Beginner’s Zombie Face Paint Tutorial

a man looking at the camera with a blue and mean zombie face painting
Elodie Ternois — 06 October 2019 —

Finally, it’s Halloween time and that means I can bring to life the idea of the easy zombie face paint design that came to my mind recently! When googling for “zombie cartoon” images I stumbled upon this image below and I instantly fell in love with it!

You all know that I love painting in cartoony style and I thought that adapting this inspiration image into face painting would be super fun!

And I think it turned out in quite a nice zombie Halloween makeup design, that is also very easy to reproduce.

And I hope it will serve you well this Halloween season! 😘

Get Your Beginner Zombie Face Paint Kit Here

an animation of a zombie that will be used to create a zombie face paint design

Zombies come in every shape, size and style. If cartoony isn’t your thing, you can find other great ideas for zombie face paint in our Ultimate Halloween Face Paint Inspiration Guide!

Materials used:

Feeling confused with what tools you need to start face painting? Check out this Ultimate Face Painting SUPPLIES Guide! Direct links to the best face painting materials — all in one place!

Step 1: Start Sketching Your Zombie Face Paint

First I use a beige color and a round brush to delimit the sections of my design: the brain, the mouth area and the tears. I know many artists use white for this.

But I highly recommend using a light skin color for this purpose! It is much easier to remove from the skin and it blends better with the colors that we’ll apply later on top.

a man looking at the camera with the outline of the zombie face paint on his face

Step 2: Main Colors on the Background

The next step is super easy! Now we just have to fill in the areas we’ve delimited with color! I am using a half-circle yellow sponge for the teal skin and a little drop brush with bubblegum pink for the brain and torn areas.

man looking at the camera with colors added to the outline of his zombie face paint
Tip: Don’t know where to begin learning how to face paint? Check out our Ultimate face painting Guide for Beginners!

Step 3: The Shading

To make the face more dimensional and less flat we need to add shadows. Zombies have very deep shadows on their faces. Because, you know, they are dead and that means that the skin is pulled down by the gravity from their bones.

To make the process of finding the right places for the shadows it’s really important that you study the anatomical structure of the face, palpating the prominent bony part and finding the hollow areas.

I placed the shadows under the cheekbones, on the temples, around the eyes, under the nose and a little bit on the chin.

man looking at the camera with shading added to his colored zombie face paint

Step 4: Halloween Zombie Face Paint Highlights and Coloring

Now let’s add the highlights to make the contrast even greater! I am using Kryolan interference white, which is a very soft and creamy glycerin-based white — perfect for blending!

The placement of the highlights also coincides with the classical skull structure, therefore they go above the eyebrows, on the forehead, on the cheekbones, on the bridge of the nose and a little bit on the jaw.

a man with shaded blue and pink face paint base for a zombie face paint design
Tip: Find out more about glycerin-based paints, wax-based paint and other types of paints, as well as what they serve for best and where to get them in our special Ultimate Guide on Face Paints.

Step 5: The Teeth

It’s very important to remember that the teeth in a skull (and in a zombie with a torn mouth) won’t be extended on the cheeks!

If you look at a skull picture, you can actually see that there is just a narrow area in the front of the mouth that is occupied by the teeth arcades.

I used yellow paint for the rough background of the teeth, purple for the gums and black on the sides to make the teeth look protruding even more to the front and the side areas look even deeper and lacking flesh.

man with a zombie face paint but now with added yellow teeth to the design

Step 6: The Outline

Linework time! With my Loew-Corrnel round brush #3 and Strong Black, I go around all the previously delimited areas, adding creases and creating angry eyebrows for a sinister look in my zombie face paint.

Make sure to keep your lines always thick in the middle and thin and pointy on tips.

If you feel that your linework needs improvement, then I highly recommend taking this Free Online Workshop — Improve your linework in 3 Days! You will be amazed at what you’ll achieve thanks to it! 😍

a man with a bright and spooky zombie face paint design that needs shading

Step 7: Blend the Zombie Halloween Makeup

Using a Cameleon blending brush I am softening the shadows around the eyes and under the linework. Always thinking that the light comes from above, the shadow must be always placed BELOW!

a man looking at the camera with a bright and spooky zombie face paint design
Tip: Are you an experienced face painter, but feel that your art needs a boost? Take a class at the International Face Painting School and become the best in your area! You can do it! 💪🏆

Step 8: Final Touches on the Easy Zombie Face Paint

There are some very handy tricks on how you can take your design to a new level in seconds! And adding a stenciled texture as I did here is one of the best tricks! I used a scale stencil #230 by Diva and a petrol blue and went primarily on the empty areas of my design.

To make the stenciling cleaner and more precise I recommend using a finger dauber instead of a regular sponge.

Last but not least, I am adding fine white lines with Parrafin white by Fusion to make the zombie face paint design pop even more.

a man looking at the camera with a finished design of a zombie face paint
Tip: Use creamy paint consistency to obtain bright vibrant lines! You can learn more about paint consistency types in our Ultimate Guide for Professionals.

Voila! The Halloween zombie face paint is ready!

Very Creepy right?! 😄

For more Halloween inspiration, check out our other tutorials:
Super Easy Skull by Kristin Olsson
Old Joker vs New Joker by Elodie Ternois

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

 — Elodie Ternois

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