Thursday, October 17, 2013

Gresh and Vorox Pumpkin lanterns

Back in 2011 I mentioned about wanting to make a Vorox pumpkin in the Bionicle Jack-O-Lanterns post. I've wanted to make a Vorox pumpkin since the year 2009; and I did just that back in 2012. The two pumpkins above are from last year, I carved them a little late, and not a moment too soon being that the one was starting to slowly decay. Originally I wasn't planning on doing two, but since there was an extra pumpkin, I went with Gresh as my second image choice. Both images were small symbols already made, I simply took these clip art images and enlarged them in Photoshop, then made them outlines. I'll speak more about the stencils at the bottom of this post. The most surprising thing is that I carved both pumpkins in one day.   
I chose Gresh as my second design choice for three reasons; one- the design was simple and would take less effort, two-his mask designs had large designs for easy cutting and more light shine compared to some of the other designs, and three- I just like his character and felt he would be fun to set next to a Vorox.

(Above) side view of Gresh, I love the glint of the candle light which shines through his one eye, like he's looking at you and winking. ^.~

(Left) close up of Gresh, the most intricate process was carving the eye lids and decorative ridges in the center of his mask. (Right) day time image when it's not lit. 

The Vorox was a challenge, but it was fun to pull off. I wouldn't have been able to achieve the full design and all its details without a little help from a family member, but I mostly needed help with the grooves on the pincers and ears. I loved making the extra grooves in the mask, and pulled it off smoothly with the help of some wood carving tools. Wood carving tools are the best friend for pumpkin carving, I just use the small saws from pumpkin carving kits to cut chunks out of the small grooves, and settle with wood carving tools for everything else. Outlining the mask and circle was the most time consuming. Overall it was a long and tiresome project, I stood at the table hunched over my pumpkins for hours, started getting sore feet and a back ache, but in the end it was well worth the effort.

Day time image

Above is the Vorox Pumpkin during the day, amazing what a little candlelight and darkness do for the carving. This particular pumpkin is the one that started to decay on the back side. I was fearful it would collapse on me while I scraped out flesh, but it held up just fine on the front. (Left) close up image to show details. As you may notice, the pumpkin had a gray, rough spot which looks kind of like a scar on the Vorox, but thankfully isn't noticeable at night when the pumpkin is lit.

Below are the stencil images used for the pumpkins, shown next to their original clip art image.

On the left, is the stencil version of the clip art images shown to the right. I didn't have to change much on the Gresh image, I just changed it into an outline and drew separation lines around the prongs of his mask. Had to have separation lines in order to to know where to carve and what to avoid. On the Vorox stencil I added extra details from the actual mask of the toy set. The original clip art was actually too simplistic for my taste, and ended up getting aid to make my stencil design even better than what I was planning at first. Once I made the stencils, I adjusted their size in Photoshop, then printed them out on paper, and transferred them to the pumpkins. I had to scrunch the paper around the pumpkin and pin it in place with thumb tacks, then ran a pokey tool along the design lines and started carving from there. You can do the same, simply by saving the stencil images and giving it a try for yourself. Have fun, and enjoy. ^.~ 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pumpkin Patch Agori

Pumpkin Patch Agori
This illustration may hold a future purpose and place, perhaps a scene that will be included in a story; maybe even in one of my largest stories, Life of Lewa. This illustration started off as a sloppy sketch, and became something more. I constructed an interesting scene to match the figure, feeling the most appropriate place to find him is in a pumpkin patch, hence the name "Pumpkin Patch Agori".

I used several elements to make this semi spooky looking scene. First I worked on the Agori as a figure element to be added like a collage image as the main focus on a themed backdrop (I'll speak more of the Agori below). To make my backdrop, I first took a swirly patterned desktop image and changed its color and transparency; this serves as an odd sky, a technique I've used before on another art piece displayed on my main blog, Pearllight Studio. Next I made the ground by selecting an area and coloring it with brown, then used textured brushes to create land that looked like patches of grass, leaves, and dirt. To make the scene more interesting, I took a tree element and made a brush out of it; this led to a fun process of creating a distant forest with scattered trees as we get closer to the foreground. I also dabbed more texture behind the trees to make it appear hazy and darker the further away it is. After that I had fun duplicating one image of a pumpkin and its leaves to create the pumpkin patch; all I needed to do after assembling the loose elements was tweak the levels and color. Last thing was adding the Agori, and you get the final illustration.

I think the Agori needs a name at some point, he'll probably get one in the future. What he's doing in the pumpkin patch is still a mystery, but either he's a farmer of the patch, carrying around a knife to cut the pumpkin from its vine; or my other concept is that he may be a pumpkin thief who sneaks into other people's patches and takes a pumpkin for himself to carve or eat. His armor color is made to represent the shades of pumpkin patches, making the concept of pumpkin thieving all the more interesting. If you're going to sneak in a pumpkin patch, what better colors to wear than that of the pumpkins, complete with patchy designs on the armor to blend better. No doubt this Agori loves pumpkins so much that he wears the armor all year round, and doesn't come out often until Autumn whips around the corner. Future story for this quirky Agori is in order, till then, enjoy the concept. ^.~
It amazes me how far I manged to go with such a sloppy sketch. The sketch was made long ago..probably around 2008, slapped on a page with other sketches, my hand feeling lazy. To the far left is the base sketch before improvement; the sketch never had a big significance, but I figured I'd finally make something out of it since the Agori is holding a pumpkin, and now is the season for that theme. I took this terribly sketchy image and set out to display what the sketch is, since it's hard to tell at first glance. That was fairly simple, all I did was lower opacity, put a second layer on top, and digitally drew out the form and details as best I could over this scratchy mess. To my surprise I ended up with a fairly descent character, and added a few extra elements to him which didn't exist before. The bulge around his rib cage may have been his armor, but I couldn't tell, so I made it better and changed the form into a backpack of some kind; all I needed to do was add some pockets and stitching to make it look like a bag. Then there was this funny bit of scratchiness on the character's left leg, and I think it may have been excess pen marks, but I decided to turn it into a sheathed knife. These extra details and simple base outlines resulted in the middle image above. Last step was coloring; I used shades pertaining to pumpkins since he's holding one, and felt it would be cute to make him match. After adding gray, green, orange, brown, and yellow; I splotched on some texture of green and brown to add more interest to his armor, then to add depth I used the dodge and burn tool for shading and lighting. This resulted in the above right image, a reusable element which can be placed in other scenes or even turned into a printable scrapbook sticker or die cut.

I think it turned out great for being a bad sketch at first glance; and even better is that I now I have a tree brush for future use! ^.^