Elodie Ternois: The Unicorn Queen of Face Painting

An image of Elodie Ternois with a face paint design
Kelli Zermeño — 06 May 2021 —


A scroll through images of a unicorn or Disney-inspired face paints will pull up not only images of adorable little creatures painted by Elodie, but also a slew of Elodie-inspired designs by other artists! Her cutie-pie designs are some of the favorite inspirations for professional face painters, and it’s no secret why.

Let’s face it — whether you’re a fan or not, the unicorn is by and far the MOST popular design for little girls. It can also be one of the most difficult to execute properly!

Thankfully our unicorn-loving, French-English instructor has made easy work of the adorable little creatures and will soon be launching a course dedicated to making your designs the most magical they can be! Not only will this mini-course help you perfect your equine designs, but the ability to properly execute a unicorn will also help you to improve several other adorable animals as well and will give you a limitless supply of holiday and fun theme-inspired iterations to bolster your imagination and your portfolio!

To kick the launch of the course off with a bang, we sat down (so-to-speak) with Elodie to discuss face painting, her favorite products, and of course… UNICORNS! 🦄

How did you step into face painting? Tell us about your journey. At what point did you decide to make a career in the face and body art industry?

After studying art at university and my Master 1 in my pocket, I didn’t really know what to do as a job! One thing was certain: I wanted to work at Disneyland Paris (I wanted it since childhood;)) During my Master 1 in plastic arts, I had to do an internship in an artistic field.

So I made use of my knowledge and that’s how I was able to get a 2-month internship as an Accessorist at Disneyland Paris. My job consisted of creating and renovating accessories for shows, parades, Halloween, Christmas, etc. I took advantage of these two months to visit the workshops, gain knowledge and completely take advantage of my internship opportunity.

One day, working in the glass shop, I discovered the face painting stands in the park! The click! Everything I loved: colors, glitter, makeup, drawing, and all things Disney all in one job! Wow! In order to qualify as a Disneyland face painter, we had to attend makeup school, so I enrolled in 2013. One year later I joined the team as a park face painter!!!

It was a very rewarding and incredible experience! I had the opportunity to go train Chinese face painters for the opening of Disneyland Shanghai in 2016. It is after a long 4 months in China, that I made the decision to take my training further, so I could create my style and detach myself from the Disney style. I wanted to create my own designs, to be me!

After much research, I discovered that Olga Murasev created the International Face Painting School. OMG! I was scared at the start of the online training, especially in practice. I told myself that I had nothing to lose, so I signed up! The rest… you know it! I was then able to create my own business at the end of 2018.

During her studies with the International Face Painting School, Elodie became pregnant with her daughter and often painted her own belly! Are you ready to level up your work as Elodie did? Take a class today!

You have a very recognizable style in face painting with your adorable unicorns and kawaii influence. How would you describe your artistic style? What designs do you love to paint?

Of course, I love to paint everything! But on a more personal side, as Elodie the artist, I like to paint what defines me the most. I like to paint my emotions, my reflections, and I especially like to paint them through things such as Disney characters. The Kawaii style, the unicorns…

Disney is a universe that I’ve loved since childhood. It has never stopped growing in me and accompanying me at every step of my life. I am a BIG Disney fanatic, so much that I went several times a week to Disneyland Paris. Great moments of happiness there, which often hid an immense sorrow. All that to say that this enchanted universe guided me and my license to assume myself as I am today!

So my paintings are the reflections of my personality, sometimes crazy, sometimes cute, sometimes dark, sometimes more thoughtful. I choose a subject and I paint, or I want to reproduce a character, and I associate him with a subject.

A Disney character to suit every emotion!

What also matters to me is to transmit it to the face painting community but also to you and all other people whether they are sensitive or not to art! I like to transmit the emotion and when the person receives it, feels it, and accepts it, it’s even more magical! I like to bring a little joy, happiness, and sharing to others!

This is what happened during confinement with COVID. I could not help the caregivers, but I tried to share a maximum of colors and light through my paintings so that people might forget for a few moments this difficult daily life, and think or feel something happy. I hope I helped a little bit in my own way;)

Where do you get your inspiration from? Who influences you artistically and why?

My inspiration comes from my childhood: Disney, small ponies, Polly Pockets, pastel colors, sweets… carefree childhood things. The Kawaii influence came in later.

In face painting, the artists who inspired me in the very beginning are Eder Vazquez and Ronnie Mena, if you know these two artists then you know the style and you understand. I immediately recognized myself in their style and especially Eder with his very kawaii influence! I immediately felt inspired by the colors and the round shapes, reassuring and so very cute!

Then little by little I discovered other artists: Olga Murasev, Matteo Affarnoti, Nick Wolfe, Jocelyn Casdorph, Nancy Wu, Sally-Ann Lynch (with whom I learned to make my first roses), Lisa Joy Young, Mandy May, and many others. But as soon as I want to design a teardrop mask, a skull, something fun… it’s Eder and Ronnie’s inspiration that I come back to all the time.

three images of elodie ternois where she's wearing three different face paint designs
Can you guess who inspired these designs?! Check out Elodie’s Instagram page for a full spectrum of her work.

What has been your most exciting experience in face painting so far?

There have been many, especially in the past two years … but I would say my invitation as a “special guest” at FABAIC 2019! It was a dream for me: the USA and FABAIC! ! It was there that I experienced my greatest emotions as a Face Painter! I wish everyone could go there someday.

Elodie was honored as a special guest at FABAIC 2019 and served as a model for Matteo Anfornatti’s FABA TV class!

What recognition or awards have you received for face and body art?

First of all, the recognition of an artist who taught me everything Olga Murasev! Never did I believe she would become a friend and I would become an instructor for the school when I enrolled in 2017!

I haven’t entered many contests. I was so happy and proud of the 2nd place win in the face painting competition at FABAIC 2019 for advanced face painters! But I would say the best reward is the testimony and love of others! I am delighted to be able to inspire so many other artists and I try to do my best to congratulate and encourage them all.

Tip: Elodie’s hard work has certainly paid off! You too can benefit from her expertise by enrolling as a student and completing the Unicorn Section of the IntFPS curriculum.

What are your favorite products to use in face painting?

I worked a lot with the Superstar brand at the beginning. I must say I tried a lot of products in all categories! I spent a lot of money and then gradually became aware of the material that I liked and needed! Now, I am sponsored by the Fusion brand of paints. 99% of the products I use are Fusion, the remaining 1%, is for white Kryolan because I like to use white glycerine-based paint, and the color beige.

I love the brand Loew-Cornell for round brushes, Bolt Brushes by Jest paint for 3/4 flat brushes, and for angle brushes, I like those of Sparkling Faces, Silly farm, and Marcela Bustamante.

Check out our list of recommended paints and supplies in our Face Painting Supplies Buying Guide.

For fine glitter, I love Mama Clown. For chunky glitter, Essential Glitter Balm glitter by Incendium Arts is, of course, my favorite! They are so beautiful and of excellent quality! I love that you can apply them on top of face paint. I discovered Essential Glitter Balm on Facebook, where they were talking about a Unicorn Glitter Palette and my ears perked right up! Any face painting product with “unicorn” in the name appeals to me quickly, and I had to try it! I was so excited to try it out, and I honestly found the glitter balm to be of an exceptional quality that I had never seen anywhere else. Quality ingredients that respect the skin and the environment. I’ve even left my jar of glitter open for several days and it never dried out! I could never part with it now! They have so many beautiful colors and themes, I 100% recommend you have a few pots in your kit!

I fell so in love with the product that I teamed up with the company and designed my own bespoke line of Essential Glitter Balm called the Lodie Up collection. It is a 4 color collection, and I designed them with my style and favorite colors and themes in mind, and I know you will love them. There are bright, happy colors with cute little hearts and stars to accentuate all of your beautiful designs.

When you were learning face painting, what did you struggle with most and how did you overcome your struggles?

Aaaah! Lol! Butterflies, of course! I discovered the Butterfly design was when I was a student at the International Face Painting School! OMG!!!! It was terrible! I have never toiled so much for a design in my life! It sounds so simple, but it’s so difficult! There is a lot of information involved in painting a beautiful butterfly, it’s very technical! But it makes such a difference! I can tell you that the 45° angled wing is something I will remember all my life! It took me a year! Yes, a whole year, before it clicked and I could paint a suitable butterfly! It’s much better today, but I always have a little apprehension when I have to make one!

The key to my success in overcoming difficult designs is practice, perseverance, and above all… patience! Taking a step back and pausing is necessary to help you fully understand the design.

three images of elodie ternois wearing three different butterfly face paintings
Tip: I think Elodie has certainly nailed the butterfly design at this point! You can become an expert in one stroke as well! Grab your paints and check out our article The One Stroke Face Painting Revolution: How to Nail It!

What is the most important thing you learned at the School?

I would say first because it’s SO essential: hygiene, safety, and the basics! Second, persistence and being nice to yourself! Third, focal points and placements!

Of course, I say that with hindsight and now my experience as an instructor. But for all students, those to come, and all those who are currently face painters: please, stay nice to yourself and be patient! I see too many people bashing and saying they suck! No, nobody is incompetent!

Learning is sometimes frustrating because to succeed in a technique, you have to tame it. You have to go through testing. Looking for and going through the discomfort phase and then arrive at the desired result! It is completely normal not to succeed the first time and it does not matter! All the greatest artists never succeeded immediately. They all have a lot of work, doubt, failure, and perseverance… but never give up, you too will get there! Compliment yourself! Each advance is a small victory on your course.

Why did you want to become an instructor for the School? Is there anywhere we can take workshops and classes from you?

I honestly never even thought of being a school instructor, or an instructor at all! Olga asked me, it was very natural, and of course, I said yes. She personally trained me to be an instructor for the School. I have learned a lot and I continue to learn every day! It is a difficult role, but so enriching!

I will be also taking part in the 3rd Online Summit for Face Painters on May 27th-29th, 2021. My class is called “Making your designs flourish: a guide to incorporating any element in a design by using linework” and I will share my expertise on how to integrate any painted element in your face painting designs thanks to diverse flourishes options.

We will master various clusters of teardrops and swirls and will speak about how to make them tie the design up with the central element, as well as with the focal points of the face. It is a very complex class and I just can’t wait for it to be aired LIVE!

What three pieces of advice would you give to someone just getting started in face painting?

There are so many!!
1- Having the right professional equipment – I think it is essential to start the job in very good conditions, your equipment and tools do at least 50% of the job!

2- Copy a design from a favorite artist (if you post the design on social networks, never forget to tag the person. It’s a golden rule that will save you a lot of problems. It’s one of the best ways to learn and work on your creativity.


woman looking at the camera making a silly face. she has ariel from the little mermaid painted on her forehead

Thank you so much
With Love, 💖

 — Kelli Zermeño

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