Our guide to face painting courses


Do you remember the days of getting a tiger painted on your face? Well why not relive those old days and learn how to face paint with one of our face painting courses? You can learn how to paint fun images onto faces and even learn more technical face make up techniques. This is perfect for anyone looking for a bit of fun, or even a career as a makeup artist.


A diverse history

Face painting dates back over thousands of years and has been used by many cultures for many different reasons...

  • Religious and spiritual: Many tribes throughout history and across the world use face painting as a way to show their religious and spiritual beliefs. Many believe that face painting has strong spiritual meaning, such as the Native Americans who believed that green paint worn under the eyes gave the wearer special night vision.
  • Entertainment: Face painting is frequently used in theatre and opera. Face painting in entertainment helps to portray characters and enhance costume designs. Elaborate face painting has helped toy with the emotions of audience members in entertainment for thousands of years.
  • Camouflage: Throughout history, face painting has been used to camouflage while hunting and while at war. War paint has also been used to strike fear into the opposing armies. Hunters and wildlife photographers to this day still use these face painting techniques to get closer to wildlife, while soldiers still use it to hide in specific environments.
  • Status in society: Tribes and other ancient cultures also use face painting as a symbol of their status in society. Face painting patterns can be particularly reserved for those who are higher up in the society’s hierarchy. It can even be used as a way of making a statement. A good example of this is the hippy movement in the 1960s, where people would paint their face with symbols such as the peace sign to show their allegiance to the movement.


What will I learn?

If you’ve always wanted to learn the art of face painting then a face painting course will teach you everything you need to know. The first things you will be taught will be the essential techniques to successful face painting, this will include basic painting techniques, colour blocking, blending, highlighting, shading and adornment, how to apply face paint, and how to use sponges and brushes for certain designs and patterns.

They will also teach you how to create your own face painting designs. You will be taught the methods of constructing your own designs, and then draw these designs up onto a face chart to understand how to plan and apply them. Once you have successfully done this, you will have the chance to apply your design onto a member of the class to see what it looks like. It may be useful to take an art course before this, which will help you in creating your own designs.


A professional face painter

It can be hard to be a full time face painter. Many who pursue face painting careers do it as a part time job to earn some extra money. Face painters are often only needed on weekends or school holidays at children’s parties, fairs and other big events. However the skills you learn on a face painting course can kick start a career as a makeup artist or beauty therapist.

There are also opportunities to become a professional face painter for the entertainment industry, although you will need to have an abundance of artistic talent, and taking an undergraduate fine art course  or theatrical makeup course can help you to land a job.


Face painting hints and tips

  • Use a sponge for large areas: If you are doing a large area of the same colour use a sponge and not a brush. It will be much quicker. Have more than one sponge for multiple colours to save washing them out during the middle.
  • Let the first colour dry: Before putting a second colour on top, make sure you let the first one dry. If you don’t the colours will mix together.
  • Apply multiple layers: Apply multiple thin layers as opposed to one thick layer. Apply a thin layer let it dry and then apply another thin layer. One thick layer can easily crack.
  • Use stencils: If you still struggle with certain shapes then you can use stencils. Stencils can be picked up in any arts and craft store and they offer a host of different shapes for your needs.
  • Plan the design well: Before starting the face painting make sure you know exactly how you want it to look. There’s nothing worse than ‘playing it by ear’ and messing up halfway through.
  • Build a portfolio: If there are competitors in the same area, always make sure you have a portfolio handy. People are more likely to pay someone if they have can see their past work.

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