Big Nose Buddies Jungle Series: Cobra Tutorial

Technically, a cobra isn't a jungle snake, but it's at least something you'd find on the African continent, so we're putting it in this series, anyway. (Also, a cobra isn't very exciting when it comes to bright colors, so I chose the complementary colors of yellow and purple for the main portions of my cobra to make it more colorful.)

Snakes are always popular designs for children's parties, whether the party has a jungle theme or not, so this easy one-stroke version of a cobra should be both fast for you as an artist and fun for the kids in your chair, plus a change of pace if you're tired of painting your current snake design.


TAG pearl purple and lilac double cake
TAG "Flame" small split cake
Yellow face paint(TAG)
White face paint
Black face paint
Global purple face paint
#2 round brush
1/2-inch flat brush
Filbert and/or #5 round brushes
BAM stencil 4005 (reptile)


Begin with white and make an oval between the eyebrows. Place two eye shapes on top of this. 

Load your 1/2-inch flat brush from the TAG "Flame" small split (or from your favorite red/orange/yellow small split) and fill in the cobra's nose. (Don't forget the little mouth right underneath.) Turn the brush on its side to pull two eyebrows over the cobra's eyes. Rinse your brush and this time load from the TAG pearl lilac and purple cake. Keep the darkest color to the outside and curve over the temples, coming down to the corner of the eyes. Flip the brush, again keeping the darkest purple to the outside, create the bottom of the purple shape. Use the light edge of the brush to fill in the middle area if necessary.

Load your 1/2-inch round from the red/orange/yellow split and paint the under part of the cobra's hood, keeping the yellow side toward the eye. Load a sponge with yellow and sponge the eyelids and bridge of the nose. 

Finally, use your #2 round brush to add a tongue in red, fangs in white, a black outline, and some white highlights. Use a small filbert or the #5 round to add some purple dots on either side of the cobra's hood.

If you have time, you can also add dots and starbursts around the design as well. 

Beth MacKinney is the owner of and primary face painter for Face Paint Pizzazz in Elgin, Illinois, and her artwork has appeared in The Colored Palette and SkinMarkz magazines. She services the western and northwestern Chicago suburbs, Chicago’s north side, and the eastern and southeastern suburbs of Rockford. Stop by to enjoy more of Beth’s face painting tutorials.