Secrets to Perfect Belly Painting

a pregnant belly paint of a plant flourishing from dirt
Olga Murasev — 25 July 2017 —


In this post we will speak about something unique! If you haven’t tried body painting a pregnant belly yet, you should definitely do that! It is a truly magical experience and brings so many positive emotions both to the mom-to-be, to the little bundle of joy inside the tummy and to you.

I LOVE painting pregnant bellies! I have painted more than 50 of them during the 6 years experience as a face and body painter and in this post, I am happy to share some very useful tips on how to achieve great results even if you are going to execute your very first belly painting.

In my opinion, the placement is essential both for face painting and for body painting, that’s why we will speak about different types of placement here and will cover some other important details along the each description.

Here is a little gift for you — a Belly Painting Practice Pad Template. Download, print it and use it for your paper sketches or laminate it and use it as a practice pad for your final designs.

Belly Painting Practice Pad Template

The second essential step in creating beautiful belly painting is nailing the techniques of perfect linework, one stroke, double dip, blending, shading and so on. We study each of them in details along the training at the International Face Painting School until the best results are achieved.

Classic round placement

Classic round placement in belly painting

Classic placement in the center of the belly, framed in a circle. Make sure to ask your mom-to-be to change her position from sitting to standing once in awhile, starting from the sketch and along the entire process of painting to make sure that you get a rounded circle.

The area above the belly button may extend in some pregnant women, so you want to make sure you have a circle by the end of the session and not an egg shape.

Also, try to concentrate the details around the belly button, under it or on the sides and leave the area above the belly button for background or details that are not afraid of stretching and changing their shape. So, as you can get, it’s a not very good idea to paint the face of a character in the area above the belly button.

Tip: Learn how to body paint a super cute bunny on a belly in my “Bunny Belly Painting ➢ Step by Step” post.

Full belly painting

Full belly painting

This is an another classic placement and it works very well for beginners, because you don’t have to think about the shape of the design. The same rule of painting around the area above the belly button applies here. Think about what poses will your mom-to-be taking when photo-shooting and concentrate the center of your composition in that area.

In this case I used the centre of the belly. Use elements with fewer details on the sides of your composition. I’ve added some branches with berries, covered with snow on a blue background here.

Egg-shape belly painting

Egg-shape belly painting

Another classic placement and highly recommended for beginners. Keep in mind the tips mentioned previously and have fun with designing an egg-shape belly painting!

Asymmetrical placement

Asymmetrical placement in belly painting

This type of placement covers about 3/4 of the belly and is placed asymmetrically. Its main advantage is that you are less likely to make a symmetry mistake when painting the design. And it looks original, comparatively to the classic placements!

Framing the belly button

Framing the belly button

If your client doesn’t want the entire belly covered with paint, then this is a great option. Keeping the belly button as part of the final image will make the look harmonious.

In this case my model had a big protruding belly with stretched skin above the belly button. I checked this area before painting the dolphin’s head. It wasn’t extending and it allowed me to paint the dolphin in this position. I would place him lower or on the bottom of the belly in case the skin above the belly button would have been mobile.

Side belly painting

Side belly painting

Another original placement, which allows taking pictures in profile and shows the size of the belly. I suggest sketching the design on a half circle area on the paper to get a better idea about the proportions.

Belly painting with breast painting

Belly painting with breast painting

This placement requires some extra experience from the artist. You will have three main protruding elements to frame here — the belly and two breasts. A sketch on the paper in strictly necessary before moving on painting this type of a design.

Think about the natural shapes and the flow around them. Consider that the belly button is your main focal point and the middle line of the body is the line towards which a symmetrical design should converge. Asymmetrical designs may involve different shapes and are more difficult to create in this case. They require some more skills on building compositions.

Belly painting as an element

Belly painting as an element

This is a great option for painting on a small belly. Notice, that even though the design is placed on the bottom of the belly, it is still framing the belly button and its sides are extended framing the belly in a circle.

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 — Olga Murasev

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