Character Face Paint Techniques

How to face paint Characters Faces
Olga Murasev — 18 July 2017 —

On our daily basis we usually paint classic designs like butterflies, kitties, tigers, superheroes, which are frequently full-face designs. But what happens if we get asked to paint a certain character? Here’s where the struggle comes. 🙈

How to make it the right way, so it looks proportional and recognizable? I will teach you how here. 😉

If you love these tips, see our full how to face paint beginner’s guide!

Steps of face painting a character face

Let’s see the steps of creating a character face basing on the Rocket the Racoon example:

1. Start by designating the main shape. Most of the characters (especially animals) have a pentagonal head-shape.
How to face paint Characters Faces - p. 1

2. The top corners are the places where the ears are usually placed. Same rule applies for tigers, cats, dogs etc.
How to face paint Characters Faces - p. 2

3. Split the face into two parts: vertically and horizontally. The eyes are always placed in the center of the face, that why we needed the horizontal guideline.
How to face paint Characters Faces - p. 3

4. The space in between the eyes should be of one eye minimum. A fantastic character or an animal will look even more cute if you’ll leave even bigger space there, like I’ve made it here with 1,5 eye size.
How to face paint Characters Faces - p. 4

Tip: Here’s one more tutorial, that you may like. Check out the “Bunny Belly Painting ➢ Step by Step” post.

5. The muzzle is placed right in between the eyes and its bottom touches the bottom corner of the pentagon. Pay attention to the eyes shape — to create an angry look I’ve “cut” their top inner part with the brows, making the inner corner sharp. This is a very important part in achieving correct facial expression.
How to face paint Characters Faces - p. 5

6. I went with an angled brush loaded with old gold and the tip loaded with black to fill in the face of my Rocket.
How to face paint Characters Faces - p. 6

7. I used a small blending brush then to soften up the edges and create a furry effect.
How to face paint Characters Faces - p. 7

Tip: Blending technique should be learned individually.

That’s why we have an entire Module dedicated to it at the International Face Painting School, where we learn all types of blending — from blending with sponges, to dry brushing and creating fur effect.


8. The nose is placed in the middle of the muzzle area (if we measure from the brows level down to the chin).
How to face paint Characters Faces - p. 8

9. The darkest shadows should be placed in the deepest parts, which are the areas under the brows in our case (that adds even more to the angry look).
How to face paint Characters Faces - p. 9

10. Using the same black and a #3 round brush I’m painting the nose and the angry smile, softening the black from the fur with a blending brush again.
How to face paint Characters Faces - p. 10

Adding highlights to the eyes and here is the result! 😎

nine images showing a process of painting a racoon head

What I would like you to learn from this lesson is that proper face painting education isn’t about copying designs from tutorials.

A proper education is about explaining the deepest nature of things, the rules that can be applied for various designs. It is about unlocking your own talents and style.

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!

What about Groot? Can you paint him by yourself now using these guidelines?

Post your attempts in the comments! 👇 We’d love to ohh and ahh over your work! 😉

 — Olga Murasev

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