Paint A Spooky Halloween Scene In Watercolor

Learn About Low-Key Value Composition and Getting Good Darks

 This is a fun lesson just for Halloween! But it gives us the chance to practice getting good darks and creating an interesting low-key value arrangement.  It’s an easy lesson and you’re likely to be surprised and pleased with the result.  Don’t be afraid!


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Painting Night (and Spooky) Scenes In Watercolor

Getting good darks is a fundamental challenge for all watercolor painters. The basic value of most of our colors is light or mid-value. There are a relative handful of colors that can be used to mix darks.

Good darks are essential in nearly all paintings, but they are especially necessary for night scenes – and spooky scenes for Halloween!

In this lesson, we’ll start with a good, low-key value arrangement which will help us create the look of night-time. In this case we also have the bright light of a full moon to shine a half-light on the landscape.

Color choices are critical for a scene like this, and we’ll use three colors whose basic value is dark.

One color note: I use a color called “Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet” in the lesson. It is not a color found on many palettes. If it turns out you don’t have that color, a combination of Permanent Alizarin Crimson and Burnt Sienna is a good approximation and serve just fine for this project.

Drawing Layout For Any Painting

One note on the drawing layout. The downloadable layouts are done with heavy lines to make it easy to see and copy onto your watercolor paper. It is best not to draw the lines too heavy on your paper, especially in the sky, since there is a good chance the lines will show through the paint. It’s not a deal-breaker, but those heavy pencil lines are sometimes a distraction.

What you’ll need


Get ready, turn on the video and let’s jump in!

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Low-Key Cube Study

Winter Night Scene

Spooky House For Halloween

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