Linework is a basic skill that a face painter should attempt to master. Crisp, accurate lines made easy and fast require lots of practice. But nothing is impossible, especially if you know exactly what to do and how to do it. In this post, I will share with you five useful tips about how to practice your linework the most effective way and get a result with expedition.
1. Invest in pro round brushes
As with all things, there can be a lot of variation in the artist’s tools. Yet, as most beginners are on a tight budget, many may find themselves overlooking quality when it comes to investing in tools and accessories.
In my experience, the type of brush can make a big difference to the end result and it is much easier to produce nice work with a set of professional high-quality brushes, rather than cheap craft brushes.
If you take care of your high-quality brushes properly (use it, wash it, store and sanitize it the right way), they will last many years. But perhaps you have found a set of craft brushes that seem to work well at the beginning? In my own experience, cheaper brushes are more likely deteriorate very fast and will require replacement. So there go your savings.
Investing in high-quality brushes may cost a little fortune, but the good news is that they will last you forever if you take care of them properly. That’s why I’m covering this topic in an entire Module in Part One of the Course, called “Hygiene and taking care of materials. How to fix split brushes tips and damaged paints.”
Round brushes are mainly used for linework (teardrops, swirls, curls, tiger lines, reversed teardrops, dots, outline) and also for building up shapes.
I love making my linework with Loew Cornell 795 series (yellow wooden handles) and 7000C series (old batch — black plastic handles, new batch — black wooden handles).
I have also heard great reviews about a new brand of round brushes, very similar to Loew Cornell 795 series, called Aliyah Round White Taklon Series 1700.
Another option to consider is the new Paint Pal brushes, produced by Silly Farm. Everything that is produced under the thoughtful supervision of Heather Green is of the top quality. I haven’t had a chance to try these brushes myself yet, but I heard very good reviews about them and I believe that Heather did her best to present the best quality brushes for Silly Farm customers.
Knowing exactly what tools will work the best will save you lots of time, money and nerves. That’s why I dedicate the entire Part One of my online Course to setting a solid theoretical fundament and making you become confident of gained knowledge.
2. Hold your brush perpendicularly to the surface
No matter what kind of linework you do, always hold your brush strictly perpendicularly to the skin.
3. Get right paint consistency
Getting the right paint consistency will help you obtain vibrant colors and sharp tips on your lines. Creamy and inky consistencies are the ones that are to be used for linework.
Use creamy consistency for your white lines and inky (slightly more watery than creamy) consistency for your black and colored lines.
Also, make sure you’re activating your paint correctly!
Check out my “How to activate and use face paints correctly” blog post for more info about how to work with your paints properly for best results.
4. Thick to thin and thin to thick
The most pleasing effect in face painting is achieved when your lines have sharp ends (or at least one end) and thick bodies. Vary the pressure on your brush to obtain lines of different thickness. This skill is very important for a face painter, but it may take months and even years to raise to perfection. Don’t give up if your hand doesn’t listen to you.
A little progress each day adds up to big results.
Notice the thick parts of the lines and the thin and sharp tips in these designs. Their alternation creates balance. Both of these designs are being studied at the International Face Painting School.
5. Practice all essential lines and line-clusters
Make sure to practice as frequently as possible each type of line. There are six main lines in face painting:
- regular teardrop
- reversed teardrop
- thin-thick-thin line
- double swirl
- tiger line
At the International Face Painting School, we are practicing the linework thoroughly in Module 2 “Round brush work technique. Main types of linework in face and body painting.”
Check out this practice by the student Elodie Bisegna Ternois. Her hard work paid off and her lines are crisp and neat now!
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I hope that these tips will help you improve your linework. Let me know in the comments below what else do you struggle with? 👇👇👇