How to Paint a Joker Face for Beginners

Joker Face Paint Tutorial
Elodie Ternois — 18 October 2019 —

If you ask me what is the most popular request that I get to paint on adult males on Halloween, my answer will be definitely — the Joker face paint!

I think I have painted hundreds of jokers over the past few years!

And today I decided to take my Joker to the new level!

On the occasion of the new Joker movie release in 2019, I decided to create a comparison makeup tutorial, showing the difference between the old Joker played by Jack Nicholson back in 1989 and the new Joker, played by Joaquin Phoenix.

Let’s see how the Joker Halloween makeup has changed over 30 years!

an image of the jack nicholas joker and the other joker is joaquin phoenix
Jack Nicholson as the Old Joker back in 1989 and Joaquin Phoenix as the new 2019 Joker.

So if you are a beginner, you will be happy to know that there is actually no particular technique to create any of these two makeups.

However, you will have to make sure and create the appropriate expression! The joker is neither good or bad, he’s MAD! And that’s what we want to achieve when we paint him!

Materials used:

—Old Joker:

—New Joker:

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Step 1: The Joker Face Paint Background

First, we need to apply a white background and this is the same step for both the old and new Joker face paint. I’m using a mix between an acacia senegal gum based and a glycerin-based paint to obtain a creamy, easy to blend, yet opaque coating.

Specifically, I used Fusion paraffin white and Kryolan interference white for this purpose.

I intentionally didn’t apply much white around the mouth area of the new Joker because it will be covered with red paint later anyway.

And, I also intentionally didn’t apply the paint evenly leaving some translucent areas to make it look messier, just like it is in the movies.

two images of a man. he wears white face paint on both images
Tip: Find out more about paint types and also many more valuable tips for newbie face painters in our Ultimate Guide for Beginners.

Step 2: Joker Halloween Makeup, the Eyes and Eyebrows

Totally different! We have crazy eyebrows expression in the old Joker and a clownish expression in the new one. Let’s see how we create each of them!

Old joker: First I am creating a soft shadow on the top eyelid using Kryolan black and a blending brush by Cameleon.

I make a rough eyeliner and then I smudge the paint to make this Joker Halloween makeup look less intense and better faded into the background.

The idea is simply to make the eyes stand out a little bit more from the flat white background.

I paint the eyebrows using the same black because this glycerin-based black is less intense than wax or acacia senegal gum one. A filbert brush will do the best job here!

Start from the inside of the eyebrow, going over the natural brow, then gradually lift the eyebrow and arch it, flicking the tip down into the focal point of the outer corner of the eye.

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New Joker: For this Joker Halloween face paint, you want to create sort of triangles — two of them placed above the eyes and two below. Make them asymmetrical and not very clean to make this new Joker face paint look more movie-like.

I used a mix between Henri Jr Blue and Petrol blue by Superstar for the eyes and Red to paint the two flicks for the eyebrows.

After you’ve painted the main shape, use a little bit of water on a clean brush and go over the bottom edge of the eyebrows to dilute the paint a little bit and make it look messier.

two images of the same man with the base of the joker face paint on his face

Step 3: The Smile

Another difference again! A thin but wide smile with a prominent cupid’s bow in the old Joker and quite a dramatic one in the new Joker.

Old Joker: I am using a round brush to paint the smile with the biggest precision I can. The Loew Cornell #2 round in my choice. First I cover the natural lips shape making the side parts a bit wider and then I stretch the smile up even a bit further than the nasolabial fold.

New Joker: A much wider smile is easier to create with a filbert brush. I use Little drop brush by Silly Farm. One side is longer than the other — just follow the original picture and try to copy it as best as you can.

two images of unfinished joker face paint without details
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Step 4: Old & New Joker Face Paint Final Touches

I am painting the nasolabial folds for the new smile in the old Joker and a red, clown nose for the new Joker. Again, just follow the originals!

two images of almost finished joker face paint
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Step 5: Green Hair

Last touch — the poison green hair that is present in these Joker face paint! You can use a sponge heavily loaded with neon green face paint to cover the hair. It works perfectly! And doesn’t stain.😉

Voila! You are now ready to rock any party with your Joker Halloween face paint!


What’s the perfect pairing to Joker face paint? The Batman! If you also need an impressive and popular hero for your face painting offerings, this Batman tutorial by Wies face painting is here to save the day!

two completed joker face paint designs - one in the jack nicholson style and the other is joaquin phoenix

There are LOTS of other great ways to paint the Joker! Find all the inspiration you need for a Joker that perfectly suits your style in our Ultimate Halloween Face Paint Inspiration Guide! (There are even video tutorials!! 🤩)

Did you enjoy this easy Joker face paint tutorial? Hit “SHARE” and let your fellow face painters know about it! 👇👇👇

 — Elodie Ternois

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