Face Paint Tribal Basics

Hi and welcome to this weeks ‘paint with me’. This week’s focus is going to be tribal. When it comes to tattoos tribal is everywhere! Down legs, and arms, making up intricate large pieces. It looks so simple and so complicated all at the same time.

Coming from someone that is obsessed by swirls, you think I’d have attempted tribal well before now, right? Other than a half-arsed attempt as a teenager to cover my friends back in swirls (which may I add did not look as good as I had imagined), I haven’t really tried it much before, so this week, I practiced, and practiced (yep back to that word again, we all have a love/hate relationship with it!). Some turned out pretty good, some not so good, and as always; I show the good and the bad.

There was a particularly good video on YouTube by SparklingFaces, and some inspiration I found on Pinterest that really helped with tribal painting. (If you’d like to follow my tribal board you can check it out here: Cosmic Faerie’s Pinterest-Tribal board.

Then out comes to brush and the black paint! Ooooo but what brush is the question? I tried a few this week; The La Corneille Flora , the Loew-Cornell yellow handle number 5 and a flat ½ inch brush. The one I used was Royal and Royal and Langnickel which is a cheap one I picked up until I can afford a lovely one from The Face Painting Shop. The favourite was definitely the La Corneille flora. This is a brush a purchased and was taught how to use by Juliet Eve from Façade academy. You can check out her awesome training classes here.

As you can see from the video below, the brush holds paint well up close the the ferulle, so keeps going for longer (which is handy when you are getting carried away with the curly swirlys), it is able to produce a very fine line, but also a very thick one. Excellent for tiger stripes when you need thick to thin (abbreviated in the face paint community as TTT). This brush is excellent for creating the thick to thin C’s and swirls you need when creating tribal. As mentioned above I did test a round brush, which also worked well, but it didn’t have the contrast that the flora had.

Fancy picking up a flora brush? You can do so here: Flora Brush

As mentioned, I also tried and ½ inch brush. I had this bright idea that I could get some lovely one stroke colours, looking all blended and tribally. The verdict was: I couldn’t. I believe with a bit more practice and brush control that I still might be able too, but I still prefer the flora. Quick and easy and I can add highlights too. Here are my ‘attempts’.

I found when using black as the base colour and highlighting with white it was muddying and going wrong, like the one below (although I managed to do one that looked okay). I am pretty terrible at highlights, and normally prefer to just use dots.

Saying that, I did try some tribal designs in metallic colours with highlights, which I thought looked pretty effective.

This one is Superstar’s (Fab in the USA) ziva and Tag’s pearl blue.

I would say play around with colours. There is no excuse not to practice, you don’t have to haul all of your face painting things out. One brush, one colour and some water and you are ready to go!

You can also integrate these in to your designs. The one below is inspired by Cameron Garrett tribal monster.

I also tried UV one stroke and tribal. I used the pink, orange, and yellow side of a the DiamondFX Neon Rainbow split cake, and a 1 inch flat brush to make a C shape around the eye. I then painted the tribal design on top of this with a normal black. The UV glows really well, behind the dark tribal design.

Tribal desings are really popular, so they are ace brilliant to use on teenagers and as part of graffiti arms.

Check out Mike Tyson’s tattoo. It seems that this design is quite popular, and images of it painted on in various ways crop up all over the internet.

Mike Tyson image from here

Once you get the basics down you can experiment with colour, add gems and glitter and really get some ace effects, brilliant, quick and colourful for the festivals!

Cosmic Faerie


Face Paint Flower Bascis

Hi everyone! The first week’s ‘paint with me’ focus is flowers.

They are popular with all ages, come in different shapes, sizes and colours and are very versatile. You can use them to make whole crowns or hippy festival bands, or use them to jazz up designs.

Some are so intricate that they take my breath away and I think ‘wow, I will never be able to paint like that, I WISH I could paint like that’. Let’s face it we all need to start somewhere.

Here are my flowers in the very early days:


Not that impressive right? Although may I add, I thought these pink and purple double dip flowers were the bee’s knees.

Let’s face it though, When you are achieving this, and want to be achieving something like the image below, it is really disheartening. 

This amazing piece is by Amirah Alasmri. She is part of an awesome group on Facebook called ‘Confidence in Paint’. Her flowers and words of wisdom have been a massive inspiration, and helped me greatly with improving my painting. Just look at the beautiful colour!

So how do you get from the first pictures to this beautiful work of art? Practice of course, sounds easy doesn’t it?

It isn’t as easy as ‘bibbity bobbity ‘practice’ booo…. ooooooo masterpiece’, but there will come a time where you think ‘wow, I am liking this, my work is coming together’.

This is the point I am starting to get to, slowly. Which is why I have set up this blog. It is often disheartening seeing so many masterpieces when your double dip flower (I will explain what that is further along in the post for those who do not know), looks more like a misshapen colourful blob! I am afraid my work isn’t yet these beautiful master pieces, but I am slowly collecting the techniques I need to work toward that masterpiece, and that is the bit I want to share.

Remember: we are always harsher on our own work than we are on other peoples, that things take time, and that the journey can be pretty fun.

So, to flowers (please note for the purpose of this blog post I will not be including one stroke roses as they are a whole other level that I will explore in a further blog post).

Lets start with brushes! Where to start?

There are masses of brushes on the market which can be overwhelming when you are new to painting. For the purpose of flowers (or the petals at least), a petal, filbert, cat’s tongue or flora brush all work well.

I use a La-Corneille flora brush in a 6, which you can find here.

I also recently purchased The Face Painting shop mini flower brush and I love it! It makes the most delicate little flowers and the shape keeps beautifully. You can pick yours up here.

In the past I have used filbert and cat tongue brushes that I picked up at the art store. They look good, but having a brush specifically for petals makes a massive difference. They can be quite expensive, but they are definitely worth the investment.

The simplest flowers to start with are double dip flowers. They look pretty once you get the shape and dimensions right, and can be used alone, added to other designs, and painted quickly for the little people in your seat that like to wriggle.

All you need to do is activate the 2 colours you would like to use. To do that wet a brush (I like to use a filbert brush for this), then start to move your brush around in the paint until you get a nice creamy consistency, like the one in the video below. Do the same for both colours.


You then want to take your floral/petal/filbert/cats tongue brush and load it up with your first colour of paint.

Next wipe off the tip with a wet piece of kitchen towel or a flannel, and just dip the tip of the brush in to the second colour. Note that you will get a bit of the first colour mixed in to the second colour paint, all you need to do is wipe it out with a wet sponge once your design is complete.

Your brush should now have the first colour up the the farrell(the metal bit of the handle next to the bristles), with the second colour on the tip.

You then need to press the brush down to make your petal shape, with the coloured tip in the center. This shape will partially depend on the brush, and partially depend on how far you press the brush down and if you wiggle it around. 

If you want a wider petal: wiggle the brush around in a circle shape, or place the brush back on top of itself slightly off to one side(see the picture below). Remember to make sure your petals also face toward one point in the middle, this is called your focus point.

If you want a smaller or larger petal: Press the farrell further down for a larger petal, or use just the tip for a smaller petal.

It is always best to work in 3’s, 5’s and 7’s. (Something Juliet from the Façade academy taught me on her awesome Flowers and Flourishes training day).

So now you have the basic flower, ta da! It doesn’t look like the masterpiece you want it to be, but it is a piece of it. Keep practising, add little dots and swirls to the centre of these. You could even dip your brush in to 2 contrasting greens and create some leaves too.

Once you get this down you can start adding some extras. Add black around your flowers, with white highlight or dots to make them ‘pop’ and stand out. You can do this using a small round brush such as a 1, 2 or 3. The yellow handled Lowel Cornells are my favourite, check them out here: 

You could also use a liner brush for more swirly and whimsical lines, or make a beautiful rainbow with a one stroke cake .

You can see with this basic technique you can create really cute and colourful designs that look awesome, and are quick if you have a que of people, or are just getting to grips with your painting.

Another technique that looks awesome, and uses one strokes is making the petals with a flat brush.

These are one strokes, and can be found at all face painting shops. These are relatively new to the face painting world, but the majority of us LOVE THEM…..they are so colourful and pretty <3 <3 <3.

Well anyways, they make awesome flower petals! Like the flora brushes explored above, there are loads of options for flat brushes too. I would advise, if you do not already have any flat brushes, purchasing a ¾ inch flat brush. This can be straight or angled. I am finding I prefer the angled ones, but this is just down to personal preference. Maybe visit your local art shop to see what selection they have, you can just get a feel for how each would be to paint with.

This is the brush I use in the videos is an American Painter 3/4 inch flat angled brush

Since making these I have purchased a 3/4 short angled brush fom The Face Painting Shop and I am really impressed with it. I originally purchased the 1 inch and loved it so much I got the 1/2 and 3/4 too. It holds water really well, but still has a thin tip, and is really sturdy. Check out the 3/4 inch flat brush here.

Once you have decided what brush you would like to use, load this up with your desired colour split cake. This is done by wetting your brush, tapping of the excess on a flannel or paper towel, and then moving the brush back and forth over the paint. Remember to keep your brush in line with the colours.

In order to make a petal shape you place the brush down keeping the inside on one point and moving the edge of the brush around in to a half circle shape, like this:

You then continue this make the 5 petals, again make sure your petals all come from a point in the middle. I sometimes go over mine a second time to try to balance them out a little, and spread the colours evenly. Obviously with practice, perfect placement will be one stroke with all colour perfectly even. 

Like the double dip flowers, these look better when adding highlight, shade, some little dots in the middle or at certain points on the petals. Again, you can use this technique for adding leaves and foliage to you flowers and deigns too.

Here are a few examples that I have done this week. Experiment, with colour, glitter, highlights; the limit is only your imagination.

Thanks for reading, and remember this is only 2 very small examples out of a mass of amazing painted lowers out there. Check them out, pin them, add them to your inspiration folders, and play about incorporating them in to other designs.

Thanks for reading!

Cosmic Faerie.