Oct 2, 2009

pumpkin carving - with tutorial!

here's what i did yesterday:
it's (obviously?) a poster for a show that friends of friends of mine have coming up. i was asked to come up with "something", so i did. and here's how i did it.

step 1 (we can have lots of fun):
i printed out the names i needed to carve in cool fonts and whatnot. there is no pic of how i had all the names taped on the pumpkin at the same time, but i did, to make sure everything would fit and look good.
i googled "pumpkin carving" and found this site, where i picked up a great tip*: using a pin (or an awl, or - carefully, as i did - the tip of your craft knife), poke little holes around your design, through the paper, into your pumpkin. then, when you take the stencil off, there's a really faint outline in the pumpkin skin that you can follow for carving.
that's what i did for "laurelle" and "low flying planes", and then i went back over the words with a grease pencil, because i thought it would help me see the swirls in the L and R better, but it kind of made the lines even more unclear. maybe save the grease pencil for freehand designs, as the website suggests.
here's step 1 in progress (i've already started carving "laurelle", and you can see the grease pencil outline (sort of) on "low flying planes".):

step 2 (there's so much... never mind - i think one new kids on the block reference is enough for one day):
start carving. and don't go all the way through. my letters are only about 1/8" - 1/4" deep. i carved "laurelle" with my little x-acto knife. then, i made an emergency trip to alberta art and drafting to buy a (speedball) lino cutter. WAY easier. and faster. and more fool-proof for shallow lines. and looks better too.
"laurelle" was done pretty much by trial and error. "low flying planes" looked a bit better (i had the lino cutter by then), and for "mandy mckee", i used a whole different approach.
i didn't poke holes around "mandy mckee". i just used my x-acto knife again and cut out all the letters right through my stencil (and the pumpkin), so that when i took the paper away, all i had to do was sort of scoop out the inside bits of the letters with my lino cutter. that seemed to work the best. also, this was in a really skinny font, so i used the smallest blade that my cutter came with.
in this pic, you can see about how deep my carving was:
step 3:
i scooped the guts out of the pumpkin once i was done carving (big fat lie. i got bored mid-carving and decided i felt like scooping instead).
and then i stuck big bright lights inside, set it up (with fall leaves and berries surrounding it) it and took some pics. i found that the candlelight setting on my camera worked the best for capturing the glow, and the candlelight pics are the ones i used for the poster itself.
is anyone really interested in how i got from pumpkin to poster? i can expand on that part if you want to hear about it, but right now, i'll just say that i used paint.net, which is AWESOME. and FREE.

so. did i miss anything? i don't think so. but let me know if you think there's more detail needed or anything.

and if you're in edmonton on the 23rd of october, be sure to [dress up and] stop by the haven to check out this awesome show.

*this tip would probably work better for less intricate designs - the holes all but disappear in the pumpkin skin, making it tricky to determine (for the swirly bits in "laurelle", at least) where the positive/negative borders are..

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