Intro: "Self Portrait" in Pumpkin
This is my second year attempting a 3D carving. It wasn't a good year for picking out pumpkins as this one wasn't quite as thick as I would have hoped and was a little dry. Also, it seems that as the season proceeds the skin toughens up. The first pumpkin I tried to carve had a quarter inch woody rind that couldn't be peeled. There are lots of places to find more in depth instructions and examples by experts like Ray Villafane.
Basically I started as I would any other pumpkin carving by cutting off the top and scooping out the insides. Then I took a vegetable peeler and a paring knife and took off a lot of the the skin. Next, with a combination of clay loops and an exacto knife, I started working on removing the flesh. The eyes and bridge of the nose were quite deep and I had to be very careful not to get into the stringier flesh. After I got it most of the way there I buffed it with some paper towels but I think a fine grit sandpaper would work better. I was working from a series of scowling self portrait caricatures which I was quite happy with but aren't at all indicative of the final product.