Friday, October 31, 2014

Cool Dragon Pumpkin!

  So, this year, I bought two pumpkins. I wasn't able to afford two last year, but since I have a job now I was able to get two (I could have bought more, but I didn't want to wear myself out). Since Christopher Paolini's twist on the Ice Bucket Challenge was so awesome (see ), I decided to carve a scene from it (Of course, the fire scene). In addition, I didn't know what to make the second one, so I asked Christopher what the second pumpkin should be.
  His reply: "Surprise me with a cool dragon."
  So, I went to work:

I'm not good at drawing things up from my imagination. That part is hard for some reason. That's why I sketch instead, using some kind of model to help me (A picture, a drawing, a person or myself). But, this time, I had nothing to work with. He gave me no picture with work with, so this became a fun challenge. 
I did end up using a couple of dragon drawings by other artists just a little bit only to decide what shape of  muzzle, eyes, and nostrils I didn't want, but my main source of inspiration was just making scary faces in the mirror.
But first, I tried to draw the eyes:

You can see from the left sticky note that I tried several times to get it right. The right sticky note I drew by flipping it over on the other side of the left one, making a near perfect copy of the left side. I always have difficulty making eyes the same shape, but I realize that most people's eyes are almost never exactly perfect (Try taking a mirror to half of your face in a picture).

Next, to make parts of the face, I made a flip copy on another sticky note.

I used the lines of my nose (as I wrinkled it and glared in the mirror) to make the lines of the dragon's. 

Then, I copied it onto a regular sheet of paper, using pencil and pen after.

After several times to get the lips right, I finally realized that having closed lips wasn't cool enough. I wanted more teeth showing than just the fangs!

Rroarrrr!! Now it looks more like a dragon! The other one looked like a disgusted frog.
Getting the open mouth shape wasn't easy, either. I think the hardest part of drawing the dragon was definitely its mouth.

The drawing! Bonus: My coffee-black Siamese-mix cat, Sweetie, is in the background.

Next, the face outline! I was going to just sketch the drawing onto the pumpkin, but then I realized the drawing was the perfect size, so I placed the paper on the pumpkin, held it there nice and tight, and scratched my thumb nail over the lines. Thaaat left me sore. I should have made a copy of the drawing at the copy machine so I could tape it on there, but I forgot to that day I was at the library, and I didn't want to wait (A good thing, huh?).

I bought a cheap children's pumpkin carving kit mostly for the cowboy spur thingy. Last year, I poked a gazillion holes using a toothpick! This definitely saved a lot of time and prevented me from getting a cramped hand.

Ehh.... After digging my thumb nail into the lines, despair tore me down. The mouth was too close to the right and too close to the chin. It was also too detailed! The teeth I had to simplify during the carving process. Oh, and by the way, the molars were inspired by my own. When I was nine until age twelve, I ground my teeth together into sharp points. It wasn't a great idea, because to this day I still often bite my cheeks or my tongue and sometimes the inside of my lips, causing terrible damage. I have abnormally thick cheeks (according to two separate dentists), so I bit myself on accident even before I ground them into fine points. It's not fun drawing blood, mind you, so don't you start grinding your teeth just because it looks cool!
Ahem! Pardon. I got off-topic a little.

Yay! Red thumb and finger! Using the spur thingy, I still had to keep a firm hold on it to prevent mistakes. Still, it was much less pain than when I carved the first #paolinipumpkin, where I used a certain kitchen knife I don't have a name for made my middle finger swell. That was fun. Heheh But it was so worth it. Sometimes what gives you the most pain through effort gives you the most satisfaction in the long term.

Now for the nose picking! Making holes, that is.

Ha! Dragon boogers. Grossed out my mom. I couldn't stop laughing.

Completion! The right horn/ear is shaved off on the side because I was going to use this shaver-like pumpkin-carving tool, but then it took off waaaay more pumpkin skin than I expected. 

Darn it! My mom got a new camera (after she took the old one to the beach and fell in the water with it [And, yes. We did put it in rice, but it still doesn't work]), but now this one is super good with night pictures! I'll have to take a pic in the pitch black for the candle light to work. (I'm actually using an electric candle since I'm displaying it in the library).

Judging between the two, I like the drawing better. But I guess pumpkins are much harder to get to look great.

The tools I used! Minus the evil shaving thing that destroyed the horn/ear. The metal spike is actually the thing you pierce through a turkey's legs in the oven. I found it was a perfect tool. I'm totally using it next year.

When Halloween is over, and I come back to the library on Monday, I'm taking it back home. There, on the porch, I'm going to let it rot (I have a concrete porch, so staining isn't a worry for me). It's quite hilarious watching the transformation (especially when it's a carving of a person, as you may well know). ;-D

Oh, and one more thing: The other pumpkin I'll be carving as soon as I can. This pumpkin took me longer than I expected, so I apologize for my tardiness. Tonight's my sister's Halloween party, so I'm booked all day. I'm just using what little time I have to blog this because it's Halloween and because you deserve this much for the wait.

Be safe this Halloween! Friday nights can be a bit crazy, and beware of ferrets drunks on the roads!