How to paint ghosts

First, I use acrylic paint that has a lot of water in it. This allows the paint to "spread out in a thin transparent layer and dry smooth with no texture.

The background is very important. I like to put down a lot of layers for the background part of the picture…..for example if I have a building in the background that is red. Ill paint it red once…they paint it over with 3 or 4 more layers of different tones of red. Why….well the background has to has to have some thickness (of paint) to create contrast with the ghost that you will paint over top to make the ghost pop out.

Paint the background items very distinctly.

Now, the ghost itself. I draw the ghost over top of the background with pencil. Use a hard pencil…..I use a #3 so as to get as little lead smear on the painting. And don’t smear the lead with your hands as you paint….and if too much lead gets on the painting, remove it by dabbing masking tape on the canvas. Further, to prevent smearing you can cover parts of the ghost that you are not working on with a piece of paper.

Now you outline the parts of the ghost figure very lightly with the dominate color of each part of the ghost….for example, blue for the hat, flesh color for the face, black for the shoes, etc. Do it very lightly with a lot of water in the paint…..and don’t worry if you miss or just choose not to paint some lines….after all it is a ghost and every line does not need to be defined….you choose which parts of the ghost you want to emphasize…..usually it is good to define the face and hands of the ghost a bit more than other parts of the body.

Now you are ready for some shading using what I call, “smear technique”….first be sure that the lines you painted are dry….now, you paint over these same lines with more paint that has a lot of water in it….but quick before it dries….you smear the paint with your finger, from the outside of the part of the figure that you are painting toward the center of the same. Do each part of the ghost figure in turn. Do each color in turn. You can “smear” or shade with the side of a brush instead of a finger.

Wait for the paint to dry. Erase the pencil lines from your ghost figure….and voila….there is your ghost. Hey, it is easy!

How to paint ghosts


Oconto, United States

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