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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Build a Body Painting Kit: Paints, etc

    I started body painting in 2008 and I had no idea where to look for real, FDA approved, face and body paints. Here is a compilation of the most popular brands in the industry today and a little about my experiences. I've also included a bit of accessories. Kit sponges and brushes are split to their own entry.

    Remember, non-toxic is NOT makeup. We work with real human beings who trust us to take their health seriously. Please do not use craft paints, permanent markers, pens, or house paint on your clients! If you can't take my word for it, view this painter's article (complete with pictures)! 

    My Set Up

    I fit everything into a backpack. I ditched the train case about a year ago. It was just too heavy and I do not enjoy the luxury of paved paths and elevators so frequently. The green sack is for overflow, extra supplies— makeup wipes, paper towels, model food, etc. My portable massage table may be the heaviest thing I own but the most useful (for the model and my back). I bought a flat sheet and tie-dyed it purple and that's my throw for the table. Easy to wash and takes up hardly any space. There are also two collapsable TV dinner type tables that I keep around in the event that my next venue does not offer table space.

    Body Paint

    My paint and brushes. SillyFarm sells the paint trays but they're not worth it. The insert will eventually come apart. I replaced it ONCE and then gave up on it all together. Depending on the size, you can fit one or two extra cakes per tray without the liner. I also gave up on keeping the lids, unless they're brand new. 

    All of these listed are water activated and remove easily with soap and water.

    Paints for brush painters are sold in what is called a cake. Cakes commonly come in three different sizes. The most common for the working professional is the 2.5 ounces or 45 grams. Larger cakes are available that are offering simply more paint or a wider cake for more surface area. These are about 3.5 ounces or 90 grams. I'm not sure if cakes of that size would fit well in any palette. On the other end of the spectrum we have the smallest cake, which weighs in at .14 ounces or 30 grams. Those are normally refills for pre-made palettes.

    Every brand pretty much makes a matte, a sparkly metallic, and a UV line.
    Wolfe 30g and 90g. Kryolan 2.5 oz in the background.


    Kryolan has been my main paint since I went professional. It's one of the best for my style of work. This brand is not known for being bright, at least not in my experience, but it blends nicely and goes well with any other brand you might purchase.
    Wolfe Black and Kryolan Black Respectively

    I love to pair Kryolan colors with the extremely bold black and white of Wolfe FX. Coming from an oil painting background, I see the value in having a mix of opaque and translucent paints. Pairing the two brands offers some really cool textural effects, especially in the context of photography.

    My style isn't for everyone. If you're looking for maximum coverage, you might not care for this brand. Kryolan metallics are not over the top. If you are looking to turn a person into a gold or silver statue, I wouldn't recommend this line. I've also found their UV DayGlow series to have weak coverage. It is definitely NOT opaque.

    Kryolan is based in Germany, they also produce liquid and airbrush makeup.

    Wolfe Face Art and FX

    Wolfe FX is known for BOLD. You can spot their paint from across the room! Any painter will recommend their Black for linework. Not only is it extremely opaque but it has a different texture that really allows for awesome control.

    Wolfe UVs are brilliant! I picked up one of their small, 6 color palettes (I call them "taste testers") and I love it. I need to try one of their metallic taste testers but they are frequently sold out. Their metallic yellow is impossible to get a hold of. I think we have Iron Man to thank for this.

    The unique formulation of their products, which includes a wax, protects your designs from moisture. It is hard to sweat off this paint but still allows for easy cleanup with soap and water. The downside to the resilient formula is the loss in blend-ability. 

     Wolfe Face Art and FX is an American based business. They also offer airbrush products, for those that are interested.


    I love love love Mehron Metallic Powders. It took me a while to give it a shot. Even with so many painters recommending it to me. To really get the most of the metallics, you should also purchase the mixing liquid. So just to give the powder a shot, you have to spend about $14. I figured I could buy a Kryolan metallic cake for $14 so why would a bother with a two step process that cost the same? As I said above, Kryolan is not the one you want to use to turn someone into Gold, this stuff is.

    Mehron StarBlend is basically a giant eyeshadow pan. These are pressed face powders, you can add water if you want a less dusty application. I recommend StarBlend if you are working with younger children and you like to paint full-face designs. Instead of painting a young clown's face in thick white paint, you can opt for a thin layer of powder. These are also good if you are doing a lot of stencil work.

    I have yet to try their liquid line (they do have one) but, given the brand's reputation, I'd try it out. Over the last few years, I've developed a preference for paint in solid form, that's all. 

    Paradise is worth mentioning here because it is produced by Mehron.When people talk about Paradise makeup, the first thing they mention is the smell. It smells really good! Among the ingredients are Aloe, Chamomile, and Cocoa Butter. This is great news for your skin but also another consideration for allergies. That aside, Paradise has great coverage, smooth application, and the line blends well. What more do you need? Paradise Black has been compared to Wolfe FX Black for creating beautiful outlines.

    Did you know? Mehron also produces stage and theater makeup and FX products. They are an American based business that got their start in 1927!

    Ben Nye

    Ben Nye is the go-to brand for all things theater makeup. I use Ben Nye Concealer Wheels, stage blood, and dust/charcoal powders for makeup and effects and I love them! Their eyeshadows are wonderfully pigmented as well!

    When it comes to body art, I hear good things about MagiCake but I have not tried it. I did try their MagiColor Aqua... I thought it was horrible. It is a liquid paint, and it doesn't mix well. The colors became muddy- very quickly- as they blended together. It's hard for me to talk bad about Ben Nye but I really wouldn't recommend the liquid paints.

    Ben Nye is an American company.

    Brands I don't have a lot of faith in—

    Snazaroo is probably one of the most popular face paints. Sold in craft stores and marketed toward Face Painters, Snazaroo claims their paints are Hypoallergenic. I tried their paint- in a standard 2.5oz cake and in a tiny 6 color sampler from a craft store-and I really didn't care for the texture at all. No amount of water can change it, either. It felt very slimy to me. Also, they can claim "Hypoallergenic"till the cows come home. It's simply not possible.

    Tulip is the new craft store brand. I haven't used it but I hear it's all right in a pinch. Like snazaroo, this brand can be found in craft stores.

    FAB is a newer line of body paint sold exclusively SillyFarm. I have not tried it yet but it is compared to Kryolan and Paradise. They produce mattes, shimmers, and glitters. To my knowledge, there are no UV reactive cakes at the time of writing.



    • Spray Bottles, how I love thee. I keep water and alcohol in spray bottles for sake of ease. I find it a lot less messy and more controllable when spraying the water onto the cake instead of dipping brushes or sponges into a cup. When it comes to cleanup, misting the cakes and brushes with a bit of rubbing alcohol from a cheap spray bottle is way easy.

    • Glitter. That is all. Especially if you work with kids, doing double time as a face AND body painter. If you plan to buy glitter in bulk (or if you prefer powder pigments), 99 cent travel jars are awesome! They're at wal-mart, drug stores, and craft stores. P.S. Opt for makeup grade glitter instead of craft store glitter. Makeup grade simply means that it will not harm the eyes. Smaller, non-abrasive bits. 

    • Baby wipes and makeup wipes are great to keep around. They're great for touch-ups as a body painter but especially when working large festivals, where children are likely to be covered in food. 

    • Ben Nye Final Seal is great if you plan on doing a lot of studio work that requires the paint to hold up for an extended period. It's a lot like Aqua Net in a pump bottle with a Spearmint scent. The concept is the same. Liquid glue that paint into place! Now, if you're idea is to do a lot of festivals, you're going to go to Wal-Mart or what have you, the day after Halloween, and purchase the equivalent of your weight in clearance Glitter hairspray for just under $20. That stuff could glue the Moon to the freakin' earth and it's glitter-tastic. Seal body art instantly in an outdoor festival environment without messing with loose glitter.

    Now, start building your kit! You don't have to get it all at once either. I definitely didn't have the money to pickup a $120 palette when I started. I bought black and white first. When I found a brand I absolutely loved, I picked up the primaries and worked my way up from there.

    If the opportunity arises, take some classes! Get out there and network. There is so much to be learned, even more so if you are thinking of going into business. Check in at the Face Paint Forum and introduce yourself to the lovely artists over there or visit the Mentors in Body Painting on Model Mayhem!

    (I think I have to tell you that I have not been compensated or offered compensation for this article. )

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Build a Body Painting Kit: Paints, etc

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Build A Body Painting Kit: Brushes and Sponges

    You can't do the job without brushes! There are standard paint brushes that you can pick up from the local craft store that will form the foundation of a good brush set. Basically, you're looking for the short handle brushes marketed for acrylic paint. Brush sizes are not universal but generally speaking, look for rounds and flats with synthetic bristles (i.e. Taklon) in sizes #2, #4, and #6. Body Painters may want to pick up a few larger sizes, in the one to three inch arena. (Once you get passed size #12, I think it is, they begin labeling them by inches.) The tip should be firm but not coarse and it should snap back to its original shape when you run a finger over it.

    As far as specialty brushes go, you might see rakes, fans, dagger stripers, mops, script liners, and fountain brushes re-marketed as face painting brushes. Most of these can still be found in a typical craft store. I find Fountain brushes a little more rare but I rarely use mine so... I guess that's fair. Anyway, these guys are fun to keep around and if they play to your strengths, go for it! I find myself reaching for a good ol' #4 round most of the time.

    Looking for more toys? Saunter on over to the makeup aisle of the local drug store and pick up a Kabuki brush. It looks like a blush brush on a stump instead of a handle. I'm telling ya, smoothest blending brush you'll ever use.

    Your first brush holder will probably be a red solo cup and that's just fine. Maybe you'll get creative and pick up a large piece of soft foam to carve your own brush holder. Hey, hey it's an idea!

    I really liked the stand alone brush easels that could be folded and carried a couple different ways. They are re-marketed to face painters and marked up 150%. I'm not kidding. Check Amazon or any artist supply store like Utrecht, Jerry's Artarama, or DickBlick. You can usually snatch up a decent brush easel for around $10. I can cram 24 brushes in mine (pictured above). I double them up in the holders. I don't want to upgrade because this is the perfect size for my case right now, though I could use a second one. 

    At any mainstream craft store like Michaels or AC Moore, they have the soft, roll-up style brush holders. I keep one around for my spares but it wouldn't be convenient for organizing brushes on the job. Brushes fall out super easily.

    Sponges are life savers, just... not shaped like donuts. I use a mixture of sponges and brushes on any job. They are versatile, cleanable, and disposable. Use sponges to cover large areas or for painting large crowds. The PROBLEM with sponges is that face paint retailers like to price gouge.

    I do my sponge shopping at the flooring section of Home Depot. Take that!
    If you'd rather not wrestle with scissors, you can buy the same exact tiny round sponges that most retailers carry. They go by the name "tack sponges" and I'm sure they come from the same dirty factory in China. Here's a 12 Pack for less than $5. Black edging sponges, frequently found at hardware stores, are also a staple of my kit. 
    In a pinch? Pop into the local super store and snatch up a couple car wash sponges. Yep. Cut them to a comfortable size and you're all set.
    Note that sponges are dirt cheap. Don't get roped into spending more than $1 per unit. That's insane!

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Build A Body Painting Kit: Brushes and Sponges

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Visit photos posing sexy body painting for Daily Updated Wedding Dresses Collection
Monday, September 22, 2014

Beginner Tips to the Budding Makeup Artist

    The idea of becoming a makeup artist may seem overwhelming, not simply as a personal challenge but also a financial feat. When I first became interested in makeup artistry, I owned three eye shadows and a tube of mascara. I had no idea where to begin or who to ask! I thought eyelash curlers were ancient artifacts and foundation was akin to concealer. I am, by far, not a conventional makeup artist. I am a canvas painter who started a strange journey a few years ago that landed me with the job title. Ah, another story for another time.

    I've changed this article and broken in down into smaller segments from its original publication on Squidoo. Here are some really basic, "where to start" tips and resources.

    “If you're starting out with three eye shadows and a tube of lip gloss, 
    get in front of the mirror and start figuring out how many different looks
    you can create with three eyeshadows and maybe some lipgloss.”

    Momma always said, "You have to show the world what you can do with nothing." The rest will follow suit. P.S. Throw out every "rule" you've ever been told about how to wear makeup. That helps.

    Already figured out a few killer looks?

    In all seriousness, read read read! I started digging on the forums of Model Mayhem, a networking site for models and photographers (and everyone else in the industry). Next, I went to Youtube. I desperately needed someone to show me how on earth they got eyeliner on their lids!

    Model Mayhem: Mentors in Makeup
    Youtube: EnKoreMakeup
    Youtube: Petrilude
    Youtube: Pixiwoo

    Blend, blend, blend your makeup!

    Seamless gradations look clean and beautiful.

    Contouring is an extremely powerful tool that will aid you in accentuating or down-playing parts of the face. This is useful when it comes to making up different face types.