Sylvia Ji Sugar Skull Style Make Up

Sylvia Ji Sugar Skull Style Make Up

Makeup Inspired by Sylvia Ji Paintings

Dia de los Muertos makeup and face paint owes much of its popularity to the paintings of Sylvia Ji. Her gorgeous artwork shows beautiful women with sugar skull inspired painted faces.

Small wonder this has become such a popular look for both Halloween and the Dias de los Meurtos.

Here is a Dia de los Muertos sugar skull face painting idea that was inspired by a famous Sylvia Ji painting. A quick image search on the web will bring up a picture of the painting, or visit Sylvia Ji’s website to see all her work. She is of course an amazingly talented artist whose work is intricate and full of detail. This make up example is only an attempt to combine a few of the many elements that go into her work, and is not a faithful copy.

I have only painted half of this model’s face but wanted you to get a good side view. The eyes and mouth are created just as in the earlier Day of the Dead face painting tutorials, only here an intense emerald has been used for the eye color.

This step-by-step is for more advanced face painters or make up artists so the instruction isn’t broken down as much as in previous tutorials. If you are less experienced but have a fairly steady hand you could simply add the detail in black (the cobweb forehead is a classic Dia de los Muertos look) and not worry about the flourishes on the face. Heart and flower designs make a cute alternative for easy sugar skull-style cheek art.

Mehron paradise face paint kit
Paradise 8 Color Palette/Face Paint Kit (Basic) — Buy from

Sylvia Ji Style Face Painting Steps 1 – 3

Step 1: Paint face white. Fill in eye socket area as in the advanced Sugar Skull tutorial, using a professional green face paint or theatrical make up product such as Snazaroo dark green face paint or the green from the Mehron Paradise 8 Color Palette (Basic). Paint the nose with the same color, extending down to the mouth as in the image. Either use a metallic face paint or add some glitter or shimmer powder to the eye area.

Step 2: Outline eye socket with a gold face paint. Add ‘petals’ all around this outline, also in gold.

Step 3: Complete eyes by filling in the petals with your green (or other eye socket shade) paint. Add a dot of gold to the middle of each petal.

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Sylvia Ji Style Face Painting Steps 4 – 6

Step 4: Add teeth lines to the mouth just as in the advanced Sugar Skull face paint example. Now extend the black mouth line, following the base of the upper jaw (in other words, the gap between the jaws on a skull). Use black face paint and a fine face painting brush or a fine face painting stick or professional black makeup pencil.

Step 5: Use your black face paint or makeup to create the shape on the chin. See other Sylvia Ji paintings for inspiration. In the Ji painting that inspired this makeup design the shape is seen 3/4 on and looks like an ace of clubs with a curved tail. (Others have flowers, frequently roses.) Taking your time, create a cobweb in a fan shape on your forehead. Start with an upside down black heart between the eyebrows. Draw the lines that fan out from this point and then connect with curved lines, creating 4 segments to each part of the web (not all seen in the image). Underneath, on both sides, add a row of dots.

Step 6: If adding the cheek art, use a very fine brush or makeup pencil. In the original painting this detail appeared to be a paler green, but use whatever color you like. The drawings resemble flower leaves and blooms. No need to copy this exactly, but if you do want to, try to get hold of a large image of the original painting to guide you. Also (if you wish) add detail to the lower jaw area. Again, this is a stem, leaves and triangular flower heads.

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Love this sugar skull makeup? Don’t miss our other face paint designs for Dia de los Muertos and Halloween.

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