Silly Watercolor Ghosts | Daniela Mellen | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Silly Watercolor Ghosts

teacher avatar Daniela Mellen, Artist & Author

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

12 Lessons (38m)
    • 1. Watercolor Silly Ghosts Class Intro

    • 2. Class Supplies

    • 3. Using the Template

    • 4. Painting Ghost #1

    • 5. Painting the Ghost's Body

    • 6. Outlining the Body

    • 7. Painting the Face

    • 8. Painting Final Details

    • 9. Painting Ghost #2

    • 10. Outlining the Body

    • 11. Painting Final Details

    • 12. Class Wrap Up

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Ghosts can be spooky specters or silly spirits. In today’s class, we’ll focus on the silly and whimsical aspect of these adorable Halloween inspired illustrations. Using the blending and translucent properties of watercolor, we’l create beautiful ghost shapes that are colorful and unique. We’ll begin by creating a sketch in pencil. Class includes a two-page downloadable template with 4 ghost shapes. Also included, is a Silly Ghost Ideas Page that you can refer to for inspiration for playful accessories, like thick framed glasses, or an elegant chapeau. I’ll show techniques for altering the template and then we’ll start painting.  In class, I’ll show a wet-on-wet technique using blues and purples to paint the body, but you can personalize the colors as you choose.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Daniela Mellen

Artist & Author


I'm an artist and author living in coastal Florida and surrounded by plants, animals, marine life, and the warm sun - all things that inspire me.

I am drawn to creating things and love to get lost in projects. Each day is a opportunity to learn something new, build on existing skills, and branch out to new ones. I was formally trained as a educator which is my passion and incorporating art into teaching makes my life complete.

I upload art classes every Friday, here on Skillshare. You'll see handmade books, memory keeping, watercolor, acrylic paint, unique art supplies, and photography composition. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to seeing your work.

Check out my blog for additional info on my website or my YouTube Channel for additional c... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Watercolor Silly Ghosts Class Intro: Not all paintings have to be serious. And in fact, sometimes the later ones can be just what the doctor ordered. Today's class. Silly watercolor ghost is a perfect example of a light-hearted and take on an otherwise scary subject. Hi, I'm Daniela Mellen, an author and artist. In today's class, we'll make transparent ghosts that are more adorable than spooky. We'll practice beginner wet on wet techniques to make a smooth blend of pigments and then add some detail work with delicate brush strokes. I'll show too silly ghosts and give templates for, for that you can alter to make them ridiculous, absurd, and of course, adorable. And best of all, these ghosts aren't limited to human shapes. So grab your watercolor supplies and let's get started. 2. Class Supplies: So these are the supplies that we'll use to make our watercolors silly ghosts. There's a few downloads. The first one is just some ideas for different facial expressions and accessories. And we'll go over this more in class. Then there's a templates. Now you can use these to trace over them or even cut them out and use them as a pencil or a guide to make your images on your paper. There are four of them. A ghost, a cat, Ghost, Dog, ghost in a bear goes just to make them really silly. But you can alter these and make other shapes as well. And then I'm just using six by 940 pound watercolor paper today in class. I have a pencil and an eraser to make my sketch. And I'll use a light source because I'm going to trace my sketch. But you can do it free hand or you can use even light from a window. I have some brushes to size six and a number one, and then my watercolors. And I'll include a separate download with the exact colors we use in class today. I also have a paper towel just to clean my brushes, as well as a jug of water. The next chapter, we'll go over using the template. 3. Using the Template: Now to use the template, I take the template and I choose whichever ghost I would like to trace. And then I have my light source. And like I said, this can be the light from a window. These are simple shapes, so you can cut them out and trace around them. Or you can just hold them up to your light source and put your paper on top of it. So I'll take the simple ghost shape that I have here. Illuminate my light pad. And then I put my paper on the pad and I can see exactly where I have my ghost image that I want to trace around. And then with a pencil, I take a very light hand and trace that image. Now I can do this with all the ghosts that I want to paint. At this point, I'm very careful not to trace too hard and scratch the paper, and then I just erase any pencil marks that I don't want to use. And again, I like a very light hand, so less pencil marks are better. Now from here, I can embellish my ghost. I can alter the shape of him further. Perhaps I want longer arms or I want more drape, or I want this tail to really come out and kind of work its way up. So I can modify this template doing this procedure. So now I want to make my facial expression on the ghost. And really the choice is yours. You can match the eyes. That can be different. They can be a reflection of each other. So I'm just going to create two eyes here. Very different shapes, but that's up to you. And then the mouth, and the mouth can be happy, scary, sad. This really puts into perspective the look you're going for. So I'm just going to make a smile here, kind of a crooked smile. So now for the head, I might want to change the shape of the head, maybe making a little bit of a point. Or I can make a longer head like a gnome, a hat. It's up to you. And then you can decide if you want to add accessories. You can add any accessories. I have examples here of headphones or a tie, a hat, sunglasses, pearl necklace, anything you'd like. One suggestion I have is not to overdo it with the accessories since it's a silly ghost, less is more. So maybe you can make him holding something or a bird on his arm, or a bow tie or a party hat. And so I think I'll add a little bit of a party hat. And I'll just make a simple triangle shape, kinda crooked. Again. I'll erase any pencil marks as I go. Maybe make this had a little larger sitting on his head. And then I'll just add a few stripes to the hat. I can same thing, elongate the arms as I'd like. And I'll do the same thing when I want to do a ghost. That's either a cat, a dog, or a bear. I have the basic shapes here on my template and then I can embellish them further or change them to make them a little more unique. This series is this. So there I've modified my cat ghost, and here I have my plane goes template. And these are the two that will complete in class. The next chapter, we'll start painting our first ghost. 4. Painting Ghost #1: So to start painting my ghost, I'm going to paint very light layers on the ghost body because I want him to look very transparent and ethinyl to take just some clear water on my large number six brush. And I'm going to wet the inside of the ghost. I'll go over the face because I know that I'm going to paint those eyes and mouth with a very dark color. But I'm gonna be very careful to stay inside the lines here of this actual ghost, leaving a little barrier to the pencil marks. So now and that's really saturated. I'll mix a very light color. And then I'll mix a few of them. Put some water on my palette, and I'll take some civilian blue. Get a nice rich color. And omics just a little Prussian blue. And with that, just to deepen that, I'll make another puddle with a little more Prussian blue. And they'll make the third puddle with some Prussian blue, some water, and some violet. And now I want these colors to be really different, but very subtle. So I'll add a little bit of water to each one. And then I'm going to switch to my smaller number 6 brush that has a finer point. And I'm going to take the deepest color first. Maybe add another brush full of water to it because I want it to be very light. And I'm going to start on one section because I'm right-handed. I like to start on the left-hand side. And I'm just going to pull that color all the way around. And as you can see, it's very wet. And so the color is really moving. And I'll just pull that down creating that outline. I can either rinse off my brush or just pick up another color. And again, continue all the way here, creating that perimeter of this ghost. I'm trying to alternate the colors, not in any particularly set way. And then I'll just dip my brush in water with a neat just to blend it out. I'll rinse my brush again with clear water, gently oozing that color to the center. I want it to be super light at the center of my object here, the ghost, and darker at the edges. Again, I'm going to constantly be blending this color out to make very soft edges. Pick up that darker color again. And I'll turn my paper around. And I'll start on the other side, creating that shape. And then blending that color out in case the paper has dried. I'll switch to a different color. Go around, come up top here, and go around, rinse my brush with clear water and blending that out. Where the colors meet. I'll dip my brush in water again just to make sure it's a very wet brush. Don't want any harsh lines inside this ghost body. Dip my brush in water, keep this pigment moving and continue all the way around the ghost. If my face got too dark. And in this case it's not really too dark. But I'm just going to show you the technique. I take a very clean brush with clean water on it. And I'm just going to press that pigment out away from the face and away from the center of the body. You can also dab it with a paper towel if it's too wet. And then before we let this layer dry, it's going to take a little bit of this dark color and make it a little bit of a shadow underneath my accessory here, the hat. If I didn't have the hat, I would just still make it a little bit darker than the rest of the ghost. And then again, I want to just take a clean wet brush and blend that color out. Any areas or drying too quickly. I'll go in with a wet brush and just rewet them. And then I'll set this aside and let it dry. 5. Painting the Ghost's Body: After the first layer is dried, thoroughly dried, I just went in and removed any pencil marks with an eraser from the ghost body. I left the face and the hat here. A little few pencil marks remaining are just fine. I just wanted to fine tune it a little further. So now you can stop here if you're happy with the way your ghost looks. I want to add a little pop of color. So I'm gonna take my large brush yet again, fill it with clear water. And again, I'm just going to go over my ghost body, not trying to move the paint around. I'm just really trying to saturate that body so that when I introduce a little bit of color this time, it will blend nicely and there won't be any harsh lines. I'm also avoiding the center of the ghost. If I get a little water in the center, that's okay, I can blend it out, but I really want the emphasis to be on the perimeter of the ghost. So now we have a lot of blue in this layer. And if I didn't have as much blue, I might consider adding a little more blue, but I want to take a little purple and add it here. And I'm not just going to use straight purple, I'll mix in a little of the blue that we have. Leftover on the palette and just a little bit of water. And then in certain areas I'm just going to deposit a little bit of this purple. And because I didn't put water on the perimeter, the exact edge, it's going to just sit there. And so I'm going to quickly go to work quickly and take my brush and just blend that out until it gets to the wet area. Now for the ghost, I don't want any harsh edges, so I'm going to really be sure to blend that out. Just like a little pop of color here and there on my ghost, and it doesn't have to be purple. You can use pinks are other colors that blend nicely with the blue. You can even use a little green. I just like the coolness of the purple and the blue. I'll take a little more purple. I like to turn my paper around because I'm just going for a nice loose edge. Rinse my brush and blend it out. I just want to make sure it blends all the way around. Take a little more purple over here, and just blending that out. And I'm quite pleased with the way that looks a little purple. Just put it inside the ghosts body, not quite in the center, but just a little bit away from the edge. And blend that out. Just gives a very thorough feeling. And I'll let this layer completely dry. 6. Outlining the Body: So now we have two layers. For this ghost, I want to add the third layer, and it's a very simple layer, going to use whatever's on my palette. And if you have washed your palette or if it's dry, just add a few more of those colors. The surly in blue, the purple, and the Prussian blue. And then I'm gonna take my small brush, my number one brush, and I'm going to pick up a color, not the darkest color. And I'm just going to put it on my brush and with a very sharp point in a very light hand, I just want to create a little bit of an edge here to my ghost just to make that border really sharp. And I'm going to go over that ghost very gently, very soft strokes. Now we know it's a little dark now but it will dry much lighter. And I just want to give a nice border. So a very gently and carefully and slowly go all the way around my ghost. You can alternate the color if you'd like. Here, I'm dipping it in a little bit of that purple color. Again, just sharpening up the edge. Now alternate back with that civilian blue with the Prussian mixed in. Then I'll go back to the purple. Take a little bit of the darker color just up here for that arm. And then I like to seek that purple and go right underneath that hat. That's completely optional. Going to let this layer dry and then we'll come back and work on our accessories. 7. Painting the Face: So now that our ghost is dry and I still wanna do a little bit of detail work. We're going to work on the accessories first. So again, I'm going to use my small brush and we'll just some clear water. I'll go over the eyes, just saturating them. I want that paper inside the shape of the eyes and the mouth to be wet. I don't want it to be so wet that it puddles. And if it is, I'll use my brush to absorb it and move it around. Or can always dab it with a paper towel. Very gently dab it so it doesn't spread. Now I'll mix my color on my palette. Just going to take some of this Payne's gray. So I have a nice dark color and I'll add a little bit of Prussian blue with that, just to tie it into our ghost. And very carefully, I'm going to add pigment to this. I here. It'll look like a light gray. I can decide if I want to leave a little white spot for a highlight or just fill in this layer the first time. So we'll leave too little highlights of the eye. And I'm very carefully filling that in. And I'll fill in the mouth. I'll give that a moment to sink in and absorb before I add a little more color to it. So now I'm going to rinse my brush and I'll switch to my pointing number 6. Just going to have a little bit of water to two of those stripes on the hat. I'll mix my color here. I have some viridian green. It's a nice bright green. And I want to mix a little Prussian blue with that. A little more viridian green. Switch to my smaller brush so I have more control. And I'm just going to outline that area right on the hat. That section because I want it to look striped, not coloring in the entire area. Just depositing color. And I'll do that on the second stripe. Now because I want it to look three-dimensional, I'm going to add pigment on the bottom of the stripe and the top. Now I'll rinse my brush. So I have just clean water on it, wet the inside and just let that pigment wick away to the center. I'll push the pigment on that top stripe. Dry my brush so it's thirsty. And again, pull that pigment away. I want this effect to be very subtle, very ghost-like and transparent. I'll go in with a little more of this viridian green and mix it into the color I have. So there's a little more pigment and I'm just going to dab it on the top and the bottom of this stripe. Want there to be a lot of blending here. Then I'm gonna go in with a little more of this Payne's gray on my brush, a little more intense color. Again with my small brush. I'm going to add a little more pigment to the eyes. Again, carving out the shape and avoiding those little highlights I left originally. Picking it more color. And where it's wet, it will move freely just like watercolor should and is expected to. I want to make sure I'm really carving out shapes very nicely and neatly. And then I'm going to dab in the color for the mouth on the sides and the bottom. Get nice round edges. And I'll let this layer completely dry. 8. Painting Final Details: So now that this layer is dry, I want to work on finishing up the hat at adding a little shadow on the ghost body. So I'm gonna just go take my number six, brush with clear water and any of the areas that seem to intersect, like the arms up here, the base of the tail. And he curbs really. I'm gonna go in there and just dab with some clear water. And then I'm gonna just take my lightest color and just add a little bit of color to those areas. I'll add the color. And then with a wet brush, blend it out. I'm just trying to create a little more color in those areas that seem to form a crease. And I can blend that out. Just a few areas completely optional step just gives a little more dimension. Key is to really blend it out. And now to finish the party had I get to choose a color that I want to use, I'm going to take some of this yellow, green and mix it on my palette with a little of this viridian hue. So I get a different shade of green. Rinse my brush, and I'm just going to wet the edges here. The top and the bottom of the stripe that I'm going to add introduced the color too. Now I'm just going to go over that area, depositing the color. Then I'll clean my brush. And it's going to be wet again. I'm going to go into the center of that stripe. What that paper and let that pigment wick away. Just to combine the bottom and the top of that color. I'll go in with a little more pigment, just deposited at the top. And the bottom again, give a little more pigment, a little more vibrancy. And those colors will run a little further. And there I have our first ghost. The next chapter we'll start the second ghost, the cat ghost. 9. Painting Ghost #2: To start our cat ghost, who started just like I did with the first ghost, going to take some clear water paint all over the body, avoiding the pencil marks. But really getting this shape nice and saturated. Then I'll mix my color, put some water on my palette, gonna take some cerulean blue and a little Prussian blue just like last time. And then a little of this purple. Make sure I add enough water to make the colors very light and transparent. And this time, I think I'm gonna take a little brilliant pink and introduce an additional color. I'll switch to my number 6 brush. And I'll take some of this color here and I'll begin creating that outline. Make a nice thick outline. Just going down portion of the ways. Then switch to another color and add that in. Before it dries. I want to introduce some clear water with my brush just to blend out those edges. I want to keep everything moving. We don't want the pigment drawing onto the paper and blend all the way up here. Take a little bit more clear water. Just go over the side that I'm going to move to. Take a little bit of that purple, go around that edge, introduce some purple, and then blend it out. Continue all the way around the body here. Switching colors as I go. Just for a little variation, but there'll be a nice blend where they meet. Rinse my brush, blend out those colors I've already added. Just working on the perimeter for now. Come up here to the ears and the head. And then again, blend everything out. Get those nice blended edges all the way around. And then for this arm here that is on top of it, on top of the body. I'll go in just on the interior. Add my colors as if it was a perimeter. And then very carefully blended out. Can push the pigment around so it doesn't stay flat in that area. Kind of gravitates towards that. The perimeter of that arm blended out over here as well. Getting a dry brush to pick up the pigment. Don't like the way it's moving. Same thing underneath. It's bleeding out. Push my pigment around, rinse my brush and dry it off so that it will absorb that pigment. And I'm very happy with this first layer. We'll let this dry and we'll come back and work on it a little further. 10. Outlining the Body: The layer has dried. I went around and remove any pencil marks that I could, but most of them are still here. Now I want to enhance this layer a little further. Going to take my number six brush with a pointy tip, add some water. And I'm just going to go over the areas around the edges where they meet like this head in this arm or pause. And then I'm going to go right up top here on the inside of this pause again. And then down here just at the base, these high areas, base of the tail, maybe the ears as well. I'll switch to my smaller brush, just going to pick up some pigment and deposit it in those areas. And again, we want them to blend out so I don't want them to dry until in place. I'll come with a wet brush and make sure they blend nicely. Pick up a different color. Continue adding it will do this section first. Go all the way around the top. Then with a wet brush, splendid out. Take a little more pigment right on those areas just to give a little interest. And then up here on the head, I'm gonna just add some clear water. Good distance around the perimeter, leaving the center a little lighter. Just going to introduce a little of that pink. Not so much, just a hint of it here in there. And again, I want that to blend out nicely. I'll add a little pink to the pour into this pause as well. Again, blending it out. Now I'll come around here on the base. And those areas I wanted to add a little more shadow, deposit that pigment and blend it out. While I'm here. I'll take my color and I'll do my outline layer. Just a little bit of color on my brush. And with a very light stroke, I'm just clarifying that outline. I can switch colors. And I go all the way around. It'll dry lighter, but it will give a crisper edge. By switching colors, it doesn't make it look so uniform. Can even take a little bit of pink every now and again. Just to add that in, outline, all those layers. I'm not going to outline the inner pause because I want that to really dry. I don't want it to blend out. But we'll outline it when we come back and we'll work on the eyes. So once I have this outline done, I can take a look at how it came across. There's any areas here I want to blend out. We'll just use my wet brush to soften those edges. Same thing down here. See that this area didn't blend out as well as I'd like. And a little more pigment. And a little blend. Maybe a little color here as well. And a little blend. Reintroduce that pink somewhat. And I'll let this layer completely dry. 11. Painting Final Details: So now that this layer has dried, it's going to go in there with a little bit of color on my brush. And I want to outline very lightly and very carefully this Paul here. When I get to the end, I want it to trail off into the body. So I'll stop my stroke with a clean, wet brush, more damped and wet. I'll just blend it out. So it blends. Then I'll take a little bit of that color and work on the top. Once I have my shape, I'll rinse my brush and just blend it out so it seamlessly goes into the body. I'll take a little of that purple and just add it to different sections as well. And now I went to work on the face. I'll take my Payne's gray. Really wet that get a nice puddle here. And on the dry paper, I'm going to start by working on the nose here. Going to outline the nose. It's very light strokes. And then I just want to make a little area here that's highlighted. So I leave the white of the paper showing it's too thick. I can just gently go in there and slowly thin it out. Then I want to take my color and my strokes and just make little whiskers. Go to the other side, pull those whiskers toward me. And then I'll work on the eyes. Again. I'll start by making the perimeter and then I'll fill it in, leaving a little highlight up top. And I'll do the same thing with the other eye. Turning it around. And there I have are silly cat ghost. In the next chapter we'll take a look at some variations using the templates that we have and the same techniques. 12. Class Wrap Up: So here are the two completed paintings we did in class, using the templates that were included in the class downloads, as well as the silly ghost ideas to make accessories in different fund goes. I wanted to show you some variations. So using the same templates and the same accessory ideas, I created a silly Ghost with different thick glasses. This is the cat directly from the template without any modifications to make the pause draped a little further and you get a different feel. I have the bear. And you can obviously change this in many, many ways. I have a puppy. So I thought was really cute. And then I need a more traditional ghost. But to make it silly, I added kind of an old man's had just bought that had a lot of character. Now you can create your images and go even further with it. And I'll show you a variation on that. So I took the original images that I created on my computer, I scan them in and then I printed them out to make this little Garland, but also make really cute gift tags. And this can be done in any size. I have them made into larger tags for a banner, for a Halloween party. Or the simple little ones. I hope you'll try your hand at a silly ghost using the templates or maybe even creating a completely unique silly ghost. If you do create a ghost, be sure to snap a picture and upload it to the project section. Be sure to follow me here on Skillshare to get notified of future classes. And if you're interested in even more art ideas, please follow me on YouTube as well, where I release new videos every Monday. Thanks for joining me today.