Creative Makeup Exercise: Getting Inspired From Illustration


You probably know the feeling of being stuck in the creative desert. Whenever you feel like creating something new & yet no clear image comes to your mind.

Art inspires art, therefore, this time I will invite you to focus on illustrations. Illustrators already developed a consistent style, topics and even constant colour palettes in their work & we can use that as our little cheat sheet to begin moving forward.

With each step, I will also show you an example of how everything went for me. You’ll notice in the process that you’ll get inspired by different things that you are currently are thinking of.

1. Find an illustrator

For this exercise, we will need to pick one artist. If you already have an illustrator in mind that’s great, you can move forward to a second step. If you are still looking for one, you can browse in my collection on Pinterest. For this exercise flat lay, abstract and colourful ones work the best.

How it went for me:

I chose Kissi Usukki artworks to be my inspiration (Oh, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be portrait illustrations as I chose in my case).

face painting_makeup

2. copying

There are so many details in illustrations we chose it might seem overwhelming finding where to start. That’s why we are starting with copying everything we see. Basically, now you’re becoming a human printer and repeating everything on your face. If it’s a character (like in my case, you are cosplaying it).

In the process, you’re going to notice details that you haven’t paid attention to before, for example, the exact scale and position of details, how neat or expressive the strokes are. Also, you will start to see which details actually inspire you and which ones not so much. Write those down for later.

How it went for me:

For the first step, I cosplayed everything to be exactly just how the illustrator drew it. Black hair, blue clothes and of course loud and proud black star makeup. I loved the look and the vibe in the illustration, but once it landed on my face I instantly knew it’s not IT.

Notes I left for myself: love the color combo!

face painting_makeup
face painting_makeup

3. copying a detail

Once we know what face features we actually enjoyed recreating, we are going to continue focusing only on copying details that we liked. At this step look for examples in the illustrators work.

How it went for me:

Inspo illustrations I chose for this part keep the focus on the eyes. The ones I imagined to be the least interesting actually turned out to be my favourites. And the ones who looked incredible in the illustrations seemed to be too much in reality.

Notes I left to myself: Bold blue eyeliner sooo me!! (I loved it so much I began wearing it on daily basis); love beauty marks and the clash of colours.

face painting_makeup

4. getting inspired from illustration

Finally, we purified the essence of what we are liking in the illustrations. Using our notes, we can step away from copying and start working only on ideas that we absolutely loved.

How it went for me:

From the original work, I only took an idea of cyan eyeshadow & red lips combo topped with few faux freckles. Since, at first steps I already tried and tested what I love from my chosen illustrator, my brain instinctively felt what to do.

Final thoughts

If you went through all these steps, at this moment you should have a pretty cool creative technique you can use again and again. You can use it pretty much whenever you feel like bringing new winds to your makeup looks. I had a blast playing with makeup & I hope it will help for you too!

face art | face painting | creative teachnique |