Galaxy Angel - 101: 2006 Halloween Jack-o-Lantern: Forte Stollen

Title:Galaxy Angel
Episode:101: 2006 Halloween Jack-o-Lantern: Forte Stollen
Basically, what's being done here is taking a 2-dimensional, color picture and converting it into a picture with only two colors (light and dark) on a curved, 3-dimensional surface. I saved a good image of Forte (my favorite character), then used a technique I'd learned in college of drawing a grid across the picture. This broke the image up into many small "boxes", and it's much easier to get the proportions right when you are working with many small images instead of one large image. Then I cut thin strips of masking tape and made a similar grid on my synthetic pumpkin, which is made of a sort of thick, carvable styrofoam (it would be absurd to devote so much time and effort to an ordinary pumpkin, which would soon rot away). Then I used a sharp X-acto knife to carve the image into the pumpkin. Lines would be lightly scribed into the surface, and not actually cut until I was certain I had them right. I never actually cut completely through the shell, I just thinned it down so that light from a bulb inside would shine through. I would often hold the pumpkin up to the ceiling, so that a lightbulb was inside, to check my progress. Basically, you have only two colors to work with--orange and the pale yellow of the styrofoam (which will glow when there is a light inside). In the past I'd just try to carve the lines which define the shape, and not worry about representing any colors other than black, which would result in a sort of photographic negative image. This year I decided I'd try a somewhat more difficult and involved technique, namely completely carving away large areas of Forte's face which were lightly colored (flesh or white), i.e., her skin, her eyes, her teeth, and her capband. This would allow me to represent the areas of her face which were in shadows (by leaving them orange). I thought this would be worthwhile since the borderline between the brightly colored flesh and the shaded flesh does a lot to define what a character looks like. It involved a good deal more work than usual, but I'm pleased with the results and have already started work on another Jack-o-lantern using the same technique (Straight Cougar from s-CRY-ed). One adjustment I made was to carve away a sizeable band running along the right and left sides of Forte's face. I did this because the large area of brightly lit skin grabs the viewer's attention to such an extent that it's unclear exactly where the image begins and ends. Here's a bit of advice if you try to make one of these yourself: carve the eyes first, because they are the most difficult and important part of the face, and if you screw them up there's little point to completing the rest of the pumpkin. I messed up Forte's eyes by trying to make them too complex, but I just turned the pumpkin around and started over on the back. I seldom get everything right on the first try.

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