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How to Create Video Game Jack-o-Lanterns

Video Game Jack-o-Lanterns

Triangle eyes, noses, and spiky grins are the most ubiquitous pumpkin carving designs seen every year. But the best jack-o-lanterns, by and far, are those that feature true works of stencil art, be they original or inspired by favorite game and movie characters.

AtariAge user Shinto takes us through his own process of carving pixelated video game characters into his gourds.

This is one of the patterns Shinto prints out. Gray areas are carved halfway, black areas all the way through.
This is one of the patterns Shinto prints out. Gray areas are carved halfway, black areas all the way through.

One of the more useful tricks is carving the pumpkin’s skin to a certain depth without going all the way through. This allows for different brightness and shades to be used rather than just lit and unlit areas.

Scoring helps identify where and how to carve before using the carving tool.
Scoring helps identify where and how to carve before using the carving tool.

Another good idea is to mark where you will carve before ever taking the knife to the veggie. “To transfer the patterns to the pumpkin, I print out the pattern, tape the paper to the face… and use a scoring tool along all the edges of the image,” Shinto explains. This results in a score of dots which act as a map showing the artist where and how deep to carve.

Finally, remember that it is possible to undo mistakes. A few toothpicks will hold broken-off pieces in place just like stitches, but without the need for aenesthetics. Also try putting a fence of toothpicks up for some thin, narrow and menacing teeth rather than the typical triangle shape.

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