How to Face Paint - Step 6: Introduction to Line Work

Being able to do great line work while face painting is probably the hardest part of it. Line work requires a lot of practice, good techniques and good quality tools.

One of the most important things is to use really good face painting brushes. A bad brush, one that has very stiff or very soft bristles, one that lacks a smooth point, one that has a ton of loose hairs pointing in every direction, will make you go insane and you will not be able to get good lines even if you have the best technique in the world. A great line work brush is the Bolt Liner #2. This brush was designed by us to help you achieve great lines.

Not every painter likes every brush and you will discover with time which is your favorite kind of face painting brush. Painters that have a heavy hand tend to favor brushes with short stiffer bristles. Painters that have good control over their hand and have a light hand tend to choose brushes with longer and softer bristles. That is why we have developed a Firm line of Bolt Brushes, so that each painter can chose the brush of their choice.

The kind of face paint you use is also an important part. Although someone with a lot of experience and good brushes can get good lines out of almost every paint, there are certainly better paints for this job. We recommend using wax based or Acacia Senegal Gum based face paints (like Global, Diamond FX, TAG, Kryvaline, Wolfe FX, Cameleon) rather than glycerin based face paints (like Paradise, FAB, Kryolan, Graftobian, Ruby red, Snazaroo, etc). The first kinds of face paints tend to provide crisper lines with solid non blurry edges. Also, these paints tend to have bolder looking colors. Glycerin base face paints are harder to control when doing line work since they tend to bleed on the edges and give a blurry look to your lines.

Once you have the right face paint and the right brush the rest is all about technique and practice.

To start a line, load your brush using what you learned on our previous post: "How to Use Face Painting Brushes". Make sure that your paint consistency is right and that you don’t have excess paint on the tip of your face painting brush. Then with a light hand, approach the skin at an almost 90 degree angle with the tip of your brush and gently drag your brush as you allow for almost the entire brush to touch the skin.

To help you visualize how your brush should approach the skin and how you should take it off the skin imagine an airplane landing and taking off. The airplane is always moving as it lands and takes off. If you keep your brush moving as you approach the skin and as you remove it, you will always have thin ends on your lines, which will help make them look more delicate and it will prevent large blobs of paint forming by the ends.

There are several basic line work techniques and we will talk about those in the following posts. Other fancier moves will be discussed later on a different post.

Previous article How to Face Paint - Step 5: Creating a Smooth Base Coat
Next article How to Face Paint - Step 6: Thin to Thick Face Painting Lines

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