Starting Out As A Professional Face & Body Painter: Part Two – Choosin

Starting Out As A Professional Face & Body Painter: Part Two – Choosing The Perfect Face & Body Paint Brushes

by Fiona Kay 23 November, 2018 5 min read

Starting Out As A Professional Face & Body Painter: Part Two – Choosing The Perfect Face & Body Paint Brushes

Last week we delved into the world of face and body paint, looking at those must-have items and how you can use different paints to get your desired finish. Today we are looking at all things tools; specifically brushes and how you can make the most out of what you have with the core essentials, and some simple painting techniques under your belt.

For those starting out in the industry, having a wider understanding of the options available and knowing which staples you should always have in your kit is the first step to success. As you become more established and confident, you will likely find yourself naturally navigating towards certain brushes and techniques that work for you, so at the start don’t worry about the complicated stuff; it will all come to you in time!

Get To Know Your Brushes

Building up your kit is the very first step to becoming a professional face and body painter, and perhaps the most important one you will make. A great artist can work well with bad tools, but why make life harder for yourself?

We understand how intense the industry can be, with a multitude of products out there, many of which aren’t necessities and don’t need to be in your kit right from the get go. In order to weed out what is a “must-have” item and what can wait, check out our handy guide below and get to know your brushes.

Brush Shapes

Although there is a range of different styles of brush, typically they will always be broken down into three categories of shape: round, oval or flat.

TIP:There are no hard or fast rules when it comes to this industry, and although certain brushes are designed to do certain jobs, many artists will go with what they work best with. With that in mind, remember not to put too much pressure on yourself at the start to buy all the brushes your colleagues have.

Brushes You Should Get To Know

Round Brushes:Arguably one of the most popular styles of brush, these are ideal for creating intricate linework and building up shapes. The round base at the ferrule and the sharp point make them ideal for popular patterns such as teardrops and swirls.

Filbert Brushes: Another staple, the filbert is an oval shaped brush that is sometimes also referred to as a cat’s tongue due to its shape. Filbert brushes are great for bodywork and cover a good surface area with ease due to their ability to perform broad strokes.

Fine Brushes:If you are going to be doing any fine or intricate designs, a fine brush will be your best friend. Usually long and thing, these are ideal for getting those smaller finishing touches that a larger brush just can’t reach.

TIP:If you are painting a large space, use a large brush, for those nooks, crannies and fine details, use a small brush. It sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many artists fill their kit with dozens of brushes all for one specific job. Working off size like this can help compress your kit down into the essential multi-use pieces.

Flat Brushes:Usually categorised by their large square appearance, flat brushes are great for body painting as they can cover a larger surface area with few strokes. If you are likely to do a lot of body art, opting for a flat brush can save you time and make you more efficient.

Angled Brushes: Their typical sharp edge with sloping flat shape is an easy way to identify these. Great for a multitude of applications; they are usually firmer that their counterparts due to their shape - making them ideal for sharp edges and getting into tight spaces.

Fan Brushes:An ideal tool for blending, creating unique patterns and softening the edges of your finished creation.

TIP:Although there are many other types of brush you may want to add to your kit, these are some of the main ones you will likely reach for the most. We always advise that artists opt to have a couple of spares of their most used brushes, along with separate ones for black and white paint for simplicity.

Brush Techniques

Like with all crafts, practice makes perfect – however it can’t hurt to have a few techniques in your arsenal so that you can create fantastic looks with confidence.

Below we have listed some common face and body-painting techniques that you could use to create unique and professional looks.

Lift & Press Technique:Ideal for use with longer brush heads, the lift and press technique allows you to create flowing lines by alternating the pressure you apply to the brush. The bigger the brush the more effective this can be, however remember that if you are painting the face you won’t require a very large brush, and this technique can still be applied.

The ‘Flick’ Technique:Ideal if you are using synthetic brushes that have a natural spring to them, the flick technique utilises this spring to create a controlled and natural looking flick. These are ideal for intricate pretty patterns such as swirls.

TIP:When you are creating lines that vary in width, it can be difficult to get the perfect flawless line. Using the lift and press technique you can practice going from thick to thin, and vice versa by alternating the pressure you put on your brush.

Loading Your Brush:Perhaps not a ‘technique’ however a crucial part in getting the look you are going for is in the loading of your paintbrush. Whether you are painting face or body, ensuring the right consistency of paint is on your brush will make all the difference. If you are painting a long line, or large surface area, you need to ensure you have enough paint on the brush to get the desired look.

TIP:When loading your brush be careful to do so with care. Brushes can become easily damaged by careless application, so opting for a smooth back and forth motion or gentle swirling will allow your brush hairs to stay in the right place.

Red Carpet FX Recommends

If you are looking to start your makeup kit in style, we stock a vast array of brands from budget to premium, including all of those essentials we have talked about today. As we have said, choosing your makeup brushes is a very personal choice, and we can only recommend our favourites, but ultimately the choice is yours!

Below are just some of our go-to brushes for professional face and body painting, all of which can be found on our site:

To shop our full collection, click here!

We hope you have enjoyed our two-part series on face and body painting for professionals. Of course there is a lot more to consider than what we have discussed throughout this series, however the key message is to start off with a solid foundation of knowledge and equipment, and work your way up in your own time.

See you soon!

Fiona Kay
Fiona Kay


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