Tag: bodypainting

6 Tips to Make Your Body Paint Kit More Eco-Friendly with photos of bio glitter, bamboo paper towels, and reused containers.

6 Tips to Make Your Body Paint Kit More Eco-Friendly

Over the last few years, I’ve been working on small changes to my body paint kit to make my work a little more eco-friendly. I hope to keep improving on this list, so read on to see if some of these ideas are a good fit for you! (For a general list of all my various art, website, and supply resources, visit my Resources page or read this blog post about the paints I use for body painting.)

Quick disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are referral links, and at no additional cost to you, I’ll receive a small commission for referring you. This helps me continue doing what I do! These are all products that I have experience with or use personally. 

#1. Switch to biodegradable glitter

Bio Glitter | Tips to Make Your Body Paint Kit More Eco FriendlyWhile it’s crucial to use cosmetic glitter in body and face painting (don’t use craft glitter on your face because it often has sharp edges or metal!), some cosmetic glitter is still considered a micro-plastic. Micro-plastics have become a huge pollution issue as they make their way into our waterways and oceans and are ingested by fish and other organisms. In order to reduce the number of micro-plastics I send out into the world, I’ve made the switch over to biodegradable glitter from Amerikan Body Art in Florida, Body FX in New Zealand (available in the US from Silly Farm), and from Universal Soul in Los Angeles.

Biodegradable glitter is made from biodegradable film which is derived from sustainable sources, such as cellulose film made 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. Bio glitter suited for dry, water-based, or oil-based applications. There are  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. I apply the glitter with Got2b Glued Hair Gel or aloe vera gel.

#2. Use paper towels made from bamboo

Paper towels are often necessary to have around in order to keep makeup and body paint application and cleanup sanitary. I’ve switched over to using bamboo paper towels from Who Gives a Crap because bamboo is a much more sustainable resource than using trees. I also like that the rolls from Who Gives a Crap are wrapped in paper, not plastic, plus they also donate 50% of profits to build toilets for those in need. (Speaking of toilets: if you try their toilet paper, I prefer the premium bamboo toilet paper over the recycled paper. It’s a little less…errr…lint-y).

Save $10 on your first order from Who Gives a Crap!

#3. Recycle empty cosmetics at Credo Beauty

I always keep a few makeup staples in my body paint kit like mascara, foundation, or lip gloss. I’ve been testing out a lot of eco-friendly and recyclable replacements, but for some products, I haven’t found the perfect match (yet) of product durability + sustainable packaging. So in the meantime, I recycle the old beauty products at Credo Beauty. They’ll even take products that aren’t from Credo PLUS you get reward points for every full size item you bring in. Credo has partnered with TerraCycle, an environmentally-friendly recycling program, to help keep cosmetics out of our landfills. To recycle your items, bring them to your local Credo store.

#4. Cut cleaning cloths from t-shirts

Not all cleaning tasks require a paper towel. For cleaning the paint off my airbrushes and stencils, I use cleaning cloths that I’ve made from t-shirts. A lot of clothing ends up in landfill despite our best intentions to donate them. I love giving my clothes a second life as a cleaning cloth. I do recommend getting a good pair of fabric shears (I have these Mundial Cushion scissors and only use them on fabric). It makes cutting up clothes go so much faster.

#5. Reuse paint bottles and cases

I like to reuse my empty paint cases first before I recycle them. While recycling is an important component to being eco-friendly, I try to start first with the “Reuse” part of the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” saying. The lids from paint cakes are great for holding loose powder or glitter when I’m powdering it all over a body. When I’ve used up all the paint in a container, I clean them out and use them as a dish for mixing Mehron Metallic Powders and Mehron Mixing Liquid. When my ProAiir hybrid airbrush paint bottles are empty, I rinse them with 91% alcohol and keep them in case I need to mix a custom color or I need to share paint with a colleague.

#6. Use cotton swabs with cardboard sticks

Cotton swabs are another necessary item for sanitary makeup application, especially for glue application or doing a touch-up near someone’s eyes. I look for ones with cardboard sticks so that they eventually biodegrade. If you haven’t seen that heartbreaking image of the seahorse in the ocean holding on to a plastic cotton swab, you can view it here on National Geographic. It definitely made me rethink the need for the single-use plastic in cotton swabs.

Do you have any eco-friendly tips for your kit? Let me know in the comments!

Breanna Cooke 1st Place at Texas Body Paint Competition

Texas Body Paint Competition 2018 – 1st Place

Echoes of Passion and Pain” was the theme for the 2018 Texas Body Paint Competition, hosted by Beyond The Canvas. On November 10, 2018, U.S. and international body painters gathered in San Antonio, Texas to present our interpretations of the theme. Once again I was assisted by my wonderful friend and body painting colleague, Anja Yamaji. We had 6.5 hours to paint our model (and vocalist!), Angela Reign. We are so thrilled that our team placed 1st!

As with some of my past competition body paint pieces, my design features a personal story. The theme of “Echoes of Passion and Pain” focused on how the experiences of our past influence who we are today. The day I received the event theme, I was listening to a story about immigrants who were losing their Temporary Protected Status and would be sent back to their country of origin. Some had been in the US for 20 years because their home countries had continued to be unsafe for return. In that moment, I realized I had been in the US for 20 years, albeit under very different circumstances, and the memories of my immigration experience came flooding back.

My design is about my journey to U.S. citizenship.  I grew up in Toronto, Canada, and like the Monarch butterfly migration, my family immigrated from Canada to the US. It takes lots of paperwork to become a permanent resident (and later a citizen). The layers of papers and checkboxes start on her right leg (with a suspicious eye peeking through), then wrap up onto her back and move up into the headpiece. You get fingerprinted and have a physical exam. The blood vials on her leg represent the blood tests to check for tuberculosis and other diseases. When you receive your “green card,” which includes your fingerprint, your status is “legal or resident alien”. The US customs agent on the back is a reminder of the scrutiny I felt at every border crossing, despite being so well-documented.

As the piece comes around to the front, the documents on the back blend into the labyrinth on her stomach, which represents my memories of the interview process feeling like a maze of waiting rooms and long lines. The flowing, green fabric on the front takes inspiration from Lady Liberty’s draping fabric and includes elements of the seal, color, and lettering from my naturalization certificate. The process culminates with taking the Oath of Citizenship, seen in my portrait on the front. When I became a citizen in 2010, I was finally eligible to vote. The voting stickers on the front are drawn from my actual voting stickers, which I save after each election.

The whole process of immigration is long, expensive, and draining. Most natural-born citizens are not aware of what it entails. But with more understanding, we can get to a point of more empathy with each other.

Thank you to the 2018 judges: Craig Tracy, Hyun Yong Jin (Moona Weaver), and Scott Fray.

Thank you to Tomas Vasquez and Beyond The Canvas for hosting a wonderful celebration of art and humanity.

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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.

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

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!

LAA2014artistpromo-BCooke01

Fiery Phoenix Costume

BCooke_10-2012_BreannaThePhoenix_10022

My Halloween costume was a mythological phoenix, the colorful red and gold bird that bursts into flames and is reborn from its own ashes. This costume consumed all my free time in September and October, but I’m really pleased with the result! I’ve posted these instructions on Instructables.com too!

Bodysuit:

– 1 white full body unitard (Bal Togs brand)
– Jaquard brand fabric paints – 2.25fl oz size
– Lumiere line (2 crimson, 2 gold, 2 burgundy, 1 burnt orange)
– Neopaque line (2 yellow, 2 gold yellow, 2 red, 1 black)
– paint brushes
– 1 iron (for heat setting)
– 1 mannequin to hold your bodysuit’s shape

How-to Paint the Body Suit:

Plan out your design, then start painting! This design took me at least 40 hours to complete. Having a mannequin is crucial for holding the body suit in the stretched position. The body suit is made primarily from nylon, so I chose Jaquard paints because they were one of the few that list nylon as a suitable base. If your body suit is made from a different fabric, you may want to investigate a different brand of paint or do a test sample. After the body suit is dry, flip it all inside out and iron it with the correct setting for the fabric. I placed towels in the legs and arms so the designs weren’t pressed together under the heat.

Bird Feet Boots:


– 1 pair of boots
– 1 inch thick green high-density foam (sold a fabric stores for seat cushions)
– white craft glue
– scissors
– 6 fake bear claws
– black or brown acrylic paint
– 16oz liquid latex
– foam brushes
– fabric paints for painting the boots to match (leftover from body suit)
– paint brushes
– Hot glue and gun OR Liquid Nails perfect glue

How-to Create Bird Feet Boots:

Using craft glue, stick together pieces of foam so that they are wide enough for a toe (about 3 inches wide). Shape the foam with scissors so that it is rounded and toe-like (repeat 5 more times). Cut out an insert for the claw, but don’t glue the claw in yet. Paint the green foam with acrylic paint so it matches the boots. Using the foam brushes, paint the toes and boots with liquid latex. Be sure to follow the instructions on the liquid latex. Once the latex is dry, glue in the claws. Then paint the boots to match your costume. I used fabric paints since they would match the body suit even though they’re not the perfect paint for sticking to latex (and I’m not sure what is).

Headpiece:


– 2 4’x4′ pieces of polyethylene foam
– hot glue and gun
– 1 red and 1 gold spray paint
– 2-3 sheets of kids thin craft foam
– acrylic and fabric paints (leftover from body suit)
– paint brushes

How to Create Foam Headpiece:

Create paper patterns of each spiral piece and cut them out of polyethylene foam. Glue the pieces together with hot glue so that the flat sides are together and there’s a space for your head. It’s almost like making a helmet. Cut out pieces of the thin craft foam for the beak and side “feathers” and glue on with hot glue. Give the entire headpiece a base coat with spray paint, then add accents of color with acrylic paint and any leftover fabric paint.

Wings:

BCooke_10-2012_BreannaThePhoenix_04018

– 1 pair of Isis belly dance wings (available online)

Face:

BCooke_10-2012_BreannaThePhoenix_07020
– Face and body paint – Paradise, FAB, and Kryolan water-based cakes
– paint brushes

How-to:

With water-based face/body paints, dip your brush in water and rub it on the surface of the dry cake until the paint is a smooth and creamy consistency. Now paint your face however you wish! I don’t have any process photos of this part, so you get to be creative!

BCooke_10-2012_BreannaThePhoenix_01015

How To Seal Water-Based Body Paint

One of the common questions with body paint is: Will it rub off?  

And in general, the answer is: Yes, it will eventually rub off.  BUT, that said, there are some products available to help seal on your paint and make it last longer.

Products to Seal Water-Based Body Paints

Below are some of the products I use. There are other products out there, these are just ones that I have experience with. All are available at SillyFarm.com:

Ben Nye LiquiSet – Use it instead of water to activate the paints and it will help seal on the paint. I’ve found this to be slightly sticky/tacky when it’s dry…which I guess is why it helps “stick” the paint on.

Ben Nye Final Set – Put it in a spritzing bottle and spray yourself when you’re all done painting. Let it dry before you touch it!!

Kryolan Fixer Spray – Looks like a bottle of hairspray and it essentially works the same way. Just spray all over the paint when you’re done.

Some Lessons I’ve Learned…

  1. Once the paint is dry and sealed, you can touch it with dry hands.  It’s not the kind of thing where it will come off as soon as you touch it; it requires some friction.
  2. Don’t sit directly on someone else’s fabric furniture. Sitting on furniture won’t rub off the paint completely, but you’ll likely leave mark. Even though the paints are water-based, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  3. Use an old sheet to cover things you sit on. I often have to drive while painted, so I cover my seat and seat belt with sheets and towels.
  4. If you sweat a lot (especially on your face) consider using grease paint instead of water-based body paints.
  5. If someone touches you with wet hands, it will smear the paint.  Sometimes at parties, people just can’t resist touching you, so be prepared for your creation to get a little messed up.

Happy Painting!

Egyptian and Mehndi-Inspired Body Painting

I had my paints out at an “Arabian Nights”-themed party and painted the night away! I painted 22 people over the course of the evening, but as usual, I started forgetting to snap photos of each one. I’m glad I created the boards of design options, it really helped give people direction. All of the designs done with brush and sponge.

Design Board. Offering limited options is a great way to manage your time with a large group of people.
Design Board (I added more options after taking this photo).