Simple Face Painting Ideas Using Colour Theory

Creatives with a the trained eye or those displaying artistic talents pick colours that complement each other effortlessly.
But what about for those lacking artistic flair and imagination? That’s where we introduce the fool-proof method; the colour wheel, to help you paint up a storm using simple face painting ideas & techniques.

Fun fact – did you know that the original colour wheel chart was developed by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666? His experimentation slitting sunlight with a prism lead to his color circle – fascinating!
The colour wheel has since been further developed from the original to what we know it as today.

12 colours in the colour wheel explained:
Primary – red, blue, yellow
Secondary – purple, green, orange
Tertiary – red-violet, blue-violet, blue-green, yellow-green, yellow-orange, red-orange

The color wheel contains three primary colors, three secondary colors and six tertiary colors.
– Primary colors are the three colors that cannot be mixed or formed by any combination of other colors. All other colours can be mixed by using these three hues.
– Secondary colors are formed by mixing primary colors
– Tertiary colors are formed by mixing a primary and a secondary color. The placement of colours on the colour wheel will help you identify which colours work together.

Color harmony refers the visually pleasing arrangement of colour, and engages the viewer by forming balance and an inner sense of order.

There are three basic theories in relation to color harmony;
– Analogous colors – any three colors side-by-side on the color wheel
– Complementary colors -any two colors that are directly opposite each other – on the color wheel
– A color scheme based on nature – derived from natures images such as plants – the top arm image below is an example

face-painting-designs-tiger-cheetah-leopard-printslearn-to-face-paint-colour-theory-blending-spongeCopyright: The Magic Brush

The main blog image (at the very top of this page) and the 2nd arm design demonstrates using split complementary colours together to create harmony – teal, orange & purple hues together in a gradient effect.
We used the Global split cake Milan on the edge of the main butterfly & kitten below (used in reverse) to create quick & easy face painting designs.

An adaptable area of color theory is how color behaves in relation to other colors, when placed together. Comparing colors and their effects is color context. Color context is used in many optical illusions, as contrast and placement will trick the eye in perceiving movement or depth of the design using highlights and shadows. Saturation, placement, hue, darkness and lightness all play a role in the contextUsing these principles in your face painting with help you further understand the importance of colour, placement and context.

You can use these theories to create simple face painting designs that add punch and are visually pleasing like the designs demonstrated below. Simple yet effective.

kids-face-painting-kitten-butterfly-split-cakes-rainbow-colourArtist: Samantha Fernandes. Copyright The Magic Brush

Designmantic explain colour theory in the visual form with examples if you wanted to explore this & draw further inspiration. It even explores the emotional values each colour holds!

You can zoom in & view the larger version from Designmantic here


We hope these simple face painting ideas & colour theory will help with beginning your face painting journey! Happy Painting!

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5 thoughts on “Simple Face Painting Ideas Using Colour Theory

  1. Amanda says:

    So helpful! It’s helpful having an understanding of the Colour rules as it helps narrow down what options to choose from & reduces overwhelm 🙂 🙂

  2. JP Hale says:

    Wow, being a bloke I’m a bit colour blind, not actually colour blind but have no clue. This helps heaps and given I have a little one very useful for Dad to get involved with a little bit of colour confidence. Now where do I find artistic ability???

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