Once a year I can get a little artistic with knives and tools! Halloween is always one of my favourites, and Pennywise the Dancing Clown from Stephen King’s IT – the book and the movie(s) – has been a scary favourite character of mine for many years.
In the first TV movie adaptation in the 90s he was played by the great Tim Curry. Here I have replicated the very creepy 2017 movie version played by Bill Skarsgård.
The project took a total of 4 hours to complete. I started off finding the right image to use as my template, and creating a rough sketch of the shape and position of the features. I was lucky to get the proportions pretty much dead-on on my first try, so this part only took me about 15 minutes to sketch out.
The next procedure is to decide where the skin of the pumpkin is to STAY in place – that is where the darkest parts of the image will be, and must be planned out a bit so that you have some connective pumpkin flesh to keep the bits in the very middle from falling out!
Cutting out the outlines and the basic shapes very carefully with a sharp craft knife is the next step. Making sure at this point NEVER to cut all the way through the pumpkin. By shaping the depth of each cut – I used a flat screwdriver as a scraping tool for this – and eventually cutting right through for the areas which will be the lightest highlights, you begin to build up the picture.
I check my progress as I go along by taking the top all the way off a mini maglite torch/flashlight and holding it inside to simulate the candle. Then you can work out how much deeper you need to cut to get the right look.
I also like to cut something out of the back of the pumpkin – which then creates a projected image on the wall behind. As Pennywise has a lot of balloons (he’s a clown after all!) I cut a basic balloon shape out of the back – taking care not to be directly behind the image on the front of the pumpkin, because lining it up exactly will create a black area where you want light to be reflected. Using THREE candles inside the pumpkin gives you three times the brightness of a single candle – and also creates a bunch of three balloons from the cut out projection at the back. My rear-projection was only marginally successful this time.. you can sort of make out the balloon shapes.
Finally, I stop messing with it, and consider it done for another year!