Step-by-step: De­pict a con­vinc­ing ghostly fig­ure

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1 First I sketch out my com­po­si­tion. The pos­ture of your fig­ure helps to ex­press their per­son­al­ity or in­ten­tions. One trick to cre­at­ing un­dead char­ac­ters is to make them lum­ber­ing or hunched, but here I de­cide to show it pulling a ghostly sword from the ef­figy. Sto­ry­telling can be key to sell­ing a char­ac­ter. 2 The dark tomb will ac­cen­tu­ate the spec­tral glow of your ghost. When block­ing in your paint­ing, use a lim­ited pal­ette in cool colours, fo­cus­ing on sat­u­ra­tion and value to de­fine your shapes. This will help tie your pic­ture to­gether and make it look like your char­ac­ter is the soli­tary glow­ing light source in the scene. 3 Use con­trast and con­trol the di­rec­tion of your brush­strokes to di­rect your viewer’s eye. This will aid sto­ry­telling and cre­ate a fo­cal point. I push the hues of the im­age fur­ther to­wards blue to iden­tify the sword as the key point in the story. Color Dodge mode can be an ef­fec­tive way to add this kind of colour.

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