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(NEW UPDATES - last update 28 Oct 2013)

- Pumpkin Carving w/Patterns -

Below are detailed instructions on how I make generate patterns and pumpkin, but you can skip all that mumbo-jumbo and get right to the finished products HERE

These are not what Pumpkin Masters would classify as "easy" patterns. They require time, patience & a steady hand to transfer effectively to a pumpkin - yet I think that's all it takes, not artistic talent particularly. Take a shot at one or more and let me know what you think.

 

How do I generate patterns?

Patterns are EASY to generate: Adobe Photoshop and a little creative flair is all it takes. Here are the steps I take (please note that this protocol is ever evolving as I learn new tricks - most recent modifications to the protocol are given in red):

 

1. Pick an image you find compelling for whatever reason (best if the image is high quality - large number of dpi, or at least large in size if a 72 dpi web image)

I like classic horror film images (I've found that studio promotion stills from 40s and 50s are PERFECT images to start with) and as you'll see as you progress through this page, pictures of my kids. The only key to image choice is to chose one with good contrast. It's best I think if the lighting is directional - e.g., natural light coming from over the person's right shoulder. This will make it easiest o generate a 3 gray-tone image (see below)

 

2. Next, convert the image to a grayscale image (in Photoshop go to Image menu, Mode, Grayscale)

This conversion is critical to generate the proper template pattern!

 

3. The next major adjustment you will make is to "posterize" the image (in Photoshop go to Image menu, Adjustments, Posterize, in levels box type 3)

The posterize command lets you specify the number of tonal levels for each channel in an image and then maps pixels to the closest matching level. Ultimately we want to be able to generate a "living" image on a pumpkin using a 2D image and by creating three tones of gray (black, gray and white) with the Posterize function we can achieve this. Black regions of the image will remain untouched on the pumpkin, gray regions will be "shaved" (the rind and a little flesh is removed), and white regions will be removed completely (as one would with traditional eyes, nose and mouth carvings).

Once you Posterize the image you'll need to decide whether it looks "good" or not. This is an aesthetic choice, one only the carver can make. I try to get a good balance of the three tones. I don't want white (removed) regions to dominate, nor do I want black (untouched regions to dominate). Some of this is trial and error unfortunately. One piece of advice I can give is to look at the image and make sure removed regions are not too large that the whole image will collapse once carved. Also untouched regions (black portions on the image) are of no use if embedded in the center of a white portion since the white portion is removed. Black regions have to be within gray regions. This can be particularly problematic with eye and nose regions.

So how do you fix a Posterized image that doesn't look quite right?

 

4. When the image generate in step 3 doesn't look just right to you (doesn't appeal to you aesthetic sense), you'll need to make some fine adjustments. These adjustment processes take me the longest time since I want the "perfect" image. What I do is:

Two additional tricks I've recently used to improve image quality follow. I have used one or the other and both in combination or in substitute of the normal Step 4 above:

4a. Adjust the image by adjusting the gray tones (again starting with the image generated in Step 2, In Photoshop go to the Enhance menu, Adjust Color, Color Variations, make adjustments).

4b. You can also Posterize the image (Step 3) in more than 3 tones of gray and they use Replace Color (In Photoshop go to Enhance menu, Adjust Color, Replace Color) to reduce the number of gray tones by 'combining' adjacent grays yourself. Sometime this helps to reduce/increase unbalanced ares that might be problematic when carving.

This "adjustment" process is reiterative, you'll likely need to do it several times to achieve the effect you want.

 

5. Once you get the 3-tone gray image you want you'll want to size it for the pumpkin you have.

In Photoshop you can preview the printable image by going to the File menu, Print Preview. You may need to change the orientation of the printed image (File menu, Page Setup). If sizing changes need to be made you can simply go to the Image menu, open Resize, Image Size and make changes in Document Size. One trick is to reduce the resolution at this stage if you've been working with a high resolution image since the Posterization process effectively reduces the resolution anyhow. This will allow you to make a greater range of size changes in Width and Height.

 

How do I Transfer my awesome pattern to my pumpkin for carving?

I have found that the simplest way to get the pattern on the pumpkin is to lay the pattern over a piece of carbon paper on the spot you want the carving to occur on the pumpkin and trace the image to the pumpkin. Be forewarned that this is not a perfect process and the waxy pumpkin skin doesn't hold the carbon well. Yet, you'll get a good enough image that you can then use a ball-point pen to trace over the stenciled image (OK, maybe at this point some artistic talent is helpful, but hey "You're just a tracer" [quote adapted from Chasing Amy]).

17 Oct 2007, got this suggestion from Lee Driver for an additional way to get your pattern transferred to the pumpkin of choice: "Here's a great tip ....I use paper used to make stickers for my patterns. You can print them out and stick them straight onto the pumpkin and trace them or use them to carve out certain areas. I use a dremmel so all i do is go over the sticker where I want material removed, peel, and what's left is a great pumpkin."

 

Great, I have a traced image on a pumpkin, now how do I carve the damn thing?

This is where no new inventions are needed. You can get everything you need at Wally-world, Target, or you're local hobby store. Pick up a Pumpkin Masters carving kit that has a scoop and small saws (not the ones for little kids but the adult ones) - in doing this you'll also have some cool patterns if the process of making your own doesn't work out! I also have a nice sharp thin blade knife for cutting the top off and less precision work. Lastly, I shave off rind with a narrow wood chisel but there are specific pumpkin carving tools you can get to do this as well. While I have such tools I've found that the chisel works better since it's nice and sharp - BE CAREFUL!

I start by gutting the pumpkin and "thinning" the wall where the image will go. I have found that the best images are achieved when the wall is no more than 1.5" thick. But take care not to make it too thin.

Next, I start removing the Gray Areas (rind, partial flesh removal only). If you start with the White Areas (complete removal) you can get into trouble because the image can collapse with the added shaving pressure. Again this is one of those trial and error things. Also, I've found it helpful to keep the image I traced from close by to aid me when I'm not sure "is this a gray area or white area". I've found that it is helpful to 'light' the pumpkin after you've removed the rind (generated Gray Areas) and before carving the White Areas - this helps to judge whether you have shaved enough flesh to see clearly the Gray Areas from Black Areas. If you feel that there is not enough contrast you can shave more flesh from the inside of the pumpkin at this stage without fear of destroying the whole image because the overall integrity has been reduced in removing the White Areas. Do take care not to remove too much flesh (don't make the contrast between Gray and Black Areas too great) or the White Areas will blend with the Gray ones once you carve the White Areas. remember the key is to have clear tonal differences between White, Gray and Black Areas. Don't try to get things too perfect - the variation in the carving process often enhances the realism of the final product.

NOTE (7 Nov 2007): I've had a few questions over the past couple years about how much rind and flesh to remove for the gray portions and if I try to vary the depth of removal to add more tone. The short answer to the latter query is NO; I've tried doing a multi-tonal carving on purpose once but found i was too hard to really control using chisels (however, it might be possible with a variable or controllable depth Dremel tool!). On the other hand natural variation in how much one peel away lends itself very well to the creative process, so in the end I've found that it's best not to worry to much about making the depth of removal of gray portions uniform but rather let it flow naturally. As always the best approach is to remove the gray sections first. lit the candle and go from there. You can then remove more either from outside or inside. Either way you get more realistic shading and nice portrait depth but not sweating the process too much!

Have fun and take your time! Don't be surprised when you finish if the unlit pumpkin in your lap looks like S@*T...go outside, put the candle (sometimes a couple work better) and stand back. You'll be truly amazed at how good they come out.

 

OK, Here are some of the images I've created.

Feel free to use any of them. I've linked each to large template jpg's so you can simply download them. All I ask is that you tell your friends where you got them and let them check out my site! Thanks and enjoy.

The image on the left shows the original photograph/rendition from which the pattern was generated; the image in the middle is the template for carving (click on it to get large printable pattern); and the image on the right is the final lit pumpkin.

 

2013 Patterns & Pumpkins

Here's a collage of the 2013 crop (to be posted after Halloween)

 

 

First of the 2013 carving year - Some random female vamp I found on the net. Came out prety decent if I do say.

 

piece of mind
piece of mind

Eddie!!! From the Iron Maiden "Piece of Mind" album art.

 

walking dead
walking dead

Carved this one during the season 4 premier of "The Walking Dead"...was 'missing' the Gov so this one seemed appropriate.

 

twins of evil
twins of evil

Homage to Hammer Studios: this one from "Twins of Evil"...the cross on the vampires head in the original shot is what drew me. Didn't translate as well in tones of orange.

 

dio
dio

RIP Ronnie James Dio - the voice of metal

 

papa emeritus ii
papa emeritus ii

Ghost/Ghost BC - Papa Emeritus II. This Swedish metal band certainly has a schtick and I like it

 

michael schenker
michael schenker

Michael Schenker, guitar god!! This one was really tough, lots of little details.

 

 

2012 Patterns & Pumpkins

Here's a collage of the 2012 crop (as of 29 Oct)

 

I'm going with a "Walking Dead" theme this year. My first of the 2012 carving year is one of our favorite redneck and zombie killing machine - Daryl Dixon.

 

Sticking with the "Walking Dead" theme - 'officer friendly' (who has become progressively less friendly with each passing season), Rick Grimes.

 

Yup, more "Walking Dead", the nu-femme-fatale, Lori Grimes - I won't be sad if her baby is still born and eats her from within!

 

Do I really need to say what the theme is? This is Shane, post-turn but pre-bullet in the punkin'

 

Walking Dead, Andrea - she's been an up and down character for me; sometimes I loath to loath her, sometimes I like to loath her.

 

Some random 'walker' - don't think it's bicycle girl but could be a prototype for her?

 

Another random 'walker' - pretty creepy I think.

 

Glenn, aka Walker Bait and resident go-for.

 

Maggie, aka the Farmers' Daughter and Glenn's love interest.

 

Big brother Merle Dixon: redneck, clap-infected racist, and general bad guy even in a world gone mad.

 

T-Dog, general good-guy to Merle's bad - those two had their moment in season 1, sure it will come around again later.

 

 

The humanity of the show from season 1 to near end of season 2, Dale - the thinker and heart. RIP.

 

Carl Grimes, spawn of Rick and Lorie - whiney punk kid in season 1 and 2, growing into a delinquent young man and zombie killer in season 3

 

Beth, Herschel's youngest daughter and soon to be love interest of Carl (?)

 

OK, this one is outside the theme for this year (The Walking Dead) and went ol' skool - Peter Cushing. Before he was Darth Vader's henchman in Star Wars he was a constant leading actor for Hammer Studios in Britain who were the leaders in horror in the 50-70's. As an aside, one of the other leading men at Hammer was Christopher Lee, who most 'younglings' probably know as Count Dooku from the latter Star Wars episodes. Cushing and Lee played as antagonists in many Hammer films. Cushing WAS and will always be THE Dr. Frankenstein in my mind!

 

 

Every year I seem to do carvings of some classic faces again and again - here's another of Peter Lorre. He has a perfect carving face AND he's a creeper too!

Carved this one while watching John Carpenter's classic. I think it came out pretty freakin awesome!!

 

Random vamp I found on the web...I nixed the nose ring to make it a little less modern goth

 

 

 

2011 Patterns & Pumpkins

Here's a collage of the 2011 crop

 

First of the 2011 carving year - I was in a Mia Farrow mood. I had to move Rosemary's hand right and up to fit it on one pumpkin so te pattern and carving are a little 'off' from the original.

 

Still in my Mia mood - I like this one!

 

Just some creey pic I found on the web that I thought might make a nice pumpkin - it did too.

 

Lugosi has a classic look that, like VP and BK, screams: "carve me"!

 

Never did a tribute to the boys, Bud and Lou, so here goes. Part 1 of a two pumpkin "Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein tribute...

 

...Part 2 of the "Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein" tribute - Bela as Dracula...

 

The two pumpkins together...nice huh?

 

Another tribute pair of pumpkins...continuing with the Bela Lugosi 'theme', this one Edward von Sloan as Prof. Van Helsing in Tod Browning's classic 1931 production of "Dracula"...

 

...Part 2 of the "Dracula" tribute pair - Bela as the Count...

 

...the two pumpkins together!

 

A classic from the 80's, Ash from "The Evil Dead". This one taxed all my 'strengths' as a carver - lots of little details on a relatively small curcurbit.

 

One (pseudo) artist tribute to another - Jack Pierce, the creator of all the classic iconic Universal horror monsters from the golden era of monster movies

 

Sometimes the ideas/patterns work, sometimes they don't - this falls into the latter class I think. This was my tribute to the Spanish version of "Dracula" that Universal produced nights on the same sets while Browning's Lugosi film was being made. In many ways this is a far superior film, though my pumpkin sucks!!

 

Finally found a Night of the Living Dead pic I could generate a decent pattern out of: "They're coming to get you Barbara..."

 

Hammer time!! Jonathan Harker admiring his new 'I'm part of the gang' marks. Irony is that in this scene Harker is observing his vampire bite in a mirror! I guess he's not a full-fledged gang member yet.

 

Each year I carve a pumpkin for our dance studio - Dancearts of Columbia - for their Open House week (which is always mid/late-Oct. Here is this year's offering, classic worn tap shoes.

 

One of the MASTER - John Carpenter. I can't believe it took me this many years to do one of the Man. He does look the creeper holding the ol' skool brain scrambler though doesn't he (this shot is from his direction of The Ward - which I rather like but the RT's clearly didn't)?

 

First of the kids for 2011 - this is how this whole carving thing started, with putting my kids' 'school pics' to curcurbit. Tay went for the creepy self portrait this year as her desired template. Worked out pretty well if I do say.

 

A little out of order (this being kiddo #3), but Kasey is always my last kid portrait since her glasses make for tough carving. This on is a decent one of Bubba just haming for the camera. He's still got such a round 'babyface' that it's hard to get sharp contrasts like with Tay or Kasey (the glasses help with her to break lines).

 

Kiddo #3 - Kasey. I always enjoy putting Kasey Leigh's (yes her middle name has a genesis with a famous Psycho actress) face on a curcurbit and it's always a challenge of sorts. I think this years came out pretty decent - I good place to end the carving season.

 

All three of my F1's!~

2010 Pumpkins

Here's a collage of the 'class of 2010' - ALL the completed pumpkins up to 31 Oct

 

Back to 'basics' this year with the 'gothic horror' theme. Here's my first of the 2010 carving season, Vincent Price - great features to sculpt.

 

The classic vampire, Nosferatu, a la F.W. Murnau and Max Schreck's wonderful head.

 

From "An American Werewolf in London". Not one of my favorite movies but this scene is good.

 

Classic creeper - "mommy's favorite is always her son"

 

"Carol-Anne? Carol-Anne?...where are you Carol-Anne?"

 

\

Mexican cinema - German Robles as Count Duval in "El vampiro" (1957)

 

Just some random zombie I found on the web and though would make a creepy pumpkin - was I correct?

 

How can an self-respecting horror fan and grayscale carver NOT do Boris? His face just screams carve me!!

 

Lina Leandersson as Eli in the Swedish nu-horror working of the vampire tale, "Let the Right One In" (2004)

 

FH.G. Wells' "The Invisible Man", as portrayed in the 1933 Film by Claude Rains

 

Sir Anthony Hopkins gave a good turn I thought as Van Helsing in Coppola's "Dracula" (1992)

 

Benicio Del Toro as "The Wolfman" in Universal's 2010 reworking of its 1941 classic with Lon Chaney Jr.

 

Another creepy zombie/ghoul I found on the web that I thought would make a nice pumpkin. Comments?

 

My carving for my girls' dance studio, Dancearts of Columbia - came out decent I think

 

My tribute to Roddy McDowall: this one is his Peter Vincent vampire slayer character from "Fright Night" (1985)

 

My tribute to the late, great Spanish horror icon Paul Naschy. This dudes movies aren't cinematic masterpieces but they ooze with love of the classic gothic genre

 

Klaus Kinski's Nosferatu in Werner Herzog's "Nosferatu the Vampyre", a new classic of German cinema

 

One from Hammer's "Plague of the Zombies" - I seem to be drawn to the living dead this season

 

The first of the 2010 'school pics' for my kids. This one of Bubba is a shot Taylor took during our visit to Peach Tree Farms this season.

 

Taylor really doesn't like the original picture from which I created this pattern/pumpkin - since she was really just screwing around with friends on a school bus trip (doing their best Tyra's) - but I thought it had exactly the right sass, angst and slight creepiness to make a good pattern. Bonus: it was a good contrast picture. I think it works...just Kasey left now.

 

Kasey is always the hardest because of the glasses but that also makes her's almost always the most fun too!

 

Vin Price is always a sure bet - this one from his turn as Dr. Phibes.

 

Bela about to get a little snack in Tod Browning's 1931 "Dracula"

 

Karloff is another fav of mine - this one from "Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"

 

 

2009 Pumpkins

Here's a collage of the 'class of 2009' - ALL the completed pumpkins up to 31 Oct - 30 pumpkins carved this year!

 

This year I'm varying a bit from the 'gothic horror' theme and venturing out into the Film Noir genre. The first carving of the 2009 season is an homage to noir with Humphrey Bogart.

 

Companion pumpkin to the Boggie pumpkin - this one of Mary Astor, who co-starred with Boggie in the noir classic "The Maltese Falcon" (1941).

 

Back to the horror theme - this one is of Jose Marins (aka, Ze do Caixao/Coffin Joe), Brazilian horror film director/actor. His first movie, "A Mela-Noite Levarei Sua Alma/At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul" is a cult classic creepest!

 

More Film Noir - femme fatale Peggy Cummings. Her ultimate femme fatale was in 1950's "Gun Crazy" (aka, "Deadly Is the Female") - a noir take on the Bonnie & Clyde story.

 

Another femme fatale, Jane Greer. This one is from what many consider a prototypical femme fatale role played by Greer in Jacques Tourneur's "Out of the Past" (1947) which co-starred Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas.

 

My nod to Ida Lupino, unique in the noir genre as she not only played effective femme fatales as an actress, but also was the first woman to DIRECT a film noir, "The Hitch-Hiker" (1953), which is a clasic in it's own right! Ida rocked.

 

Seems like I repeatedly visit Fritz Lang's 1931 horror classic "M" for inspiration in carving. This one reflects one of the iconic movie posters for the film. I think it came out really nice.

 

Sticking with the classic gothic horror for this one - Karloff's iconic monster in James Whale's "Frankenstein" (1931) and "The Bride of Frankenstein" (1935). This this one came out nice too.

 

Another Film Noir femme fatale - Joan Crawford. She definitely had the 'look' for a femme fatale with those big eyes and long lashes. One of her defining roles in the Noir genre was her potrayal of Mildred Pierce in the movie of the same name.

 

Another Film Noir femme fatale - Eva Gardner. She played Kitty Collins, opposite to Burt Lancaster, in the 1946 classic "The Killers"

 

Hard to believe I have never done one of the 'grand-daddy' of horror literature - Edgar Allan Poe. I even bloodied myself carving this one (jammed a chisel into the end of my left thumb, bled like crazy) which seems somewhat appropriate given the 'model'

 

More Noir - Robert Mitchum from "Out of the Past" (1947). My Jane Greer pumpkin is from the same movie.

 

The King of Pop - I actually did this one for a friend and dance teacher who had surgery the day after I carved it, as a get well gift. She's a HUGE MJ fan.

 

Another of the Man - Boris Karloff - this one from "The Walking Dead" (1936).

 

Another dancer for a friend and ballet teacher who has been ill.

 

I just thought this horror wallpaper I found on the net would make a creepy pumpkin - think I was right?

 

This year's pumpkin for my kids dance studio (Dancearts of Columbia).

 

Returning to Film Noir - this one of Sterling Hayden from John Huston's "The Asphalt Jungle" (1950)

 

This one was for my son (he's a HUGE fan of the Star Wars saga) - the evilest dude in the galaxy: Darth Sidious/Emporer Palpatine

 

Vincent Price, like is latter years oft co-star Petter Lorre, has a face that just screams "carve me" - so I do nearly every year in some pose or another.

 

Back to Film Noir - this one is of Veronica Lake. At 4' 11.5",Ms. Lake was a stunning beauty, immediately recognizable (before the war anyhow) for her doo, which was the 'Farah' of her day. She played a great femme fatale in "This Gun for Hire" (1942).

 

Felt the need to do one of the "Shape" this year again. Michael Myers is a tough egg since the mask is white there is little contrasting that can occur. It came out OK though (not great but OK).

 

Marty Feldman's "Igor" ['it's pronounced EYE-gore"] character from "Youmg Frankenstein" (1974), a classic comedy homage to the golden era of gothic horror.

 

My "Romero" pumpkin for 2009 - Bub from "Day of the Dead" .

 

Another Frankenstein's Monster - this one is Robert De Niro's portrayal in Kenneth Branagh's "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" (1994).

 

After I did the De Niro Monster I realized that it looked similar to the Monster played by Christopher Lee in the Hammer classic "The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957) - hence the next night's pumpkin shown here.

 

 

Like Vincent Price, Peter Lorre is one of my favorite pumpkin 'models' - he just has an amazing face and features that lend themselves to sculpture.

 

First of my kids to go on a pumpkin - Kasey Leigh - she's always the toughest because of the glasses, so is usually the first one I do. At fisrst when I lit the pumpkin up I thought "great I made her glasses crooked" but then I looked closely at the original pic and realized I just did a good job with the carving since her glasses WERE crooked.

 

Second of my kids to go onto a pumpkin - this one of my youngest, Mannie IV, affectionately known to family as Bubba!.

 

 

My third child (actually my first chronologically) - Taylor - in a pose with her main interest outside dance, phototography! I think this one came out pretty nice actually.

 

2008 Patterns

Here's a collage of the 'class of 2008' - ALL the completed pumpkins up to 1 Nov - 21 pumpkins carved this year, an all time high!

 

First of the 2008 carving season. Trio of dance friends (L to R): Heather B., Leaf F. and Taylor. The final pumpkin is pretty decent although the pattern was big (re, wide) and thus had to be carved on the pumpkin laying on it's side (rather than the normal orientation), so it is hard to get all three kids in focus since Heather's face wraps on the left side towards the (real) top of the pumpkin and Tay's wraps to the right towards the (real) bottom. But not bad for the first of the year!

 

My tribute to Mario Bava's 1960 Italian horror classic "Mask of Satan" (Intl ttitle)/"Black Sunday" (US title). This is Barbara Steele's character just after she is 'resurrected' as Princess Asa Vajda. This is one creepy and atmospheric film that I highly recommend.

 

Ash from "Evil Dead 2" - Bruce Campbell is, in my humble opinion, one of the coolest camp horror icons of the modern era. Thanks to Sam Rami for casting him in everything he makes!

 

Sam Neill's character in John Carpenter's Lovecraftian tale, "In The Mouth of Madness".

 

Keiffer Sutherland as a vampiric punk in "The Lost Boys" - great cheese flick (with the 2 Corey's) from the 80's; decent pumpkin.

 

Peter Lorre is one of my favorite 'pumpkin models' -he has a face made to be sculpted. This one is from Fritz Lang's "M". This was NOT an easy carving to make but I think it came out pretty decent. Peter's reflection is a bit narrow but I think that has more to do with the curvature of the pumpkin than my poor carving ability (although the latter contributes too!) since both images are on a single pumpkin.

 

My tribute to 70' screem queen Ingrid Pitt - this one is from Hammer's "Vampire Lovers".

 

The 2008 Exorcist pumpkin. Linda Blair's Regan character always provide food for carving fodder!

 

Found this cool mummy pic on the web and thought it would make a nice pumpkin. Glad I tried it, I think it came out pretty darn good!

 

One of Jonny Depp's character from Roman Polanski's "The Ninth Gate"- I think this one looks pretty cool.

 

Classic 80's horror icon - Angus Scrimm's 'Tall Man' from Don Coscarelli's "Phantasm".

 

Every 4 years it seems appropriate to do some carving outside the horrow/Halloween genre - this pumpkin reflects that and my hope for CHANGE!

NEWS: This 'Barack-O-Lantern' was submitted to two carving contests, one at Politico.com and one at YesWeCarve.com. It was a runner-up at Politico and was featured (without acknowledging me) on a video on their site. Currently (at least until tonight) I am in the running for the prize at YesWeCarve - I'm in the top 10, go vote for me NOW.

 

Another of Angus Scrimm's 'Tall Man' from "Phantasm".

 

From "Queen of the Damned" -horrible movie but I thought this was a cool picture and made a decent enough pumpkin

 

Karloff's iconic creeper from Universal's "The Mummy" (1932) - this one took some time (~ 4hrs) but I think it came out nice

 

One of Tay's dancer friends and one of the lab's 4 High School student workers - Jamie Andes - she's a kid of 'a thousand faces'

 

The first of the kid portraits (my kids that is) - Here's my buddy Tay-Dog

 

Second progeny pumpkin - Bubbalicious giving us 'The eye'

 

My '08 carving for Dancearts - the Legend - Gene Kelly. Came out pretty decent if I do say!

 

I got all three kids to give me 'creepy' faces this year - here's Kasey, our lil' angel

 

After seeing Barack speak at MU last week it was impossible for me NOT to do another Barack-O-Lantern. Think this one came out well too.

 

 

2007 Patterns

Here's a collage of the 'class of 2007' - ALL the completed pumpkins up to 31 Oct (12 total)!! Each individual pumpkin and its corresponding pattern (with original image is given below) - ENJOY! [the collage is clickable to get a larger hgi-res pic]

 

First of the 2007 carving season. While the pattern isn't particularly complicated this one was tough because of the size of things. Came out OK (not great but OK) - my homage to the the classic 1976 'devil' movie "The Omen" [Gregory Peck and Lee Remick with little Damien in shadow]

 

Classic Karloff character, "Gray" from "The Body Snatcher" [1945; dir, Robert Wise; prod Val Lewton]

 

One of the greatest natural faces in movie history - Peter Lorre. This one is his character Dr. Gogol from Karl Freund's 1935 "Mad Love", a horror-thiller take on Pygmalion's obsession with the statue Galatea from Greek mythology. This is a classic movie about human decent into madness and Lorre's first lead American movie role.

 

Bela Lugosi's iconic Dracula. The original image is derived from the USPS stamp from the "Classic Universal Monster Collection" that was released in 1997.

 

I just really liked this creepy 'nosferatu' prop image and thought it would work nicely as a pumpkin - I think my initial thought was justified, but you be the judge.

 

My homage to 'Blacksploitation' horror classic - "Blacula". I think this one could have came out better but I had a hell of a time getting the pattern transferred to the pumpkin and in the end had to freehand nearly the whole thing.

 

Like Peter Lorre, I believe Vincent Price has one of those classic and iconic faces that beckons to be put on a pumpkin. This one came out pretty decent, although I like the one I did last year better.

 

One for Dancearts of Columbia - came out pretty good I think!

 

First 'school picture' of the season...started with Kas-Mo as she's always the most difficult the original which I seem to have misplaced - despite the fact that I took the pic this past week!)

 

'School picture' #2 - Tay-lo. Different kind of shot, more artistic 'photo' but effective I think!

 

My socially-conscience oldest daughter came up with the idea of doing a peace sign...it just took dad a while to find a suitable original pic (it was a bonus to be a Beatle!)

 

'School picture' #3 - Bubba-licious. Isn't he a cute kid? Even when a pumpkin portrait - hell ALL my kids are cute!!

 

The kiddo's all together.

2006 Patterns

Here's a collage of the 'class of 2006' - ALL the completed pumpkins up to 31 Oct (a whopping 17)!! Each individual pumpkin and its corresponding pattern (with original image is given below) - ENJOY!

Peter Lorre from Fritz Lang's classic chiller "M" (my first of the 2006 carving year)

Pretty decent VinCent Price if I do say so!
Just found this one of Lon Chaney (Sr) on the web and thought it was CREEPY - the pumpkin came out nicely too - the teeth are especially satisfying
Hammer Horror great - Peter Cushing (forth pumpkin of the season and still going strong)
The late great Donald Pleasence in John Carpenter's "Prince of Darkness"
Evil Ed after meeting with Roddy McDowell's 'Van Helsing' character in "Fright Night"
Dwight Frye's 'Renfield' in Tod Browning's 1931 version of "Dracula" (this is the scene when Renfield exhibits his first true signs of nuttiness!)
Simon Pegg as 'Shaun' in "Shaun of the Dead" - I'm doing a SoD triology set (Shaun, Ed & Liz)
My tribute to one of, if not the first African-American heroes in horror - Duane Jones, from George Romero's classic "Night of the Living Dead" - I think the pattern must have been traced onto the pumpkin oddly as Duane's forehead is a bit disproportionate. See my review of NOLD here
Nick Frost as 'Ed' from "Shaun of the Dead" - this is part 2 of my SoD trilogy set - I will compile the set as one image once I have 'Liz' done!
Kate Ashfield as 'Liz' in "Shaun of the Dead" - this is part 3 of the triology (see below)

 

"Shaun of the Dead"
I just thought this vamp was cool...came out OK, although it's challenging with my current tools to achieve details of complex patterns on relatively small pumpkins (like this one was)
I can't locate the original
Another nod to the 'classics', this time to James Whale's iconic figure "The Bride of Frankenstein" (played by Elsa Manchester)
By far the most complex pattern I attempted this year - yet I think it came out quite effective. This one is certainly not for the faint of heart or shaky of hand - it took me almost 4 hrs!
The kids 2006 'school pictures, pumpkin style' (below each is given with original)
Taylor (growing up too fast)
Kasey (the glasses always pose a carving challenge, but also character to the end result!)
Mannie IV (Bubba - looking the ham he is)

 

2005 Patterns

It's the monster from the 1931 Universal classic "Frankenstein". Not bad if I do say so!
I can't locate the original
Another Karloff classic - Ardeth Bey (the Mummy) - Need a drink dude? You look dehydrated!

Wasn't at all sure this homage to Romero's Land of the Dead would work - I mean trying to replicate a reflection of a zombie's face as he walks out of the Hudson River onto a pumpkin??? But you be the judge - I think it worked.

This one was done near the end of the carving season - certainly rushed. I think this pattern can yield a better pumpkin.
I can't locate the original
I also seem to have misplaced the pattern - I'll try to find it
This Halloween homage of "Mikey" was done earlier in the carving season (unlike the Nosferatu above) when I still had my 'chops'. I like this one! (I'll try to find the pattern)
This was my favorite of the year - I am pretty proud of this one. It wasn't at all easy and the Shape is a little 'off' (dimension wise), but I think it has the feel I look for in my Halloween (I'm using Halloween here to denote the holiday not the movie) stuff. Of course this is from H2O (the return of Laurie!)

 

 

2004 Patterns

"It's ALIVE, It's ALIVE..." Famous scene from the 1931 Universal classic "Frankenstein" when the Monster comes to life. Not super pleased with this one (Henry's a little long between the nose and lips) but it was a difficult one and my first of the 2004 carving year.
Pre- or post-pea soup? Does it really matter? This was not only a creepy scene in the movie but I think it makes an effectively creepy pumpkin!
I can't locate the original
Hammer-time '04 - Christopher Lee's classic Hammer Horror dracula. Lee was a much more effective count than Lugosi in my humble opinion. I think my previous Lee Dracula pumpkin was better though!
The creepiest scene in The Exorcist, and it shows up only for a fraction of a second a couple times in the whole movie. I think it makes a nice pumpkin. This was my 6th carving of the season so I was getting a bit less careful, but still I think it works nicely.

 

Well having done it the previous year (2003) it's kind of like getting yearly school pictures, I felt I needed to carve my kids into pumpkins again.

Here is a collage of the three pumpkins aglow. Below are the montages of original photo, 3 gray template image and final pumpkin. Yes these are the real pumpkins - in Mannie's image you can discern the separations on the rind.

 

 

 

2003 Patterns

"Here's Jack!" This one came out really good...the creepiness shines through (Jack Nicholson in The Shining).
Hammer-time (Christopher Lee as Dracula).
Showers were never the same after this scream! (Janet Leigh in the famous Psycho scene - my middle child got her middle name - Leigh - as an homage to this movie).

 

My first year at putting my kid faces on pumpkins!

As I think is obvious, my first attempts to put my kids faces on pumpkins worked out pretty nicely.

Below I've given here the original photo, the negative template, the carved pumpkin un-lit and the final lit pumpkin - just for comparison.

 

 

If you liked my patterns or simply enjoy pumpkin carving and want more info and more patterns check out these wonderful sites:

Pumpkin Masters

Masterpiece Pumpkins

Pumpkin Wizard

Pumpkin Glow

Pumpkin Carving 101

Keith's Pumpkin Portrait Page

want a real challenge?

try Pumpkin Gutter