Making Jack Skellington From The Nightmare Before Christmas



Being born on Halloween might make me partial to this one right here, but come on, who doesn’t love The Nightmare Before Christmas? After having this movie come up in conversation about how any scene from the movie would make a great tattoo, I decided to go the less painful route and throw it on a canvas. Here is a walkthrough of how I created it with Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas!

When I’m doing a canvas where there will be some white exposure and things have to be perfect (read: not abstract), I like to draw my design on the canvas with pencil before I start so that I can erase any unwanted marks before painting. Then I go over my outline with one of my Sharpie paint pens to make it stand out and be more visible. It almost turns into a color by numbers, minus the actual numbers, and makes my life so much easier.

Nightmare Before Christmas Canvas Outline
Nightmare Before Christmas Canvas Outline

Once I have all that squared away I’ll head straight for the background as I do 99% of the time. Knowing it’s going to need at least two coats I just kind of slop on the first layer, let it dry, then come back for the second coat to even it out. This is probably the easiest part of the entire project.

Nightmare Before Christmas Canvas Background
Nightmare Before Christmas Canvas Background

After it’s completely dry is when the real fun begins, the interior. I had envisioned a blended gray background, but blending in a small area like that isn’t really something I’m an expert in, so I basically threw in some gray and some white and just mushed it all together until it looked the way I wanted it too. I had put some gray on my palette, then some white and left room in between the two for mixing. I started with just the plain gray at the bottom and went upward, then added some white towards the top and brought it downward. I had to also keep in mind other things in the background would also be gray so I couldn’t go too crazy or id risk it looking like a muddy mess. The moon was pretty simple, I already had so much gray on my brush that I just dabbed it in the white paint and threw it on – knowing it would be white but not too bright like snow because there would still be some left over gray mixed in. The pumpkins were just as easy as the black background, toss in some orange paint and you’re good to go.

Nightmare Before Christmas Canvas Interior
Nightmare Before Christmas Canvas Interior

Anyone who’s seen this movie knows Jack’s black suit has pin stripes. I thought that was gonna be rough cause painting white lines on a black suit is time consuming and you’d have to have a really steady hand, which I don’t always have. This is a really good time to use paint markers. I actually have a whole bunch of the Sharpie Oil Based Paint Pens and they’re lifesavers. Once I had double coated the suit and let it dry I was able to add the stripes with no problems. I had tried to do it with a brush and regular white paint, but I just knew it wouldn’t do the rest of the canvas justice.

Nightmare Before Christmas Canvas Suit Pinstripes
Nightmare Before Christmas Canvas Suit Pinstripes

Now I knew right away I wanted to do the trim in a purple shade. Black and Orange are definite Halloween colors but outside of those I just thought for one, it was also a Halloween-ish color, and two, it would look real good next to the black. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any purple paint. I had every other color but was fresh out of purple. I had a lazy moment and thought to myself “Hmm… what other color could I use?”. I was in the zone and it was 11pm and I knew the stores were definitely not open. If you have tubes of paint handy that show the color on the outside you can always put it up to the canvas to see how well it would mesh, otherwise it’s best to have patience.

Nightmare Before Christmas Canvas Color Matched
Nightmare Before Christmas Canvas Color Matched

That’s how I quickly came to my senses and decided I’d go to the store first thing in the morning for purple paint. I was in luck when I got to AC Moore and saw paint on sale 3 for $10! I loaded up, came back home, and tossed some purple in the trim and it was worth the wait if you ask me.

Nightmare Before Christmas Canvas Purple Trim
Nightmare Before Christmas Canvas Purple Trim

I’m not exactly a clean painter, so I’m careful to paint inside the lines but if everything in one area is going to be the same color, I’m painting over lines. Once everything is done and in their rightful color, I go back over outlines with my black paint pen and voila – a finished product!

Nightmare Before Christmas Canvas Finished
Nightmare Before Christmas Canvas Finished

What other movies or cartoons would you like to see me paint in the future?

PS: This one-of-a-kind canvas is in my art store.

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About Juelz

Juelz is an artist that specializes in traditional arts such as drawing and painting while gathering her inspiration from life’s occurrence. Juelz also loves to perfect bakery confections and hopes to bring the feeling of art others.

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