While people like me are having trouble carving out a few triangles and a mouth, others, like freelance sculptor and artist Jon Neill, are busy creating incredibly amazing jack-o’-lanterns like this monster squash. To be fair, Neill is not just any sculptor. He has worked for Stan Winston studios, sculpted prototypes for toy figures from Barney to WWE, and currently illustrates concept art for films like Looper, The Hunger Games, and Spider-Man. In his spare time, he creates cosplay costumes for clients and carves great gourds.
This frightening pumpkin, which took more than four hours to complete and was part of an audition for Food Network’s Halloween Wars (he’s waiting to find out if he got in), was his first pumpkin of the year. He usually carves about five to ten pumpkins each Halloween, and most often with his kids. “My [2 year old] daughter, Amelia, really likes to draw all over and then have me carve sections out of it,” says Neill. “My [4 year old] son, James, however, was allowed to use one of my loop tools and attacked it without a break for over an hour. It looks kind of like an owl. Not bad for a four year old.”
Neill used some tricks of his trade to give this pumpkin an extra touch of terror. “I used plastic domes for the eyes with a Sharpie for the pupil on the back side. To paint, I used airbrush golden acrylic paints and I mixed in a little bleach to slow down the mold process. For the teeth and gums, I added some acrylic gloss medium to keep things wet and gross looking.”
The result is simultaneously terrifying and wonderful. Watch the video, below, for a time lapse of Neill’s carving.