Grumpy alien face paint tutorial

Posted by Beth Mackinney on

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The great thing about aliens is that you can do anything you want with them. Your imagination is the limit, so you can transform any shape you can think of into an alien (or monster).


TAG light green face paint
Paradise orange face paint
• TAG orange face paint
TAG yellow face paint
Global lilac face paint
Paradise red face paint
TAG green face paint
Diamond FX or Wolfe white face paint
Diamond FX or Wolfe black face paint
1/2-inch flat brush or filbert
#1 round brush
#5 round brush
#2 or #3 round brush
BAM stencil BAM1004 Reptile
BAM stencil BAM3005 Nebula


Begin by sponging an orange background for your alien. Keep your alien shape in mind as you sponge. You can paint your alien first and then go in with the sponge around it if you’re more comfortable with that, but I feel I get a little better coverage doing the background first.

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Use your #5 round brush and white to make two eyes at the top of the alien shape. Again, I’m doing this first so I don’t get any color bleeding through into my white.

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Use your 1/2-inch flat or filbert (some will find filbert easier because of the rounded edges) to create your alien shape with TAG light green. By blending a little regular green into the edges, you’ll have a better illusion of an object which is rounded instead of flat.

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Load your sponge with TAG green and use the Reptile stencil to give your alien a reptilian texture. For the background, I used the Nebula stencil and a combination of orange and Paradise red on my sponge. The red seemed a little dark by itself, so I mixed it with orange to lighten it.

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The eyes of your alien will determine its mood. If you want a grumpy alien like mine, give it glowering, angry eyebrows by slanting them down in the center with your #1 round brush and black.

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Add a couple of antennae with your #2 round and Global lilac if you feel your alien needs something on his head. (You could give your alien hair rather than antennae, if you prefer.) Then use your #1 round to outline your design in black.

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Use your #1 round brush and white to give your alien teeth. The green underneath needs to be completely dry for this to work well, and you may need to give it a second coat for them to be very white. To add a few lower highlights on the alien slime, use your #2 round and some TAG yellow.

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Finally add a few white highlights to your design. You could add white dots and starbursts, but in this design it isn’t necessary because the stencil in the background creates enough visual interest.

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If you want to really want to take your alien over the top with grumpiness, use your #1 round brush and Paradise red to give him bloodshot eyes by bringing in little red lines (which look like tiny red lightning bolts) from the outer edge of the eye and tapering them off as you reach the center. This alien has not had enough sleep lately.

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As you experiment with your own aliens, don’t forget your color theory. A simple way to make your designs visually appealing is to use color triads which work well together, such as blue, red, and yellow or orange, green, and purple. If you’re limiting yourself to two main colors, try complementary colors, which are opposite each other on the color wheel: blue and orange, red and green, or yellow and purple.

Beth MacKinney is the owner of and primary face painter for Face Paint Pizzazz in the NW Chicago suburbs. She also writes blog posts for and articles for as the Chicago Face Painting Examiner.

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