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!
My final official Cricut Uk Crafter of the Month project is based on a holiday that was very popular over the border from Belize where I used to live – the Day of the Dead celebrations. They seemed very joyful with families cleaning and decorating their ancestral graves and alters to welcome back their ghosts. Papal picado (colourful intricately cut paper flags / banners) decorate everything, and the too-pretty-to eat compressed sugar skull or coffin decorations are left out.
I was really glad when Day of the Dead style face paint started getting popular in the UK. I get fed up of being asked for blood and gore all the time, especially at Halloween, and the Sugar Skull genre gives so many creative possibilities as well as a kinder, happier, more colourful vibe. Now its all anyone wants in October (and many other months too).
Looking at the lovely materials Cricut UK sent me to try, I decided that the red and orange pearl papers, glitter sparkle card, black cardstock and some Hobbycraft white glitter card needed to be used.
I set up the Cricut Design Space (CDS) using the same flower shapes I’d made for my Once Upon A Time demo, and cut them in different sizes and materials.
Again in CDS, using the simple shapes, I built an upright headdress shape in several layers, and added flowers and sugar skull shapes to be cut out of it. I hoped this would give a stiffened lace mantilla effect.
I curled and then glued the flowers together to look like marigolds and other blossoms.
Rhyana was able to come over early one Saturday (squeezing this in before I had a 10 hour UV paint booking in an immersive rave!) and I started painting in the giant eye sockets and shading her to look more hollowed out.
Using a lacy stencil I’d cut, I added colour to make it seem as if Rhyana had a lacy carved or decorated surface to her skull.
Then we pinned in the various Cricut accessories and voila…
I hope this might help some of you with Halloween costume inspiration.
So that’s the last of my 3 official Cricut Crafter of the Month projects, but I’ve several more I’ll be posting as I do use it all the time, not just for face & body paints.
Thanks for looking and thanks to Cricut UK and all the models involved with this – and Mark for the amazing coral body paint photos!
Over the last year I’ve been creating more intricate, mainly paper (it’s more eco-friendly & I can store it in smaller spaces!) accessories for my body paint models.
I can also now custom-cut my own stencils without risking hot-pen burns, as well as create the #cutbycat stencil range for Paintopia Jenn.
This is due to my Cricut Explore Air; a big investment but a big love of mine. I had been eyeing them up since they launched in America years back but only got one last summer. Well worth it!
(This Cricut-accessorised selection is all on Izabela – a fab local model who is often available for me)
I was amazed when Cricut UK started talking to me on social media and asked if I’d be their #CricutCrafteroftheMonth for June. Yes please!
They kindly sent some of their materials for me to create projects showing why I like the machine.
Please note; I don’t use nudes, in all my work on social media models wear knickers, with large breast covers as a minimum on females.
My first artwork for Cricut is based on a something I adore; the ocean.
Connel beach towards Mull; fishing in Belize; life on Hong Kong catamaran
I went to school in the highlands of Scotland with its pristine beaches, but spent holidays in Belize on the world’s 2nd longest barrier reef. Later I ran underwater nature trails in Dorset. We also lived on a catamaran in Hong Kong after sailing it there from Palau, so I’ve admired sea-life world-wide. I hope to take my kids to see reefs when they are older.
Recently I watched the Chasing Coral documentary on Netflix, and the BBC’s Blue Planet 2 series (well done my old uni mate Kathryn & co!). I no longer teach field studies (I’m an artist and now work part-time in a craft chain store too) but wanted to do something to raise interest in ocean issues. Plus I always loved the patterns and textures underwater and thought that would work well on a Cricut project – I adore layers that reveal more layers!
So, I tried to visualise coral bleaching. This is when corals get stressed due to warming seas and pollution, and expel their algae, turning white. Some starve without their algae providing food from photosynthesis, so rot and die. Just the ‘bones’ are left; all the colour goes from the corals, the bright fish and other creatures soon dying or leaving too. (There is hope and it can recover, but we need to help it now.)
To create this effect I scanned in corals I collected on Belize beaches as a kid, and uploaded photos and copyright-free images found online. I altered and thickened them in Cricut Design Space (CDS), so I had intricate but hopefully strong patterns to cut. Other shapes I made from scratch in CDS, welding together then slicing basic circles.
I hate wasted material, so in CDS often attach many shapes together into the size of the material I will be cutting to maximise the amount I can fit on a sheet. Cuts this many, this large and so intricate meant I was on my Cricut several hours every evening for over a week, with a whole day spent on it the day before the shoot. I am saving to upgrade to a newer, faster Cricut Maker but even so my older Explore Air is fabulous.
Weeding the distressed foam cuts.
Using the correct settings, mats and blades, I cut different corals in all the materials, in varying sizes. That is why I love Cricut Explore Air; once I have the shape I want, I can make multiple copies in any size for crafting, or convert them into stencils.
I cut lots of each shape from Cricut UK’s pearl, sparkle, glitter and corrugated papers and cardstock in blues, greys, blacks and silvers. I especially liked the distressed foam for coral cutouts and the plush foam for the intricate brain coral pattern covering the top of my headpiece, they had perfect textures and took the patterns really well.
Izabela Kowalewska arranged the shoot at Mark Pickethalls‘ lovely photo studio; he got creative painting glass lenses for background effects whilst I prepped her.
The following snaps are from my time-lapse, but give an idea of what went on.
I started with a simple blue body paint base, slightly patchy, to represent beams and streaks of light reaching down from the surface, and different water currents. I pinned the wire frame I’d made and partially covered with coral shapes onto Iz’s hair, and started pinning and gluing on the other materials I’d cut.
On her headpiece and breast covers I used tacky craft glue or hair grips, but anything touching skin was attached with cosmetic adhesive.
More shapes were added and then I started gluing them onto the large bikini insert triangles which were body-glued onto Izabela’s chest too.
Next I stencilled in some of the same patterns as I had cut to give more depth and detail.
As I wanted to focus on the cut coral patterns and textures this is probably the most minimal body paint I have ever done. Iz was ombre blues/ green – all cosmetic Cameleon bodypaints – with touches of black and white stencilled on too.
I loved the sheen of the midnight blue pearl paper, but it was a bit fragile for building props with of course, so was mainly glued on as a bottom texture layer over her paint.
This took me several hours; towards the end Mark set up his photo studio, and we switched off the time-lapse before I finished to move equipment around.
Mark was inspired and had been painting glass panels for his lighting with Hobbycraft glass paints too, which created the amazing patterns and effects on the backgrounds in his photos.
Then Iz threw her graceful poses (with a serious face as this was not really a smiley look – see her next time for her lovely grins!) and together we created these end results which I LOVE.
I’m hoping you are inspired to try layering up Cricut makes into a headpiece, or try stencilling…
Too many pics I know, but I couldn’t choose a favourite!
Huge thanks to everyone at Cricut UK, Mark and Izabela.
This was an interesting booking that Juliet Eve contacted me with. The client wanted 4 models blended into 4 different rooms of a house. We discussed how this would be done and what problems usually arose, and they later got back with 4 samples of the walls we would have.
The pinky-purple wallpaper was OK, the bathroom a bit fiddly due to the tiling, the kitchen a headache as it was so plain and unforgiving; the brick garage wall of course is a popular /favourite paint.
They wanted all of this in one day using only 2 models which was a big restriction; this is the most time consuming and technical kind of bodypaint. The client decided that shoulders up for the female model would solve any problems with what breast covers to use and offending anyone, and waist up for the male. This also helped with time constraints as it cut down the area we had to paint. Still, we had only a few hours per wall if all went to plan.
As we had a very early call-time, we were put up in a lovely apartment in the centre of Bristol even though I live about 45 minutes away. Juliet arranged to meet old friends of hers she sees whenever she visits the west, and we had a lovely meal with a freakily heavy snow and hail shower in the middle of it, next to the Thekla floating ship nightclub where I spent many rock club visits when I had my first job in Bristol painting coats of arms back in the ’90s.
The adverts were being shot for a building company called Siniat, who were highlighting different types of plasterboard that can solve various normal household problems – cold rooms, damp or mouldy rooms, noisy neighbours etc.
We used all Cameleon paints with Mouldlife Aquafix and facade glitters for the bathroom tiles.
We were all set up in the studio waiting for our first model to shave after someone went on an emergency shaving shop (he’d not realised he couldn’t have a hairy chest), chatting to the lovely crew and enjoying the largest bacon butty breakfast ever (did me for 3 meals!).
Then we started with the pink/ purple wallpaper covering a wall with noise issues. The shade we could match easily on a flat surface, but humans are not flat and we ended up ‘anti-contouring or ‘non-touring’ with 6 different shades to try to vanish model Ed Loboda into the backdrop. Then we started adding in the swirls of plant/ flowers.
As Juliet finished that look on Ed and waited to do touch-ups and corrections as the cameras started rolling, I was basing out Alice Offley as a damp bathroom wall.
The shapes I had to draw on her to make it look like she was tiled were really surprising, no matter how often I do it – random curving blobby lines with spikes and protrusions look like a straight flat line on camera. Juliet came over to help glitter the pink tiles etc as we rushed to finish that look on time.
As soon as Ed was back from showering and had some lunch and a break, we started painting him as a slightly mouldy kitchen wall. The pale pastel duck egg painted wall was very unforgiving, and the slightly bevelled slightly shiny tiles were difficult even after their set designer dulled them down; I had to do many retouches before that worked on camera.
Our last paint, started by Juliet as I stayed with the kitchen cameras, was the cold garage brick wall. I’ve done bricks so many times I knew this would look the best – they are less precise and can have a lot more non-specific patterns and dots that really help hide a body more easily.
All 4 could have been more ‘invisible’ if we had had more time or more artists per model, or more models each with an artist etc, but within the limits we had – 1.5 artist each look, a couple of hours each look, they really worked and I’m so pleased.
Thermal brick https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGepT2sUj2Y
Moisture resist kitchens https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v50vgTHgP7M
Water resist Bathroom https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUrwem49Ysg
Accoustic pink wall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFXC0-3iwUg
Acoustic main wall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7MHSIZsUdI
So, a long day for everyone but the clients loved it and the whole crew nailed it.
I was really a rock/ metal/ funk chick from my teens, but I still had a good mix of music on my tapes (yes I’m that old) and adored George Michael’s Freedom. I can recall hours of listening to that on my Walkman as I sat painting and repainting pictures of the central courtyard tree in Chesterfield high school for my A-level art exams.
Later, I couldn’t go to the Freddie Mercury tribute concert as I had an exam at Uni, but watching it in the Student Union bar over lunch, his was the one voice that really blew me away – he nailed the Queen vocals.
So I was saddened to hear of the last great loss to music in 2016 – George Michael on Christmas Day. I’d hoped to paint something on a model locally just to express thanks/ regrets, but colds swept the family and models cancelled. Finally I asked if there was anyone I could paint at the Wiltshire Face Painters’ Jam I was supposed to demo at in Feb. Richard, fiancee of a painter, kindly volunteered.
On an incredibly cold, misty morning, my eldest and I packed the car and drove the hour over to the jam, missing all the local scenery in our foggy tunnel.
I’d initially wanted to paint jeans and a jacket like in the famous denim/ jukebox video but due to timings cut back to just the jacket. I’m not a fan of using black, its the shade I use least (I find it boring for clothes and prefer colours) but I did my best! I substituted ‘never gonna dance again’ on the t-shirt chest to mimic the white block-lettered T shirts George had in the 80’s.
On the back, I swapped the top gothic lettering for ‘freedom’ with some of his iconic crosses either side, RIP in the middle of the leafy wreath,
and, running out of time, didn’t do a great job of the gothic G heart M on the bottom. I did these in paint first and then freehand glitter tattooed around the edges, as I wanted to give a raised effect like metallic thread stitching. Brushing off glitter vudei is here.
It was a fairly relaxed day, with demos, competitions, people chatting, asking painty advice, breaks for Katie’s lethal rainbow cake, etc.
Assorted pics from the jam page… not painted by me
I attempted to stencil-glitter-tattoo (using Mehron’s gold metallic powder) the zips which didn’t quite work but I can see what I’d do another time and it still gave a good effect. That’s when we found Richard had a very very tickly tummy button…
The organiser Sally rose leant us some perfect aviator glasses, but sadly the perfect guitar I’d borrowed from my husband and packed the night before had been borrowed back by hubby and I’d not noticed to re-pack it! Luckily Richard was the event’s DJ so had a mic to add to the look. Final clip here and I’m just doing he timelapse.
We all snapped a few pics – I mainly have put up Katie’s as her phone caught better reflections in the sunglasses than mine did – and packed up. Short but sweet!
When I got home my eldest vanished and hubby was in the bath, so I unloaded the stuffed car into the porch and ferried from the porch into the house. This is my youngest ‘helping’ by flinging paints and glitter gels out of a crate on the front step, into the house…
Huge thanks to Richard 9and it seems he now wants another paint so wasn’t put off by this!) and Katie, to Sally for the fab jam, and everyone who came to chat etc.
FIP (Face Painting In Progress) had invited me over to teach at their EU JamVention a few years back which was amazing. Willy & Jacklyn Suiskens, the hosts/ owners were lovely, so I was really excited when they asked if I would be interested in coming to Europe’s biggest Cosplay Event with them and their international team.
I arrived late due to a delayed plane and then train troubles, but was happy to find that although my dutch had vanished (I couldn’t locate my phrase book which I usually read on the plane to get my dutch head on) my school girl german was fine and managed to get me through a few hours of chatting. I knew most of the artists already from various painting events so it was great to see them and meet the ‘new’ ones.
We were all staying in caravans on a huge campsite but were up extremely early so everyone could get showered and ready for the drive.
Elfia Arcen is held at Kasteeltuinen in Holland, http://www.kasteeltuinen.nl/nl/ which is an amazing array of themed gardens set up around a castle and its buildings.
The event itself has 1000’s of people coming along in costumes from scifi films& tv, manga, cartoon, steampunk, victorian, historical… the kids, prams, dogs have outfits too!
The stalls were in keeping with interesting tents and unusual contents – corsets, armour, weapons, skulls, unusual headdresses…
And the musicians and bands! Even the staff and security wore medieval tabards and all the security panels and tape were harlequin too. I was half sad I was painting all day as there was so much to see.
Anyway, on the Saturday we arrived in the lovely FIP marquee as the stalls were opening. The FIP team had a stage at the back with a spacey backdrop as the theme for us this years was ‘Space & Time”. On the left of our main entrance was the brilliant stall Willy had built, selling all sorts of cosmetic props and prosthetics and with the price lists for the face & body painter menu as some of the artists did shifts decorating customers.
On the right hand side were all the ‘show’ body painters. They had photo banners up outside and inside the tent with the artists names, work and country (I’m Scotland!) on them, as well as a lovely enlarged photo of a favourite paint on each of our tables.
I had Jacklyn Suiskens from Belgium on one side of me, on the other Udo Schurr of Germany
Other artists were:
Dani Bekiersch Germany
Josje Wolters Holland Joyce Ramakers Holland
Marieke Crone & Phoebe Maas Richard van der Laan Holland
Silvie Vissers Holland Tineke Menalda Holland
Viola Simons Germany
Saturday I was painting the fabulous Anna and as she liked purple, went for a Nebula-inspired alien. We named her Galaxy Girl rather than Nebula Nymph as there is already a famous Nebula girl in the Guardians of the Galaxy world. I wanted to have her sort of camouflaged and was determined NOT to use black as so many galaxy paints/ makeups are so dark or grimy with black.
All day we painted, with some breaks and lots of snacks from FIP, as crowds of cosplayers walked past and assorted bands came in to perform on our stage – LOVED the pirates!
As usual when I have no specific plan, Galaxy Girl changed as I painted and became a sort of cracked ‘skin’ like a mandala glittered shell, with a star/ nebula being born from paraben her chest and deep space exposed wherever the skin was ‘broken’.
I used mainly Cameleon, my fave vegan, cruelty & parabene free cosmetic paint, with freehand glitter tattoo over the top using the kids I sell and Facade or Kryolan glitters. I also shaded her face in particular with the Kryolan iridescent powders in silver and purple.
Then there was a display onstage of all the artwork to a packed marquee,
before a quick tidy-up and a few hours following Anna around as she was mobbed by photographers.
We took some pics in the rose garden area and I was wowed by the ingenious costumes parading by, from Sci Fi and Manga to historical, from Dr Who themed tardis dresses to a girl with a walking centaur.
We got back late to wash and get ready for the next paint…
This was an unusual booking; the client wanted ‘walkabout’ mobile painting at an outdoor event in Bath’s Southgate Shopping Mall.
I did a few mobile gigs when I lived in Hong Kong about 11 years ago, walking up to decorate guests at dinner tables or around in bars, and they never seemed as successful (to me) as when I have my kit set up on a table with a tall client chair. But I have done a few since then, so it can be done, but I had a think on a new kit setup…
I used to have the Snazaroo walkabout ‘ kit wheel’ which you gripped in one hand, but found that too heavy and cumbersome. Plus you really need both hands free, one to work, one to steady/ rest on the customer as standing people are even more likely to wibble about than seated!
So, I created a walkabout kit that fitted into an old face paint bag I converted into an apron, with a few extra bits. Not the most stylish but handsfree and pretty comfy apart from when I dropped it all at one point! I’ll tweak it a bit before the next booking as some things I ordered to make it didn’t arrive in time…
Basically its 2 of the magnetic panels I use in my face paint kit, taped together, taped onto 2 of the Ikea pots I sometimes use as brush holders which fitted tightly into the ‘apron’ pocket.
The paints (mainly one strokes and mini black, white & skin tones) I already have with magnets on their bottoms, so they sat nicely on the panels. The new Pixie gels I’d decanted into bottles that sat tip down in a nail varnish holder inside one of the Ikea pots, with space for brushes in the middle. A bag of sponges, a ring of stencils (I didn’t use either in the end) and a facecloth clipped onto the apron and my water spray & glitter were in a side pocket.
Helen’s red snazaroo wheel & my kit as we warmed up hands with hot mochas before the start!
I’d got the lovely Helen hired too, (she ended up with a tired arm from her Snazaroo wheel) so we arrived to find that it was outside and a bit chilly… a special Student Shopping Night promo in the Southgate Shopping Precinct. Its funny as I do lots of student club body art/ face painting bookings but sober, ready-to-shop students were very different! We started by working down the huge entry queue and did eventually have our own little queues going.
I stuck to using the new Pixie Cosmetic glitter gels around simple eye abstract or flowers as that is what most people wanted. All the stencils and extra paints I had squeezed in were not needed! Various acts and stalls were set up and the Scare crew from Avon Valley Wildlife & Adventure Park kept making clients jump, but we wanted to follow around their evil clown as he had a real flamethrower which was cosy!
The kit worked reasonably well but I need to re-think the brush holder being under the paints – my fingers got horribly messy as I kept having to grab the brushes by their painty tips to reach them. I have an idea for a brush holder for next time…
Not many photos as we were so busy & it was dark, but an interesting evening!
Well as usual Spooky Season is very VERY busy with me trying to fill as many bookings as possible.
For once I change my costume and was a Star-Wars dressed (my mum adapted the skirt from a lovely dress I found) Day of the Dead sugar skull. I made the flower headdress myself and created sleeves from fancy socks…
I’d left home early for a private face paint booking in Bath, then by 12 was setting up at the ‘Big Fish Little Fish” Family Rave to offer face paint & body art to the children and parents there.
Last pic of my work is from their website
I’d been asked to do a ‘menu board’ as that is what was usually offered at their events, and loved the FAB Wipeable Boards Sarah sells for this. The light wasn’t fab & I was too busy to take many photos but it was a great and very busy event.
Once finished I packed up and drove to Mambo’s Taunton – getting held up in RTA Traffic on the motorway I dashed my kit through the town to get set up on time. I had to re-do my kiddy-friendly sugar skull face as I’d messed it up in my dash.