Introduction: Carving a Chewbacca Pumpkin
In this instructable I will show the most basic steps to creating a 3D sculpted Chewbacca face in a pumpkin. The tools I use are exacto knives, clay ribbon tools and small linoleum and wood carving chisels. Choose what works best for you and be safe and creative. What works for me might not be best for you.... As with any creative project personal preference and skill is up to you as well as adding or skipping details. In the end all that matters is that you are happy with your creation. I hope my photos and descriptions help:) Have fun and enjoy!!!
BTW this was started at a pumpkin carving party Saturday night then finished the following night, so it can be done in sessions if you don't wait too long in between.
Step 1: Pick Your Victim
The pumpkin should be heavy, without major damage and relatively smooth. Ideally you want a pumpkin that matches the shape you desire to carve into it oblong, oval round..... If you are deciding between two pumpkins the heavier is always better and has thicker wall for sculpting.
Step 2: Skin Your Pumpkin
I use a large clay ribbon tool or a very sharp knife to skin the pumpkin like you would a carrot or apple. Remove as little meat as possible because you need the thickness of the pumpkin wall to do your damage i sculpting. you have from 1 1/2" to 3" typically. There is nothing special about this step just get rid of the skin because it's very tough and will get in your way. This is also the step you should try and decide if you want to light your pumpkin down the road or not. Once you start carving it's a bad idea to try and remove the innards because the pumpkin get fragile. Also a pumpkin that isn't cut open will last much, much longer than one that is gutted.
Step 3: Broadly Define Your Shapes
In this step you want to start marking were the major shapes will be and what the overall dimension will be. stay on the side of modesty when removing cause you can't put it back and it easy to take more later if you need it. In this step also using a ribbon tool define the eyes, nose, mouth and head shape. Not details just indicators of where sup will be. think of it as drawing in sand with a chisel or knife.
Step 4: Refining Shapes of the Nose and Mouth
Continue from the last step to greater define feature by removing more pumpkin. Again don't go crazy just make it easy for you to understand what things are. If you look closely inside the mouth you can see my direction of movement when removing and the size of the groove the tool is taking out.
Step 5: Define Teeth and Eyes With More Depth
At this point you are really starting to lay the foundation for end of pumpkin steps by removing shapes you will not need. you want to reveal in the pumpkin what in later steps you will refine and detail. Again don't go too deep just yet.... Experiment with tools to see what works best for you. I use chisels and exacto knives.
Step 6: Begin to Define Fur and Teeth
This step is very basic. You simply want to start showing the movement of the fur and how it will lay. Also adjust the depth and shape of head and overall profile by looking at carving from the side to see how it looks. Then using a small sharp ribbon tool or v shaped chisel remove strips of pumpkin to indicate fur. You can also use an exact knife to cut small strips.
Step 7: Detail Eye Depth and Structure
this step is used to establish the details of the eyes and shape of eye socket structure. I used mostly a sharp knife or exacto blade and again a small v shaped chisel at different angles. Be careful not to be too aggressive and cut too deep. at this point the pumpkin wall in some areas is getting very thin and fragile. Also in this step start to define fur moving more up face and towards eyes and forehead.
Lastly I removed the unwanted parts of the mouth to give depth and also so it will glow when lit from inside with a candle.
Step 8: Clean and Define Fur Finish!!!
This is the final step and it involves removing and refining the way the fur will look and any other features. You want it to appear as if it flows so be organic with your cuts and have varying depths to show movement and variety. I use mostly an exacto knife at different angle to remove small slithers and broader areas. Also in this step you will clean up any other areas that where missed or not completed. By this time your pumpkin will most likely begin to dehydrate so be careful that you don't remove big clumps as the pumpkin walls begin to deteriorate and become fragile. If you need to stop lay a wet towl over the pumpkin face so it pulls the moisture and stays hydrated. some people also apply Vaseline to the surface I myself don't do that and let it age naturally.
Here is your finished sculpture hope it worked for you and you are happy with your creation:)
Step 9: Luminate
Depending on how much and where you removed the wall, your pumpkin may look very creepy and cool when lit from within.
If you choose to do this cut a hole somewhere and carefully remove the guts. Be very careful because at this point your sculptured pumpkin is extremely fragile and easy to break through the walls. In general the thinner the walls the brighter the glow.