This design is special. And you know why? Because it was my very first original face painting design! Yes, back in 2012, after almost a year of copying other artists’ work, I woke up in the morning with the idea that I wanted to paint a cat. But not just a full face cat. I wanted to display the idea of a super cute kitten full of energy and joy.
It was the time when we had about 10 stray kittens at home, that we were taking care of, so it’s not a surprise why the idea of this design came to my mind then. 😂
I took a piece of paper, a pencil and I sketched my idea. I couldn’t resist the temptation of painting it right away! So I set up my kit and moved on creating my very first invented design. I made a good choice then by taking step-by-step pictures. What a beautiful memory it is now!
But, no more words! Let’s begin!
Step 1 — The Sketch
If you are painting a design for the very first time, you may want to find the best placement and proportions by making a sketch on the face before you move on painting. Either a makeup pencil of a light shade (white or light brown) or a small round brush loaded with light face paint will work great for this purpose.
I wanted to fit the main part of the design on the forehead, but to tie it up with the face features by bringing down some of its bits too. Kitten’s paws framing my eye on one side and his tail equally placed on the other side did the job perfectly!
The ball of yarn with a piece of thread coming out of it tied the design with the bottom of the face, by directing it towards the chin focal point.
Step 2 — Filling in with main color
Fill in the body of the kitten with regular grey. I used Mehron storm cloud. Add white spots on the muzzle, tips of the paws and tail. Blend the colors in between by using a slightly wet filbert brush.
Step 3 — Applying shadows
Use a slightly wet small filbert brush with a glycerin based black (Mehron or Superstar) or metallic waxy black (TAG, Cameleon, Diamond FX etc.) and apply it under the head, on the belly, and on the bottoms of the paws. Blend the shadows into the main colour using a slightly damp filbert brush.
The light is always coming from above so that all the shadows should be below.
Fill in the eyes with regular yellow and the ears and nose with Mehron Coral color. Use a small round brush (#1 or #2) and regular black to outline the kitten by making small flicks all along his body.
Step 4 — Adding details
Usually the last details to be added are the highlights. Use a #1 or #2 round brush and regular white and make same flicks like you’ve done with black, placing the highlights mainly on the top. Add the sparkles in the eyes by putting two dots of different sizes in each eye.
Step 5 — Final touches
Additional elements, like this red ball of yarn, can embellish the design, make it look more cute and can refresh it with a bright color.
Use a finger dauber sponge for the ball and any split-cake with red, orange and yellow combination (I used TAG Autumn here). Press it and rotate a little bit to blend the colors. Paint the thread with regular red using a small round brush.
Outline the ball and add some shading to the thread and the design is ready!
I painted this design back in 2012 when I wasn’t familiar with all face painting techniques, that help speed up the painting process. So, obviously, if you follow the guidelines from this Step-by-Step, it will take a while until you’ll complete the design.
Right now I would have used the one stroke technique for painting the body and would avoid adding the white highlights on the fur, which are the most time-consuming parts.
But what I want you to learn from this Step-by-Step, is how to tie up the design with the face features by finding the best placement and how to layer the paint, highlighting and shading parts of the design for obtaining a three-dimensional effect.
Placing various animals in a similar way became my own original style, that I’ve been searching for more than a year.
I encourage you to try different placements and styles, copy various designs of professional artists, get inspired from what you love (nature, floristics, animals, illustration, comics, movies etc.) and find your own flow!
If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan, not the goal.
That’s what I love about the studies at the International Face Painting School. It doesn’t teach you to copy the selection of designs presented there. It teaches you how to develop your own style, find your own creative flow.
Each and every design was carefully selected to train the various skills and help you develop your own style. The secret is simple — a well-thought step-by-step training system reinforced with individual feedback. Just take a look what an original beauty did Kristin Olsson paint, being inspired by my roses design.
Read our Professional and Beginner’s guides for a complete look into everything you need to know about face painting!
— Ultimate Face Painting Tutorial for Beginners
— How to Become a Professional Face Painter and Get Paid