by Matthew Thompson
Halloween has always been a big deal in my family. When I was young, we even used to do a Haunted House at our home that the whole neighborhood would come to. These days I don’t do anything nearly as cool as that. I watch some scary movies and eat some candy. My favorite Halloween tradition and the one I still make time for is carving pumpkins. Some years back I started to do some video game-themed carvings. I know a lot of you have seen these on one of my various blogs over the years, but with a new site and some new readers, I figured it was worth posting some of my recent creations. So I will be posting them in several blogs over the next week.
As my first entry, I guess I should start by talking a little about my process. I usually take a piece of art like this one of Link. Then I will typically make a drawing of it or a copy. From here I decide how to create a two-tone version of the art that will still show the essence of the character or design. Since I don’t use shaving techniques, I also must be able to carve it out of a pumpkin without losing any of it. So there is a puzzle aspect to keeping everything connected and intact.
So for my Link carving I decided to base it on just the face of “Toon Link” from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker you see above. Cartoon-y designs like this one work really well for my style of carvings.
So here is a picture of my Link Jack-O-Lantern all lit up in the dark. I rather like the way it came out. I think the most notable thing from a difficulty standpoint for this one was the hair. It is the biggest chunk I have ever taken out of a pumpkin for one of my carvings. I decided to just use thin lines to show Link’s hat. Looking back at it now, I really like how his left ear (on the picture’s right side) came out. The way I included his eyebrows was another highlight.
The year I did Link I had the time to do a second one and decided to make a Tetra carving to go along with him. I based it on her head from this art of Tetra and her pirate friends. She is one of my favorite versions of Zelda, so it was a lot of fun to create a Jack-O-Lantern based on her.
Here is the finished product. Once again the biggest issue was the hair. Because of the little pieces that come down the side of her face it creates a upside down “U” shape. So when the pumpkin started decaying, her face began to fall back inside in a hurry. To make the carving last a little longer, I propped her face up with a fork! Overall it didn’t come out quite as good as Link. Her mouth is a bit thicker than I intended for instance. I do love how the thin little curlycue in her hair came out. Leaving in thin pieces like that are tough and that one really works to help capture one of the signature parts of her look.
Overall I am really proud of both of these creations. These weren’t my first gaming-themed Jack-O-Lanterns. My first was one based on Jak and Daxter that I unfortunately don’t have great pictures of (but I will be sharing what I do have later in the week). That one was a little more reliant on carving lines, so being able to use big shapes for Link and Tetra’s hair was kind of new and gives these a very different feel than my Jak carving. It helped me grow in my design techniques too I think.
That will do it for this look at my Link and Tetra Jack-O-Lanterns. I hope you enjoyed them and be on the look out for more of my creations including whatever new ones I do this year leading up to Halloween. Thanks for reading!