Creating beautiful women – A colorists guide

Whether you prefer a natural look, bold colors, or something in-between, one thing is for sure, men and women have been using make-up to augment their appearance for centuries. Doing the same in your coloring can add another level to your characters.

Rules of attraction: make-up tips to make your characters stand out

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but make-up is an often ignored tool that can add differentiation between your cast of creations or offer an insight into their personality. Or, it can show a shift in mood, or situation as they move through the story.

If you use make-up regularly, a lot of this will be second nature, but for those with little to know experience in painting their own faces, this is a guide to how to glam up your female characters with some color.

As with everything in this guide, how subtle you choose to go is up to you. If you want a natural look, stick with colors close to the character’s existing skin tone. If you want something bolder, go for it. These rules should still help you.


Pick four colors that you want to work with.

  1. Highlighter, a little lighter than the skin tone
  2. Matte, a mid-tone shade
  3. Contour, a few shades darker than the skin tone
  4. Black

Color the area around the tear ducts and just under the eyebrows with the highlighter color.

Highlights added to cartoon eyes

Next, add your matte color to the gap between the highlighted area under the brow and the eye itself.

Eye make-up for comic character

Use the contour shade to add some definition to the crease of the eyelid and just underneath the eye.

defined eye make-up for comic book drawing

Emphasize the outer corners of the eye using the black and add a few lashes.

eyelashes and eye make-up on a comic book character


Use a shade to define the area of the cheeks and sweep up towards the ears.

This color is just to illustrate the area you need. In reality, you may want to use a subtler choice which is only slightly off from the base skin tone.


After you have chosen the color lipstick you want your character to wear, trace the outline of the lips with a darker version of this color.

You can also add some highlights to the lip to create a gloss effect.

What next

That was our quick guide to creating a made-up look for you characters. To take this further, try coloring your own characters. Experiment with different shades and see how they impact their look. Try out different skin tones too.

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