Beginner’s Skeleton Face Paint Tutorial

Skeleton Skull Makeup Tutorial
Elodie Ternois — 27 August 2020 —

In this tutorial, I will show you how to paint an “on-the-job” skeleton! Also, after this step-by-step, I will share with you some additional information on how I have created this look. 😉

Supplies used:

Tip: Click here to download this super useful “Top 10 products a face painter needs” handout! It’s FREE!

Although I love painting it, skulls/skeletons are not my go-to design, as you probably know. There are a lot of different skull styles, so it is not easy to choose a particular one.

I love Ronnie Mena’s monsters and skulls so I have decided to take inspiration in his designs to create my own because it’s quite the style that suits me. 😊

two men with the same skeleton skull face paint design

Step 1

a girl with a skeleton face painting white colored base on her face

I start by laying down the base, for which I use the glycerin-based Mehron White. Why use this one? Merely because, being glycerin-based, it will allow you to obtain a more transparent and softer finish and to blend the sponge traces more easily, something a little harder to do with a regular white wax, which is thicker and quicker to dry.

I apply it irregularly, without trying to draw a precise outline. I do not put the white on the eyes either, because I will paint them black.

You can find out more about glycerin-based, wax-based, and all other sorts of face painting paint, as well as what they are best suited for and where to get them in our Ultimate Guide on Face Paints.

Step 2 (optional)

a girl looking directly at the camera with a skeleton face painting white colored base on her face

If you don’t have too many people in the queue, then you can afford to add a few little extra details to enhance your skull base! Here, I chose to place the shadows using a light brown, to add a bit of contrast to my design.

I also use a regular wax-based white that will help the highlights to shine bright. Hence the advantage of using a glycerin-based white in the background! The highlights will stand out even more and stay vibrant!

Just a little reminder: the placement of light and shadow coincides with the classic structure of the skull, so the highlighted parts will be the space above the eyebrow (supraciliary area), the cheekbones (zygomatic area) and the jaw (mandibular area).

If you don’t have time, just skip this step. 😉

Tip: Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel yet? You can find A LOT of great videos there, including this one, for a fantastic Sugar Skull/Catrina.

Step 3

a girl with a skeleton face painting now with added black color around her eyes and cheeks and yellow color on her lips

Teeth: using a filbert brush, I roughly paint the shape of the teeth. I am using yellow to add a little color. You can very well use any regular wax-based white and, if you are overwhelmed or pressed for time, just outline the teeth with a round brush!

Eyes, nose, cheeks: using the same brush, the filbert, I mix a metallic black with a regular black to obtain a soft and vibrant color and a nice consistency at the same time.

For the eyes, I get the angry look from the shape of the skull’s eyes and eyebrow, which cuts the natural eyebrow in half at a 45° angle.
To paint the nose, I place two tears, one on each nostril, starting from the tip of the nose.

To place the hollow of the cheek, you just need to press your fingers on the child’s cheek and find the hollow part.

Tip: Being a fantastic face painter is not as much about how many designs you can paint; it’s more about being able to paint the most requested ones and make your customers say WOW! Read all about it in our TOP 10 must-learn face painting designs (and +1 more)!

Step 4

a girl with an angry looking skull face painting design

Outline Time!

With a size 4 round brush, I draw the shape of the skull, always bearing in mind the different focal points. I mainly use the central focal point and the inner focal points of the corner of the eye. Keep in mind that, in any design, lines must be harmonious and connected.

Step 5

a girl with a skeleton face painting now with added outlines of the skull, eyes and teeth

This is the final step of our design.

I blend the lines to give my skull a little more character. For that purpose, I use a blending brush that I moisten with a baby wipe. I blend on the top of the head and around the eyes, mainly, and a little on the teeth and nose areas.

Nevertheless, always be careful to keep the precision of your lines. 😉

If you have time and want to improve this design even further, you can do it, even if “on the job! Go straight to step 6!

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Step 6

side image of a girl with a completed skeleton face painting looking mean

To make my design more elaborate, I have added some light blue with a sponge over the black areas, to create more depth.

I have also added lines with regular white to accentuate the highlights! I finished by using a stencil and some metallic black (easier to obtain a fading effect), which I apply to the top of the head, the temples, and the chin.

Now it is your turn to play!

direct image of a girl with a completed skeleton face painting looking mean
Tip: Trouble painting skulls? Did you know that there are other fantastic skull tutorials in our blog? Check them out here, here and here!

Discover more in our Ultimate Halloween Face Paint Inspiration Guide! It’s quickly become the gold standard for Halloween face painting for painters all over the world. 😱

Additional information

In the photo below, I have added some visual cues to help you determine the placement of this design and the different elements on the face.

When creating a new design, I always check my initial scheme against focal point theory and a few other ‘rules’ that I know. It helps me determine proper placement and a good flow” dixit Annabel Hoogeveen! And I assure you that it helps a lot. Here is my diagram:

a girl with an skeleton face paint design with lines showin focal points

Do you want more Halloween fun? How about a video which is out-of-this-world cool? Have a look at this incredible tutorial:


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

 — Elodie Ternois

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