How to Create Your Own Face Paint Designs

How to create your own original designs in face painting
Olga Murasev — 13 July 2017 —


One of the most frequently asked questions by new face painters is where to take inspiration from and how to create their own original designs?

There is a big difference between copying a design and taking inspiration from another artist’s work. In the first place, it’s very common for a new artist to attempt to copy a design they like. It’s a great way of building a portfolio and developing skills.

Additionally, face painters often get asked by clients to copy a design from the internet. No surprise that one of the most frequent search requests on Internet is “face painting ideas”.

However you can never fully understand how to be a professional face painter until you’ve perfected your own unique designs.

Copying is a great way of polishing new techniques. I suggest that each beginner copies as many professional artworks as possible, to train the hand, the perception of proportions and to gradually develop its own style.

So what should you do if you mastered the techniques and want to create your own original designs, but don’t know where to start from?

In this lesson we will speak about the algorithm of creating a new design, that I developed through the years of experience and that helped me find my style and create original designs. I hope that it will help you too.

But before you move on creating special designs, make sure you’ve nailed the basics. Check out my “TOP 10 must-learn face painting designs (and +1 more)” post and build your own face painting portfolio.

Want to learn the most popular designs? Our World’s Best Face Painting Ideas Guide has top requested designs for boys, girls, Halloween, Christmas, themed parties, and more!

Step 1: Face painting idea

I decided to paint a new pony mask, that I would be able to use on the job. So, it had to be fast, but look impressive.
Pony mask design - International Face Painting School

Step 2: Inspiration resources

It is important to mention that you will get the best results by searching in English. The main search systems that I suggest using are Google, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube.

Another big place of inspiration are Facebook groups and pages of talented artists. I got my inspiration from there this time.

I loved the one stroke pony made by Debz Mills, it looked like a very fast one to execute and different from classic white ponies.
One stroke pony - Debz Mills
Then I had to decide on the mask style and thought that a colorful background with swirls and curls would look very effective and would consume minimum time in execution too. And who can be a better inspiration here than Ronnie Mena and Jocelyn Casdorph in this case?

Face painting designs - Ronnie Mena and Jocelyn Casdorph
Tip: Now you can see why it is so important to master the essential techniques like linework and one stroke before moving on building up designs.

Step 3: Figuring out the placement

Here is where this collage will come helpful. I decided to place my new design in a classic mask shape, adding an asymmetrically placed pony, but balancing it out due to the extended mane and bigger linework on the opposite side.

Download this collage and use it when choosing placement for your new designs.

Best placements for face painting designs

Step 4: Sketch on the paper

After sourcing the inspirational pictures and deciding on the placement of the design, you can make a sketch on the paper. It will help you learn the main shapes and design proportions, making the process of creating the final design faster and more effective.

Step 5: “Raw” design on a practice pad and trying on the face

Right after your sketch is ready, you can move on painting the design with paints. The perfect way to do it is to paint it on a model or on your own face, which will help you understand the proportions and how the design arranges on a three-dimensional surface. Another great option is to paint it on a practice pad.

Tip: Want to learn how to make your design look perfect? Check out this post “Secret tips to obtain a flawless design in face painting ✨”.

Step 6: Final design

And now we finally have everything to paint the final design on a model. Here is what I came up with.
Pony Mask - International Face Painting School

These are all of the pony designs that I teach at the International Face Painting School. We start from the basics, nailing the techniques and trying out various styles, moving then on building up entire designs.
Pony Designs - International Face Painting School

Read our Professional and Beginner’s guides for a complete look into everything you need to know about face painting!
Ultimate Face Painting Tutorial for Beginners
How to Become a Professional Face Painter and Get Paid

 — Olga Murasev

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