How to Make Someone Gothic in GIMP

Written by rochelle leggett
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How to Make Someone Gothic in GIMP
GIMP can be used to digitally change the asthetic of a person in a photograph. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program, a free, downloadable program that can be used for image manipulation. You can use this program to edit photos digitally, adding colours or textures and potentially making a person appear any way that you like. The common characteristics of the Gothic look are dark hair, dark eyes and very fair skin. With GIMP, you can add some elements of the Goth look to make anyone appear Gothic.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Open your image file.

  2. 2

    Click on the toolbar option "colour," then select "hue/saturation." Desaturate your image slightly using the sliding saturation bar; how much is up to personal preference and the skin colour of the subject. Stop when you have a slightly "dead" look to the subject in the photo.

  3. 3

    Click on the toolbar option "colour," then select "brightness-contrast." Adjust the brightness and contrast until your subject's skin is very pale and his hair is very dark. This is the ideal for the Gothic look. If you have a subject who is very fair and has fair hair, you may wish to make him or her ghostlike, instead. For a subject with dark skin, you may wish to enhance the darkness rather than make her skin pale.

  4. 4

    Eliminate as many flaws in the skin as possible. The easiest way to do this is with the clone tool. This tool is found in the toolbox and looks like a stamp. Hold down the "Ctrl" key and click the mouse on an area of skin that looks similar to the area that you want to fix, then brush over the flaw. The clone tool duplicates the area that you clicked. Use the "Fade Out" option and a soft brush for the most natural look. The blur and smudge tools, which look like a water droplet and a finger, are also helpful for making flawless skin.

  5. 5

    Select a large, soft brush and zoom in on the eyes of your subject. Double click on the colour box and select a dark, desaturated brown, purple or grey. Softly colour the upper and lower eyelids, staying darkest around the rim of the eye. You can choose to colour the entire upper eyelid or not, this is up to personal preference. It does not matter how darkly you paint, but do not make harsh lines. Be sure to leave the browbone and highest point of the eyelid slightly lighter than the rest of your painted area.

  6. 6

    While still zoomed in on the eyes, select a small, soft brush. If your subject has dark eyes, choose dark brown or black and paint the irises so that they seem darker. If your subject has light eyes, making them lighter may be more striking. Select a light or vibrant green or blue instead.

  7. 7

    Zoom in on the subject's lips. For a Gothic look, you want to make the lips either very light or very dark. Light lips will seem "dead" or ghostlike, while dark lips will have a more "vampiric" aesthetic. For pale lips, select a large, soft brush. Use the eyedropper tool to select a skin tone from your subject. Gently paint the lips, leaving no harsh lines. For dark lips, choose dark red or black and a large, soft brush. Gently paint the lips; in this instance, harsh lines are acceptable. Use the "dodge/burn" tool, which looks like a circle on a stick, and choose "dodge." Use this tool to add highlights to the lips, which will make the lips seem wet.

Tips and warnings

  • Save often. Making additions that look natural takes trial and error.
  • There are many other elements that you can add to a Gothic image. Try painting in jewellery, blood or changing the hair colour. You can also erase the background of your image and insert another, more Gothic location, like a forest in wintertime or a castle.

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