I get asked this thing a lot so I hope you don’t mind that I published this!
The Ben Nye master bruise wheel is going to be your very best friend. Also maybe the death wheel so you can sink in the face and cheeks, and create undereye circles to make your actors look very worn out.
Note that Ben Nye wheels are a cream based makeup and WILL rub off. Use powder to set it, but it’s not ideal for wrists or anywhere else that will rub. For those kinds of wounds you’re going to want an alcohol based makeup, like the Skin Illustrator FX palette, which won’t rub off but is soluble in alcohol and will come off with makeup remover. They’re pricey, but very worth it.
Stuart Bray has a very short but really amazing scratch tutorial. What’s the most important to take from this is that skin gets RED when cut…cuts don’t just magically show up…there’s always going to be a bit of pink around it. Use his technique to make small cuts and scrapes on your actors.
And MadeYewLook has the most amazing video on bruises that you will ever need. The big takeaway from this video, is blending, stippling, and AGE. Yes. The question you need to ask is HOW OLD IS THE BRUISE. Fresh bruises don’t actually have much color, it takes time for the blood to pool under the skin. It starts dark purpley-blue, and then lightens to purples and reds, and then as it heals it has green and yellow and even browns. See this GoldieStarling video for more bruise color tips.
Fresh impact welts are like what I mentioned with the cuts…they’re pink from the skin rushing blood to the impact site, and then broken capillaries with little speckles of stippled reds.
Look at MadeYewLook’s stitches tutorial…see how she uses a pink powder to create pink skin irritation…(can you tell I have a mega MUA crush on Lex yet?)
For the wrists, just follow the bruising tutorials in the above linked videos and you should be good to go. If the wrist restraints are like metal, there could also be scraping but dont go too heavy with blood.
The BIG things about facial bruises is bone structure. With black eyes, the high points on the bone is where the impact is going to be, and the lower sunken points is where blood is going to pool.
I did this quickly in photoshop so show you what I mean. The high point is the cheekbone, the nose and the brow bone. Those are where your impacts are going to be. Lay a flat palm across your face and feel where your face hits your hand first…Makes sense right? If someone punches you in the face, that’s what’s going to get hit and suffer the most damage. The socket under the eye is where your blood is going to pool. (the eyelid can also swell up if the damage is bad enough just fyi)
I see a lot of bad black eye makeups and the place most of them go wrong is that they basically drew a big purple circle around the eye. Blood isn’t going to pool on the underside of the brow bone…that’s just not how it works.
Follow the shapes of the face, and you should be good.