Telling a story with face paint

Posted by Beth Mackinney on


Last year the main designs one of my young friends wanted were sunsets and smiley faces, but this year he has branched out in his requests. The other day when I suggested a dinosaur, he was simply not interested. He wanted a pig, which wasn’t what I had in mind. But face painters rarely get to choose what to paint, and after some thought, I decided there might be a way to bring the pig concept up a notch by incorporating a story element and making it fun for both of us. This design was the result.

Story comes from conflict, so I used two pigs rather than one for this design. One is the protagonist (the pig getting hit with the mud), and the other is the antagonist (the pig throwing the mud). When you’re not sure what to do with a subject, think about story.


Paradise pink
Paradise light brown
Paradise dark brown
Paradise red
Diamond FX white
Diamond FX black
Small filbert brush
#5 round brush
#1 or #2 round brush


Begin by loading your #5 round brush with white to create the eyes for the pigs above the child’s eyes as shown. The eyes of the frowning pig are shaped differently because he’s concentrating. The other pig is going to have eyes opened wide in surprise.


Next, use your small filbert or #5 round brush and Paradise pink to paint the pig shapes around the eyes. Both pigs will have one arm up, ready to sling mud.


Next, use your small filbert and Paradise light brown mixed with some Paradise dark brown to make the drippy and splattering mud. The browns tend to dry a little darker, so make sure you use enough of the light brown to compensate. I placed some mud in each upraised arm, as if they were ready to throw it.


The pig who is getting hit with the mud won’t have much face showing, so go over the pink around the eyes with the brown and add some drops shooting out away from it.


Outline your pig design with black using your #1 or #2 round brush. I found the #1 round easiest to use for this.


Once the mouth is in place, add a little red tongue sticking up in the corner for the frowning pig. This helps show he’s really concentrating on hitting his target.


Finally, use the tip of your small round brush and white to add slender highlights to the pigs and the mud.


Adding a simple story creates an element of fun in any design. I use this sometimes with my Sneakadoodle designs as well, because I love stories, and I think the children I face paint enjoy it as well. Have a great time with this concept, and please stop back by to share your results!

Beth MacKinney is the owner of and primary face painter for Face Paint Pizzazz in the NW Chicago suburbs. Stop by to check out her other face painting blog posts and tutorials. If you’re on Facebook, join the Challenge Group to showcase your artwork and have a chance to win a store credit for each week’s challenge.

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