Learn One Stroke Roses in Face Painting

Lela Trock, Rosie Lieberman — 12 July 2023 —

While there are many ways to paint a one-stroke rose, this tutorial by Rosie Lieberman will teach a method that is adaptable enough to produce roses of any size!

Starting with the central bud, the rose builds out petal by petal to whatever size you desire. And all you need is one angled brush and one split cake (ideally with a white edge to get the strong contrast you need for the highlights on your petals).

So grab your tools, and let’s get painting!

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Want to learn more about the best brushes for painting roses? Get the best face painting brushes for easy, beautiful designs and find more useful tools in our Brush Buying Guide.

Step 1: Create the first n-shaped central petal

I started by loading the brush with the split cake, making sure that the white was loaded at the longer end of the bristles, and the darkest colour was loaded at the shorter bristle end.

Placing the brush on the skin (with the white end uppermost), and keeping the brush strictly perpendicular, I made a n-shaped central petal.

white and pink stroke of the brush on a arm
Tip: in order to reduce the number of times you have to reload the brush, make sure the paint goes at least half way up the bristles.

Step 2: Finish the central element with a u-shaped petal

I completed the central part of the rose by placing the brush on the left edge of the n-shaped petal and pulling the brush down and round to the right, creating a small u-shaped petal.

miniature minimalistic rose done in three strokes of a face painting brush
Tip: instead of this curled inner petal you can make a tubular central element. This is easily achieved by making a larger u-shaped petal which connects with the right side of the n-shaped petal.

Step 3: Paint the first inner petal

I placed the brush vertically alongside the left-hand edge of the central curled petal (again with the white end of the brush uppermost). I then swung the longer end of the bristles around to the left to create a bulge.

By lifting the darker bristles off the skin but continuing to swing the white end underneath the central curl I created an inner petal which cozily hugs the central element.
miniature minimalistic rose done in three strokes of a face painting brush

Step 4: Create the second inner petal

I then created a mirrored copy of the first inner petal by repeating the process on the right edge of the central curl, swinging the brush this time to the right.

I also made sure that the second inner petal overlapped the first at the bottom of the shape.

miniature minimalistic rose done in four strokes of a face painting brush
Tip: If you would like to paint just a rosebud rather than a large blooming rose, you can stop here!

Are you loving this little rose? You can use rosebuds in all sorts of designs. Check out our Rainbow Butterfly tutorial to see how you can incorporate rose buds to add some magic to a beautiful and simple design.

Step 5: Start the middle layer of petals

The next layer of petals have more of a crescent moon shape, with 2 pointed ends, a wider section in the middle and a rounded inner contour.

To achieve this, I place the brush on its edge along the top edge of the central element, with the white tip pointing to the left. I then followed the right-hand contour of the rosebud with the dark end of the brush, at the same time swinging the white end out to make a bulge in the middle of the petal.

To finish the petal, I continued to swing just the white tip around to create a nicely pointed lower tip to the petal.

miniature minimalistic rose done in five strokes of a face painting brush

Step 6: Continue with the middle-sized petals

I repeated the same process around the rosebud with more petals, making sure that the tips of the petals overlap each other.

miniature minimalistic rose done in six strokes of a face painting brush

Want to learn more styles of flowers? This flower tutorial will teach you to paint 3 other styles of flowers as you combine them into an elegant floral eye-design!

Step 7: Complete your full-blooming rose

To finish the rose I continued to add a new layer of outer, crescent-shaped petals, this time with wider bulges and longer overall length, but still with overlapping, pointed ends.

miniature minimalistic rose done in seven strokes of a face painting brush
Tip: For a more natural look try to make the outer edges of the petals a little uneven (i.e. not too smooth).

miniature minimalistic rose done in eight strokes of a face painting brush with captions explaining details about the painting

You have done it! Fabulous work on painting a one-stroke rose. The key to greater success will be more practice. Practice the strokes separately and also roses as a whole.

Now that you know the right technique, they will get easier the more you become familiar with these brush strokes.

Watch a How-to video on our Instagram:


Want to put together what you’ve learned into a design?
In our Professional Course you will find even more in-depth explanation of one-stroke roses, and a video tutorial teaching you this glamorous and stunning design.

YOUR NEXT STEP: Join us for a Weekly Practice Challenge in our Open Group on Facebook.

Participants had a wonderful time last week practicing their double-dip flowers, and this week we’re focusing on one-stroke rose designs that can be done on-the-job.

 — Lela Trock, Rosie Lieberman

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