Beginner’s Tiger Face Paint Guide

Tiger Face Paint Tutorial
Annabel Hoogeveen — 02 May 2019 —

A lot of boys like face painting, but some of them don’t like the feel of paint on their eyes. That’s why I like to create masks, where I can leave the eyes free of paint.

Another big advantage of masks is that most of them leave the nose and mouth area free too. And that means the boys can eat and drink all they want, without messing up their cool looking face paint! 😃

In this tutorial, I will teach you a funny yet effective tiger face paint. And besides showing you the step by step pictures I will also tell you what made me create this design.

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Materials used:

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Simple Tiger Face Paint Idea

Masks are one of my favorite things to create and paint, but sometimes I get a bit stuck. Especially when thinking about animal masks. Having no nose or mouth area to ‘mess’ up your paint is nice, but it will also make it more difficult to create a characteristic look.

This time I wanted to design an easy tiger face paint, something different, funny and cool, but in the beginning, I didn’t have a clue how. 🤔 So, I went on the internet in search of inspiration and I found it! 😃 I stumbled across a cartoon image that made me think of different possibilities for creating the mask. At first, I thought I just had to skip the nose and mouth, but this picture made me realize there was another option.

an image of a cartoon tiger mask for inspiration

Looking to other artists for inspiration is a great starting place when you’re creating original designs. Our Animal Face Paint Ideas Guide is curated to include a variety of placements and styles so you can find the creative spark and fan the flame of your creativity all in one place.

Sketching and Adjusting My Halloween Tiger Face Paint Design

After studying more pictures of ‘growling’ tigers (cartoon images and real tigers), I made a quick sketch on board. It looked so cool on the board that I had to try it asap on a real face. So I did… and it made me a bit sad. The idea was good, but the placement wasn’t.

And that’s what happens often. A practice board is flat and sometimes it is really difficult to envision how it would fit on the face.

I removed one half of my sketch (the left side) and drew a new sketch. Adjusting the placement of the nose and muzzle and changing a few other details.

Although the nose higher on the nose felt a bit strange to me at first, I decided it was the best placement for the mask I wanted to make. I didn’t want to leave the muzzle and fangs out, so I really needed the nose too.

an practice sheet with a tiger face paint design painted on it

The Final Design

Step 1: Sketching the Simple Tiger Face Paint Design

When creating a tiger face paint design for the first time on a real face, I like the start with a rough sketch to find the proper placement. Sketches on board are flat and it is not always possible to copy them completely onto a face. That’s why I make a sketch first.

For this sketch, I used a watery, glycerin-based white paint and a small round brush, #3.

Next, I loaded a chisel brush (#10) with the same white paint and painted the contours of the muzzle and some white spots on the forehead.

With the white still on the brush, I loaded some light pink and filled in the nose area and the inner ears. Next, I wiped my brush on a towel and loaded it again with light pink and painted the bottom part of the nose a bit darker.

a boy with white overlay of a tiger face paint
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Step 2: Filling in the Mask with the Base Colors

Now it was time to fill in the mask with the main color. For this, I used the two lightest colors of the split cake (yellow and orange) and a flat brush, size 14 (a little bit wider than ½#).

First I outlined the outer contour of the mask (and the ears), keeping the orange (the darkest color) to the outside, stopping at the muzzle. Then I twisted the brush (orange to the inside) and outlined the eyes, starting with the top contour, the ‘evil brow’.

I carefully added the outline under the eyes, without covering the white that was already there entirely. I did overlap the colors a bit and blended them with my fingers to get a soft transition.
Last but not least I painted the nose.

Because this tiger is growling, he pulls up the sides of his nose. That means the sides of his nose need to be lighter than the middle part.

So I twisted the brush again, keeping the lightest part on the outside and the darker part on the inside of the nose.

After outlining, the forehead remains empty. Keeping the darker (orange) part on the bottom I filled in the empty space by making V-shaped lines (as a base for the black tiger lines I would add later on).

a boy with of a tiger face paint filled with the orange color

Step 3: Adding Teeth and Outlining to My Easy Tiger Face Paint

With a chisel brush (Mark Reid) loaded with regular white I then added the two big fangs.

Now the base including the fangs is painted it is time for the black outlines. I loaded a round brush #3 and some regular black paint and outlined the entire mask in black. With the same brush, I painted the nose and nose folds, the muzzle lines and some hairs in the ears.

Because the white spots on the forehead had ‘disappeared’ under the split-cake color, I used a sponge to add some extra glycerin based white in the same spots, to give a bit more dimension.

a boy with a sharp black overlay of a tiger face paint filled with the orange color with two fangs

Step 4: Adding Tiger Lines

To continue with my simple tiger face paint, I then added the characteristic tiger lines with the same brush and paint. Because of the growling (and frowning), I wanted to use V-shaped lines on the forehead. For the other lines, I just looked at the empty and negative space to find the best shape for my lines.

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a boy with a compleated tiger face paint mask
Tip:  Want to know more about best face painting brushes? Check out our Free Guide!

Step 5: Tiger Face Paint Finishing Touch: Shading and Highlights

I often use a clean blending (or small chisel) brush, moistened on a wet wipe, to soften the black lines and add some light shading. And that’s what I did here too.

I softened the outer contours and added some shading in the ears, fangs, muzzle and nose folds.

Next, I loaded a small round brush (#2) with regular white paint and added a few very thin white lines on the top of the black, on the ears, nose, nose folds and muzzle lines. I didn’t want to overdo the highlights, because this design already has quite some white in it.

Finally, I also added some white hairs in the ears.


And now it is time to play!! 😃😁

four images of the same boy posing with a tiger face painting design
Tip:  Our goal is to help you become the best, most professional face painter you can be! Take a class with us today and really boost your skills! 😎
Want to add to your zoo of fun animal designs? We’ve got loads more great tutorials! This monkey step-by-step will teach you a cute, fun, and recognizable way to paint a monkey that can be girly or not.

Additional Info:

In the photo below I added some visual guidelines to help you determine the placement of this mask and the different elements on the face.

When creating a new design I always check my initial sketch with the focal point theory and a few other ‘rules’ I know. This helps me to determine good placement and flow.

a boy with a fierce tiger face paining closing his eyes

Are you impressed with Annabel’s linework skills? You can paint like her too! 😘
We’ll teach you how in this FREE “Improve Your Linework in 3 Days” Online Workshop!

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Did you enjoy this halloween tiger face paint tutorial? Hit “SHARE” and let your fellow face painters know about it! 👇👇👇

 — Annabel Hoogeveen

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