Secret Tips for Flawless Face Painting

girl with a colorful face paint design with arrows that show focal points you should focus on
Olga Murasev — 05 July 2017 —


In this lesson we will speak about how a balanced and eye-catching design is built, taking my video-tutorial of the Tropical Princess aka Moana design as an example. If you haven’t seen it yet, here is the video:

Focal Points Theory

Now, have you ever wondered why even some very simple designs look vibrant and eye-catching? I bet you did! 😜 I will tell you the secret — the keys are the focal points theory and the colour balance.

We are analyzing both of these compartments in details in the International Face Painting School, starting from the theoretical aspects and ending with breaking down all of the 45 designs taught there. But today I will give you an insight on how you can start evaluating your own designs.

Feel free to also check out our detailed guide for those wanting to learn how to do face painting better.

First, let’s talk about the focal points. You already know that the face is a three-dimensional structure and that painting on it varies a lot from canvas painting.

Focal points are special guide-points on the face, that help find the correct placement and direction, in order to achieve a pleasant design with a harmonious flow.

Focal points in face painting - Moana design

The focal points that have been used here are:

  • Central forehead FP
  • Central FP
  • Chin FP
  • FPs of the outer corners of the eyes
  • FPs of the inner corners of the eyes
  • FPs in the middle of the temple area
  • Cheek FPs

How the balance is achieved?

The balance is achieved due to the direction of the elements towards these focal points:

  • Leaves in the background are starting from the temple areas and are pointing towards the Central forehead FP on the top side of the mask and towards the chin FP on the bottom side of the mask.
  • The wave on the top is framing the eyebrow, pointing towards two opposite directions — the central forehead FP on one side and the FP of the outer corner of the eye on the other side.
  • The wave on the bottom side of the face is smaller because it takes its beginning from the cheek FP and is pointing towards the FP of the outer corner of the eye, just like on top. This similarity creates balance between the top and the bottom sides of this asymmetrical design.
  • The flowers respect the same rules as the waves and are placed similarly, which, again, is balancing out the design even more.
  • The X in the middle of the face shows that the mask occupies the sides of the face without bringing any heavy details in the center of the face, which makes it look light and feminine.
  • The clusters of dots are placed at the edges of the composition of each side of the face, giving it an additional direction towards the focal points, filling in empty spaces, highlighting the design and balancing out the composition with smaller details.
Color balance in face painting - Moana design
Tip: You may also like the “Top 7 tips for vibrant designs in face painting” blog post.

Color balance

The complementary color schemes are the ones that catch the most attention.

  • The color balance in this design is achieved through the combination of analogous color-schemes, which are complementary one to each other.
  • I used the same blue colors for the eyelids to tie everything together in this asymmetrical design.
  • The yellow centres of the flowers balance the sunset background in the middle of the face with the sides of the design.
  • Last but not least, bright colors fit dark skin so well, so that model choice was also an important detail here. 😉

Want more quality designs like this one? Get inspired by designs, tutorials, and videos from top face painters from all over the world in our Ultimate Face Painting Ideas Guide!

So, is it more clear now? I hope it is and I hope that you will be able to paint this design easier now.

I’d love to see your attempt! Upload it here in the comments! 👇

 — Olga Murasev

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