The first step in this whole process was to find a pumpkin. I headed to my local pumpkin patch/apple orchard, and after enjoying a cup of hot cider and fresh apple cider donuts, I went to go find my pumpkin. I knew I wanted to carve a fairly large scene, so I needed a big pumpkin with a clean and relatively flat surface. I also tried to find one where the grooves on the sides of the pumpkin were as shallow and non-visible as possible. I settled on this bad boy:
Alright, now that our pumpkin is hollow and our stomachs are full, we get to the initial design step. I knew I wanted to carve this amazing drawing of Sarah Kerrigan and a Hydralisk from Starcraft.
The first step is to get the design on the pumpkin. The most important thing is to get the major parts you're going to carve on there. So, to do this I printed out the design, taped it to the pumpkin, and used an exacto knife to puncture the paper and pumpkin along the major lines of the drawing.
Next was to add some detail. To do this, I used a flathead screwdriver to make shallow scores in the skin where I wanted some detail. I was fairly conservative with this technique at first, but in the end, you actually need to be more liberal with your scoring to get the effect you want with light showing through. The scoring was done on the hydralisk's head to give it some "shape" as well as along the hydra's body to show some spiny detail. Kerrigan also got a little bit of detail put in for her "hair" (if you can call it that) and the wing-like appendages that had a web-like appearance.
The last thing to do for this pumpkin was to get that center area surrounding Kerrigan and the hydralisk to really glow. To do this, I wanted to completely remove the flesh from this area. To do that, I used my trusty exacto knife again to cut along the same outlines as before, but this time, I went all the way through the flesh into the hollow bit of the pumpkin. Then I shaved off bigger and bigger pieces of the flesh until I made it all the way through the pumpkin. I also ended up taking away more flesh in particular areas I wanted to be brighter (e.g. near the hydra's claws and mouth) but didn't go all the way through the pumpkin. The skin is by far the best blocker of light, so any skin remaining on the pumpkin is very dark. Once you remove the skin, you need to carve a lot of flesh before you see more changes in how much light gets through. So, with the hole carved where I wanted it, and the flesh thinned in the places I wanted, I basically had my finished pumpkin.
The Queen of Blades and Her Loyal Subject
And before you go, make sure you check out our ever-expanding line of sweet Starcraft shirts.
Update: I was just informed that this pumpkin was one of the winners of the 2011 Blizzard Pumpkin Carving Contest! Check it out here!