Shannon Fennell's Blog

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the big cats

Big cats are always popular and at Halloween is no exception.   Whether it is painting a little tyke like a lion to match his costume or a young lady to match her sexy leopard print dress and gloves, the  big cats are always a big hit.

The Tiger (which I covered in my post on June 20th) is number one, but the Lion, Leopard and Cheetah are almost as popular for both face and body designs.

Something I have noticed over the years is that often, in face painting, the cats seem to get confused.  Children ask for a lion, but they actually mean tiger … After a couple of rather surprized kids looked in the mirror at a lion and said to me “I said a LION!!”  I’ve learned to ask “you mean the orange one with the stripes?” The answer is usually yes!

And lots of painters have leopard and cheetahs somewhat mingled… the facial markings are the biggest thing that is different and that gets mixed up.

I always tell my students to look at photo of real animals, not just other face paintings – that way they can check the details for themselves.  Don’t just copy another person’s version as it may not be what you thought it was supposed to be!

Google is the BEST tool there is for finding images of the cat you want to paint.  Get an image of a cheetah and a leopard, for example, and put them side by side… what are the obvious differences?  Muzzle, markings and shape…

And the big cats are about the easiest animal there is to transfer to a human face – their eyes are roundish and face front, like a human, and their nose and mouth is similarly placed so that you can approximate the location pretty accurately on a person.

This is if you want to paint realistic cats… if you like to paint fantasy cats, well… you can do anything you want!!!