Tutorial: Happy Irishman & His Pot Of Gold

2016-03 PotofGoldStepFinalB

This Irishman is fairly pleased with himself as he guards his ample pot of gold, and I hope you enjoy painting him this year for St. Patrick’s day.


TAG skin tone palette
Global red
TAG light green
TAG dark green
TAG royal blue
Diamond FX black
Diamond FX white
Paradise gold
#5 round brush
#3 round brush
#1 round brush
Dot stencil


Begin by loading your #5 round brush with white and creating the two eye shapes. The placement of the eyes is important, because you need enough room for the hat above them and enough room for the rest of the design below, so pay careful attention to where they are in the photo below.

2016-03 PotofGoldStep01

Load your #3 round brush with a skin tone from the TAG skin tone palette. I usually use the second one up from the lightest, but that’s up to you. Add the nose and the ears.

2016-03 PotofGoldStep02

Next, load your #3 round brush with Global red. You can use a combination of Global’s red and orange if you like so that it isn’t too dark. Create the hair above the eyes and the beard below.

2016-03 PotofGoldStep03

At this point, I loaded my brush with white and drew in the body and pot of gold. In this way, I was able to make sure I had room for the entire design and be sure of my placement before filling in the other colors. After awhile, you may not need to do this, but at the beginning, it’s helpful. White is much easier to wipe away than the dark colors if you make a mistake.

2016-03 PotofGoldStep04

Color in the pants with TAG royal blue (or TAG dark green, if you want to be extra-Irish), the shirt with TAG light green, the hat, shoes, and bot with black. Again, if you want to add an extra touch of Irish, you can use dark green on the top hat. I didn’t want my design to be overwhelmingly green, so I used a traditional green top hat and blue pants. So the Irishman wouldn’t be floating on the face, I used dark green for the grass underneath him.

2016-03 PotofGoldStep05

Using your #1 round brush loaded with Wolfe, Diamond FX, or Global strong black, outline the design. When you get to the eyes, it’s easiest to make a circle within a circle before coloring it in completely.

2016-03 PotofGoldStep06B

If you leave the highlight, you won’t have to put it in later.

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Use the #1 round brush loaded with white to create the design on the shirt and the highlights.

2016-03 PotofGoldStepFinalA

As a final touch for this design, choose a stencil to create some background texture. I’ve been using dots lately, since they are a great addition to any cartoon design. Load your sponge with green face paint so that it isn’t too wet, hold the stencil firmly in place, and dab the sponge over the top of it, pressing the paint through the openings to create the texture below.

2016-03 PotofGoldStepFinalB

I hope you liked the design and that it provides something fun and fresh for you to use this year for your St. Patrick’s day events.

Beth MacKinney is the owner of and primary face painter for Face Paint Pizzazz in the NW Chicago suburbs. She also writes for as the Chicago Face Painting Examiner.