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How to Paint Monsters in Paintings

Updated on August 24, 2013

Paint Monsters in Landscape Paintings

If you've ever been to a thrift store or garage sale, you've seen paintings of landscapes and paintings with calming scenes or images. Those are all well and good, but if you have a weird sense of humor you might want to use those paintings as a starting off point and add a monster or two!

No, I didn't dream this up myself. I wish! I'm not sure who the first genius was out there who had the great idea to add monsters to these types of paintings but I'll add some links below so you can see their take on adding creatures in landscapes.

I am no painter, but I decided to finally give it a go and paint a few monsters for myself. I mean, come on, this is one art project that just screams "Do it!", don't you think?

This photo shows a creature (a catfish, as you can see!) that I painted into this scenic picture called Rum Bay. Keep reading to see how I did it.

Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

What Do You Think of Monsters in Paintings?

What Do You Think of Monsters in Paintings?

See results
Craft supplies for monster painting.
Craft supplies for monster painting.

Gather Your Craft Supplies

And Get Painting!

To paint monsters on to thrift store paintings, you just need a couple of things:

~ acrylic paints, as many colors as you decide

~ paintbrushes, a variety of tips from fine to larger

~ paint tray

~ water and a paper towel or rag for wiping the paintbrushes between colors

I use a plastic tray to set my painting on then get busy. This is a fun, relaxing way to paint that gives you full permission to just have fun and go crazy.

The monsters I've seen added to paintings are all unique. They are generally not recognizable as anything I've seen in a movie or anywhere before. Get creative. Get your monster on.

Craft Supplies for Making These Paintings - You Might Have These On Hand

It doesn't take much to get started painting monsters on existing paintings. You'll need some acrylic craft paints and paintbrushes, and a paint tray is a handy tool.

These acrylic paint sets are handy because you get a good variety of colors in the same finish (matte, satin, high gloss, what have you).

Begin by Sketching the Monster onto the Painting

Sketch the monster onto the painting.
Sketch the monster onto the painting.

I bought this painting at Goodwill yesterday for $1.49. I wanted to paint a monster painting, so I looked for one that was not too big (this measures 10 X 8 inches with the mat) and that had a somewhat whimsical look to it already. I didn't want anything too serious.

I first removed the backing and frame to get to the painting.

I thought about what kind of guy would visit this scene. Hmm, a water creature seemed fitting, so I first sketched my monster onto a scrap of paper then added it to the top of the painting using an ink pen. This painting is a print so it has a slick finish. A real painting with paint on the surface might be more fun to work with, but this is what I used.

Start Painting the Creature

Painting the monster catfish has begun.
Painting the monster catfish has begun.

Next I outlined my catfish in black paint then filled it in. When the black paint dried, I used the end of the paintbrush dipped in an off-white paint and dotted the three eyes on this guy. I also painted a little detail on the cat portion's ears and mouth with the off-white paint.

Again, I am not a painter. I use whatever works for me to get the job done. At this point it really was turning out silly looking, and that's okay since that is sort of the point of monster paintings!

Landscape Paintings - Add Your Own Monster

Painting a creature to one of these traditional landscape paintings would add just that something extra. Don't you think?

This project is perfect for letting your imagination go crazy! I think it would be fun to hand each person a painting at a party and let them have at it! Then everyone would have a party favor to take home!

Add Details and Finishing Touches - To Your Masterpiece

The completed Monster!
The completed Monster!

Finish your masterpiece by adding details and finishing touches. To complete my painting, I added teeth to my catfish creature and some colored fins to his body. Then I added a touch of pink to the catfish monster's ears and nose.

Next I added a few rings in the water to indicate movement by the monster. Again, remember, I'm not a painter. Just think of what a masterpiece you can make since you are certainly a better painter than me!

Totally Ridiculous Painting - And That's Okay

Monsters love ballerinas.
Monsters love ballerinas.

I quickly painted a silly guy onto this ballerina picture. This sad little picture is in such bad shape. It's basically had it, so I didn't mind messing it up.

I added an alien-looking guy with a single ball foot to the edge of the painting. Here's the back story: He really likes the ballerina and has admired her from afar. He hides in the broom closet while she's dancing. All he wants is to just touch her. Just once. He gives it a good try here, but he doesn't quite make it.

A Gift for the Person Who Has Everything

If you're stuck and don't know what to get

Uncle Frank or your friend Sue, search no further.

Grab a painting and add a monster.

You can rest assured they probably

do not have one of these already!

Seascape on Etsy

Seascape on Etsy
Seascape on Etsy

Check Out Some Really GOOD Paintings with Added Creatures

Some of these paintings with monsters added are for sale!

Will You Paint Your Own Monster Painting?

Will You Paint Your Own Monster Painting?

See results

What Do You Think of Monsters in Paintings? - Going to give it a try?

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    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 

      4 years ago from So Cal

      One last time! I love this idea. I am going to pin it hoping the link stays true until it migrates somewhere else. Clever idea and one that I will share with my husband who would enjoy this type of artistic expression.

    • AlishaV profile image

      Alisha Vargas 

      5 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      How fun! I'm definitely going to give this a try!

    • girlfriendfactory profile image


      5 years ago

      What a great conversation started around the house! You could even do it with famous paintings if they were covered in glass.

      What a great way to get kids interested in art, too! :-)

    • Tim Bader profile image

      Tim Bader 

      5 years ago from Surrey, UK

      Love it! - Made me laugh.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      What a fantastic idea. You've found a way to rescue much of the art that now appears in galleries.

    • tobydavis profile image


      5 years ago

      What a fantastic and fun idea - love it!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      It looks like fun!

    • Art Inspired profile image

      Art Inspired 

      5 years ago

      Wow what a great creative idea! This would work well for Halloween decor. Make it a creative day!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      5 years ago

      How very creative!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      How fun! It's a great project for adults and kids alike!

    • Kiwisoutback profile image


      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Maybe I should do this with some of my own dud paintings. Great idea, just might try it out!

    • writerkath profile image


      5 years ago

      I got a kick out of this! Of course the "dealer" in me says to be sure you're not ruining a local masterpiece! But, this put a huge smile on my face! Your creativity never ceases to amaze me! :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      its smile all the way to my face after reading this.

    • Blonde Blythe profile image

      Blonde Blythe 

      5 years ago from U.S.A.

      Cool idea and fun lens! Everyone loves a monster!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I've always thought about doing something like this! Glad I'm not the only one and now I know how. Thanks for sharing :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      You definitely see something new every day !

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      nice paintings.great work.i like the monster and dolphins painting.

    • ghoststorylover profile image


      5 years ago

      I love the painting with the monster and the dolphins lol.

    • ghoststorylover profile image


      5 years ago

      wow what a hilarious thing! Funny what ideas people come up with.. This reminds me of when I was a kid and my dad bought a huge painting of the ocean and what he did with it. He had a huge collection of plastic noses, and he glued them onto the painting! I thought it was bizzare but funny at the same time. At the time I thought my dad was weird for doing that, but now I just know that he's got a creative mind.

    • Scarlettohairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @KamalaEmbroidery: Thank goodness since mine sure don't look real!

    • E Andrew Brandon profile image

      Ean Brandon 

      5 years ago from United States

      I have a painting of some pioneers pulling a handcart! I cant wait to draw a monster chasing them!!


    • KamalaEmbroidery profile image


      5 years ago

      I love this idea. The nice thing about monsters is that they don't have to look real or anything.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I like them. But I would not attempt to try this because I can't draw.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Nice lens.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I love this, I really love this! I paint with oils and I really want to go to the thrift shop tomorrow to find a painting to add a monster to. I'd really like three so that I could have a nice little collection going. Wow, how have I not heard about this?

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image


      5 years ago

      Oh, my heavens. I adore your catfish creature. I saw a series someone had done of these a while back, made a mental note to try it with the next thrift store painting I came across (I buy them for frames sometimes), and promptly forgot all about it. You've inspired me to take a more active interest in hunting down an old painting that looks like it needs a monster or two.

    • craftblogger lm profile image

      craftblogger lm 

      5 years ago

      They are certainly very different. Would be perfect for a kids room :)

    • floppypoppygift1 profile image


      5 years ago

      Just once! But he doesn't quite make it. :'(

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 

      5 years ago from New York

      This is would be a fun craft for kids to work on this summer. I thinking buying a junk painting from a thrift shop would be the perfect canvas.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I think this is a fun idea although I won't paint monsters. But buying an old and cheap painting and adding something new to it is a great idea- maybe even adding something three-dimensional.

    • i Dia1 profile image

      i Dia1 

      5 years ago

      You're right. That painting was just begging for a monster to jump out of the water.

    • DrMAnderson profile image


      5 years ago

      These are awesome -they absolutely appeal to my sense of humour! Thanks for the genius idea, and, I think you should start your own monsters on pre-painted canvas etsy shop!!

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 

      5 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      Neat idea, especially for some old hand me down landscape art I never really liked anyway. Food for crafty thought :).

    • EpicEra profile image


      5 years ago

      I love this idea - what a great way to recycle and refurbish art

    • Meganhere profile image


      5 years ago

      This is crazy! In a totally good way! Love it!

    • ValerieJoy profile image

      Valerie Smith 

      5 years ago from New Zealand

      This is brilliant! I never would have thought of it myself. Good on you for originality!

    • Scarlettohairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @Pam Irie: Pam, try it! You're actually talented! Your monster would turn out great!!

    • profile image

      NC Shepherd 

      5 years ago

      I love this idea! Just the right thing for a whimsical spot in the house.

    • LeslieMirror profile image


      5 years ago

      I like the way you add your mosters to the painting, so that they can look quite natural. =)

    • gottaloveit2 profile image


      5 years ago

      Peggy! This is the best yet! I can't wait to paint my own monster - and don't think I won't. I love this idea.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      LOL I love Monsters in Paintings and have been a fan since I saw my first one. Your paintings are PERFECTLY whimsical and I admire your courage for just doing it. YAY!!! :)

    • hkhollands profile image


      5 years ago

      This would be great to add some interesting and funny art to my classroom. FABULOUS lens idea! So much fun.

    • clevergirlname profile image


      5 years ago

      Ahahaha! What great fun! Monsters in paintings? I would never have even thought to do this! Great lens! Thanks.

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 

      5 years ago from Vermont

      Whee! Reminds me of the magazine deface art I used to do on slick ads using an eraser. Cool craft idea.

    • flycatcherrr profile image


      5 years ago

      Love love love the whole idea!

    • profile image

      sybil watson 

      5 years ago

      This is hilarious! I have some paintings that I was going to sell at a garage sale but now I have some great plans for them...

    • tfsherman lm profile image

      tfsherman lm 

      5 years ago

      Soooo funny. I'm going to have to try something like this.

    • Scarlettohairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @Scott A McCray: Oh good!

    • Scarlettohairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @ChristyZ: But I did it. You can too!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      This is so funny! If I had any type of painting skills I would try this :)

    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 

      5 years ago from London

      I absolutely love it. What fun, and a great way to have unique and original art in your home. Not altered's monstered art!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      This would be a fun project for teens too. Boys love drawing monsters and dragons. Something goofy like this might lure them into painting.

    • SciTechEditorDave profile image

      David Gardner 

      5 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

      Hilarious! You've given me some ideas (and that's dangerous!) ... I'd worry about doing this to a garage-sale painting ... at least I'd have the painting/print verified as being worthless (or darn near worthless) before accidentally screwing up a VanGogh or a Monet or Picasso (although, with a Picasso, it might be tough to tell *grin*). Congrats on a Squidoo masterpiece!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Oh my goodness, I am loving your moster paintings! And, oh yes, you have inspired me to paint a little monster of my own onto a painting! I promise to share it with you when I do. What delightfully fun artistry!

    • profile image

      Scott A McCray 

      5 years ago

      That is AWESOME! I have an ear to ear grin right now...

    • WebMarketingPro profile image


      5 years ago

      What fun! Never thought about doing this myself, though I have a couple of books where cats or dogs were added to famous paintings (or maybe reproductions of those paintings, I suppose).

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I love both of your paintings! Love that CATfish. â¥


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