Author: Breanna

Breanna Cooke is a Dallas-based graphic designer known for her award-winning body paint and costume creations.

Maleficent Photos by Alan Tijerina Photography

Breanna Cooke as Maleficent | Photo by Alan Tijerina
Photo by Alan Tijerina

More Maleficent! I had the good fortune of bumping into Alan Tijerina Photography while I was at Dallas Fan Days in February. He captured some great photos of my Maleficent costume on the patio at the Irving Convention Center. And in case you missed it, take a look at my blog posts about how I made my Maleficent collar and horns so you can be Maleficent too!

Breanna Cooke as Maleficent | Photo by Alan Tijerina
Photo by Alan Tijerina
Breanna Cooke as Maleficent | Photo by Alan Tijerina
Photo by Alan Tijerina Photography
Breanna Cooke as Maleficent | Photo by Alan Tijerina
Photo by Alan Tijerina
Breanna Cooke as Maleficent | photo by Alan Tijerina
Photo by Alan Tijerina

Sympathy Card – The Last Lily to Bloom

After sharing this art with my family and friends, I had some requests for prints and cards. And after checking with my family, I decided to share the ordering links more broadly (see below).

This all came about recently when I wanted to send a sympathy card to a grieving friend, but I just wanted to send a card that was simple and sincere. After reading many sympathy cards after my mother’s passing, I noticed that a lot of the pre-printed messages were either very religious or excessively poetic. So I painted this lily and a simple message of love on a card. I later I painted the lily over and over again and realized it was exactly the kind of card I would have wanted to receive. This lily holds special meaning for me as it was the last flower to bloom in a bouquet by my mother’s bedside, right before her passing. It continues to remind me of her love and I hope you can share love with it too.

The original was created with watercolors and colored pencils.

Sympathy Card:

Breanna Cooke | The Last Lily to Bloom
Order prints here: http://www.redbubble.com/people/breannacooke/works/14103321-the-last-lily-to-bloom-with-text

Lily:

Breanna Cooke | The Last Lily to Bloom watercolor
Order prints here: http://www.redbubble.com/people/breannacooke/works/14003145-the-last-lily-to-bloom

Making a Maleficent Collar and Cloak

Breanna Cooke Maleficent costume - Photo by Alan Tijerina Photography
Photo by Alan Tijerina Photography

Last Friday I won the Saturday ticket giveaway from the Irving Convention Center for Dallas Comic Con Fan Days! I was so excited, but I didn’t have a new costume finished…and how could I go to Fan Days without dressing up?!  I already had Maleficent horns from a previous project, so I took on the challenge of making a Maleficent collar and cloak in one night. Below are some of my behind-the-scenes photos of my late night crafting.

Collar

Breanna Cooke Maleficent costume collar DIY I got some great ideas from this DIY Maleficent tutorial by Pins and Things. She used cardboard and wire to hold the collar upright. I opted for craft foam, hot glue and wire as the core for my collar. I sandwiched the wire between a layer of craft foam. Then I sewed fabric sleeves for each section, pulled it over the craft foam, and sewed up the open end.

Attaching the Collar

Breanna Cooke Maleficent costume collar DIYThe robe for my costume wasn’t going to support the weight of the collar, so I made a base from EVA foam (you can use those interlocking anti-fatigue floor mats, visit my Resources page for where to buy it). Now the whole collar would be a solid, removable piece from the robe. I shaped the EVA foam with a heat gun and made a fabric sleeve for it in the same way I made the collar sleeves. I hot glued and sewed the individual collar pieces to this foam/fabric base, then loosely stitched it to the robe.

Enhancing the Collar

Breanna Cooke Maleficent costume collar DIYIn the recent Maleficent movie, she has a cloak with the iconic pointy collar and a cloak with a feather collar. I took the best of both and added the feathers to mine. I used a section of black hackle feather trim (check Michael’s or Hobby Lobby) and glued it to the collar base with hot glue.

Cloak

Breanna Cooke Maleficent costume cloak DIYI never thought I’d find a use for my graduation gown, but tada! It provided a great base for the Maleficent robe. I purchased 4 yards of black polyester, cut a hole in the middle, and draped it over the robe like a poncho. I sewed the sides of the fabric “poncho” and left room for armholes, then cut open the front and stitched the fabric to the collar of the gown. If I’d had more time, I would have loved to make a really elegant cloak from scratch. Maybe next time!

Horns

Breanna Cooke Maleficent horns DIY with craft foam and electrical tapeAnd don’t forget the horns! Check out my other post with details about how I made my Maleficent horns. They’re made with reticulated foam, craft foam and electrical tape!  

Face

Breanna Cooke Maleficent makeupI used a variety of products to create the Maleficent face. I love the purple accents in the cartoon version of Maleficent, so my makeup was a mashup of both Maleficent looks.

  • Eyes: light and dark purple eye shadow (shown on my hand in the photo)
  • Eyebrows: Wolfe FX Hydrocolor cake in black
  • Face: Airbrushed with European Body Art Endura airbrush paint in white and black. Contours with grey eye shadow.
  • Lips: Vincent Longo lipstick in “Lust” (not shown)


Dragon Costume Photoshoot with Ken Pearson

 

Last year, I did a photoshoot in my green dragon costume with Ken Pearson Photography. Needless to say, he made me look amazing! Below are some of the photos from the shoot.

Connect with Ken and see more of his work here:
http://kenpearson.zenfolio.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kenpearsonphotography
https://www.flickr.com/photos/kenpearson/

Green dragon costume inspired by Ysera - by Breanna Cooke - Photo by Ken Pearson

Green dragon costume inspired by Ysera - by Breanna Cooke - Photo by Ken Pearson

Green dragon costume inspired by Ysera - by Breanna Cooke - Photo by Ken Pearson

Interested in seeing how this costume was created? Check out my blog post: Green Dragon Costume

The Wicked Witch and Flying Monkey Team Up

 

When I made my Flying Monkey costume, I never dreamed that I would meet a Wicked Witch of the West! Chelphie Cosplay is the creator and wearer of this fantastic witch costume and she has a pretty spectacular cackle too — just ask! Our dynamic duo has been spotted at a few events and we even placed 2nd in the 2013 Dallas SciFi Expo Costume Contest. Check out some of the photos:

Wicked Witch of the West and Flying Monkey by Ken Pearson
Photo by Ken Pearson Photography

 

Wicked Witch of the West and Flying Monkey costumes
Photo by Vodka Photos

 

Wicked Witch and Flying Monkey at Dallas Fan Days 2013 - Photo by Last Ryghtz
Photo by Last Ryghtz

 

Wicked Witch and Flying Monkey at Dallas Fan Days 2013
Photo by Alan Tijerina

Read my Flying Monkey Costume blog post to see more behind-the-scenes photos for my monkey costume.

Flying Monkey Costume from Wizard of Oz

Breanna Cooke Flying Monkey at Dallas Museum of Art Late Night

When the Dallas Museum of Art hosted a Wizard of Oz-themed Late Night event, I couldn’t resist making a Flying Monkey costume with my own twist! I already had the black feathered wings, so I just needed to make the outfit. Below are some behind-the-scenes photos of how I put it all together:

1. Hat

Flying Monkey Hat from Wizard of Oz by Breanna Cooke

The hat is made from a Laughing Cow Cheese container, craft foam, and cotton fabric. Unfortunately I didn’t document it well while I was working on it. The side of the hat is craft foam covered in fabric. I used spray glue (Super 77) to glue the fabric to the craft foam. I drew the zigzag design on paper, then traced it on the red, white, and black fabric, and made each one slightly larger than the last. The zigzag pieces of fabric were also glued with spray glue. I also added a chin strap with thin elastic, like the elastic on party hats.

Materials:

  • Laughing Cow Cheese container (empty)
  • Craft foam
  • Cotton Fabric: light blue, red, white, black
  • Spray Glue (Super 77)

2. Wig

Flying Monkey Wig from Wizard of Oz by Breanna Cooke

The wig started out as a weird Moses/Zeus wig from Party City. I didn’t have enough time to order anything online, so I used what I could buy locally. Armed with scissors, I slowly cut away at it to give it the signature widow’s peak of the monkeys (and most simians) in the 1939 edition of Wizard of Oz. I had my doubts at first but I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

Materials:

  • Grey wig
  • Scissors
  • Head form

3. Jacket

Flying Monkey Jacket from Wizard of Oz by Breanna Cooke

I created a paper pattern for the jacket based on reference photos and an existing fleece vest I own. Using plain cotton fabric in light blue, red, white, and black, I cut out all the layers to create the zigzag pattern and jacket base. I glued the zigzag layers together with spray glue (Super 77), attached it to the blue part of the jacket, and added interfacing to give the whole jacket the structured shape. I also added slits in the back of the jacket (not shown) for my wings to poke out.

Materials:

  • Cotton Fabric: Light blue, red, white, black – measure the amount you need based on your paper patterns and don’t forget about the hat!
  • Interfacing

4. Bodysuit

Flying Monkey from Wizard of Oz - Bodysuit - by Breanna Cooke

This costume, like my dragon costume, features a hand-dyed and painted bodysuit. I first tested the dye on a scrap of Lycra (1st image). I used Jacquard’s Dye-na-flow black, watered it down, added a few drops of Jacquard’s AirFix, and brushed the dye onto the bodysuit. Once it was dry, I painted on the fur with Jacquard’s Neopaque and Lumiere fabric paints.

Materials:

  • 1 white Bal Togs body suit
  • 1 bottle Jacquard Dye-na-flow black
  • 1 bottle Jacquard AirFix
  • Jacquard Fabric Paints: Black and White (Neopaque), Pewter and Pearlescent Blue (Lumiere)
  • Paint brushes

5. Feet

Flying Monkey from Wizard of Oz - Feet - by Breanna Cooke

I wanted to look like I was barefoot without actually being barefoot! Using some white socks (synthetic fabric), I stuffed them with polyfill, then dyed and painted them with fabric paints (same as used on bodysuit). I applied Zombie Skin (a creamy latex) to the toes to reinforce the toe area. I pulled the stuffing out of the socks, added some foam insoles, then cut out holes for each my toes. When I wear the costume, I paint my toes with same blue bodypaint I use for the face (see #7).

Materials:

  • White Socks (synthetic fabric, like liner socks)
  • Zombie Skin (latex)
  • Polyfill (or rags to stuff inside)
  • Fabric paints and dyes (see #4 Bodysuit)

6. Wings

Flying Monkey from Wizard of Oz - wings - by Breanna Cooke

I made these wings a few years ago for my Harpy costume but they worked well for my monkey costume too. The frame was commissioned from Danielle Hurley and she does amazing work! I used chicken wire as the frame for the wings and hot-glued it to black canvas. I hot-glued approximately 350 black turkey feathers for the wings and used down from a black feather boa for the top. Needless to say, these wings are a tad heavy but they are definitely sturdy!

Materials (for the wings, not the frame):

  • Black canvas fabric
  • Chicken wire
  • Gloves and wire cutters
  • Black turkey feathers
  • Black feather boa

7. Face

Flying Monkey from Wizard of Oz - face - by Breanna Cooke

I followed reference photos from the movie so I could capture the big smirk of the monkeys. Since I wasn’t using any prosthetics, I also needed to give the illusion of monkey features with makeup. I painted my nostrils black to make them look wider and added accent lines to widen my nose and mouth. I used professional water-based bodypaint to paint my face, hands, and toes and red lipstick on my lips.

Bodypaints (all water-activated cakes):

  • light blue (Kryolan)
  • light grey (Kryolan)
  • storm grey (Mehron Paradise AQ)
  • red (Mehron Paradise AQ)
  • white (WolfeFx)
  • black (WolfeFX)

And there you have it!

Flying Monkey - Photo by Ken Pearson Photography
Photo by Ken Pearson Photography

I’ve also been known to hang around with a certain Wicked Witch of the West (Chelphie Cosplay) at various events. Have a look at photos of our dynamic Oz duo.

A Day in a Dragon’s Life

Ever wonder what dragons do all day? You may think that they just hoard gold and breathe fire, but dragons lead a surprisingly normal life. Here’s a glimpse into what goes on:

First, they sit and think.

Breanna Cooke's green dragon costume inspired by Ysera, the Dreamer from World of Warcraft. Photography by Brian Merlo

Then they start working on some chores, like mowing the lawn,

Breanna Cooke's green dragon costume inspired by Ysera, the Dreamer from World of Warcraft. Photography by Brian Merlo

And watering the plants.

Breanna Cooke's green dragon costume inspired by Ysera, the Dreamer from World of Warcraft. Photography by Brian Merlo

They spend time keeping their claws nice and tidy.

Breanna Cooke's green dragon costume inspired by Ysera, the Dreamer from World of Warcraft. Photography by Brian Merlo

They take breaks by watching movies,

Breanna Cooke's green dragon costume inspired by Ysera, the Dreamer from World of Warcraft. Photography by Brian Merlo

And make afternoon snacks.

Breanna Cooke's green dragon costume inspired by Ysera, the Dreamer from World of Warcraft. Photography by Brian Merlo

They clean up the dishes,

Breanna Cooke's green dragon costume inspired by Ysera, the Dreamer from World of Warcraft. Photography by Brian Merlo

And mop the kitchen floor.

Breanna Cooke's green dragon costume inspired by Ysera, the Dreamer from World of Warcraft. Photography by Brian Merlo

Then to top off the day, they go for a car ride! Wheeee!

Breanna Cooke's green dragon costume inspired by Ysera, the Dreamer from World of Warcraft. Photography by Brian Merlo

Photography by Brian Merlo

Interested in seeing how this costume was created? Check out my blog post: Green Dragon Costume

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr!

How To Make Maleficent Horns

Maleficent hornsNeed Maleficent horns ASAP for Halloween? Here’s how I made a headpiece, inspired by the 2014 movie version of Maleficent. I made these pretty quickly so the process isn’t documented as well as I would have liked, but hopefully you’ll find some useful tidbits!

You will need:

  • Craft foam
  • Electrical tape
  • Reticulated foam (upholstery foam or styrofoam could work too)
  • Black faux snakeskin or pleather fabric
  • Tin foil and duct tape (for the helmet template)
  • Utility knife
  • X-acto knife
  • Scissors
  • Contact cement
  • Paper and sharpie (for the helmet and horn template)

1. Make a helmet with craft foam.

I learned out to make this helmet from Evil Ted Smith’s Youtube tutorial. Watch his video to learn how to make a helmet template that fits your head. Instead of using thick EVA foam, I used craft foam for a more flexible headpiece. I was a bit rushed so the seams aren’t as smooth and rounded as they could be.

2. Draw a horn template, trace it onto reticulated foam, and carve it out.

BreannaCooke_MaleficentHorns_0009_mergedDraw your horn shape onto your block of reticulated foam then carve it out with your utility knife. Make sure the blade is sharp. Compare your horns with each other to be sure you’re getting the right shape.

3. Cover the horns with electrical tape.

BreannaCooke_MaleficentHorns_tapeInstead of wrapping the tape around in a spiral, I cut each piece individually. Fold over the top edge of the tape to achieve the ridged effect.

4. Glue snakeskin fabric on the front of the headpiece.

BreannaCooke_MaleficentHorns_0001 copyUse contact cement to apply the fabric to the front and fold it under the front edge.

5. Glue horns on and cover the helmet with electrical tape.

BreannaCooke_MaleficentHorns_0008Glue the horns on with contact cement. To cover the rest of the helmet with tape, start at the base of the horns and weave your pieces of electrical tape around the helmet. I cut shorter pieces instead of trying to wrap long pieces all the way around. Continue to fold the top edge of the tape over to achieve ridges all the way down.

6. Go be fierce!

BCooke_DHB2014_0018

 

 

Living Art America 2014

 

Photography: Atlanta Event Photography
Photography: Atlanta Event Photography

I’m so thrilled and honored to have taken part in Living Art America’s North American Bodypainting Championships in Atlanta, GA. My presentation took 1st place in the Emerging Artist category!

About the art:

Event Theme: Future Vision
This piece is a tribute to Voyager 1 — the first human-made object to travel outside our solar system. Contained on Voyager is a golden record with music and images of life on Earth (DNA, human figures, trees, plants) to hopefully be discovered by beings somewhere in the universe. The headpiece takes inspiration from H.R. Giger’s biomechanical female aliens and hints at the idea of an alien discovering the record and incorporating into her body. Voyager 1 and 2 also gave us the first hi-res images of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and beyond. So order to gain a clear vision of our future, we must reach forward through the solar system and light years, but also look back at the past, to see where Voyager is taking us.

About the event:

IMG_8523Artists have 6.5 hours to paint a model (with the help of an assistant if you have one). Then we each have 1.5 minutes to present our creations to a panel of judges. After the judging, there is opportunity for photos and then an evening runway show. Artists can select music and prepare a statement to be read by the MC while their model walks/dances/twirls down the runway for 2 minutes. It’s the most amazing spectacle of art!

About the paint and props:

All the paint is professional grade body paint and artists can do a combo of brush/sponge or airbrush. I only used brush and sponge for my piece. Models must also wear some sort of thong and pasties. I created the headpiece ahead of time with EVA foam (anti-fatigue mats), craft foam, and pipe insulation. The record was a real record (Barry Manilow to be exact) and was painted gold. The shoes were also created ahead of time and are heel-less shoes with craft foam vines/plants built on top.

Photography: David Leo Photography
Photography: Atlanta Event Photography
Photography: Atlanta Event Photography
Photography: David Leo Photography
Photography: Walt Weiss
Photography: Atlanta Event Photography
Photography: Walt Weiss

Get Your Tickets – Living Art America’s Bodypainting Events in Atlanta Oct 2-4

BodyArtBall

If you live in Atlanta, you’ve got 3 amazing opportunities to see beautiful body painting this week!! Be sure to buy your tickets in advance, tickets will not be sold at the door.

Thursday, October 2nd 
Fluoro Show – UV/blacklight body painting feat. performers from Atlanta Ballet
INFO: http://www.livingartamerica.com/flouro-show
TICKETS: http://living-art-america.ticketleap.com/ultra-violet-fluoro-bodypainting-show-in-3d/

Friday, October 3rd
Body Art BallA vaudeville style art exhibition of entertainers and circus performers that will act as living canvases.
INFO: https://www.facebook.com/events/550736555048907/
TICKETS: http://living-art-america.ticketleap.com/body-art-ball/

Saturday, October 4th
North American Bodypainting Championships – Bodies As Works of Art (This is when I’ll be painting!) –  Come for a fantastical runway show and see the final works of art by the competitors.
INFO: http://www.livingartamerica.com/
TICKETS: http://living-art-america.ticketleap.com/bodies-as-a-work-of-art-the-north-american-bodypainting-champio/

See you there!

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