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How to Make Skulduggery Pleasant and Other Fan Art Using Your Own Photographs

Updated on March 30, 2013
Nightcat profile image

Nightcat is an avid reader who loves writing reviews to spread her addictions with the masses.

Art for the Rest of Us

For those of us who can't draw worth a lick (that would be me) fan art can seem like an impossible dream. You want so badly to recreate a character from a favorite book, film, or whatnot, but can't draw. Or paint, or whatever medium you long for. But almost anyone can work a point and shoot digital camera.

So here we'll go over the steps I took to get my Skulduggery Pleasant fan art from concept, to photo, to fan art. Keep in mind most fan art is NOT legal, so either slap on some disclaimer or just don't sell it, OK? That said, it is an awesome way to meet other fans, learn a useful skill you can market later, and just have fun.

All photos used here are mine, but copy and use to your heart's content as long as you give credit where credit is due and a link back, OK?

DISCLIMER: I do not own Skulduggery Pleasant.


Fan art is never legal. Most artists are just nice enough not to sue if you are nice enough not to sell.

Step 1 - Get A Skeleton In the Mail.

Oh, joyous day! Your skeleton has come in! Try to be gentle bringing the box into the house. Banging on it and asking the skeleton if he is OK will really not help matters much. Nor will shaking the box. Yes, I suppose it is fine to talk rather loudly to him so he can hear you through the cardboard, but you know that is a sign of insanity, right?

OK, got the box in your living room? Good. Resist the urge to babble on like a mindless git, or to hug the box. Get some kitchen shears and GENTLEY cut the tape on the sides and top of the box.

Kitchen shears will go right into plastic bones so take your time. Yes, you can call him honey lamb and tell the skeleton to duck so you don't nick him, but I swear. Now where was I? Open the box and admire your new friend. DO NOT jump into the box with him! This will result in bruises for you and a broken new friend at the very least.

OK, now carefully, as if there were a baby under the bubble wrap, cut the tape holding it together. Actually a baby under bubble wrap would be a horrid idea, what kind of monster are you? Never mind.

Pull back the wrapping gently. We are not practicing getting slapped with assault charges, you know. Now reverently, and gently, take the skeleton out of the box. Remember your new friend is made out of rather rigid and breakable plastic. A bone crushing hug on your part will do just that.

Lay him out if you like, checking for any broken bones, cracks or defects, if he passes inspection be happy and leave a nice review for the seller. Now set him in a chair or some place you are sure he won't get kicked and go on to step two.

Step 2 - Pick Out Clothes, Now!

Goodness gracious no, you can't let Skulduggery Pleasant sit around naked. What are you, some kind of deviant artist, or something? You must find him clothes. Recall that you do have bits of male clothing around and try not to think of the fact that they belonged to dead relatives, and therefore kill any romantic notions you may have had.

You do of course remember your new friend is a prop and you can't snog his plastic face off, though, right? Good. Because snogging plastic skeletons only leads to chapped lips and broken hearts. Usually for the plastic skeleton. Find the clothes, such as you have, and seriously regret not having a man's dress shirt.

Regret also that they don't match, but take them to where you have him set up, and gently, and I mean gently dress your skeleton friend. Do not do anything pervy or look where you shouldn't. Have him dressed? Stand back and admire your efforts, realizing belatedly that he gets your only fedora as well.

But this is going to be Skulduggery Pleasant for our fan art, so he is worth it. You can of course happily natter at him. Just don't propose marriage or making skeleton babies. Skulduggery is a gentleman, remember?

Also don't tell him your original intention was to have a naked skeleton sitting about for anatomical references. He will not be pleased. Of course he will not be much of anything. He's a plastic skeleton held together by screws. I can see your objectivity went right out the window.

Need a prop skeleton?

Get one like my handsome model, or pick one who delights you. Keep in mind the highest price models will be the most accurate. Until they make androids that look exactly like a skeleton these are your best bet.

Party Destination Lifesize Posable Skeleton
Party Destination Lifesize Posable Skeleton

Very posable, but note the wires holding his hand. He won't hold much of anything on his own.

Crazy Bonez Pose-N-Stay Skeleton
Crazy Bonez Pose-N-Stay Skeleton

You pose, he stays. Nice for action shots.

Realistic Hanging Skeleton 5ft Life Size Halloween Decoration Prop
Realistic Hanging Skeleton 5ft Life Size Halloween Decoration Prop

Pretty much your basic skeleton, but nice for the price.


Only three feet tall, but he can be posed as an artist's model and his height isn't an issue in photographs.


Step 3 - Take the Picture.

Take several as a matter of fact, settling on one you like. Now you should be using a tripod, but I'm sure your as lazy a soul as I am and don't feel like dragging one out, so just take a variety of shots, with flash and without. Use macro on some photos if you have it. Please refrain from telling him how handsome he is and how he is your favorite detective.

Make sure you get a shot you think would look becoming to him, and please him to no end. Check your shots, then take a few more at different angles and distances. Yes, I suppose you CAN talk to him some more, but I really don't need to hear your bedroom voice and neither does he.

Got enough photos? Check them on your screen, making sure you like the composition and any flaws like slight blurriness or bad lighting can be fixed in your photo suite. Please for the love of decency don't swoon or start seeing visions of Photoshopping yourself into the shot with a gaudy heart-shaped frame.

Take your camera to your computer and import the photos. I suppose you can sing 'This is Love' but I'd get the impression your not taking this lesson very seriously. Label your new album and burn to DVD straightaway if you are the nervous type. The lazy souls like me can skip that step.

Now go through the photos seeing if any please you or catch your eye. Try to not love every single one just because they have Skulduggery in them. Do not kiss your touch-enabled screen either.

Make a note of your favorite based on composition and whatever else matters to you such as lighting and aesthetic appeal. Take honest note of any flaws, such as visible seams or screws that rather ruin the illusion of a living skeleton. You can keep your photo open while you prepare for the next step.

Step 4 - Digital Effects

Realize that to be truthful, your photo is dog ugly and needs some help. That is where digital effects come in, and here we will use two programs because they have different effects options. First open PhotoPad, or whatever other go-to program you have.

Bring up your chosen photo, and play with lighting, color, anything you desire. Settle at last on black and white because in truth the photo is dreadful in color. Save this photo and close out your program.

Open your next program such as Photo Explosion SE. Play around with different effects, again saving any results you like. Realize after you leave the program that your two results would look perfect together. So go back in, use an effect such as watercolor or oil paint first, then switch to colored pencil.

Pow, instant art and it looks nothing like a cheap plastic skeleton in a ill-fitting suit. Congratulate yourself, but not too much. Post your finished are to a site that takes such things with a disclaimer and remember not to sell it.

You can pick a title like his name or something else. Remember this isn't even legal to be truthful, but by and large most artists are grateful to have fans. You can now post your Skulduggery Pleasant art to any site like Facebook, or do whatever else you please, so long as you do not sell it.

So there you have it! Hopefully you will remember that you don't own Skulduggery any more that I do and you'll get some good feedback. Do try and remember you are not married to the rather handsome skeleton you now have living with you.

I suppose it is OK for you to show him the final results. I also suppose a chaste kiss on the cheek in thanks to your model is fine. We all talk to props and sometimes darn it, they do talk back. I meant they NEVER talk back. That's what I meant. I'm not crazy, not at all. Just because my prop is special and can talk and we're getting married in the Spring. Hey, where are you going?

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    • Nightcat profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @anonymous: Awww, thank you so much Uma! I notice I write better when I'm punchy from lack of sleep combined with too much caffeine and sugar. Apparently I need a good buzz before I'm funny, lol! Thanks so much for the visit and comment, hugs! :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Oh yes this is the best! His expression is pure joy and truly this is the best creative fun and fresh writing.


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