Here's another video from the series that I did for About.com.
Tigers and other large cats are very popular designs for both face and body painting. I think that their popularity hearkens back to when body painting was primarily used in ceremonial magic. Or 'ceremonial magick', for the purists. Back in a time when a handheld piece of knapped flint was the latest in technology and the most advanced weapon, I could understand wishing to emulate the tigers' strength, grace and hunting prowess. Now, it's mostly adult women who wish to be body painted like a tiger as part of the whole sexy, feline thing and children who want to be face painted like a tiger because of the fierce power that the tiger represents.
I will tell you a story that always makes me cry.
My son was the guest of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of Robert Wood Johnson Hospital for about 2 weeks a decade or so ago. The doctors were originally 'not optimistic'. But they worked their miracles and he was well again. I will be eternally grateful to them. I would have like to endowed a wing or something but my budgetary constraints didn't allow it. I volunteered to face paint there instead. The childlife staff had gotten to know me pretty well during my son's stay there and was very comfortable with me. I painted kids all over pediatrics, in the pediatric ICU, kids undergoing dialysis and in the cancer hospital. It was in the cancer hospital that I met Nana. She was a scared five year old. Her mom was even more scared. Nana did want to be painted though. She chose to be a tiger. I painted her face and an amazing transformation happened. She went from a very timid and frail child to a fierce pouncing tiger. Nurses cowered in fear from her. She roared and she lept. She bared her claws and her teeth. An equally amazing thing happened to her mom, she laughed, she got to enjoy her child being a child for a much too brief time. Nana and her mom giggled and roared together. Polaroids were taken.
Later that summer, at Nana's funeral, her mom talked about that day and how special it was to her.
There is magic in face and body painting. Use it for good.