CIRCLEVILLE — With no 2020 Circleville Pumpkin Show, the Circleville Herald’s Pumpkin Show Cover Contest winner didn’t get a chance to show off her skills for one final time and missed out on a cover.

Genevieve Carstensen, a former student at Logan Elm who has now moved on to Kent State, won the Herald’s art contest her first three years in high school. The contest is open to high school students in Pickaway County. Staff, in a blind vote where the artist’s name and school is hidden, voted on the winner.

“I was really bummed out that there wasn’t going to be a contest; it was a disappointment,” Carsetensen said. “I was still thinking of designs even though there wasn’t a contest going on. The design in 2019 was my favorite I had done and I feel like it’s my best.”

Carstensen had three distinct designs; something that she said was difficult each year.

“There’s not much variation that you can have with the Circleville Pumpkin Show words and a pumpkin,” she said. “I looked at a lot of art deco and 1930’s-era posts that only had three colors in their color scheme to give it unity. I stuck with orange for pumpkins, and I liked a cool blue for an October night. It’s inspired by Pumpkin Show from my house and I can see the pumpkin tower and Pumpkin Show in the distance, just over the tree line, so I picked that for my design."

For that work, Carstensen spent most of her time designing it rather than creating it.

“I spent about a month and a half working on the actual design,” she said. “When it comes down to it, the composition takes the most time. Inching over a letter a few millimeters makes a big difference in how it looks in the end. I did a lot of research and looked at different styles and tried to see if those would work.

I forgot about the deadline when it was suppose to be due. Then I realized it was going to be due the day of, so I kind of freaked out and I was like, “I'm just going to have to do it.”

I stayed in the art room the whole day and skipped a few classes. I painted the poster all in one day. I wish I had more time to do it, but it worked out.”

As far as advice for students moving forward, Carstensen said she was glad to share some secrets since she can’t enter anymore.

“First of all, since it is a poster contest, the most important thing is the lettering and the title, Circleville Pumpkin Show, which I feel people brush off,” she said. “The type should take priority. Most people spend a lot of time on the illustration. Definitely, type is the biggest part of it. Make sure you choose a font that is distinctive and fun and legible. If you can't read it, it's no point putting it on the design.

My number two would be in the overall composition and the overall style of how you paint it. It has to be unifying and look like it all has to go together. They have to be somewhat simplified because they'll be blown up big on a book page or put on an actual poster, so they have to be able to be scaled up pretty well.

My last tip, which is not an overall rule, is to always do research on other people's style because you can always try that out and see how you can make it yours. You can see historical styles because people love retro stuff and that's worked for me.”

Carstensen, who is now studying fine art at Kent State focusing on textile design and minoring in graphic art, said she’d still enter if she could.

“I still think about it for fun and how I'd design the Pumpkin Show fun,” she said. “I have to give thanks to my parents because it was really helpful to have them with me to ask for their opinion and critique and instruction. It's different now that I'm in college and they're not around. I have their voices in my head telling me to keep working on things.”

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