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Makeup inspired by the cool chicks of pop artist Roy Lichtenstein
This makeup is based on the comic book style girls in the paintings of Roy Lichtenstein. It's a nice effect and makes a really unique Halloween costume.

Unfortunately, I was doing this in a class and did not have the opportunity to take photos of each step. It's simple to follow along from looking at the final images though.

I like using stage makeup like Ben Nye or Mehron or at least some type of cream-based makeup for the opaqueness and ease of application, but the basic effect can be achieved with any kind of makeup.

Posted by Meredith O. Published

  • Step 1

    Select a good reference image. You can find a ton if you google image search Roy Lichenstein.

  • Step 2

    There are a few things all Lichenstein girls have in common.

    1. They are all in profile or three quarters. They are never facing directly out at the viewer.

    2. They are all basically drawn in only 2 sizes of lines, thin and thick, though there is tapering/changes in thickness to a few lines.

    3. They are in flat, bright color.

    4. Many of them have the comic book "dots."

  • Step 3

    Let's start with the base and the "dots". First put on a light layer of moisturizer and/or primer (trust me, if you're using stage makeup, your face will thank me).

    Then apply a base color about 2 shades lighter than your actual skin tone over your entire face. Lichtenstein girls are pale and without facial contours or shadowing.

    The "dots" in the paintings are often very small, but if you make them that small on your face, they will appear like an overall pink tone or worse, like zits. So, get a large circular brush or use your finger to make medium sized, pink dots going in straight lines down and across your face.

    Leave dots off of the eyelids and lips and any area where you are going to add extra elements like tears, thought bubble, or hair.

  • How to create a face painting. Roy Lichtenstein Girl Makeup! - Step 4
    Step 4

    Now for the thick/thin line combo. Outlining is how we create the comic book look and the three quarter view effect.

    Take an angled brush and some very opaque black cream makeup or an eyeliner pencil. I used a combination of both: pencil first and then the black cream on top for the thick lines.

    If you look at the straight on photo here you will notice that each feature outlined in black is extended on the right side and shortened on the left. This gives the distinct Lichtenstein girl look of always being turned slightly to three quarters no matter how you face is actually positioned.

    Start by outlining the lips. Your reference pictures lips may be slightly different in shape but they will always be very full. Outline the shape of the lip slightly outside you actual lip line remembering to extend the right corner beyond the actual corner of your lip and shorten the left corner to your real left lip corner. My Lichenstein girl had a thin outline all the way around but some have thicker lines on the bottom lip and corners so feel free to play around with line thickness and tapering.

    There is a thin line outlining the upper curve of the chin and straight black "hair lines" on the left that can be seen in the other pictures. Your girl may or may not have these.

    The nose is very minimalistic and usually about the same in each painting. It consists of a series of thin curves: on the slight left ridge of the dent above the lip, on the far right side of the right nostril, curving down the right side of the bridge of the nose, and coming from the left side of the left nostril and curving around and slightly under the tip of the nose.

    Lastly the eyes and eyebrows. The eyes have a thicker outline on the top then on the bottom. Both the top and the bottom line thicken towards the end. To keep the three quarter illusion, the right eye is rounded at the end and stops right at the corner of the eye. The left eye is extended way past the corner of the eye and is tapered into upturned "eyelashes."

    Lichtenstein girls have very thick eyelashes so a pair of fake eyelashes can really enhance the look (I forgot to bring mine that day so I'm not wearing any in the picture). Don't forget some heavy mascara too.

    Eyebrows are similar to the eyes outline. They are thick and while my reference picture had eyebrows straight across, many of the girls have eyebrows knitted into fun, frustrated, curvy expressions. Regardless of the shape, the right eyebrow ends and the natural end of the eyebrow and is more rounded. The left eyebrow extends past the natural eyebrow and tapers to a point.

  • How to create a face painting. Roy Lichtenstein Girl Makeup! - Step 5
    Step 5

    Now my favorite part: Color and Extras!

    First color in the lips. Getting the "dots" in the lips can be done two ways. Either fill the lips in with red, pink, or a darker than the base nude using a thin brush leaving dot shaped holes for the foundation to show through or put on your lipstick and then add foundation dots on top. I find the first method creates cleaner dots but the second is faster.

    I picked a Lichtenstein girls with lots of extras. She has bangs, tears, and a thought bubble. Hopefully you left space for your extras when you created dots otherwise you are to be doing some tricky dot erasing. Extras are outlined just like we outlined the features. Remember big thick lines paired with thinner lines and bright colors. The features, like the base, are very flat and without shadowing.

    If you want to create a thought bubble, make sure NOT to look in a mirror while you write the words! My words are backwards because I was writing them while looking in a mirror. Oops.

  • How to create a face painting. Roy Lichtenstein Girl Makeup! - Step 6
    Step 6

    A few final notes:

    1. Have fun! I was working off of a reference picture and while I recommend doing the same because it makes where and how to outline and color choice much easier, it is not gospel. If you want a thought bubble, make a thought bubble. If you want blue bangs, make blue bangs. If you want to be a Lichtenstein cat girl, good luck and be sure to send me a picture.

    2. Some girls are looking out at three quarters from the opposite direction. If you want to do that, just flip flop the directions and extend the right side/ shorten the left. Playing around with the lines in the nose can also create different effects.

    3. For the girls pictured in profile, I still suggest the lengthen/shorten route. More than likely, you will not only been seen wearing this makeup in profile. Also, as you can see in this picture, the shorten/lengthen effect strengthens the comic book look in a profile too.

  • How to create a face painting. Roy Lichtenstein Girl Makeup! - Step 7
    Step 7

    Now throw on a cute scarf or wig and some sexy vintage clothes and your ready to go!


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Rachel · 5 projects
Oops - "that's"
Rachel · 5 projects
That so cute...Roy Lichtenstein's my favorite!
Willemien W.
Willemien W. · Utrecht, Utrecht, NL
Love it!
Great execution as well and the thought bubble really finishes it.
FrolleinKram · Las Vegas, Nevada, US · 132 projects
The idea is awesome and you did it really good! Happy

CO + K User

I seriously made an art history test that was mostly about Lichtenstein just a few hours ago. This made me laugh xD
Great job, this is an awesome idea!
Lolly.Bot · Enfield, England, GB
That is fudging awesome!! I'm a big fan of Lichtenstein work so this gets a big thumbs up from me.

CO + K User

Really creative! Much cooler than creepy crawly dead things. I bet you'd win a costume contest for sure!
KMOM14 · Fort Wayne, Indiana, US · 378 projects
LastKoalaBear · Vancouver, British Columbia, CA · 33 projects
oooo! how snazzy!! :B

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