Simple nativity cheek art tutorial

Posted by Elizabeth Mackinney on


I love Christmas, but sometimes it’s difficult to come up with designs which reflect the nativity Christmas story. Part of this is because the nativity story is about people and most artists would prefer not painting them on someone’s face. Because of this, here is a simple silhouette cheek art design, which I adapted from a standard sunset design which is popular for cheek art and which I hope you’ll find helpful for your Christmas events.


Rainbow large split cake
Diamond FX or Wolfe black face paint
Diamond FX or Wolfe white face paint
Round sponge
#1 round brush


Load your round sponge from your rainbow split cake by first spritzing it with water and then sliding it back and forth on the rainbow. My split cake was a homemade one made from Global yellow, orange, red, and magenta, but any rainbow split cake will do. After your round sponge is ready, make a perfect circle with your sponge on the cheek.


Next, outline the circle with black using your #1 round brush. Diamond FX, Global strong black, and Wolfe black are great for this because they flow so well from the brush.


Fill in the bottom of the circle a bit with your land, and create a stable with two people inside it kneeling at the manger.


Don’t panic if you haven’t tried to draw people before. Think in terms of simple shapes. The people are really elongated triangles with small ovals at the top, angled toward the manger. The manger itself is just a triangle sitting on a small x.


Add some palm trees for visual interest by making a curving trunk with four or five curved lines coming out from the top. On each of these, add some small lines for the palms. Use the #1 round and white to make the Star of Bethlehem in the sky and a few smaller dots for other stars.


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.

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