Introduction: Bring Your Dark Sci-Fi Paintings to Life, Meet My Xenomorph Pet Portrait!

About: Father of four boys and power sports salesman by day, maker of anything and everything by night! We love continuously making and learning new skills!

Hello everyone in Instructable world, so you want to paint a real life Xenomorph but the darn thing is really dark, and they are actually very detailed beings. So how do you go about not just painting a black blob you ask?

Well let me show you, these are a few tips on how I captured all those details from my little buddy. So if you looking to kill some time and bring your dark arts to the next level follow along, and I'll show you the way!


- Whatever paintbrushes you like you use, I had a cheap pack of throw away brushes. Which I cleaned up and reuse FOREVER because I'm cheap lol.

- Hot glue gun


- Paints: I use acrylic paints because I have no patience, and you can water them down easily which you will have to do with this project.

- Hot glue sticks

-Spray Gloss clear coat finish.

-Spray Matte clear coat finish.

Step 1: Highlight Your High Points.

Ok so I already painted my background and laid out the Xenomorph on canvas, I did this by tracing the outline of the print out then I painted in the details roughly. I'm not going to cover how to paint an alien from start to finish because I want you to go paint your own, but what I will show you is how to get details out of dark slimy creatures.

Water down your paints! The main key with this project are layers, you want to slightly water down your acrylic paints so you will see the previous one through the new one. Make sure to test the opacity of the color your create on a test canvas before you paint directly on your project.

The light source for this one is directly behind it, so only the highest spots on the subject will catch a sharp glare. As you see I painted a watered down somewhat white paint color on all the high ridges.

To add depth I layered in some different shades of watered down grays and browns in the semi deep spots and left it dark in the deep areas.

Step 2: Now WASH Your Xenomnorph!

Here comes the "Do I really want to do this" part of the painting (trust me you will) lol.

You want to do a wash over your details, so essentially you are picking a dark color and water it down so that the white comes through but is not super bright.

I went with a dark Navy Blue as my first wash so I can build the layers up to FULL DARKNESS. Leave the spots that are not going to by dark alone, like the teeth and jaw muscle ligaments.

Step 3: Add Some Unique Markings, Because Not All Xenomorphs Are the Same.

In this layer I took out some metallic acrylic paints and added some watered down greens, blues and silver to try get some sort of gradient from the top of his head to the bottom.

You have to kind of imagine what this creature would look like if you put it under super bright lights so that it doesn't just look all black.

Then you have to re-add your white highlights in order to keep your details for the next wash.

Step 4: Be Brave, It'll Turn Out Ok.

Now comes the scary part, painting a dark wash all over this monster. It's okay because this will make him look like his true self.

Same as the other wash, I diluted the black acrylic quite a bit. One of my rules when I paint is usually not to use black, but for this little guy I broke it.

Make sure to leave the teeth and other white areas alone, we will concentrate on those in a bit.

But as you can see from the pictures I did quite a few layers of black and highlights, I stopped when I felt the looked right.

The more layers you do the more depth and details you will get out of your painting.

Step 5: Add Some Gore!

At first I liked the teeth all white but decided to add some color and depth.

Same technique different colors, for this step I used red and browns for the details and white as the wash.

If you like the teeth white then skip this step.

Step 6: Gloss and Clear Him Up

With this step we are adding the clear sprays to give him a slimy look, I first sprayed the whole canvas with the clear gloss. Gave that layer an hour to dry then I covered him up with the paper stencil I kept from when I traced the outline.

This allowed me to use the matte clear finish on the background to give the Xenomorph a shiny slimy look when the light hits it a different angles. You will also notice different details depending on how the light hits it thanks to the many layers you painted.

Unfortunately it also brought out the carbon stencil marks I originally laid on the canvas, no worries just happy little accidents. I just painted over them with a gloss white acrylic and it blended in with the finish nicely.

Step 7: FInish Him Off by Making Him Drooly!

SO we all know these monsters drool so to really capture his best side we will make sure it comes right out of the painting and onto your wall.

I first used a bit of clear on my brush to get lines from the teeth as a guide for where the fake drool is going to go. I then made many little hot glue drips and kinda started playing around on the canvas with them to find a nice drooly fit and pattern. This led to me using the tip of the low heat glue gun as a soldering tip in order to piece together the best strands.

When your happy with how they look just touch the tip of the glue gun to put them in their place.

And that's it, you now got your very own Xenomorph drooling all over your wall. I hope some of these tips will help you bring your next painting project to another level when it come to bringing out details in dark monsters.

Thank you for following along with me, If you liked this project please vote for me in the Sci-Fi contest!

Have a good one and remember no one can hear you scream in space!

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