Can’t make it to Comic Con NYC? You can still have comic fun at home. It’s pumpkin-carving time again! Why not comic book-themed jack-o’-lanterns?! They wear costumes, they can be scary, they love candy — it’s perfect. If you are afraid your pumpkin art will be less Kirby standard don’t worry. The secret to success is stencils. A little photoshop can go a long way. If you have the skill to freehand — even better!! For those who would rather print out a stencil and start carving here is a guide for you. A Google search will yield plenty of pumpkin-carving sites and most are great. You can even find ready made stencils right in a image search. I focus on comic book themed pumpkin carving and while I have done freehand and pumpkin adaptations of photos, the stencil proved to be a great way to get more people involved in turning a messy seeds and stringy guts filled night into a social gathering.
First get the right pumpkin. Look for well rounded pumpkins with even coloring. And choose a size that will allow you to carve comfortably. Then find your sharpest knives of various sizes or go the extra mile and buy one of those carving kits.
To get a simple, two-color stencil from a drawing isn’t tough. All you need is Adobe Photoshop or other photo manipulation software. For some ready to go stencils head over to http://www.fantasypumpkins.com/ for some free stencils. For making your own stencils I use GIMP — a free Graphical Image Manipulation Program. Download here. Choosing a good source image is important. The less detail the easier the carving. Older comics tend to have more solid lines and simple shading as well. Once you have chosen a cover, panel or part of an image, follow this youtube video (not done by me) to get it down to two colors. Decide what sections and lines will be cut. All of this depends largely on the image you choose. Print. (I print a few extra copies).
Slice and Carve
If your stencil pieces can be cut out and traced do so. If your image is more intricate you can tape the page to the pumpkin itself and use a large thumbtack to perforate the incisions you’re going to make. You may also want to use a Dremel and cutting blade if you want to add some power tool fun. Start cutting! Be very sure of what sections are to be outlined, have skin and some flesh removed, or completely cut out. Go slow.
Ready to carve some masterpiece pumpkins of your own? Email your pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet them to @antonioortegajr with the hash tags #comics #jackolantern and or #pumpkin along with your name or twitter username if you prefer. I will add them to the slide show here for everyone to see. Also I will be carving pumpkins until Halloween and there will be more pics from me at least, so any suggestions are welcome. Can’t wait to see your artwork! Have fun!
MORE ADDED AS I GET SENT PICTURES ALL MONTH. KEEP CHECKING SLIDE SHOW FOR NEW ONES.