Tropical Butterfly by Kristin Olsson

Here in Norway where I live we now have the darkest time of the year with daylight only for a few hours every day, so I thought I would brighten up my day (and yours!) with a colourful butterfly and dream back to those warm summer days….



Arty Brush Cake by Sillyfarm - Nostalgia

FAB Yellow Shimmer (132)

FAB Tiger Shimmer (136)

Diamond FX Black

Diamond FX White

Blazin Brush by Marcela Bustamante Round #4

Sillyfarm Paint Pal Swirl Brush Round #1

Cameleon Angle Brush #2 (3/4")

MamaClown Glitter - Neon Yellow 


Step 1: the shape

First, I paint the outline of the butterfly with white. This is not necessary, but if you are a little unsure of how you want the shape of the butterfly to look, it can be really useful to do this. I try to make sure that the butterfly is not too large, especially since I will be adding a quite prominent outline to this later. 


Step 2: the base

I then load a butterfly sponge with metallic yellow and metallic orange and cover the eyelid area. This step is not necessary if you feel confident with your one stroke brush, but I find it easier to obtain a nice finish near the inner corners of the eyes by doing it this way. You can also use the sponge to blend the colours in the next step if you have some hard edges you want to smooth out.


Step 3: one stroke

With a 3/4 inch angled brush, I pick up all the colours from the one stroke cake except the black. I follow the outline I have already made with the white colour and create the main shape of the butterfly. Using the same brush, I paint another layer on the inside of the first layer and I fill in any gaps with the edge of the brush.

For this style of butterfly, it will look good if you use a one stroke that has good contrast between the light and the darker colours - as you will see later on you can use this to create a nice and subtle 3D-looking effect that looks impressive but is actually quite easy to do. As a variation you can also use two different colour combinations for your layers to make it look even more colourful!




Step 5:  outlining and filling in the gaps

With a round brush, I then move on to painting the black shapes. As you can see I start by painting the circles that will not be covered with paint before moving on to painting the areas around the circles. I prefer to use a round brush that has a quite pointy tip for this part, as this will enable you to paint nice sharp tips and to fill in the smaller areas between your circles. All the lines are directed towards the central focal point between the eyes, this creates balance and harmony.


Step 6: finishing touch

You can leave your butterfly as it is in the previous step, or you can add a few white highlights inside the circles and along the black line work to make the design pop even more. Add some bright yellow or orange glitter to this as well and you will have a happy, bright and super sparkly butterfly!

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.