Flaming Skull by Kristin Olsson


I am such a fan of cheek designs for kids! Not only do you have a larger surface to paint on - it is also a great place to place a design if the child has a fringe.

For this specific design, I wanted to create a cool boy design that is easy to do on the job. A super cool design with skull and flames that will only take you about 5 minutes to paint—what's not to like?!


TAG Flame One Stroke Cake

DFX Black

DFX white

Small Sponge

Loew Cornell brush (short handle angle brush)

Bad Ass Mini Stencils Scattered Stars 

Cameleon Blending Brush

Round #3 Brush

Step 1: the skull

First, I start by painting the skull. I have chosen to place the skull at an angle, and there is a reason for this—the bottom line of the skull is parallel to the jawline, so this placement will make the general flow of the design look more balanced.

Tip:As you can see, I have not filled in the skull entirely. These areas will be filled with black later. If you find it a bit tricky to do this you can paint the whole skull white and just paint the black details on top of it. The black and the white paint will most probably mix a little, but it will still look cool. It´s up to you and what you feel comfortable with.


Step 2: stencils

I wanted it to look like the skull was lying on top of something. Stencils are perfect to use for this. Here, I have used a spider web stencil, but any other texture stencil can be used for this. The stenciled pattern has faded edges and a more dense color closer to the skull, to give it a bit more of a dimension. 


Step 3: painting the flames

I love how one stroke paints can make a design go from plain to "wow" in just seconds! For the flames, I am just picking up the yellow and the orange from the cake, and I keep the darker color on the outside of the flames. Make sure to load the brush correctly with the right paint consistency. If your paint is too wet you will get muddy colors, and if it's too dry you will not get nice, smooth brush strokes.


Step 4: more stencils!

I wanted to pick up the white color from the skull, so I decided to add a few stars as well to the design. If you have a long line, you can skip this—but I really think it adds to the design.


Step 5:  line work

So after finishing my stenciling, I do the line work and fill in the unpainted areas on the skull. I also decided to add a few black dots to the base of the skull to tie it together with the surface underneath.


Step 6: shading

For the blending here I have used a small Cameleon blending brush. I moisten the brush only slightly on a wet wipe or a damp cloth and use the almost dry brush to drag out the paint slightly to create the shading. This step is optional—but it makes such a difference! 

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial - can´t wait to see your version of this!


Kristin Olsson has her background from the art and design world and has been working as a professional face painter since 2016.

She has won numerous face painting competitions and has been published in various face and body painting magazines.

Now she is a certified instructor at the International Face Painting School.

You can see more of her work on her Instagram and Facebook pages.