Humorous alien face painting tutorial

Posted by Beth Mackinney on


Goofy aliens make me laugh. I suppose it’s the influence of Calvin & Hobbes, which has been one of my favorite cartoons for years. Waterson’s aliens, quirky or fearsome by turns, always have a comedic side I’ve enjoyed. I had a great time creating this funny alien inspired by Bill Waterson, and I hope you enjoy painting it as well.


TAG orange face paint
TAG light blue face paint
TAG dark blue face paint
Paradise yellow face paint
Paradise lime green face paint
Paradise purple face paint
Paradise violet face paint
Diamond FX black face paint
Wolfe white face paint
#5 or #6 round brush
#3 round brush
#1 or #2 round brush


Begin by sponging orange over the eye area and the side of the face. This will be your general alien shape.

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Load your large round brush with the same orange and create a more definitive outline for the alien, adding some drips along the bottom.

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Load your sponge with Paradise yellow, and dab it over the dry orange to create a highlight on the upper portion of his head and just below the eye area.

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Use your Wolfe white to make an eye shape next to the model’s eye. Pay attention to the placement for this. The corner of the eyes shouldn’t touch, but the inner corners should be level. Angle the outer edge of the eye up toward the temple a little. This will help give the alien’s face the illusion of being curved rather than flat.

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Sponge TAG light blue and royal blue above the alien’s head, over the forehead and down onto the bridge of the nose.

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Using your #1 or #2 round brush loaded with black, form the eyebrows and outlines below the eyes. The most difficult part about this is that you’ll be painting the opposite direction from the way the model’s eyebrow grows.

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Using the #1 round brush, outline the alien with black.

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Work up a creamy consistency of Paradise lime green and yellow. Add green dots to the alien’s body. If you worked enough paint into your water, these stay opaque and sit right on top of the dry orange paint beneath without showing the orange through. Use the yellow paint to go over the drops on the bottom of the alien.

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To add the planets, choose three colors (such as yellow, lime green, and purple) for the base colors. Again, if you work up a nice, creamy consistence of paint with your #5 round brush, you should be able to place the color right over the blue, which has completely dried underneath, without the blue showing through. Dot analogous colors or darker versions of the same colors over the top of the planets for details.

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Outline the planets with your #1 round brush and black, and as a final step, use white to intensify highlights on the alien and planets and add dots and starbursts for the stars in the sky.

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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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