A million years ago, when Myla was four years old, we bought a plastic pumpkin (because the husband was deployed, and I didn’t have the energy to scoop the guts out of a real one). I got out the permanent markers like a good mom (ahem), and let my daughter go to town on it.
I drew a face on it to get her started, thinking she could add things to it. Instead of adding features to the face itself, she drew characters (mostly Batman–her favorite at the time). Which was still pretty cool.
This year (because I just don’t like the mess of a real pumpkin), we were looking at Halloween decorations, and instead of buying a new one, I went back to this old pumpkin, made sure I had a bunch of photos of it, and then painted right over it with acrylic paint.
And once again, we sat down outside with our markers in the warm autumn…sunshine (this is Texas, y’all), and filled it with all sorts of Halloween goodness. I thought this time, we’d draw characters that I could paint with more detail later (which Myla thinks is sort of like magic).
Once it was done, I used my acrylic paints to give it some quick paint detail. It’s a pumpkin, so I didn’t go TOO crazy with detail, but I had fun making the little doodles we drew come to life. (MWHAHAHAH! IT’S ALIIIIVE!!!)
It occurred to me that there was a pretty empty area to fill, and instead of drawing something new, I filled it with a quick lighting bolt, which is SUPER easy, and I’ll tell you how to do it, “step to step” (as Myla used to say).
Step 1: Draw a big ol’ wiggly line that takes up the area you want to fill. Step 2: Add another big ol’ wiggly line if the area is a wonky shape. (It doesn’t matter too much what it looks like–it’ll look fine when it’s done.)
Step 3: Draw wiggly lines coming OFF of your wiggly lines in random places, to fill out the wonky space. End the line in a sort of “branch” Y or V shape (depending on how you see it). Step 4: Keep adding little wiggly lines off of your wiggly lines. It doesn’t look great close up, but from a distance, people will get the idea. and BOOM! You’ve got lightning!
And it filled out the blank spaces in our pumpkin pretty well. Other space-fillers included spirals, rays coming off of the character, and spiderwebs….
(Myla later asked me why her skeleton was on a target…I was actually going for a sort of Twilight Zone-ish sort of spiral, but I guess a target is sort of spooky too, right? RIGHT?)
And there it is! You’ll notice my drawings are pretty indistinguishable from my 8-year old’s, despite my being a grownup, not to mention a fairly experienced illustrator. This is because Myla draws fast, and I have to draw fast to keep up with her. Which is why my “zombie” looks sort of like a green potato waving hello. That’s how I roll sometimes.
But the important thing is, we made a memory! We spent time doing something fun together without some grandiose end plan. Sure, we didn’t get pumpkin goo all over our hands, and we didn’t have to watch it decompose and liquify into slime this whole upcoming month, but we had fun drawing on our plastic pumpkin together, and we have a pretty cool keepsake for awhile now. And that’s totally okay, too.
By the way, if you’re into it, the kid and I will be participating in our own version of Inktober: drawing a spooky thing every day for the whole month of October. You can join us, and post your own thing on your own pages, too. No one wins any awards or anything, it’s just for fun to see if we can do it. We tried last year as well, but failed. We only really succeeded a couple years back–and you can see all our 2015 Inktober drawings HERE.
But this year, we’re READY! We can DO it! We’re probably going to do some other activities as well, because we love Halloween. So keep an eye out for our projects on Facebook and Instagram!
Happy upcoming October, everyone!
I love this idea! I want to buy a real pumpkin because I LOVE toasted pumpkin seeds, but I want the kids to make some art, too. My daughter is in school studying animation, so she could really go to town!
I love this idea. I am a fan of roasting the pumpkin seeds but am not a fan of pumpkins rotting on my steps and porch. Now you have me wondering if I can convince my kids to decorate some fake pumpkins this Halloween.
I am looking forward to seeing what you and Myla come up with for Inktober. This will be my second year of participating and my kids have set me a theme to work to. I would love for them to participate too but so far they aren’t keen because homework is squelching their free time and they have to make tough choices about how to spend that free time.
Lovely results, but still… I find plastic pumpkins far grosser than the real thing.
I love the pumpkin