Question How do you paint tribal scar markings? Huang Pe, Taiwan
My first thought is that I don’t know! It’s common to be asked by a client to paint something you don’t know much about, so the ability to teach yourself about a subject is valuable. Tribal scarification isn’t something I see everyday, so a quick search on the internet reveals all I need to know about the practice. The main things I observe are the designs of the patterns and how the scars look in different lighting situations.
I notice they’re mostly convex. I create a layer containing imperfect circles in a pattern, and then used Lock Transparency to work inside those shapes without affecting them.
I use a Soft brush to highlight where the light catches the bumps of the scars, and then the same on the other side of the circles for the shadow. I then soften some of the edges where necessary, especially on the shadow edge.
Always remember that you only need to know enough to create the illusion of what you’ve been asked to paint.
I use sharp cast shadows to push her chin and nose out from the plane of the face. The overlap creates even more depth.
Having a good knowledge of light and form enables you to easily give the illusion of scars or any other interesting grooves.