Category: costumes

Paints I Use for Body Painting

breanna cooke body painting

Which paints do I use? It depends! I use different paints based on availability and my project’s needs. Below are some products that I use most frequently. For a general list of all my various art, website, and supply resources, visit my Resources page.

Quick disclaimer: I do not speak for all body painters, everyone has their own preferences for various reasons. I’m listing products that I have personal experience with. I am also not representing any of these companies and I also can’t vouch for how any of the products will work for you and your process. That said, some of the links in this post are affiliate links from Amazon and the like, and at no additional cost to you, I’ll receive a small commission for referring you. This helps me continue doing what I do!

While ordering online is often necessary, I also like to support local businesses whenever possible. If you live in Dallas, TX, you can purchase some of these products locally at Camera Ready Cosmetics (order online then pickup in store, too) or Norcostco Theatrical Supply.


Water-Based Body Paints


Cameleon: The eye-popping colors first drew me to Cameleon paints (no, that’s not a typo in Cameleon). I love the opacity and they’re great for line work too. The baseline Cameleon paints are free of any animal origin ingredients, are BSE free, and are not tested on animals. They are glycerin-based and use paraffin wax as a binder. Cameleon Paint is FDA and EU Compliant and is paraben-free, sulfate-free, with no perfumes and no drying agents. I typically use these (and the other cake paints listed below) with a brush and occasionally a sponge. Cameleon paints are not available locally in Dallas but you can find even more colors from their US distributor.

Mehron Paradise AQ: When I first got into body painting, I started with Mehron Paradise cakes. They are lovely for blending and once they’re activated with water they have a creamy consistency. Mehron Paradise AQ is vegan and is not tested on animals and is unscented. If you want to try a lot of colors in small quantities, check out the Mehron Pro Face Paint Palette with 30 colors. Mehron Paradise cakes are available in Dallas at Camera Ready Cosmetics or Norcostco Theatrical Supply.

Wolfe FX: I primarily use the Wolfe FX white and black because they are excellent for bold line work, but sometimes they are hard to find in stock. I’ve used TAG black and TAG white, or Cameleon black and Cameleon white as an alternative. Diamond FX black and Diamond FX white are also good options but I have limited experience with them. Wolfe FX paints are sometimes available locally at Norcostco Theatrical Supply, otherwise I order them online.


Hybrid and Alcohol-Based Body Paints


Hybrid Paints: I like to use ProAiir and FAB hybrid paints because they’re great for vibrant colors and opacity. You can get a lot of coverage very quickly with them. Plus they are water-resistant and sweat-resistant, so they’ll hold up for an underwater photoshoot or an acrobatic performance. Some of my favorite colors are the ProAiir electric blue and cobalt. For some extra staying power, I seal it with ProAiir Prolong Extender. Hybrid paints are made with 100% cosmetic blend alcohol (same alcohol that is used in hair sprays, mouth wash, eyeliner, etc.). The ProAiir paints are made in the USA and are scented (similar to green apple scent). I usually use an Iwata Eclipse CS airbrush to apply ProAiir, however you can also use a sponge or kabuki brush to apply to large areas. When I use my Iwata bottle-feed airbrush, I often use the ProAiir Snorkel Adaptors to connect directly to the bottle of paint. ProAiir is available locally in Dallas at Norcostco.

Alcohol-Based PaintsThe Endura paints from European Body Art (EBA) are my other go-to for long-lasting airbrush paints. These alcohol-based paints are water- and sweat-resistant and work best with an airbrush. I personally tend to use them for more subtle effects or lighter coverage but you can also build them up. I apply these paints with an Iwata Eclipse CS airbrush or an Iwata bottle-feed airbrush. EBA paints are available locally in Dallas at Norcostco.


Glitter and Metallic Body Paint


Glitter: I’ve switched over to biodegradable glitter and feels good to have more environmentally-friendly products in my kit. I’ve ordered bio glitter from Body FX in New Zealand (available in the US from Silly Farm) and from Universal Soul in Los Angeles. The Bio Glitter from Body FX is produced from biodegradable film which is derived from sustainable sources and Universal Soul’s glitter is made with cellulose film derived from eucalyptus trees.  It’s completely shelf stable and the degradation process will only begin in soil, waste water or compost where micro-organisms are present. They’re both suited for dry, water-based, or oil-based applications. While it’s crucial to use cosmetic glitter in body painting (don’t use craft glitter on your face!), some cosmetic glitter is still considered a micro-plastic and doesn’t biodegrade once it goes down the drain. It makes its way into our waterways and oceans and gets ingested by fish and other organisms. There are quite a few bio glitters available from different vendors and I’m currently trying to use options that are available in the US to reduce the shipping distance for the small quantities I use.

Metallic Effects: The Mehron Metallic Powders are my go-to for a cost-effective full body paint metallic finish. You can find these in gold, silver, rose gold, copper, bronze, and lavender. Be sure to purchase Mehron Mixing Liquid to mix into the powder. Mix small amounts of the Mehron powder with Mehron Mixing liquid and brush it over the body. For a more yellow gold, I’ve brushed on a gold Mehron Paradise cake (the product photo looks a bit like tan, but it is really a more yellow gold) or gold Cameleon cake, then applied a gold shimmer powder from Ben Nye. The Mehron and Ben Nye products are usually available locally in Dallas, TX at Norcostco Theatrical Supply.


Body Paint for Specific Looks


Avatar: For my personal Avatar body paint costumes, I used the Kryolan Aquacolor in baby blue for the base coat. For the stripes, I used the Avatar Rainbow Cake from Silly Farm. It has a dark blue and a light blue side. I use the darker blue for the stripes, then I add a highlight on top of the stripe with the lighter blue. For the white dots, I use Wolfe FX whiteCameleon white, or TAG white.

Headdress Workshop with Breanna Cooke on March 5th

Headdress Workshop with Breanna Cooke in Dallas, Texas

Come create with me! Join me on March 5th for a headdress workshop and learn how to build a lightweight headdress base. You’ll get hands-on experience with a variety of materials, such as EVA foam. Contact Anja Yamaji to register (see the image for contact details) or use the PayPal button below to pay.

Cutting Mats

We will be sharing some of the tools, like cutting mats, in this workshop. If you already have a cutting mat, feel free to bring it to class.  If you want to buy a cutting mat, you can find them at Michael’s (don’t forget your 40% off coupon) or try this Fiskars 18×24 Cutting Mat on Amazon (it’s what I have).

Register Online via PayPal

To register for the class, click “Pay Now” to complete your transaction with PayPal.





Mystic Costume from the Dark Crystal

Mystic Costume by Breanna Cooke

I finally made a Mystic costume from the Dark Crystal! It’s been on my costume wish-list for a long time. There are still a lot of improvements to be made, but I got the costume to a wearable point just in time for the May Dallas Comic Con in 2015. Keep scrolling down to see my process photos.

Mystic Head

1 – Cut foam shapes from Poly Foam;
2 – Sculpted with razors and engraved lines with a soldering iron;
3 – Covered with tissue paper and spray glue;
4 – Brushed on liquid latex from BITY Mold Supply;
5 – Painted with airbrush and various acrylics. Glued on wig and hair segments.
6 – Done! Photo by Alan Tijerina Photography.

Mystic Costume by Breanna Cooke

Mystic Feet

1 – Pool noodles and pipe insulation carved with razors and utility knife;
2 – Covered with spray glue and white tissue paper;
3 – Brushed on liquid latex from BITY Mold Supply;
4 – Painted with airbrush and various acrylics.

Mystic by Breanna Cooke

Mystic Hands

1 – Poly foam and pipe insulation carved with razors and utility knife (hat tip to Courtney and Scotty at Zod Fabrication for sharing their raptor hand photos!);
2 – Covered with spray glue and white tissue paper;
3 – Brushed on liquid latex from BITY Mold Supply;
4 – Painted with airbrush and various acrylics.
5 – Attached to costume. My real hands are in the front hands. Photo by Alan Tijerina Photography.

Mystic Costume by Breanna Cooke

Mystic Body

1 – Poly foam pieces glued with Barge Cement. (I made paper templates before cutting each piece of foam);
2 – More poly foam (looks like an armadillo!). Tail made with a white bedsheet and stuffed with poly filling;
3 – Arms made with pool noodles;
4 – Arms covered with poly foam;
5 – Shirt made from two bedsheets and hand-sewn to fit;
6 – Final costume worn at #DallasFanExpo

Mystic Costume by Breanna Cooke

Mystic Armor

1 – EVA foam (anti-fatigue mat) for armor pieces. Shaped with heat gun. (I made paper templates before cutting each piece of foam);
2 – Traced each piece of armor in fabric;
3 – Glued fabric to EVA foam with spray glue;
4 – Glued pieces of tan fabric for details, painted with airbrush and various acrylics;
5 – Closeup of bracer;
6 – Final costume worn at #DallasFanExpo

Mystic Costume by Breanna Cooke




 

How-to make a 1920s Flapper Headband for Late Night at the DMA

 

DIY 1920s Flapper headband by Breanna Cooke

This Friday, the Dallas Museum of Art is traveling through the decades at their Late Night event. Costumes are encouraged and they invited me to write a guest blog post. I’ve put together a DIY 1920s Flapper headband tutorial, along with some ideas for the rest of the outfit. Check it out over on their blog, Uncrated: https://uncrated.wordpress.com/2015/08/19/speakeasy-star/

Screenshot of DMA blog

Art Leggings are Ready to Order!

Art Leggings by Breanna Cooke

My costume, bodypainting, and graphic design worlds are colliding! I’ve created designs based on my past work and they’re now available printed on leggings. Check them out in my Shop.  All orders are processed, manufactured, and shipped through Redbubble.com so they’re only made when you order them. Don’t forget to sign up for the RedBubble mailing list and you’ll save 10% on your first order.

If you’re familiar with my costumes, you may recognize the art from my Fiery Phoenix costume, my Green Dragon costume inspired by Ysera, and my Tribute to Voyager at the 2014 North American Bodypainting Championships. I’m working on more designs too, so stay tuned to Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter OR sign up for my email updates.

P.S. Send me photos of your leggings in action or tag them on social media with #breannacooke!

Art Leggings Coming Soon!

Breanna Cooke - Fiery Phoenix Leggings

Breanna Cooke Fiery Phoenix Leggings ArtMy costume, bodypainting, and graphic design worlds are colliding. I’ve been creating designs based on my past costumes and those designs will soon be available printed on leggings! I also have some new ideas in the works too! You may recognize the design in my test pair (pictured above) from my Fiery Phoenix costume from a few years ago. Now that I’ve seen a test pair I just need to finish a few minor tweaks to the artwork and we’ll be rollin’!

If you’re interested in ordering a pair, stay tuned to Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, or Twitter OR sign up for my email updates .

I’ll be sharing the ordering links for these leggings (and some other designs) very soon!

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

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