Top 7 Tips for Vibrant Face Painting Designs

a collage of images with a banner in front of with
Olga Murasev — 20 July 2017 —


One of the most frequent questions that I receive is how do I get the colors in my designs so bright and vibrant? Today I will share with you top 7 tips how to make your designs pop. Let’s get it started! 😉

1. Paint brand

Some of the brands like Snazaroo and Kryolan are less bright than the others.
If you want your designs to pop, choose between professional brands like Global, TAG, Diamond FX, Cameleon, Superstar, Paradise (Mehron), Wolfe, Kryvaline or FPA.
Different face painting brands comparison

2. Clean tools

If you’re already using the pro brands listed above, but your designs still look dull, then move to the next step and check your tools:

  • Make sure that the surface of your paints is always clean and doesn’t have any dirt or pigments from other colours on top.
  • Organize your brush tub the way you have one separate container for rinsing black paint, one container for rinsing white and one container for rinsing all the other colours. Also, don’t forget to change your rinsing water frequently.
  • Make sure that you wash your brushes and sponges properly at home, until you get all of the pigment out of them.
Tip: Learn more about professional face painting supplies in my “Tools for perfect Double Dip flowers” and in “How to choose the best sponge?” posts.

Examples of bad hygiene, bad table organization and as a result — low quality of face painting with dull designs.

Tip: Cleaning and hygiene tips are essential for professional face painting, that’s why we cover this topic in Module #7 of Part One of the Course.

3. Tidiness while painting

Not only your tools, but you too should look tidy and behave accurately. Your hands should be always clean and your strokes should be clean. You will certainly obtain dull and dirty designs if you smudge the paint or if your hands are dirty.
an image of female hand being cleaned with a brush

4. Paint consistency

Master working with different paint consistencies: dry, sticky, creamy, inky and watery.

  • Creamy consistency is usually the one that will release the most vibrancy from the paint. And it is the one that is used for white linework too.
  • Inky consistency works the best for linework with black and other dark colours.
  • Dry and sticky consistencies are used mostly for sponging and stenciling.
  • Watery consistency works well for creating drops and splatters (like realistic blood) and for watercolour style.
Paint consistency examples on the skin - International Face Painting School
Tip: Polishing your skills of working with different paint consistencies is one of the main techniques that a face painter should possess. That’s why we begin the practical part of the Course with this topic — Module #1 Part Two.

5. Photo editing

We rarely have a chance to take professional shots of our artwork. Since the regular ones are usually taken with a smartphone camera or a simple camera, it is natural to edit them before publishing.

Almost every single professional face painter does that, so don’t be ashamed to brighten up your designs in an editor. Just know the limits and don’t go too crazy with it. 😉

Photo editing in face painting - Moana design
Tip: I edit all of my pictures on It is a great online editor that has plenty of free features and is very easy to navigate.

6. Combining colours

There is no need to reinvent the wheel! Colour combinations can be created using already existing colours schemes. That’s why we study the Colour Theory and various Colours Schemes and how to use them in Module #7 Part One of the Course.

Here are the main tips on how to use different color combinations for your designs:

  • Analogous colour schemes need one bright colour that will balance the composition and will make the design pop
  • Complementary colour schemes are the most attractive ones
  • Split-complementary colour schemes work like the previous ones
Combining colours in face painting
Tip: You may also like the “Secret tips to obtain a flawless design in face painting” post.

7. Highlights and shadows

Follow one simple rule — the light should always be on the opposite side of the shadow.
Add highlights to the colored areas of your design, but be very careful with overlapping the dark outline with them. Highlights look good on a wide dark background but can ruin it all if you’ll add them to the thin outline.

Note the different placement of the white dots along the outline edge.

Highlights and shadows in face painting

Are you new to face painting? ✅ Do yourself a favor and find top designs, fast and easy face painting, and great video tutorials all in one place on our Ultimate Face Painting Ideas Guide!

I hope that this post was useful and that you will be able to brighten up your day with more vibrant designs!

Share this “secret weapon” with your friends if you enjoyed it! 😉

 — Olga Murasev

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