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Create a Spooky Halloween Illustration in Photoshop

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Read Time: 13 min

Around the holidays, you may be asked to create artwork around a particular theme. In this tutorial, we will get into the Halloween spirit and create a spooky Halloween illustration. Let's get started!

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial.

Step 1

Create a New File by going to File > New (Command/Ctrl + N). In Preset select International Paper and in Size, A4.

With Paint Bucket (G) and a dark gray, fill the Background Layer and add a new layer (Shift + Command/Ctrl + N).

Step 2

With the Brush Tool (B) with Pen Pressure activated mode, Transfer mode (optional) and white, let«s start doing the sketch.

When finished, lower the Opacity of this layer to 16%.

Step 3

Add a new layer below the sketch. With the round, soft Brush Tool (B), Transfer mode activated and ligth gray, begins to paint roughly the volumes, in this case, the light that comes from above.
If you're not sure, you can draw a grid in another layer to more easily locate where the light strikes.

Step 4

Now, use black to paint the dark areas, such as hair and clothing, and to define the main shadows, also start drawing the facial features.
To do this, you must constantly be changing brush size and even activating the pressure to, for example, the lips and around the eyes.

At this point, we turn off the sketch layer, and in a new layer using light gray, dark gray and black, little by little we started to give more definition to the forms.

It is best to vary not only the brush size, but also the opacity, especially to create tonal transitions to create smoother gradients. For this it is best to use a very soft brush and little opacity.

Step 5

On a new layer, using a small brush with Pen Pressure Mode on, let's draw with black the eyes, nostrils and lips. Do not be afraid to put many shiners, that gives the dark look we are looking for.

Now do the same with white highlights and defining easing other lighted areas.

Step 6

Continuous smoothing the gradients. The idea is to exaggerate the paleness of the girl in contrast to the masses of black hair, eyes and clothing.
Use black to clean the dress contours and arms.

Do the same with the pumpkin, but in this case it is not necessary to make the gradients so smooth, so it looks like cascara texture.
Remember you can use the grid to place the lights and shadows.

Step 7

Select all layers and merge them using Command/Ctrl + E.
With the Eraser Tool (E) and a semi-hard brush at 100% opacity and the Pen Pressure, clean the outer contours.

Step 8

Add a new layer to continue defining the volume and shape of the pumpkin.
Make some spots, lighter and darker.

To the relief of some of the spots we will make some fine lines around of light and shadow.
When finish, merge down all layers.

Step 9

In a new layer draw one of the eyes of the pumpkin.

Paint a little soft shadow on the sides.

With a small brush draws some cracks.

Now make thin lines with light gray on the edges where the light strikes.
Duplicate the layer of the eye, by dragging it with Alt pressed.
Now press Command/Ctrl + T, right click and click Flip Horizontal.

Drag the eye into position and rotate it a little to the left if necessary. Double click to place it.
Erase the cracks and draw different ones.

Step 10

Follow the same process to paint the mouth.
Merge down all layers when finish.

Step 11

With a hard brush and light gray, make some spots for the pumpkin filling, we will use the game giving with Transfer opacity mode to mark the volume. Then we will end up with dark gray to the shadows. Also paint the shadow cast on the skin of the pumpkin.

Use the Burn Tool (O) with a soft brush, set to Highlights: 67% to darken parts of the pumpkin filling are deeper.

Step 12

Now we return to the skin, especially the face. With a soft brush, with Transfer activated Mode and Opacity 17%, soften gradients using white and dark gray.

Step 13

Now add a few points of light in the face. With a small, hard brush, Opacity: 90% with white, do some fine lines just under the eyecup, the lower eyelid, lips and at the corners of the mouth and sides of the nose.
Then paint with black lashes as shown in the image.

Using white do a few discrete lines at the top of each eyelash.

Step 14

Now let's work a little more body. Start by marking some thin dark lines to define the breast, using a small brush.
Also adds some filigree the necklace.

With a semi-soft brush without Pen Pressure, add points of light on the chest and her arms. If necessary, use black to fix the dress shape or definition.

Let«s make some more filigree on the neckline and skirt.
Merge all layers when finish.

Step 15

With the Eraser Tool (E) with a hard brush, without Transfer Mode, let's clear it around the handle of the knife.

Now, paint the handle of the knife with a dark brown, do not forget of the nails. Also with the Eraser Tool, do a few notches in the blade.

With white, add some highlights on the blade and some black lines in the notches for the shadows.
To paint the hand, select the Eyedropper Tool (I) and choose the tone of gray on the wrist.
Take a hard brush with Pen Pressure activated and draws the thumb. With white paint light on the finger.

Step 16

Open the file (Command/Ctrl + O) Efimer_Brooch.jpg. Select the Lasso Tool (L) and make a quick selection around the brooch.
Drag with the Move Tool (V) to the document you're working on.

Press Command/Ctrl + T, make it smaller and place it on the necklace as seen in the image.
Now with the Eraser Tool (E) and a hard brush at 100% opacity erases around the brooch.

To remove the saturation, open the Hue / Saturation panel (Command/Ctrl + U) and set Saturation: -67.

With a soft brush, low opacity and black, darkens the top of the brooch.
With a small brush paints a bigger bow tie.

Step 17

For the stockings, use black to paint the legs with a soft brush on a new layer with fill: 73%.

Use the Eraser Tool (E) to do some "holes" or "scratches" in the stockings.

Use the Blur Tool with a soft brush and set Strength: 60% to blur the holes a little bit.

Take a small brush and paint with dark gray the upper inside edge and the bottom with light gray.

Step 18

Create a new layer and use a hard brush with Pen Pressure activated to paint locks of hair.
Make some strands pass ahead and others remaining behind and above the pumpkin.

In the same layer, we will fix a little the hair skull brooch.

Step 19

Let's work a bit the background.
First, the shadow on the ground. Select all the layers you have and drag them down, pressing ALT, to duplicate.
Merge them by pressing Command/Ctrl + E.

With Hue / Saturation (Command/Ctrl + U) set Lightness: -100 to darken the layer.

Press Command/Ctrl + T and then right click and Flip Vertical.

Move the layer down to match it with the pumpkin base.
Use the Eraser Tool (E) with a soft brush and the Opacity to 21% to create a gradient of shadow.

Step 20

On a new layer, paint some pumpkin filling on the ground, as was done previously, using light gray and dark gray for the shades.

Create another layer above the one with the shadow of the pumpkin. With a soft brush and the Eraser Tool, paint the shadows on the floor.

Use the Burn Tool (O) with Range: Midtones Exposure: 67% to darken the base of the pumpkin filling.

Step 21

Add a layer underneath everything. Make a selection like the one seen in the image with the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M).

With the Gradient Tool (G) Make a linear gradient from white to transparent. For this, you must put white as the foreground color.

Duplicate the gradient layer and press Command/Ctrl + T. With the Move Tool (V) moves the center pivot to the lower limit of the gradient.

Right click and select Flip Vertical.
Set both layers to Fill: 63%

Step 22

In a layer between the background and the figures, paint a white shine surrounding the girl and the pumpkin, too sideways on the ground, as seen in the image.
Use a soft brush at low opacity to soften the glow.

In this case, the brightness is seen through the figures.
To fix this, I deleted the glow from behind and painted black below the hair and clothing.

Step 23

Now is the time to add some tentacles! Create a new layer and make a sketch of them.

Step 24

Turn down the Opacity of the tentacle«s sketch.
With the Pen Tool (P) draw them, trying to make the curves smooth.

To make the black stripes, use the Pen Tool (P). The Tentacle Vector Mask will be a layer mask.
To do this, place the cursor between the strip and the tentacle with Alt pressed.

Step 25

Double click the tentacle layer to add Inner Shadows (Layer Style).
Set: Multiply, Black color, Opacity: 92%, Distance: 0, Choke: 5%, Size: 79.

Add a new layer on top of the tentacle, and put inside the tentacle with Alt.
Set to Multiply Mode, and use gray and a soft brush to add more shadows as seen in the image.
Add another layer and do the same to add shimmering light around the edges

When the three tentacles are finished, add a layer on top with Multiply Mode.
Select the three tentacles and a soft brush with Transfer mode enabled, paints shade as shown in the picture.

Add another layer, this time with Hard Light Mode and Fill: 24%.
Use a small brush and white to make a fine gloss.

Step 26

Put all layers of the tentacles in a new group. Duplicate this group by dragging with Alt pressed.
Press Command/Ctrl + T, right click and choose Flip Horizontal.
Move these tentacles into position on the other side of the girl.

Step 27

Add a layer below the tentacles and paint with black to cast the shadow on the ground.

With the Eraser tool (E) and a soft brush with Opacity: 49%
erases to blur slightly.

Step 28

Merge each group of tentacles by selecting and pressing Command/Ctrl + E.
I prefer to keep a copy with the layers, just in case you need them later.

In this case, I realized that the whole composition is stuck to the right, so I select all the layers except the light on the wall and floor.
Press Command/Ctrl + T and move it to the left to center it.

Step 29

We return to the girl and reinforce the shadows, especially in the legs, shoulders and forehead.

Step 30

Now for the hair: In a new layer, use a very small hard brush to paint with a white thin lines for the hair«s shine.

Softens the outlines with the Eraser Tool (E) with very low opacity. Then, using black color, draw loose hairs around as seen on the picture.

The skull brooch has remained flat in comparison, to give more volume, darken the edges and illuminate from above.

Step 31

To give some appearance of metal to the knife, first make a round glow of light, using a soft brush.

Now do some "stars" on a new layer, and lower a bit of opacity.

Add a focal point to the "stars" and draw the blade glows. Use the Erase Tool (E) to soften.

Step 32

Double click on one of the tentacle«s layers.
In the Layer Style, choose Inner Shadow and set: Blend Mode: Overlay and white, Distance:0, Choke:0, Size:49.
Copy the style in the other layer.

Step 33

Place the Texture 1 just above the white gradient background. Command/Ctrl + T and change its size until it is as seen in the image.

Press Command/Ctrl + I to invert the colors and set the layer to Multiply, Fill: 56%.
With the Eraser Tool and a soft brush, erase under the girl is and softens the lower part of the texture.

Step 35

Let's do some more tweaks on the image: Add thin wisps of hair, so they are hanging from the tentacles and the pumpkin.

Above all add a Levels adjustment layer. Set as seen in the image.

Add a Layer in Multiply Mode, Fill: 63% and use black for reinforcing shadows once again, which is necessary in this case.

In another layer, draw the eyebrows.

Step 36

In a layer below the tentacles, draw spiderwebs beneath the pumpkin, tentacles and the brooch.

Use the Burn Tool (O), Range: Highlights, Exposure: 67% to darken in the zones where the shadow goes.

With a small, hard brush, I paint some one-eyed spiders.

Step 37

Above all, adds a layer filled with any color and set Fill: 0%. Double click to open Layer Style and choose Inner Shadow.
Set: Blend Mode: Multiply and black, Opacity: 100%, Distance: 0, Choke: 23, Size: 243.

Step 38

Now is the turn of the text.
Select the Horizontal Type Tool (T), click on the canvas and type the phrase using the font "Spiderfingers". Set as seen in the image.

Right click on the text layer and choose Rasterize Type to convert it into pixels, to work with it as an image.
Personally, I always duplicate the text layer leave it unrasterized and hidden in case I need the text options later.

Right click on the layer and select Perspective.
Move the upper left node to the right and the lower to the left, to have the same perspective as the floor.

Move the upper left node to the right and the lower to the left, to have the same perspective as the floor.
Right click again and choose Distort.

Move the top center node down slightly, to finish placing it in the same plane as the floor.

Lower the opacity of the layer. Fill: 41%.

Open the Layer Style by double clicking on the layer and select Inner Shadow and Stroke. Set as seen in the images below.

Step 39

Finally, we will add texture.
Place the image on the canvas, just above all layers, press Command/Ctrl + T and stretch horizontally and vertically until it matches the canvas.

Duplicate the layer, hiding one of them and put the other in Soft Light mode and Fill: 58%.

Erase with a soft brush under the girl, especially on the face and arms.

Make visible the other layer and place it in color mode, fill: 37%.

Make Command/Ctrl + T and flip vertical.

Double Click for the Layer Style, choose Inner Shadow and set: Blend Mode: Multiply, black, Opacity: 66%, Distance: 0, Choke: 23%, Size: 95.
Et Voilˆ! The illustration is finished.

Final Image

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