Introduction: How to Carve Spiderman
Step 1: Step 1: Draw Your Pattern
In this case, I chose an interesting image of Spiderman. It is important to pick an image that has enough contrast to allow for good light/shadow interplay. For Spiderman, the webbing provides a challenge but makes for an amazing visual presence.
Once the pattern is drawn, you then have to chose whatb will stay and what will go. To get detailed pumpkins like this one you have to utilize different carving depths. I usually use a 4 depth system:
1 Pumpkin that will be left in completely, skin and all (Black)
2 Just the skin removed (Grey)
3 Skin plus some flesh removed Light grey (White)
4 All skin and flesh removed (yellow)
In the uploaded picture you can sort of make out my legend. The only backward thing is in the final pattern... the webbing is grey and his suit is white... it should be the other way around but for ease of drawing the pattern, i switched it.
Step 2: Step 2: Tape the Pattern to the Pumpkin
Next up is taping the pattern to the pumpkin. The key here is that you will have to start at one area (usually the top for me) and tape there. Then you should sort of mold the paper around the pumpkin so the main image is not distorted. To do this I make several cuts and folds in the non-essential portions of the pattern paper as I smooth the main image over the surface.
You can see a large cut in the right side of the pattern. The more cuts and folds made in the non-essential parts of the pattern the smoother the main image will be.
Step 3: Step 3: Transfer the Pattern to the Pumpkinethen Shows
Once the pattern is on and smooth now you have to transfer it. I do this by using a combination of poking holes into the edges of the hard lines of the pattern as well as simply tracing over the lines with a firm press. I usually use a mechanical pencil without the lead pushed out and trace over the pattern. Doing so will cause a very shallow indent into the pumpkin skin. This can then be seen when the pattern is removed and traced over. I use a Sharpie to trace over the indentation.
In the first of the pictures you can see the shallow indent of the webbing if you look closely.
The second picture shows the entire pattern traced over with a Sharpie.
Step 4: Step 4: Start Carving the Webbing/Removing the Skin of the Suit
Now that the pattern is transferred, the carving can begin. The best place to start is with the webbing. I did the webbing with a combination of a Dremel and an X-Acto knife. With the Dremel I simply used a grinding blunt tip and grinded into the pumpkin flesh about a centimeter or so.
With a razor blade, I carved into the flesh about a centimeter and then just popped the pieces out as I went along.
After you have webbing carved in a given area, then use the X-Acto knife with a flattened blade to just peel the skin off the areas in between the webbing. This will allow just enough light through that the interweb areas can be seen distinctly.
The eyes are simply cut with a serrated pumpkin carving blade. The entire thickness where the eyes are should be removed.
As you go along stick a light into the pumpkin intermittently to test the look.
Step 5: Step 5: Continue Webbing and the Legs/add Highlights
The remaining webbing and the legs are performed in the same way as previously described until the pattern is essentially done.
The highlights are added (the bright portions of the head, around the edge of the left knee, the left foot, etc.) by using the serrated knife again to cut through the full thickness of the pumpkin in those areas. This will allow more light to shine through resulting in a lot more depth.
Step 6: Step 6: Add the Background Webbing
The background webbing can be roughly sketched on the pumpkin with a Sharpie. In this case I did a basic web design echoing the one on his suit.
Then use the Dremel at low-medium speed to get just through the skin of the pumpkin. this again will allow for just a bit of light to come through and create an awesome background effect.
Step 7: Step 6: Light the Pumpkin
For a pumpkin like this a simple candle is just not bright enough to give the required lighting effect. Cut a hole in the back of the pumpkin to allow for insertion of an electrical light source.
To keep the pumpkin from heating to the point of ruin, I prefer to use a simple table lamp with a fluorescent bulb with a cool (bluer), rather than warm (more orange), spectrum.
Step 8: Step 8: View in Appropriately Dark Room!
Obviously a throw away step, but these pumpkins always look best in a dimply lit to completely dark room! Enjoy!
Step 9: Supplies
Various serrated pumpkin blades
Paper (for pattern)