Project Halloween Butters and Dragons

Seems like an odd time to be pulling out a Halloween post don’t ya’ think?  Truth be told, we were celebrating my friend in haunt’s (Brad’s) 30 year service anniversary at work and the topic of Halloween came up – which to be honest isn’t that odd as we are often talking about Halloween – a year long holiday for the two of us.  Brad is working on building a CNC machine which I am hoping is ready before too long.  I have big plans for that thing hehehe.  Anyway, all that talk about Halloween reminded me I still had some 2018 Halloween posts I had not gotten to.  So, tonight I bring you the annual Halloween pumpkin carving for 2018.

Halloween Pumpkin 2018

Only 7 month’s late, but what the hell that’s nothing compared to the backlog of wildlife pictures I need to get through.  After the yeoman work of putting on the Annual Halloween Haunted Trail event (link here) at the beginning of October, it always seems a bit of a letdown when the actual Day of Haunt comes around.  Last year we opted to drive around to check out the worthy displays in the surrounding local towns.  When we got back I was truly inspired and went to work on getting the final carving done on the foam pumpkin.

Halloween Pumpkin 2018

Hit the jump to see some progress shots.

For the pattern this year, I wanted a companion piece to the composite pattern pumpkin made the year before.  If you recall, I opted to step back a bit from the traditional horror theme and instead do a kindlier gentler version (link here).  What the pumpkin pattern lacked in fright levels, it more than made up in sheer difficulty levels.  Those cuts took forever with not a lot of room for error.  As with that previous effort, this year’s pattern was a composite image made from a number of stencils found while scouring the Internet.  I took my favorite sections from about 5 images and then weaved them back into a new pattern that was similar in visual composition to the previous Hummers – this year went with Butterflies and Dragonflies/Damsels theme.

Halloween Pumpkin 2018

Before I forget, this pumpkin is only for my personal collection and neither the completed pumpkin nor the pattern are for sale.  The image rights for the individual composite pieces remain with the original image copyright owners (if they were identified,  some of these had no related meta–data I could find).  With the legalese out of the way, the first step was to get the images positioned the way I wanted it utilizing Paint Shop Pro for that manipulation.  Sized it to the pumpkin dimensions and printed it out.

Halloween Pumpkin 2018

To make it easier to transfer to the pumpkin and provide some memory work for the hands, the pattern is first cut out with an X-Acto knife.  Highly recommend doing this for two reason.  It immediately lets you know what you are getting yourself into and verifies that the pattern is valid.  Can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen fake images on the web of patterns that cannot be carved even with half cuts because there is removal completely around sections of the image. It is easy to manipulate an image and super easy to superimpose it on a pumpkin graphic and add effects to make it look like it is glowing where in reality it would just be a giant hole.

Halloween Pumpkin 2018

Image verified nicely so taped it to the pumpkin and outlined within the cuts with a gel-ink pen.  I recommend completely coloring in tight areas that must be completely removed like the wings on the insects.  With the pattern off it can be hard to tell if it is a single cut or a thin cut-out section.  The colored in sections will remind you to remove the area rather than just an extra fat line.  Once transferred the pattern was removed revealing the night’s work.  That was when it hit me it was going to take a looooong time to get this one done and no sense in risking tired eyes and slip of the knife.  Finished the prep of the pumpkin and put it on the to do table for another night.  That ended up coming several months later – not like I didn’t have plenty of time, there are still several months  before I had to start working on the 2019 pumpkin!

Halloween Pumpkin 2018

It took me two nights to get it all cut.  Those insect wings were brutal.  Due to the tight spacing, the cuts with the hot knife had to be very precise.  Wander a bit and the image would have been destroyed – something ..knock on wood.. has yet to happen in the multitude of years of carving.  With the cuts roughly cut out, went back the 2nd night and cleaned up the lines – an effort that takes twice as long as the initial cuts.  Once I was happy with the project, cut the light hole at the back of the pumpkin and found a flashlight to quickly test how it will look on display.

Super pleased on the final product and cannot wait to put this companion piece on display next to its sister.  A fine addition to the ever-growing pumpkin display.  Happy Halloween in “Boo”ne everyone.

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