Double dragon arm design tutorial

Posted by Elizabeth Mackinney on



I love my one stroke split cakes. I don’t know if there is a better product which impresses clients more or gives a face painter more speed in creating designs than the one stroke split cakes. Since they can be one of your best friends when you have a long line to get through quickly, it’s a good idea to have several popular girl or boy designs which use them that you can pull out when you need to increase your speed.


#1 round brush
1/2 inch flat brush
TAG Dragon split cake
Diamond FX Green Carpet small split cake
Diamond FX white
Diamond FX black


1. When I was planning this design, I took some good advice from Lisa Joy Young and used white first to create my general shape. You may not need this after awhile, but it helped me decide exactly where my dragons were going to be on the arm, and was very easy to tweak with a wet wipe as necessary.


2. Load your 1/2 inch flat brush from either the TAG Dragon or the Diamond FX Green Carpet. Both of them have a nice dark side and a vibrant lighter side. I began with the TAG Dragon split cake.

For this step, you’re going to trace over one of your lines, remembering to stop when you get to the bottom where the lines meet for a second time. At this point, pick up your brush and leave approximately a 1/2 inch opening before resuming covering the white line with the face paint. After your line is covered, go back to the top and create a small dragon head.


While you’re making your white guidelines, make sure you don’t put the ends too close together, because you’ll want to leave enough space for the heads.

3. Rinse your brush and load it from the other split cake. I used Diamond FX Green Carpet this time. Once again, trace your remaining guideline. This time, stop when you come to your first dragon’s body, picked up your brush, and resume your line on the other side. Sweep right through the space you had originally left in the first dragon, creating the illusion that they are intertwined.


4. Load from your first stroke cake, and this time, sweep up and away from the dragon, making a curving dragon wing for each dragon. These are quick and simple dragon wings, since this design looks more complex, but is about speed.


By turning your flat brush on it’s edge, you’ll also be able to create the horns coming off the dragon’s head without changing brushes.


5. The main bodies of your dragons are complete. All that remains is to add the black detailing and white highlighting. For the black details, use a #1 round brush and Diamond FX black.


A liner might be a better brush choice because it holds more paint, but I used the shorter #1 round because I wanted more control.


6. It’s already a beautiful design, but adding the white highlights will bring it to a higher level visually. Your customer may not realize this, but as an artist, it’s a conscious decision you should make whenever you have the time to do it. I used my #1 round brush and the Diamond FX white to create my highlights.




Beth MacKinney is the owner of and primary face painter for Face Paint Pizzazz in the NW Chicago suburbs. She also writes for as the Chicago Face Painting Examiner.

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