mmmm I LOVE to carve pumpkins! The thing is, if you're actually making a lantern-like cut-into-the-pumpkin sort of jack-o-lantern, the logistics of having bits and pieces stay attached to one another and not cave in can get to be a little much. I tried doing some surface carving with my lino-cut set a few years ago and it worked like a charm! This method is really pretty easy, and you can choose pretty much any image you'd like. Two years ago I did Pete Doherty, and last year it was Edward Scissorhands (I forgot to take a photo of that one. How is that even possible?). This year, I decided on Count von Count from Sesame Street!
Here's how do do it, if anyone should like to know:
Find your image. Paste it into a program where it can be blown up, and make it an appropriate size for your squash. You can either print it out, or as I did, trace it straight onto a piece of paper off of the computer screen, mimicking a lightbox. Shade in the areas that will stay pumpkin-coloured, or whichever way makes sense in your brain. Remember it's a negative-positive situation- only two tones, orange & light orange.
Open and scrape out your pumpkin! You could really skip this part because the inside of the pumpkin won't be exposed, but I love the squishy-ness and roasting the seeds! I separate the seeds directly into a strainer and rinse right away so the guts don't dry onto them.
Cut around your design, leaving a margin and tape it onto your pumpkin on the flattest side. Make little folds so it shapes around the pumpkin nicely. Transfer the design using a tracing wheel (sewing supplies always seem to come in handy in other areas of my life), along with any pointy object you find around the house for the intricate areas.
Now, take the largest scooping blade in your linocut set, and scoop away! Reference your tracing or drawing on the positive/negative space.
Use smaller blades for intricate areas, and the flat blade to smooth out the ridges created by the scooping attachments. Keep on tweaking until you love it!
I think the Count is a little more friendly looking than 'ol Pete.