Entering the 2021 World bodyPaint Festival in Covid times

I’ve been lucky to be sponsored to go to the World Body Painting Festival (Body Art’s World Championships) twice. I’d go every year but flights, accommodation & food in Austria in peak summer season make it hideously expensive. And means I miss earning at bookings. Plus now it’s on before school stops for summer.

(2007 I assisted Bibi Freeman – 1 of my fave painters/ people & the inventor of the 1st rainbow one-stroke facepaints – when she Da Vinci brushes kindly invited me. We made it through day 1 and were ?12th? in the finals! She also won the World Face Paint Award and I was delighted to be 5th, as I’d only been face painting a couple of years.)

(2015 I had Paintopia Jenn as my assistant and painted Laurence Caird in the Brush & Sponge category, with paint sponsored by the fab Eugenie of Cameleon body paint. After 2 hours painting she had to be hands-off, trying to supply me with things I lost the words for. We made it through to the finals with our 1st paint, and finished top 20 with our 2nd, again I’ve lost memory of where, 19th?)

I’ve been wanting to go again, but 2020 it didn’t happen and I was too caught up – attempting to home-educate my kids whilst shielding- to even look at the online event they held.

In 2021, just as restrictions lifted and I began painting at selected Covid-tested events, I was told they were running an Online Covid WBPF. I was asked to help Bath become the UK WBPF ‘Hotspot’ and paint there with as many others as we could. In 2 weeks. I was fully booked with Hobbycraft & wedding paints except for 1.5 days off before that date. But it was my only free Saturday in months, and Izabela K was available too.

I’d not painted anyone except faces on my youngest son in 18 months due to Covid, and people generally plan, build props and practice for months before entering the WBPF.

Then Hamish of Gibralter Body Art kindly offered to sponsor both our entrance fees and a loo at the Field Good Bar which took most of the money pressure off. So I said yes; Iz & I would meet up to celebrate being able to paint again if nothing else.

I drove my colleagues mad trying to work out a design; the given theme was ‘Historic Moments’ and I decided COVID was DEFINITELY in that category, but how to paint it? Then I realised, it isn’t the 1st international plague, let’s do them all. World diseases and their vectors/ causes/ effects on Izabela’s front, cures real or imagined on the back. I used my Cricut to cut Covid virus stencils in assorted sizes from the reusable mylar I use for the stencils I sell, and then matching virus shapes from hot pink, teal, navy and white for a head-dress. I added Cricut-made card syringes on the back of the virus, along with a hand sewn plague mask. In hot pink foam of course.

Just after starting

On the day I had my fave Cameleon colours (thank you Paintopia Jen for sponsoring those and the Paintopia Pants) and the new Cameleon long-handled kabukis to try.

I used the Nippies modesty covers I bought at Magic Box recently rather than my fave single use but expensive (and hard to get, as creator John nearly died from Covid and had been in hospital for months) Monster Pasties. I am impressed with the Nippies, they are the first silicone boob covers I like, possibly as they have a matt finish. They are reusable, in a decent reusable box and incredibly easy to put on. We’ll see how many paints they last on Izabela.

I told Iz I had a nearly set idea for her front, and aside her bottom at the back being yellow, no back plan. We agreed that as we wanted to enjoy it, both had work early the next day (she was off to Cardiff at 5 a.m.) & I had to get all the photos/ paperwork in by midnight, that we would finish early. There was an option to paint for 8 hours instead of the usual 6, but we stopped at 6! Rules meant we had to take a photo at the beginning, every hour and at the end to show our progress & times taken.

Sooo the front of the design; white Grimas base, all other paints Cameleon from Paintopia – Bollywood Pink, Inkheart Blue, Teal, Line white and neons. The stained lip shows where virus/ bacteria entered lungs for Spanish Influenza/ COVID, and spread throughout the body (virii using my stencils). The fleas represent Bubonic Plague getting into the bloodstream after flea bites,veins morphing into the dark dead fingers often seen in Black Death. The dots of the virus merge into the skull eye sockets for all the people who lost their lives but also are the ‘buboe’ lumps on the skin.

The back was a bit of a doodle really. Fresh air and UV rays which helped many pandemic treatments – during the Spanish Flu epidemic they created open air hospital tent cities. Also syringes of inoculations in the sun beams, and several plants/ herbs/ flowers that were thought important – onions by Bubonic Plague doctors, more recently in SARS the Chinese government said Woad helped.

So, Iz & I finished after 6 hours and I was really happy I could still use a paintbrush. She posed brilliantly as ever. Tony Cooney took the official pics to send off to the judges that night, and Iz did some fab shots with her friend Chris Daw.

Then Mik Garton got some blinders on his Iphone in the sun – what amazing weather, it had rained for weeks! I think it was about 8 p.m. by then.

Izabela-model shot by Chris Daw art BodyPaintingByCat
Izabela-model shot by Chris Daw art BodyPaintingByCat

So I packed up and cleaned whilst Izabela posed. The nippies came off easily but worked well! And Iz, for once too warm most of the day, had her cold cider at the end.

The results were announced a week later. I was painting at another outdoor wedding and could feel my phone buzzing as I worked. It wasn’t until I finished late that night I saw that people thought I’d been in the top 20, as my photo of Iz had been on the live WBPF TV show!

Izabela-model shot by Mik Garton, Art BodyPaintingByCat

I was delighted & amazed to find I had placed 14th, highest of the UK entries, against around 100 really amazing competitors.

Izabela-model shot by Mik Garton, Art BodyPaintingByCat

Huge thanks to Clemency Bedford & all for organising the hotspot/ photography/ venue, Field Good Bar for the amazing pizzas, all the photographers, Hamish for sponsoring fees, Paintopia for paint & Izabela for doing this with me.

Izabela-model shot by Mik Garton, Art by BodyPaintingByCat

I’m almost inspired to actually go to WBPF in Austria in 2022 if it’s all on again!

What to do when you can’t bodypaint during a pandemic, #1.

Soooo…. what a year! I still subscribed to a lot of the Chinese newspapers from living and painting in Hong Kong, so had been alarmed by virus reports, and stopped taking bookings over Dec 2019. Which meant that aside for 2 bookings in January, I didn’t paint any bodies at all in 2020.

Luckily, I had a 4 year old, who (to begin with) was very keen on face painting. His elder brother hates it, and has been painted maybe 5 times in his whole life, including, once, by someone at Centre Parcs who’s ‘creation’ confused even my incredibly polite mum.

Usually, with school runs/ kids, house, working for Hobbycraft and my own face/ body paint bookings and craft orders, I had to fight Euan off my facepaint kit and restrict him to faces at weekends. He does have his own mini kit, but of course my big expensive setup is far more interesting to him.

Luckily, his infant school set fairly vague themes every week of that first lockdown. As long as we did things (suggested, or our own ideas) to vaguely go with the book or theme of the week, and sent in photo evidence, we were OK. So we did crafts, attempted to read books (nope – he loves being read TO, just not DIY-ing it). And, face painting.

As I began my facepaint career when I was a Zoo Education Officer, I have always talked about the creature I was painting to the face getting painted, as an extra learning opportunity.

Euan and I would watch some research – usually a marvellous BBC Wildlife episode, or the bits chopped out by Andy on CBBC, followed up with facts from the amazing Arkive site which was contributed to by my old workplace the Natural History Museum and many of my University Biological Imaging colleagues. Then I would paint whilst chatting to him, and later film him explaining his facts, to send to school.

Some of the parents in his class asked to watch, so we started filming or even live-facebooking these face painting chats. This was a bit of a learning experience for me as Paintopia Jenn usually deals with all the techy / social media bits and I just talk or paint on them! I’ve a setup to film myself body painting in time-lapse, but it didn’t really work for live faces/ chatting, as I couldn’t always see if we were properly in the screen.

So here you go.

Squiggly random 4 year old…

1st week – Super hero Week & Bat Appreciation Day

A rainbow bat. (Yes I had yet to order our first shaver to do his haircuts). I was still trying to set up my phone whilst accidentally filming so please excuse the flapping around at the start.

Still Super Hero Week – so, Spidey. This was the 2nd attempt that morning, as tears had destroyed the first.

The live for this Batman-city is on my facebook…

Same for this Teenage Mustant Ninja Turtle

The Enormous Crocodile Book week – interactive talking crocodile facepaint

And look – 1st every haircut by mummy! Poor soul, they do improve, I hope…

Another reptile, a lizard

Hmm, a lizard…cant find the video think it was a Facebook live only…

Still on Roald Dahl, so, a snake arm paint…

A favourite, DINOSAUR week. He didn’t want my standard easy talking dino, but a stegosaurus, which I need to think more on.

And more, my 1st go at a Pteranodon flying dinosaur, needs another go… I wasn’t allowed to finish either.

This week – Sealife! So we made a Shark fin/ teeth headband , and this…

Africa was this week’s lockdown homeschooling project, so I had LOADS of ideas as 1 of the Zoos I worked in is now called Africa Alive so even back in 2000 specialised in African species. Ahhh, doing the lion talks whilst trying to avoid reg the male spraying us with urine through the fence…

Anyway, grumpiest Equine things I have met, a Zebra.

And then a tiger, of course. Memorable events at ‘my’ zoos included one tiger charging straight at me (still 1 fence between us) then clapping his gigantic paws together and showering me with a puff of feathers and blood, as he caught a very confused pheasant in front of a large audience.

This cheetah facepaint suited him…

Hopefully that killed off an hour of lockdown for you, we (mostly) had fun doing them!

All products are cosmetics, mainly Csmeleon paints & brushes from the Paintopia store. Most stencils I make and sell myself on Cats Craft Cabin , or contact me.

Revamping my face paint kit again…(Craft n Go) Part 1

Like all painters I have been forever trying new ways of carrying and presenting my kit.

In the beginning (wayyy back in 2000), all that was available was the blue plastic trays for Snazaroo. Nice idea but the blue looked very kiddy, they snapped really easy and I soon had them all taped around the edges, and the lids didn’t last long either. Plus I didn’t stick with Snazaroo paints for long, and other paint brands didn’t fit in unless I gouged them out of their pots.

I went back to my art school roots and had a small black artists toolbox with everything, then when I was doing a lot of big mad music festivals,  a larger upright toolbox with wheels. I rightly thought that would be tougher than the arty ones, it wheeled OK across endless fields and didn’t take up too much floor-room in a tent.

For bookings in New Zealand I cut right down to a small packable kit.

Living on a catamaran in Hong Kong, relying on boats, buses and taxis and no lifts in buildings,  I learnt I had to be minimal. I reduced down to 2 laptop sized inserts in a ‘clamshell’ lidded palette box, which was carried in a rucksack or shopping trolley with all the other bits. I had a good look at the pull-about makeup kits a lot of makeup artists there had. A waste of time, too small, the larger were too heavy, too complicated, not sturdy enough and really only any use in nice flat makeup studios.

When we emigrated back to the UK, I switched to a bigger handled bigger wheeled much larger ‘trunk’ toolbox . This was fab for trundling through the Norfolk woodland theme park to my daily painty gig for several years at Bewilderwood, as originally they only gave me a platform with a dodgy parasol to work under. So everything had to be sturdy and very waterproof for the British weather all year – I could stuff everything back in it fairly fast if it rained. (Not always fast enough). I still have this, it stores all my acrylic craft paints & brushes I use  when I am doing murals and urban art statues. It is fab as I can stand or sit on it to reach higher.

Bewilderwood then built my a stunning painting treehouse, in keeping with the rest of the park, but with a tiny shelf to paint on – I was in the middle with 2 stencillers and a till on either side, so I really had to downsize again.

Eventually I upgraded to a ‘DJ Hero’ Case which was a style I liked better as you could more or less open the lid and be ready to paint. However the legs were rubbish, and had to be carried separately, it was heavy and awkward to carry, and quite flimsy as it was just cardboard walls (not waterproof either).

I then converted a golf flight case which was even heavier but I also magnetised that so paints etc with magnets taped on would stick and not slide about. I liked that idea but never did have the tools to attach a salvaged suitcase extending handle, or wheels.

Eventually I bit the bullet and imported a Craft N Go, the smaller paint station specially designed with painters in mind. It’s not perfect – the handle even with the extension is a bit short for me (I’m fairly tall) and I would prefer a stiff extending handle. The attached legs are still a little wibbly if bumped, but its pretty darn good. Tough shell (I went for black as most corporate gigs ask for all black setups), OK wheels (not much ground clearance for gravel/ field gigs, but I tend to stick it all in a big trolley anyway), magnetised base and inner lid.

I’v had it for several years now and its seen a lot of use at my own bookings and demos as well as being the test kit for the Paintopia shop at events. The inner lid metal was stained – I’ve tried various cleaners and even  isopropyl but no joy. Its had mirror acrylic etc magnetized on at various points but now I wanted a change. The black gloss sticky backed vinyl on the base boards was also stained and a bit nicked and dinged.

I’m doing much less work abroad now the kids are older, so I also wanted to go back to single colours in the palette inserts (minus the lidded palette box) rather than repotted doubled up paints in a tray, its easier to keep track of the dates and batch numbers of the paints for insurance purposes when they are in their original pots anyway . (But do take a photo of the base and note the date you started the paint as some labels do get worn away!).

So – Part 2 is re-doing my CraftnGo…

Glastonbury Body Art Festival Jan 2019, Maya Ix Chel Jocelyn Paint

This was the 2nd occasion artist Mel Broom and maker Stephen Duross had hosted this event. The inaugural day last January 2018 was a huge success, with a massive queue of public waiting for hours to get in to see the artwork as it happened and then returning for the catwalk. This year the larger Glastonbury town hall was booked, and the theme was Gods & Goddesses.

As it was just after a busy Halloween/ Christmas season, I’d really not had much time to think about what to paint. I knew I wanted to do something from the Mayan Pantheon, as I’d been fascinated by the art and ruins I saw when we lived in Belize. I was lucky as when I was a kid, my stepmother chaired the Mundo Maya coalition of governments/ tourist boards who went to visit lots of Maya ruins around Central America, deciding which to open up to tourists in what is now the very well known Mayan routes. I ended up doing my BSc thesis on Mayan medicinal plants, etc!

Then we heard the horrific news that Jocelyn Casdorph, a well known face and body artist, who worked and taught internationally, had been killed by her husband over Christmas. Her designs (and own cheerful face) inspired many and I wanted to paint a tribute to her. I’d been thinking of maybe doing IxChel, the moon goddess. As well as being patron of weaving and the moon, she looked after women and had escaped a jealous angry husband herself. So, I had a story for my paint, and a vague idea, but I designed as I painted on the day!

I used my Cricut Maker to cut feathers I had drawn out of various foils and papers, to represent Quetzal bird feathers. You can’t get them – the stunning iridescent birds are threatened so now protected in Guatemala, etc – and although similar to peacocks I decided to stick to paper.

I also designed some jaguar print stencils as that is another animal product often worn by Mayans. (As it was I forgot the largest ones I meant to use on the day so the smaller ones had to do. I also forgot half of the paper clay jaguar teeth which were still drying). Paintopia sell my #cutbycat jaguar print stencil.

It was a cold, frosty morning when I collected Izabela and drove down to Glastonbury. She’d a terrible cough so was really amazing to insist on modelling for me. We checked in with Mel, Stephen and Debs, and set up in the space we had been allocated under the lovely chandeliers. I’d bought both of the Paintopia TML Makeup Lights I look after with me, so set them up to light as many artists as I could at our end of one row. And got painting!

There were lots of breaks for teas and lovely food (thanks everyone, luxury!) and the world’s largest baked potato. The public were allowed in from lunchtime, so we then painted whilst also being filmed, photographed and chatted to. I think Izabela’s most controversial question from a child was why she was drinking coffee! As always even the kids were fascinated, it is art and nobody is naked.

This video doesn’t exist

Artists and models were all levels of experience, age and shape, painting together so there was a huge range of styles. You had ‘old hands’ such as myself, Liz Bylett, Jenny Marquis, Erica Wafford etc, models who have had dozens of paints a year like Izabela, and newer makeup artists/ face painters too. Then there was the famous Linda Ravenscroft who tried her 1st body painting last year at this event and created a fab Morrigan.

Jenny’s model had stepped in last minute and did amazingly on her first ever bodypaint, as did the recipient of the days’ takings who ran the Childrens World Charity.

And Sam the local Blacksmith rocked the catwalk as a cheerfully aggressive Thor! there were some fab collaborations as well, with famous armour maker Terry English lending some of his metal work to help decorate models who had no artists for whatever reason. Somehow Mel & Debs painted them and more!



I always put up a blurb about my paint for those too shy to ask, its in jade green below.

Goddess Ix Chel (rhymes with sea -shell)

All props made from paper by Cat

Ix Chel is the Maya Goddess of the Moon, Water, Rainbows, Weaving, and Childbirth.

I painted a moon over a Mayan temple (memories of visiting family friends at various ruins around MesoAmerica, and moonrises over the pyramids in Guatemala with me now-husband). Her dark blue skin was also meant to represent the night sky and constellations were added as random splatters or jaguar skin shaped patterns.

She is sometimes shown as a beautiful girl with sparkling skin sat in a crescent moon with her rabbit, brushing her shimmering hair.

I reused the amazing dread extensions I made years ago, that have been added to so many of my bodypaints and own outfits. Dark multicoloured wools, peacock feathers, shining silky ribbons…

In one tale, her amazing woven cloth attracted her love, the sun-god. Her grandfather didn’t approve of him, and accidentally killed her with lightning, but dragonflies surrounded and sang to her body for months, until she came back to life and married her sun god.

I re-used the dragonfly wings made for the Prosthetics show bodypaint in 2017 on my Cricut. This had involved scanning in a real dead dragonfly I had from when I ran Carlton Marshes Nature Reserve Education Centre, then painstakingly cleaning up he image online. I then cut it out in various sizes from all sorts of paper, card and acetate which I sprayed gold.

Sadly he was a jealous, abusive husband, and Ix Chel transformed into an invisible jaguar to escape him and hide whenever he looked for her.

I added blue jaguar spots over strips of yellow, like the Mayan costumes shown in some carvings. Also the paper clay fangs were added as jewellery.

She continued her work, helping women, weaving the life cycle, and keeping the souls of the dead.

I drew the mayan feathered serpent, which reminds me of the world serpent legend, surrounding a skull design that poor Jocelyn was known for.

This paint contains a skull design inspired by the face & body paint artist Jocelyn Casdorph, who could not escape her husband on Christmas Eve and lost her life. Her art brought colour and joy to many, and inspired other painters. I hope her story also inspires anyone seeing signs of, or trapped in domestic abuse, to reach out.

The hall filled up for the catwalk, standing room only! I ended up jumping in to help guide/ time models, which was fun.

Its a long day for the models and as Iz had to get to a casting in Manchester the next day, we didn’t stay long after the catwalk. Models were dancing on platforms and posing for photos so we had some quick shots then packed up and de-accessorised Izabela. I handed out the Cameleon soap samples Jennie had sent from the Paintopia Shop (it cleans skin as well as brushes) and we trundled my gear back to the car.

Huge thanks to all the organisers and everyone who came, a lovely creative event and a decent amount was raised for Children’s World!



PRIDE London eco glitter face & body art

This was a lovely booking from @beyondrepair dance company. Their client had booked the roof terrace and 2nd floor of Jamie’s Italian in London Piccadilly for their own pride/ football party above the crowds.

It is actually now faster AND easier for me to get into central London from Bath Spa (my nearest train station then) than it was when I lived ‘in’ London!

I knew Pride In London and other events on that day would mean public transport would be awful, especially with my full kit box and tall makeup chair, so I took along my trusty wheeled trolley wagon.

As expected my nice taxi driver had to drop my about half way to Piccadilly, and leave me amongst the millionaires clothes shopping in New Bond Street (its the world’s most expensive shopping street, FYI) to tow my kit to the restaurant. As I was in full homemade rainbow outfit (I’ll do a blog on that) I didn’t fit in well…

All was going well until I realised I still had to cross Regent Street… which meant crossing the parade! It took about 30 minutes to get to the front of the crowd at one of the designated crossing points, and a bit longer until a gap in the parade allowed myself and some late wedding guests to dash over.

I was set up in a lovely corner looking down 1 street to the Pride crowds, and the other street to crowds watching the important football match on giant screens.

The clients were fab, sadly though they offered me some of the lovely food they were all grazing on I was too busy from start to finish to stop and eat! Some had already been DIY face painting with a rainbow stripe stick.

These designs were all freehand or using the #cutbycat stencils available from my own shop and PaintopiaBodyArtSupplies

I finished my shift and started heading back to the station; as before no taxis and still some crowds and the tail end of the Pride parade to negotiate – all very colourful! I got some Churros as my treat whilst waiting for the train home.

Feb 2018 Once Upon A time Makeup Bodypaint Demo Look

I was able to attend the annual Paradise Wildlife Face Painting Jam, which this year had a ‘Once Upon A time’ theme. Organiser Juliet Eve asked if I’d do a freehand glitter tattoo demo, and I decided the demo could be part of a bodypaint I did there. AND there was a head-piece competition so I thought I’d enter that at the same time.

I always like to push myself to try new things, and immediately thought; story books – writing on skin! I hated graphics (the lettering side) when I was at college and have rarely seen well-executed wording on faces so tried to work out how to do that. I didn’t have the time or skills as yet (I really need to do a hairdressing course!) so was also trying to think what I could put on my models’ hair to go with the theme. Then I suddenly thought  – a paper wig!

The last #paperwig I made was in 2014 for the Paintopia Professor’s Apprentice Competition in which Nicky Gardener & I placed 2nd. That theme was Vintage Children’s books – not dissimilar – and we chose Treasure Island. I’d designed a wig made from paper quilling strips, which on the day it turned out we had to slice open, as our model was sick and she was replaced by the much larger James. Who rocked it and completed our awesome team!

Anyway, I decided this time vintage paper would look best, and bought some post-war story books from a charity shop. Lots of slicing later I had a sort of Rapunzel wig.  I made lots of paper flowers on my crciut to adorn it, a bit like the Tangled Princess look.

I’m now designing and making stencils (and can do custom stencils too) which Jennie planned to launch as #CutByCat at the Jam as part of her Paintopia Face & Body Painting Supplies shop. So, I made a bunch of custom stencils of fairytale phrases, and also cut them out of glitter card to form part of the wig, and a crown on Izabella.

Izabella was free to be my model, and kindly said she’d meet us there Monday morning. My mum agreed to wrangle my 2 boys at the Paradise Wildlife Park (a zoo that hosts the event) so we drove down through snowy gales the night before to meet up with Paintopia Jenn in nearby hotel. I did try to start assembling my wig  before bed, but luckily realised I actually had to have it bare so I could firmly attach it to Iz’s hair before I assembled all the other bits! Euan refused to let Jennie leave our room, so with that and loud music from other rooms it was a loooong night…

The snow had stopped but we collected a very chilly Iz from the station before arriving at the bright but freezing marquee that always contains the Jam. After greeting lots of familiar faces, I set up and started getting the paper wig onto Izabela. It was shallower than my previous attempt (I’d built up the bouffant bit of the ships figurehead wig with plastic bags which I guess we just ripped out to fit James’ head). Luckily, all the paper flowers I had made to decorate the Rapunzel paper plait filled in the forhead space perfectly.

Arranging and attaching all the glittery words took a lot longer than I expected, plus I was chatting and answering questions, so by the time the judging for the headpiece competition started I’d only managed a hint of colour over the white base on Izabella. We were really happy to place 2nd and win some fantastic brushes from the Bodycraft Festival team, thanks so much!

Suzanna Forrister-Beer had the most amazing prosthetic Special FX horns on her husband and came first, just beautiful. Also lovely was the kids entertainment, my youngest was boogying on down…

I continued adding mainly Cameleon Bodypaint from the Paintopia shop, layering lettering and stencils and blending with Kryolan powders. I stuck to white, blues and black as I wanted an almost monochrome book-like feel to it.

Last of all I added some quick hand painted swirls, then some freehand glitter tattoos using the waterbased Mouldlife Aquafix in the bottles with fine tips I sell. Finishing touches were flat backed pearls and tiny accent flowers from Hobbycraft.

These 4 photos by www.apheadshotphotgraphy.co.uk 

And finally the image in my head of Izabella peerg throught the ‘O’ on Once Upon A time was out in reality.


Paintopia Jenn put together a fab vlog on it too.

(Yes my hair is a mess I kept stuffing on a hat when going out to check my snowy kids!)

Huge thanks to all involved, the organisers and everyone who came to talk to me or shop with Paintopia. I had a great time chatting (though not as much chat as usual as I was full of cold) and my family loved the zoo and entertainment as usual!

My final clip of Izabella is here:


Easter Face Paints & Cancer Charity face painting for Tesco

This was a lovely booking, over 2 different weekends for Mel’s face paint company.

We were set up (Claudia and myself) in the foyer of Poole Tesco, with 2 other ladies doing related crafts beside us.

It was sometimes a bit difficult to encourage customers to stop and be painted (for donations into the cancer charity bucket) but everyone that did was lovely.

And the staff really joined in.

Body Painting for FIP @ Elfia Day 1 Galaxy Girl

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…

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!

Paintopia 2016 UV bodypaint by Bath facepainter Bristol body artist

I’d got to Paintopia by Tuesday evening to help Jennie & the rest set up.

Paintopia Sprowston marquee banner timeline.43

Wednesday was helping host the Pre-Paintopia workshops with the amazing Madelyn Greco (headdresses) and Maria Malone Guerbaa (animal transformations).

Paintopia Sprowston marquee me not preg.25.25Paintopia Sprowston workshop headpiece.54Paintopia Sprowston workshop maria lights.52

Thursday I was the runner for the brilliant Kryolan masterclass whilst typing up the running order for festival announcements.

 Kryolan class.30  2016-05-12 12.20.15    Paintopia Sprowston workshop cookie.06  

Thursday evening, more and more artists and models were arriving for the first ever Paintopia UV Jam.  I’ve worked in UV clubs a lot doing small bits on the faces & bodies of clubbers, and done a couple of UV backs on clients, but had never had the chance to do a full UV body before.

2016-05-12 19.53.05

The lovely Grace had asked if I would paint her, and then arranged a vague collaboration with a Dutch artist Tanya Hommes and her local model. I’d already thought we’d maybe do something on a Tim Burton theme as grace & I loved his work, and set the Oogie Boogie UV scenes from a Nightmare Before Christmas as our idea.

2016-05-12 19.29.32

I’d not had time to sketch and hadn’t done more than print off some reference photos, so started with a giant Oogie Boogie on her front. Her hair was already slicked back with clay from the look by Gemma Horner at the Masterclass, so I decided to attempt a Jack/ moon look on her face.

Cat painting grace uv.1513450227_873258359485274_7893829771072554476_n

I kept stopping to do announcements or find things for people, and soon realised I wouldn’t have time to do a full body. I drafted in the fab Jade to fill in the black around my outlines, and cut back my vague plans to get a finished paint on Graces front and legs.

2016-05-12 20.49.00

David Cook and the crew had set up the stage Mik painted and it looked amazing.

2016-05-12 22.37.19

The UV lighting was super-bright when it came on and the artwork was brilliant. Everyone whooped it up and had a great time, a super way to kick off the festival.

2016-05-12 22.41.322016-05-12 23.34.38

I shot a small timelapse and some videos of it here

2016-05-12 23.34.18