Anti-horn Unicorn Bodypaint for The Prosthetics Event

I’d designed a head/ neck paint on the marvellous Angela Youngs when she offered to model for me at the UK Face Painting Convention where I was demonstrating products for the Paintopia Shop, in Oct.

Angela was amazing as always, letting me stick a unicorn horn I’d made onto her rather funky feathery clip-in mohican, then going out in full punk anti-corn mood to harass the public, guests and even cars! The response was so much fun I though I’d have a go at a full body one for my next demo.

Paintopia Jenn kindly asked me to demo for her at the extremely busy Prosthetics Event, which is always hosted by the guru that is Neil Gorton. Angela was our other demo artist, painting her own model this time, and I was decorating Rachel Shar Marston for the 1st time – I’d seen her modelling at the UK FP con and nabbed her!

I love researching each bodypaint and this one was inspired by horse armour worn on medieval battle horses, with the non-rainbow unicorn twist.

One thing I had been thinking on was how to get different pale ombre effect shapes on top of dark tones, so I tried adding sticky star vinyl shapes I’d had my Cricut cut sheets of on top of each of 4 layers of darkening paints on Rachael, in different places on each layer.

Our work experience makeup student, Steve, (he was brilliant, had his first try at body painting on Rachaels legs too and is hopefully now addicted) had the fiddly job of finding and peeling off all these stars after I’d added the black final layer, to reveal different shades under each.

It worked, I’ll use that method again. Paints used were Paradise white, Superstar Blue and Snow petrol, Cameleon Teal, Inkheart and Gothic black from the Paintopia Shop.

I wanted to try some different techniques, so has been talking to Cricut Uk re their new Cricut Maker machines which can cut my custom designs in much thicker materials than my current Cricut Air (which is 3 versions older). The plan was to do thick foam armour, cut on a Maker. Amazingly, they lent me a Cricut Maker to try all my ideas on! Typically I spent so long fiddling (making my mock-ups, so I could scan them to be cut in the foam etc) that I when I hit a fault with the special tool I had I didn’t have time to get it sorted by their helpful team in the USA.  Not a problem: I switched back to thinner material and ended up with a much prettier less tough and scary ‘armour’.

I’ve a fab giant foam horse head ‘hat’ I made on an EVA foam course with Alex Hansen, and wanted to do a variation on that. Preferable one I could easily recreate by scanning into my Cricut. I sketched and made mini versions, then scanned in my design, to make it cut out and then be tweaked again. Eventually I had a mini version of a 3D horse head which I planned to make in thick foam.

I drew a curly baroque engraving inspired doodle, scanned it in and then added shapes and patterns in Cricut Design Space until I ended up with a unicorn horned, spiky, shape. This I cut in various sizes and formations (sticking it to itself, elongating it, etc) from Hobbycraft Glitter card, metallic green textured card, Cricut faux leather, etc. I also cut and mirrored it to make ‘spikes’.

Pro photos by Ben Bentley

These shapes were layered into Rachels hair and glued onto her body with cosmetic adhesive (I sell the fine tipped cosmetic glitter tattoo application kits). I also had the Cricut cut thin foam ‘hooves’ for all four of her limbs which we glued to her wrists and shoes. We decided the smaller horse head looked better as a protective shoulder pauldron and glued it on there.

The wool and feather dreads on elastic I bough years ago on Ebay and have added to, they have been in so many bodypaints! One was tied into her hair under the horse-neck armour, the other was tied round her waist as a ‘tail’

Some one stroke leather strapping, gluing on and painting the dozens of assorted sized unicorn horns I’d made form paper clay (I sell them too), some fine glitter tattoo work  and Rachel was finished, all whilst answering questions from the curious crowds.

She swaggered off in appropriately punk-ish mood, swinging the original giant foam horse head, sneering with attitude which was perfect for her character, and posed for photos until the stage show.


Thanks to everyone involved, brilliant, busy event as always and I hope to see you all there next year!

Hand -animals Painting for WWF-UK #WearitWild #GiveAHandToWildlife 2016 Bath face painter Bristol body artist

I’d just moved to Bath (boo – bad timing with Paintopia coming up!) so drove back to Norfolk on Monday night in torrential rain and crashed in Jennies’ office on her very comfy Tim Burton sheets.

Dolphin Hand animal YLP-002

The next morning, still in rain, I drove to Kings Lynn to take a booking I’d managed to squeeze in whilst I was up. The WWF-UK had contacted asking if I could create Guido Danielle or Emma Cammack style hand-art on a school they loved working with.


They had hired Anna Lingis to do studio shots of some hand-imals, and I was to do my own launch examples on kids. We agreed on simpler faster designs as I know the exquisite examples they sent me took hours, and didn’t think I or the children would have the patience/ time.


The school was amazing, all decorated throughout with various themes, from Bewilderwood stairs mural to a Hogwarts library – and the headmasters’ hall was entered via a Tardis then became a Dr Who homage!


In the hopes it would brighten we decided to set up under their outdoor eco pod, a sort of large wooden open gazebo (sadly it rained harder). I had a small group of Year 3s to decorate and they set to on their ipads (every pupil gets one) to look up images of their favourite animal, preferably from the endangered list WWF-UK had sent.

CiFqC4tXEAEpP3OCiFrZBwXEAA5FLqPanda  Hand animal YLP

I began with a panda on the back of a hand, and was able to chat about the pandas I saw every week with my youngest son when we lived in Hong Kong and had a season ticket for Ocean Park there.


A lot of the time it was so warm that keepers had rigged up ‘refriger-rocks’ that the pandas lay on or hugged to cool off. The kids googled to find out what pandas ate when they couldn’t answer that one.


Next came a snow leopard.


Colin, who was on my Biological Imaging Bsc with me many years ago, became a wildlife film-maker who shot a stunning episode on them, so we chatted about those too. I couldn’t quite recall what eye colour they had& the photos I had varied,  so we went yellowish but now I’m thinking blue….


After that I did a mountain gorilla. I knew a bit about them from researching an unused design for the Norwich GoGoGorillas statues I painted for Break Charity/ Wild in Art.


Then a jaguar. I was lucky enough to grow up in Belize near the worlds 1st Jaguar reserve and had read Alan’s book on it. I’ve never seen one wild, just a fresh footprint so new it was still filling with water on a soggy jungle path.


The dolphin was harder; it was an awkward pose to fold in fingers and open the ‘mouth’ but it just about worked. I didn’t want all the pics to be of the back of hands so was trying to be a bit more creative! Again we’d played with wild dolphins in Belize so I could talk about them.

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Then I had daft stories about tigers ….


…. and giraffes from when I was the Education officer for Banham Zoo & Africa Alive.

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A quick elephant finished off the designs.

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By that time we were all wet and frozen as the weather hadn’t improved, so the kids went off to their late lunch.


But very happy to do something so creative and fun that would also be used to help save species.


#WearItWild is on Friday 27th May and we’re challenging you to get creative and #GiveAHandToWidlife.

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The photos on here were taken by myself, assorted press and the lovely ladies from WWF-UK.


More press here

Bee Honeycomb Neck Art Body Paint & Facepainting by Bath face painter Bristol body artist

Jan 2015

This was an idea for something a publication asked for that didn’t get used in the end, and I forgot to put it up until now.

Bee neck bodypaint on Mel by Cat pics DR Cook eye bpc

The tiny paper eyelashes inspired me as well as all the awful warnings about bee deaths due to pesticides etc – without bees so many crops won’t get pollinated, its a huge problem.

Bee neck bodypaint on Mel by Cat pics DR Cook main bee bpc

This was mainly done with Cameleon paints,

Bee neck bodypaint on Mel by Cat pics DR Cook up bpc

by brush & sponge application.

Bee neck bodypaint on Mel by Cat pics DR Cook side bpc

Then using the glitter tattoo glue & freehand application bottles I sell, I added some details and outlines,

Bee neck bodypaint on Mel by Cat pics DR Cook twist bpc

and coated them in Kryolan & Facade cosmetic glitters.

Bee neck bodypaint on Mel by Cat pics DR Cook shoulder bpc

With the same cosmetic adhesive,

Bee neck bodypaint on Mel by Cat pics DR Cook look up bpc

I glued small flat-backed pearls into the flower centres.

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Lastly I added black pearls for the bee eyes.

Huge thanks to Model Mel, and to DR Cook Photography

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Bees are so important!

Look up tips on plants you can grow to help them, don’t buy or use pesticides and check how fruit/ veg you buy has been grown.

Bee neck bodypaint on Mel by Cat pics DR Cook crop bpc

Video here

Open Farm Day Face Painting, June 2014

I used to love working at the huge ‘farm days’ when I was with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. Back then lots of farms and related industries/ businesses would gather so that schools could come and give pupils a taste of what farm life means to us. Now I live on one but was asked to paint at a farm day not too far from our nearest town, Papworth Farms near Felmingham.

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They had all sorts of stalls including some interesting ones from companies showing how raw fruit & veg or seed is prepared and transformed, and a vet stand etc. Modern & vintage tractors and equipment were giving rides, animals could be seen, and it was very hot and very busy! I only took a couple of pics. (Their gazebo, my set up!).

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 Some press photos here

June Nancy Oldfield Trust & Hen Party Face & Body Paint

From extreme gentility last weekend, to working at a fundraiser for my husbands’ Nancy Oldfield Trust (sailing and water-sports for those with learning difficulties etc) to … quite cheeky!

After a day painting kids, Morris Dancers & sailors by the Broads I had fish & chips for tea(local speciality but not my fave, I hate chippy food!).

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Then I was asked to decorate a hen party at a private holiday house in Happisburgh (turned out they knew my MIL).

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And ended up painting the nealry-naked butlers too! Fairly amusing as they had to perch rather carefully so as not to reveal too much. Congrats & a fun night (though I ended up giving them a lift to the station as they had no idea how far out in the country we were!)

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June 2014 UEA Pimp My Wagon Zoo Bodypaints

Pimp My Wagon is an annual rag/ fundraiser/ pub-crawl race held at UEA in Norwich to get funds for the Big C.

Pimp wagon snake paints .50 bpcPimp wagon tiger paints .27 bpc

Students get a wheelbarrow and decorate it and themselves to race through the streets. A houseful of mainly (very glam!) student nurses hired me to bodypaint them as assorted animals/ zoo creatures to match their jungle-themed barrow.

Pimp wagon scale lizard paints .45 bpcPimp wagon peacock paints all.09 bpc

Sadly by the time they were ready it had started pouring so a very soggy race it would have been! I didn’t get photos of all of them but here is a selection…

Pimp wagon jaguar paints all.19 bpcPimp wagon flamingo paints leg.50Pimp wagon flamingo paints .33 bpc

World Book Day face paint

March 2014

Finley’s reception class and the whole school were invited to go in dressed as their favourite book. Parents were asked in too, so of course I got in costume. Fin chose the beautifully illustrated Brambly Hedge series which we inherited from his Great Granny Finlayson.

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We cobbled together a waistcoated cravat muse look for him and a blouse and long period skirt with flowery straw had mouse look for me. I had a lovely time joining in with the book day activities (despite being the only non-staff adult dressed up!) then went back home to finish putting up the poly tunnel.

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It was only after the postman gave me a really odd look that I realised although i’d taken off my costume, I’d forgotten to wipe off my mousey face paint….

Cute & Pretty Halloween Face Painting at Bewilderwood

Oct 2013

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As always, one of the busiest season for all face painters and again I was at Bewilderwood every day.

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The weather was a bit variable but I layered up and had my hot water bottle underneath it all so stayed cosy.

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I converted a bit of knitting I’d never finished into a hat cover and became the knit-witch (including a crazy shrug I’d knitted and a fab colourful poncho my mum crocheted for me). I’d love to knit-bomb some of the trees there…..


The whole park was decorated beautifully, as usual, and I think we did the evening lantern walk twice – still with the lantern we made my 1st season there several years ago, though its getting battered.

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I also trailed my new line-closing idea – a hand glittered UV jacket. Varying success….

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Sea Monkey GoGoGorilla Pirate Wild Art Statue Paint

I submitted another design I had to the Norwich Break/ Born Free Charity Wild Art Urban Art event-  GoGoGorillas. I was delighted that it was picked to be painted for an as yet un-sponsored statue. Riverside later chose it and it was on display all summer at Pulls Ferry.


Martin delivered the blank statue whilst I was out. As it was chilly and dark out there in the stables my poor hubby decided to get him into the house like this!

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This gorilla I tried to make more ‘fun’. So I created a Pirates of the Carribbean inspired ape, and used really bright acrylic paint shades.

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His face has a hint of Jack Sparrow, his hat has a skull and crossed bananas and he was wearing a typical striped shirt.

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Sea Monkey, for GogoGorillas Wild In Art Trail, Norwich 2013
Sea Monkey, for GogoGorillas Wild In Art Trail, Norwich 2013
Sea Monkey, for GogoGorillas Wild In Art Trail, Norwich 2013
Sea Monkey, for GogoGorillas Wild In Art Trail, Norwich 2013
Sea Monkey, for GogoGorillas Wild In Art Trail, Norwich 2013
Sea Monkey, for GogoGorillas Wild In Art Trail, Norwich 2013


A pirate galleon, sunken treasure, a mermaid, sharks and other sea-life cavort across his body, all highlighted with real gold leaf.


Sea Monkey was one of the apes chosen for the ‘official trail launch’ outside the Odeon Cinema on Norwich Riverside. Great event! Huge thanks to Michelle of Purple Photography for all the good photos.

Painting an Urban Jungle Jim WildinArt Statue for GoGoGorilla’s

Jan 2013

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I heard that there was to be another WildinArt event in Norwich – I missed the first, the elephants, as I was living in Hong Kong. Firms could sponsor a statues, pick a design or artist and have their details on display around the city all summer, after which the gorillas would be auctioned off for the charities. I entered a couple of designs and was overjoyed when the ladies of Jungle PR chose my ‘Urban Jungle’ from 100s of entries. I have enjoyed working with them before, so was happy to be the 1st artists in the empty shop we had as a studio in Castle Mall working on a statue.


Bigger than I expected – and I hear real gorillas may be larger! In all my Natural History Museum/ Zoo education career/ travels I didn’t actually meet a live one so I wouldn’t know… They came ‘undercoated’ in white, so I invested in a lot of decent acrylic paint and got started.

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The idea was that although the project was to raise funds for BREAK Charity AND the Born Free Foundation, I could highlight the difficulties local urban wildlife had. Lots of easily identified animals (fox, robin, hedgehog) were painted on, peeping out of an untidy garden as that’s the best for wildlife.

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Norwich cathedral’s tower with its falcons was shown, as was a thrush on a wall with a glittered snail trail leading down the brickwork as a maze for kids to let any snails escape into (or be caught from!). And the famed starling swirls of Suffolk (which I often saw when working for Suffolk Wildlife Trust).

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There were bees & ladybirds to ‘spot’, a tree with a sleepy owl and cheeky squirrel, and a small pond full of frogs and newts etc. A rainbow sunset down the back darkened to a bat in an evening sky. Scattered along the sides were hints on things to encourage those species into your urban area – bug homes, pots for hedgehogs, flowers, plants and food they like…

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It was lovely to see the other artists arrive and start work too. Mik Richardson is the expert guru on these statues and is now a great friend. His Radio Gogo Freddie Mercury was stunning and did not deserve the ridiculous removal- he had to re-paint the face after it went out in public, as a hairy gorilla, after the Freddy Mercury lot objected. Insane. And then someone from Queen made totally wrong comments about Mik :/ He had the best result – Freddie went for about triple of any other price at the auction – £20,000 for the charities!

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it took a lot longer than I expected- over a week of 8+ hour days! I’m used to painting on curves at awkward angles from my body work, but I reckon just the head and front legs of the gorilla has about as much surface area as an average body model!

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It’s a nice change to have done something that was varnished on and will last a bit longer than my usual ephemeral stuff!


The statues were taken off to have those code square weblink things attached to them with the artist and sponsor details on plaques, and then lorried to their locations. Jungle Jim was on Fyes Bridge in Norwich;  for months I had photos tagged to me on my Facebook page of people cuddling him, riding him, even a bridal party around him! Sadly I’ve lost them all after I was banned from Facebook (for unsafe photos even though I don’t paint nudes and the ‘final straw’ banned photo was of a face painted fairy! Its vindictive and has been happening to body artists worldwide:/)

Jungle Jim gogogorilla-001Jungle jim gogogorilla bridge-001

Sadly he was quite gouged and bashed up from people sliding on and off him – even a hole in him under the owl, which isn’t easy to do, so i had to do a fair bit of touching up before the auction.

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He went for a respectable £3,600 at auction!