Camouflaged Bodypaint/ Invisible People

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

Moisture resist kitchens

Water resist Bathroom
Accoustic pink wall
Acoustic main wall

So, a long day for everyone but the clients loved it and the whole crew nailed it.


Professional Beauty North USA Bodypaint demo Sept 2016 by Bath/ Bristol body artist

Sept 2016

This is the 3rd? time Paintopia has been to Professional Beauty North Manchester, and the 7th? Professional Beauty/ Warpaint Magazine event we have been honoured to work at. It is a huge show full of stalls promoting all sorts of beauty and spa products and courses, from nail art to fake tan, teeth whitening, uniforms and massage. This year it also included a hair expo, all held in the lovely converted Manchester Central convention venue.

I’d changed my mind on the train up so did my usual awful scribble (made worse by the train I say!) to text to Jennie & Grace. They had no idea what I was on about so after my annual cocktail at the PBNorth welcoming party, I sat down slightly tipsy with one of the wipeable bodyboards Jennie & I designed that she sells and painted it properly. 


The 2 day event always runs from a Sunday. That first day Jennie & I usually bodypaint a demo model, following the same theme as the competition that we will judge on the Monday. We also do an onstage demo/ workshop. This time as the theme was USA, we decorated Gracie Bodypaint Model as our ‘American Pride’.

I had borrowed the amazing headpiece Jenny Marquis built for Gracie when they came 2nd in the Professional BodyPainter of the Year Category at Paintopia this year (her Gangs of New York paint for Paintopia’s Urban Jungle weekend).


So, we did Gracie’s face and neck as the Statue, mainly in Cameleon Celadon and Inkheart, which Jennie had to spend ages blending whenever I added or changed wrinkles on it.


Then I went on with a (very grumpy looking, sorry!) American Bald eagle over her chest. Its feathers I mainly one-stroked with Cameleon “Buzz” colorblock. I stencilled a hint of Native American dreamcatchers behind the eagle to denote the original americans who so revered wildlife.


On her lower half we went for a simple but sometimes badly-done and often requested paint; fake jeans. Jenny based in a pearly blue and then one-stroked on seams which I creased, highlighted and shaded. We thought the audience might like to see that as part of our demo, so didn’t finish off the legs to be able to continue them onstage.


I dyed my finger tips their usual blue by outlining everything in Cameleon Inkheart (my fave bluey-purple) whilst Jennie did clever things with lashes and the headpiece. A quick advert for the bodypaint stage shows on her back, and off we went. Some cabuchons for eagle eyeballs and Kryolan gems for jean-studs, then a few little freehand glitter tattoo highlights using the fine-tipped glue bottles and cosmetic adhesive I sell were the finishing touches.


Onstage I have no recollection of what we talked about; I know I made several ‘rips’ on the jeans to be a bit like the stars & stripes, but we didn’t finish off Gracie’s legs. By the end of our slot  it was getting towards the close of day 1 so we went to get photos in the sales hall and outside. I have to say it is the best reaction to any of our paints we have had.


Everyone thought the ‘top’ was fab but didn’t realise the jeans were fake – Gracie had to keep moving the waistband of her knickers to show the paint line. One lady actually welled up which was a first.


It was also the warmest PBNorth we have been to, so after we packed up Gracie decided to walk back to our Melia Innside hotel in her paint, which gave us some fab photo ops!


We saw several cars circled back so they could film her, and a coach-load of oriental tourists were overjoyed and waving/ snapping pics like mad.


We headed to a location with interesting architecture we had found last year to get pics, and were lucky enough to be approached by a bunch of Instagram Photographers having a meeting!


 Result!… headshot  mikeycolebourne, blurred background  JS_Spring, archway AndrewYee


Monday we had an interesting time judging the student  and professional bodypaint categories. We were delighted that out of a large number of other competitors in assorted makeup and special FX genres, our winning Professional Artist, Cheryl Howes, won the overall top Professional award with her elegant Art Deco USA work on Debbie. Plus our winning student Emily Smith won the ‘Rising Star’ award as one to watch! She was amazing and so was her lovely dad who’d let her glue him into a fantastic home-made beak to be a bald eagle as part of her USA paint.

Timelapse video here

Huge thanks to Emma, Ali and Debs of Warpaint and all the lovely judges, we need to meet up more often!

Gold Bond girl living statue bodypaint tutorial

So Jennie Roberts, myself & Gracie BodypaintModel just did our first Paintopia youtube bodypaint tutorial (edited by Jade Roberts)…

Approx 30 mins tutorial on different methods of painting a Gold Living Statue

Video here

Gold (or silver) Metallic Bodypaint – Step-by-Step/ FAQ/ How-to.

So Jennie Roberts, myself & Gracie BodypaintModel just did our first youtube bodypaint tutorial (edited by Jade Roberts)…

Approx 30 mins tutorial on different methods of painting a Gold Living Statue

Video here

Cat Finlayson Wheatsheaf goddess for Jungle PR and me11222411_965328283531535_7834711760301172679_n

Video of metallic cosmetic powder with oil bodypaint

I’m putting this up as we are obviously heading into Hallowe’en planning season, as I’ve just had my 4th email in 3 days asking how to do the James Bond Goldfinger girl look. I get a LOT of people asking me to do this/ how to do it, so many that its saved as an auto response in my Gmail.

Date: 10/08/14PH: Hannah McKayPictured: Jason SmythCaption: Paralympian Jason Smyth supports the children's cancer charity, Clic Sargent by being painted in gold body paint.Gold body paint clic jason_smyth_hannah McKay ready in bpc

Gold body paint clic jason_smyth_hannah McKay side out crop bpc

10/08/14PH: Hannah McKayPictured: Jason SmythCaption: Paralympian Jason Smyth supports the children’s cancer charity, Clic Sargent by being painted in gold body paint

Plus September is GoGold for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Gold Tennis close bpcMetalic oil body powder dark strecth kneel bpcRND Carla nearly done

So; officially, here it is. This is THE most requested, most DIY’d bodypaint (-that usually looks OK unlike many DIY bodypaints-) and usually looks good though possibly not as shiny as some expect (read on for various finishes/ methods).

Pink gold silver bodypaints rugby oo bpc

For gold statues (or silver, bronze, copper, etc – there is a range of colours!)

I always use Graftobian metallic powder and Liquiset (has urea in it), or metallic powder and mixing liquid (alcohol based). be safe get the liquid that matches the brand of powder you buy.

Each part is usually sold separately, and for most looks you need both – the powder AND the liquid. Both brands sell the powders in 1 size only (bottles all the same size but some have less weight in as some metals are heavier than other shades), but the liquids come in small and large.

Graftobian also sell ‘Metal Mania‘ kits which they say contains all you will need. Personally I think there isn’t enough liquid for a body in it (and I don’t agree with their sponging application methods though – slow & messy, see my tips later).

When living in Hong Kong I also used a very similar product (had the same packaging as Mehron) called Eastman but I haven’t seen it anywhere else.

Yes, I have tried all the cosmetic pre-mixed liquids, regular ‘hard’ cakes, sprays, mousse paints etc on the market (as of  October last year anyway). Trust me (and most pro body-artists), these 2 brands win by far for speed, end look, toughness, and ease of use/ removal.

There are other brands – Kryolan do a liquid paint in a range of metallic colours called Kryolan Liquid Brightness but that’s more sort of a pearly effect really. It is OK to look at and maybe easier for a non-professional to use, but not that shiny – I used it for this statue though she was then ‘aged’ with other shades over the top.

Dunstan statue muse leaned bpc Dunstan statue muse planter bpc

Video of the gold liquid Kryolan paint on Emily

I generally get the larger liquid as it keeps in the bottle. 1 pot of powder is usually more than enough for 1 whole body, provided its not got to paint more than underwear too. I get at least 1 body per pot of powder, with mixing liquid left over.

Neither brand is really meant to be used on a face on/ around the eyes & mouth, so best to use the powder dry there.

Wheatsheaf goddess barhma Jungle PR glasses bpcWheatsheaf goddess barhma Jungle PR lotus car

Or you can get a gold eyeshadow or similar if you don’t have proper gold facepaint.  This is because both brands of mixing liquid have a substance (either alcohol or urea) which evaporates and can irritate eyes etc. (Also this means the mix degrades fast so don’t make it until you are ready to use it). But it is all cosmetic, safe for skin, and although staying on very well (non smudge), it washes off.

RND carla started nosesRND both done forum.tiffRND Rachael finished

My Red Nose Day photos by Michelle Workman, Models Carla Finlayson &  Rachel 

Dry method

This Mr Freeze was done completely with metallic powder brushed/ polished on with a large fluffy paintbrush and powder pad, dry. It seemed to last pretty well but you could always use a cosmetic fixing spray like Kryolan Fixier (much as I hate fixing anything – use sparingly and avoid eyes/ follow instructions). I wouldn’t advise a whole body this way purely as it seems to use more powder than the liquid methods, and was less sturdy.

Silver head metallic face bodypaint Mr freeze bodypaintingbycat



A little of the powder goes a long way, so DO NOT mix up the entire contents of both bottles! In a desert-sized bowl pour a little liquid, add spoonfuls of powder, and mix. Everything says 1/2 the amount of powder to liquid but that is hard to judge – by weight? by volume? -so it really is trial and error. 

This is the slow bit – keep adding powder, mixing until all dust/ lumps are gone, and when the mix looks like liquid metal in the bowl when fully mixed, test it on your arm. If it dries looking shiny enough for you from all angles, it’s probably ready to use, but you do need to keep adding powder and stirring it as you work.

Gold Tennis hands open bpc

 There is no exact guide to how much of each to add to the mix – it gets shinier up to a point then goes slightly solid/dull when it is over-saturated, it is hard to describe. And always try a little more powder than you think even if it looks gold – many beginners get dull looking models as they don’t have enough powder added.

Silver bodypaint rugby point bpcJVC silver bodypaint dressed bpc Silver yoga pat bodypaint rugby bpc
Or you can mix the powders with baby oil for a super shiny look. The drawback is that this oil mix doesn’t dry, so is only really good for photoshoots where the model doesn’t have to touch anything (and doesn’t mind a tough messy clean up afterwards). Even resting fingers/ leaning against things leaves marks on the finish which are easily re-painted or even just smoothed over but a pain if you want them moving about/ touching stuff.

Metalic body oil all hand focus bpcMetallic body oil spattered liy lookbpcBorg Droid norcon Isnap frontd bpcBorg Droid norcon Isnap face d bpc

Make it up in small batches as you work, you can always re-coat areas.

Use a bowl/ pot that you don’t mind getting ruined as it can be hard to wash off utensils.

Don’t keep the mixed powder & liquid or make it up in advance as it goes ‘off’.

It paints over most fabrics that are not too cotton rich (try it on undies to see which type/ fabric/ colour is best). But fabric does soak it up a lot so always take extra/ pre-paint material if you can.

DO NOT spray clothes etc before hand with a gold car-spray as 1 agent did – we had to cut the newly-gold sweatbands with tin-snips and put them on him like handcuffs. Either find gold fabric/ undies or a gold fabric paint/ spray.

W hotel gold eyes shut statue plinth bpc W hotel kowloon gold statue zani brolly logo 2 bpc



For the liquid methods, once mixed the best (and fastest) way to get the paint on is with a wide,  flat, thin, short-bristled, very soft, brush. I think they are called wash brushes, I usually use a 3 inch wide version with bristles less than 1 cm long. They used to sell cheap 3 packs (3, 2 and 1 inch) in those discount bookshops like the Works. Similar to this anyway – don’t get expensive ones as this tend to ruin them.

Metalic il paint drip cat paints back bpcCat painting Rach red nose day yell 09-001


Keep turning the model so thin patches show up as the light changes. Once dry (almost instantly) it stays on really well, I did models in it for events in HK and after working all day they still looked fine – just as well as I don’t use fixing sprays if I can help it! Make sure at any breaks they don’t wrap up in fluffy clothes or towels though as that takes off the shine – I use silky make-up dressing gowns etc.

Gold rugby bodypaint posed bpcGold Tennis buddha meditate bpc Gold rugby bugy bum bpc

 For the oil method, models can often DIY it and pretty much massage it into their skin. Or  you can use a brush of the type I mention above.

Metalllic body oil chest flames bpcMetalllic body oil neck bpcMetalllic body oil all side pose bpc

Video of the gold oil mix in sun on Borg/ C3P0 mashup


This mix can be put onto hair though as usual I’d be careful of recently dyed/ pale/ blonde hair incase of staining. Get the hair as smooth and flat as possible first if you want a solid gold look, which will use a lot of the mix. I find that sort of ‘dry-brushing’ the hair so prominent locks/ strands pick up the gold rather than saturating the whole head works well whilst saving mix. Or use gold or glittery hairspray.

Metalllic body oil tribal face DSC_7227 bpc

With cakes its generally too expensive and takes a very long time. Cameleon and Kryolan are my fave solid-cake golds.
If you buy Kryolan in ‘cake’ form, for either face or body, generally buy Kryolan Aquacolour, NOT SupraColor- that is oil based and a pain to fix/ get get off (although it looks fab). The only difference is the word on the lid so watch out. The other thing you is the Kryolan AqC gold doesn’t look gold – I think its their copper that looks more gold!


I’ve always advised soap/ shower gel & a body scrubber (wipe off as much of the oil method with paper towels or a scarficial cloth first). But we recently discovered that the usually magical Cameleon solid brush & body soap didn’t budge some application methods of the mix, but the Cameleon brush & body foam soap pump took it easily off AND cleaned the bath too!

Gold top Taryne bpc

Powder & matching liquid method – as you can see no transferring onto white dress! 


Make sure your model hasn’t used anything on her skin that day  – fake tans etc can react, and moisturiser or oils make it hard to stay on.

It looks best on smooth, tight hairless skin – i.e. shins and foreheads. And always looks better with bright sharp lighting e.g. in flash photos.

Good luck!

AND the Gold Bond Girl ‘death’ due to suffocation in the paint is a MYTH. We are mammals, with lungs – we do not breathe through our skin or need a small bare patch at the base of our backs to breathe through! And if you use good safe cosmetic stuff like this, you can still sweat so won’t be overheating any more than a non-painted person.

And don’t get me started on the eejit who replied to my ‘how to’ email that it was hurting his girlfriend and he couldn’t get it off – he’s used a well-known brand of garage-door-type paint. I told him they were idiots and to go to A&E…

ALSO TRY LOOKING AT Facepaint-UK‘s blog years back for ideas


Wheatsheaf Gold Goddess

Sept 2013

The lovely ladies of Jungle PR contacted me asking if I could design a head-dress and gold-statue body paint for the launch of a new Barnham Broom Brasserie restauraunt which would be featuring local foods. 


I ordered a selection of edible seed heads and grasses (typically our fields had already been cut), and added seed pods from my garden, and used that to crate a sort of Grecian crown.


A gold toga-dress was also purchased, and I drove over to meet the model Chloe and decorate her exposed skin in gold body paint and some hand detailed corn, wheat etc. She looked lovely!

Wheatsheaf goddess barhma Jungle PR lotus carWheatsheaf goddess barhma Jungle PR glasses bpc

Cat Finlayson Wheatsheaf goddess for Jungle PR and me

Finley even did a sketch to help me…Fins harvest goddess drawing for me .21