Day of the Dead Photo Effects: Next-Level Techniques

If you’ve tried our Day of the Dead tutorial for designing your very own sugar skull look, you know our skeletal theme is the absolute bomb. But did you know there’s way more to the Day of the Dead theme? It’s true!

In this article, we’ll cover the following next-level techniques to enhance your Day of the Dead photo effects:

  • Using Draw to paint graphics with custom colors

  • Combining graphics to make new shapes

  • Using photo effects on top of your Day of the Dead makeup

Using Draw to paint graphics

This year, we’re inspired by Draw. As a breakout star of our mobile app, Draw has proven itself to be a classic and versatile tool, and it’s reminded us of the simple joys of scribbling. Not to mention that Draw expands your color options by about a bazillion, so let’s talk about using Draw with graphics.

Eye sockets

  • Go to Day of the Dead in Themes and pick your graphic.

  • Use a soft brush (be brave, set Brush hardness between 0 and 10) to erase it from over your eye.

  • Duplicate.

  • Go to the Effects tab and select Draw. Choose your colors and draw like the wind!


  • Go to Day of the Dead in Themes and pick your flower graphics. Make sure to set Color 1 to black and Color 2 to transparent.

  • Go to the Effects tab and select Draw. To get a look like the one we’ve drawn here, you’ll want to select three colors: a base, highlight, and shadow.

  • Paint, paint away! Don’t worry about messing up: you can always paint over or erase mistakes.

One word of dire caution, however: make sure you’ve placed your graphics exactly where you want them before you start drawing! You’ll be able to erase or hit undo while you’ve got the effect open, but once you hit Apply it’ll be a real pain to go back.

Combining graphics to make new shapes

We love our graphics, and we hope you do too. That said, you don’t have to limit yourself to the way they look when you open them: you can reimagine them as entirely new shapes that fit your creative vision. Open up the Embellishments graphic group and try these tips for getting the most out of our graphics.

Use multiple graphics at different sizes to create new shapes. See how your favorite graphics look when they’re multiplied, stacked on top of each other, or shrunk itsy-bitsy small.

Use the Graphic palette to erase parts of graphics and give them a new shape. Our graphics are not only shrinkable and embiggen-able, they’re also erasable. Try using the eraser in the Graphic palette to magically transmogrify a graphic into a brand-new shape.

And of course, don’t forget about Draw! In the above images, the Draw tool has been used to add decorative dots. You can do this yourself by applying Draw with an itty-bitty brush.

Adding photo effects onto Day of the Dead makeup

Our themes can absolutely stand alone, but to give your Day of the Dead makeup that extra oomph, add a photo effect. A well-chosen effect not only makes your photos that much more splendorous, it can also help your elements play better together. In the above example, we’ve added a subtle dose of HDR to heighten allover contrast. HDR comes with the added bonus of making the flowers look less like illustrations compared to the rest of the image.

Magic! But there’s more magic than that to be found among our photo effects. Play around and find one you love; then enjoy your richly layered masterpiece.

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Elisa Chavez

Elisa Chavez is a content writer here at PicMonkey, where she hopes to change the world one dinosaur selfie at a time. She is also a nationally ranked slam poet, champion shopper, and doting dog mama.