In order to get the proportions right, I began by outlining a rough sketch of my design lightly in Paradise white with a Loew Cornell #4 round brush. This will serve as a loose blueprint of what the design will look like, and will help me keep the two sides symmetrical. The design may change a little while you paint it, but this is a good place to start. Paradise blends easily with whatever color you lay overtop of it, which is why I would recommend using Paradise white for this step.
Once you have the design laid out, using a Paint Pal Little Drop filbert brush, fill in the sections of the mask with the colors of your choice. Being that this is for Mardi Gras, I decided to go with the traditional colors of gold, purple and green. I used FAB glitter gold and FAB Amethyst shimmer for the bigger sections, and Paradise Brilliant Bottle Green for framing the mask and for the Fleur de Lis symbol, which I decided to add above the center heart. Unfortunately, we discovered that this Paradise green had a strong potential for staining and the model had difficulty getting it off, so I would recommend using a similar green, such as FAB Peacock Shimmer instead. After filling in a color, apply glitter while the paint is still wet so the glitter will stick easily.
Now it’s time for the shading. This will make the mask look like it’s actually laying on the face. Using my Loew Cornell round #4 brush and Paradise black, I load the black on my brush with a generous amount of water and test it on my hand until it is translucent enough to look like a shadow. Keeping in mind where your light source would be, outline the sections of the mask where a shadow would fall.
The best part! GLITTER!
Using Gold Liquid Bling, embellish the mask with crisscrossing lines, swirls, teardrops and outlines. It’s hard to tell in the photo, but adding the liquid bling really elevated the design to a glamorous level. If you’re painting this on a child, I would limit the amount of liquid bling you apply because it’s a little difficult to remove, and it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to dry completely, making it difficult for little ones to not to smudge it. Also, be careful when squeezing the liquid bling bottle, because it can come out very quickly and can become a goopy mess if your pressure is not consistent. It takes some practice, but is worth it once you’re used to working with it. Also, the narrow tip of the bottle sometimes gets clogged, so I always keep a safety pin in my kit just in case.
For the finishing touch, I applied purple shimmer paint to her lips to complete the look.
There are so many options for Mardi Gras masks. It’s a fun event, so have fun while creating your mask! I hope you enjoyed my tutorial! Please tag me if you try my design!
Natalia Malley is the owner and lead artist of Peace Love and Paint LLC in the Washington DC metro area. She has been face painting for about 10 years, has won numerous face painting competitions and has been published in several face and body art magazines including SkinMarkz Magazine, The Colored Palette, QMagazine, FABAIC Magazine and Silly Farm Newsletter.