Picture of I... am Optimus Prime: How to
Following is my Instructable on how I carved (and, though extremely difficult, how YOU could carve) my 2013 pumpkin "I... am Optimus Prime!"

The only tools used are in the picture below.

Tools include:
Serrated pumpkin carving knives (from those kits you can by ANYwhere around Halloween)
X-acto knife with various blades 
Large spoon or pumpkin kit scoop to empty out the pumpkin innards
Ball point pen or fine-tipped Sharpie (Sharpies can get annoying as the wet pumpkin can make drawing a pain)

Remember, this is EXTREMELY challenging, but I always like to post an instructable to show people each year how I did it.  Enjoy!
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Step 1: Step 1: Choose an image

Picture of Step 1: Choose an image
My first step each year is always choosing an image that will make an awesome pumpkin.  Superheroes were my carving subjects of choice the past few years, but I wanted even more of a challenge this year.  What better than the one, the only Optimus Prime, with all his mechanical glory and signature flames!

Step 2: Step 2: Draw/color code the pattern

Picture of Step 2: Draw/color code the pattern
I essentially take the image chosen and begin drawing a rough outline of the pattern.  It is during the pattern drawing step that you must choose what detail stays and what goes.  As you can see from the original image there is no WAY every detail will make it in.  

You can be loose with your decisions, just make sure to retain large, general shapes and details that give the viewer an indication of what is what in the final pumpkin (i.e. I was sure to keep enough details to be able to tell what is Optimus' arm versus his leg in the background).  

When it comes to color coding, I use a tiered system of greys and white.  In the pattern drawing white areas are those areas where the pumpkin will be carved through, flesh and all.  Successively darker greys are then used to denote taking more or less pumpkin flseh and/or skin.  
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prjoe8611 months ago
I think this is an amazing instructable i love how you literally explain everything step by step, which is why i voted for you as a winner.
DoggieDoc83 (author)  prjoe8611 months ago
Why thank you very much! If it doesn't include good instructions, I don't think it can make a good "Instructable", right? :D
Laynie11 months ago
So cool great job!!
vincent752011 months ago
???!!! …… congrats !!!…

One question though : are you human ?…

Anyway, people on Instructables (humans or not humans) are incredibly good !!!…
DoggieDoc83 (author)  vincent752011 months ago
Thank you... I think! And yes, I am human... I think: ).
awesome job! I love this! Best pumpkin ever
DoggieDoc83 (author)  transforming vintage11 months ago
Thanks a lot!
All I can say is AWSOME thank for sharing
DoggieDoc83 (author)  Productionink7411 months ago
Thanks you, I am glad you enjoy it! I try to do an Instructable every year that I carve a pumpkin.
ionzenith11 months ago
truly amazing. Great work
DoggieDoc83 (author)  ionzenith11 months ago
Thanks: ).
swmech11 months ago
Shockingly good. WELL done!
DoggieDoc83 (author)  swmech11 months ago
Thank you very much!
twall211 months ago
Nicely done...2 questions...

a) have you ever considered using photoshop instead of sketching the work? By removing the saturation, upping the contrast, and running it through a "cutout" filet set to 3 levels you can get some really fantastic stencils in a very short period of time.

b) Why not use carbon transfer paper instead of etching in with a ballpoint and then retracing?

You've got a lot of skill, no doubt about that. But you could be doing this much faster :) Which of course means many more jack o lanterns!

Nice work
DoggieDoc83 (author)  twall211 months ago
a) You know, I have never considered that... in large part because I don't have photoshop and I don't know how to use it! I also simply enjoy the process of drawing the stencil and using my own brain to figure out how to make the pattern work on a pumpkin (not to say people who use photoshop aren't using their brain!) rather than letting the computer do it for me. Also, by upping contrast, etc., there are certain subtle details that are lost that I can choose to retain when doing the pattern myself.

b) I considered the carbon transfer paper this year, but I heard a lot of issues with possible smearing and whatnot. I will definitely be willing to give it a try... maybe do a trial run on a pumpkin before I go for the big yearly one.

Thanks for the compliments and suggestions!
FireFairy7811 months ago
Oh my goodness, I'm kinda speechless...this pumpkin is INSANELY good!! I can't even begin to imagine the time it took :)
DoggieDoc83 (author)  FireFairy7811 months ago
Thank you for the compliments! About 18 hours of carving time total, with about 8 hours of prep time (drawing the pattern, transferring to the pumpkin, etc.) just in case you really wanted to know ; ).
Lol, I actually did want to know ... that's longer than I expected. serious skill & dedication!!
TheMrCOOLguy211 months ago
Wish I could do that
robotluke12311 months ago
How are you so good????
DoggieDoc83 (author)  robotluke12311 months ago
Thank you very much: )... lots of practice! Check out my other Instructables from past years if you haven't already: ).
ecsaul2311 months ago
that is insane!! wicked good!
DoggieDoc83 (author)  ecsaul2311 months ago
Thank you!
Tazmjm6911 months ago
There just aren't words....incredible!!
DoggieDoc83 (author)  Tazmjm6911 months ago
Thank you very much!
Dylanodom11 months ago
Best Pumpkin I've ever seen. I am a huge Transformers fan so this is double epic. Anyway, nice job and keep the epic pumpkins coming. I voted and I hope you win!
DoggieDoc83 (author)  Dylanodom11 months ago
Thank you so very much! I have been a huge fan as well, ans thought about doing him many different years... but this year I went for it. Thanks for the vote! I am glad you enjoy it: ).
explosivemaker11 months ago
+1 vote
profort11 months ago
I wish there was a way you could get paid for your art.
DoggieDoc83 (author)  profort11 months ago
It would be nice, wouldn't it??? Thanks!
I believe that one should always be acknowledged for their good work.
TheEnthusiast11 months ago
Your pumpkin looks better than the poster! Well done!
DoggieDoc83 (author)  TheEnthusiast11 months ago
why thank you very much, that is quite the compliment!
Dominic Bender11 months ago
It is almost a shame to do this with a pumpkin, i.e. something that will not last. Nevertheless, this is a masterpiece in my opinion. Thanks for sharing :).
DoggieDoc83 (author)  Dominic Bender11 months ago
It is always a little depressing throwing these guys out only a week or two after finishing them... but it is a fun yearly tradition, and they will live on in pictures: ).
awesome man
I love optimus prime lol
great job!
DoggieDoc83 (author)  palestinian-warrior11 months ago
Thank you very much... I love Optimus Prime as well, obviously: ).
Orngrimm11 months ago
Wow. jsut WOW!
What can we say more to this piece of art?? Nothing.
Maybe just "perfect". :)
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