Thursday, October 31, 2019

Jack-O-Lanterns: IRL 2019

Happy Halloween Everyone! That means it's time for a "Jack-O-Lanterns In Real Life" post! This year I only got one, and it was from Nikki Elder.

It's a design from last year's batch, and she chose the Allosaurus skull. I think it turned out great!

And here's the original for your convenience:

Thanks for playing, Nikki, and Happy Halloween everyone!!! Looking forward to what everyone comes up with next year!

For Previous Jack-O-Lanterns IRL, see:
2017 - (I forgot to post them that year but they are at the bottom of the 2018 design post)


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

10 Years of Pumpkin Designs

It's that time of year again! And not only that, but this year marks 10 whole years of pumpkin designs, which means I have something special in store for you. It's crazy to think about doing anything consistently for 10 years, and drafting up this year's designs have made me incredibly nostalgic, reflecting on all that has happened since the first incarnation all the way back in 2010.

 I'm honestly not sure how many people actually look at these every year, but I enjoy doing them, as it's a fun excuse to just do some stream-of-consciousness doodling. I'm never too precious with any individual jack-o-lantern, and it's a nice exercise in thumbnailing a lot of different designs relatively quickly.

And with that, let's begin with this year's designs:

(click to enlarge)

And since this is the 10 Year Anniversary, let me also post the very first contact sheet for comparison purposes. One thing I like about doing these every year, is I can see how much my design sense changes and (hopefully) improves over the years. Here's where I was at 10 years ago:

(click to enlarge)

While putting this post together, I was trying to think of something special to do for a decade of pumpkins, and I decided to clue you all in to my process, so that any of you could go ahead and start making your own. After all, what better way to celebrate than to let it free to be built upon and improved by others.

So first up, here is the background template for you to feel free to steal for a starting point, although it would be easy enough to make your own with any image of a pumpkin you might find:

As far as the actual drawing goes, it's pretty simple. I'm just drawing on an empty layer on top of the above template in Adobe Photoshop with a white brush. The layer has a number of layer effects on it that automatically creates the rest of the effect, like so:

This way I don't have to spend any time worrying about lighting and shading, and all I'm doing is doodling. It's important to note that each face doodle is on its own separate layer, so that the radial gradient overlay stays centered on the individual pumpkin and not spread across the entire contact sheet. If you're REALLY interested in the layer effect settings, in case you want to recreate this, they are as follows (caveat, I actually use a really old version of Photoshop, so settings might not be one to one with what you might have):

And with that, Happy First Decade of Pumpkin Designs! I hope some of you get the itch to start doing your own designs. And, as always, the same deal goes as every year: if anybody actually decides to attempt to carve any of these (like StephanieNicole, and Josh, Megan, and I, or Laura did) please send me pictures at and I'll post them up here! You are not limited to this year's contact sheet - I'm happy to see carvings of any designs from the last ten years. You have until the end of the month! I will post all physical Jack-O-Lantern carvings together on Halloween.

And this year, I'll also happily post any digital Jack-O-Lanterns I may get as a result of the little tutorial above.

Previous Designs can be found here:

I can't wait to see what you come up with! Happy Carving and Happy Halloweeeenn!!!!