms, which could be easily modeled in wax and a
specialty of wax carver was born.
Public eventually got tired of puffiness and wanted classical look
back, but by that time who remembered how to do it in silver were
charging $100 and up per hour, so hello CAD.
CAD is a great software and has a lot of uses in goldsmithing, but I
do question it’s application in model making for economical reasons.
If one take into account cost of computer suitable of CAD on
professional level, time that it takes to master the software, all
other expense associated with it, and divided by the number of models
that a craftsman would produce during a lifetime of equipment - I
seriously doubt that there are any savings at all. Actually I am
willing to bet that the old way of making models from silver, if all
the costs are calculated, would be way ahead.
We constantly making the same mistake of trying to emulate large
scale manufactures. What makes sense for them, almost never makes
sense for us.
To respond to original question of “how to become wax carver”. If one
wants to be able to handle all kinds of models - than step one is to
learn how to make things out metal. One type of models is simply
imitation of metal techniques but in wax. The second part is to take
a sculpture course if artistic carving is intended.
I would not worry about CAD forcing carvers out of business. CAD
models at best is an approximation of what the real model should be.