My Gaming Jack-O-Lanterns of Years Past: Ratchet, Sly and Jak

by Matthew Thompson

Earlier this week, I talked about my Legend of Zelda-themed pumpkin carvings and now I’m back to go over a few more. These are based on Sony’s trio of platformers that began back on the PlayStation 2.

Ratchet & Clank Art

For my Ratchet & Clank Jack-O-Lantern, I based it off of this boxart for the 2009 release A Crack in Time. I had just played the game and it seemed like a good fit for one of my pumpkin carvings.

Ratchet & Clank Pumpkin

Here is a picture of the finished product. This was a big jump up in difficulty from my previous pumpkins and it remains my favorite of the ones I have done to date due to the challenge and the way it came out. I decided to make the outside circular so that I had a place to end the cut out part around Ratchet’s face and the lightning around Clank’s. The contrast of the light and dark faces makes for a great design. The toughest part was definitely Clank. In particular, his eye and mouth. I’m still shocked  his mouth didn’t break when I cut it out on both sides. I also like how the fur on Ratchet’s face looks. Overall this one came out exactly how I wanted it to.

Another cool thing is that since I did this a few days after the game came out, I posted it in the official thread over on NeoGAF while it was still rather active. Not only did I get some nice compliments from other gamers, the game’s developer Insomniac Games’ community manager saw it and said he liked it. I even got a message from him later saying he showed it around the office and people really got a kick out of it.

Sly Cooper Art 1

I also did a Sly Cooper carving one year. Not sure if it was the year before or after Ratchet. I do know I was a little pressed for time, so went with a much simpler design. It was based on this running silhouette you see at the bottom of this Sly 2: Band of Thieves boxart.

Sly Cooper Pumpkin 3

Here is the carving. As you can see it isn’t nearly as complicated as some of my other work, but it still works to capture the essence of the raccoon thief. This one wasn’t nearly as time-consuming as the others, so I decided to experiment with another idea on this pumpkin.

Sly Cooper Pumpkin 2

I carved this into the back of the same pumpkin. It is the trademark Cooper symbol and the calling card Sly leaves behind when he steals something. You can see it in the middle of the boxart above. By carving this in the upper backside of the pumpkin it would actually project this symbol onto the wall behind the Jack-O-Lantern, kind of like a Bat-Signal. I’d never tried this before and it really worked well. I know it looks a little jagged and blurry here, but it didn’t require as much precision as the front. I really only cleaned it up enough for the projection to look right. Unfortunately I couldn’t quite get a picture of the projection on the wall for posterity. So you will just have to imagine it!

Jak and Daxter Art

Finally I have my Jak and Daxter carving. As I mentioned in a previous post, this was my first attempt at my own Jack-O-Lantern design. Jak and Daxter is my favorite series and back at the peak of my obsession with the duo, I could draw the various box art versions of the two main characters in my sleep. Jak II is my least favorite of the trilogy (though I still love it), but I settled on using a drawing from its box because it was easy to shift Daxter’s head in a way to easily include them both in a design.

Jak and Daxter Pumpkin

Well here is a picture of the carving. Unfortunately this is the best pic I have of it. I have since lost the original (both digital and hard copy), so this is a picture of a picture I had from years ago. Still you get the general idea. It is a lot more line-based, but I really like how Jak’s face came out especially his eyes. It is hard to see the outline of his hair  or his other ear here, but they looked good in person. Daxter was a little tougher to do, but overall as a first original effort I think it came together pretty well. And I love it just for being of my favorite game characters.

Well that will do it for this installment. I still have a couple more old ones to show off and I should have some new ones carved by Halloween. So look out for posts about them within the week. Thanks for reading!


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