I thought I would start the New Year by covering one of the questions that I get asked on a very regular basis. What body paints do I use? This has the potential to be a long blog so you might want to make yourself a cup of tea and find a comfortable chair!
When I first started out in the industry in 2003 there weren’t very many brands available. But the popularity of body painting has grown massively over the years and there are now numerous very good brands out there including Mehron, MistFX , Kryolan, Cameleon, Diamond FX, Global, Graftobian and TAG. This can make for a bewildering choice when someone is starting out in the industry.
I should say that I can’t recommend one brand over another. I’ve found that by chatting to other body artists during my career, what one person really likes, another artist will dismiss completely. I can tell you what I use, and why. But would advise anyone wanting to get started with face and body painting to do a bit of research. Buy a few different brands, play around with them, and see what’s going to work best for you. These will be the tools of your trade, so you want to make the right choice for you. Budget might also be an important consideration and the prices vary between £4 – £5 for Cameleon or Diamond FX. Up to £8 – £10 for Paradise and £12 for MistFX.
Basic bodypainting colours for your kit.
There are two main techniques with body painting. ‘Brush & Sponge’ and ‘Airbrushing’. When starting out it’s much cheaper/easier to put together a kit with a few basic brushes and sponges and a selection of primary and basic colours. I would include black, white, red, yellow, and blue. I would also recommend green, purple, pink, orange, grey, and brown as you don’t want to spend all your time mixing colours.
Paradise Make-up AQ by Mehron
I’ve been using Paradise paints by Mehron since 2005 so most of the work in my portfolio has been done using Paradise. The paints have a glycerine base with avocado oil and cocoa butter so they smell as good as they look. They come in a really wide range of colours in a solid cake form. There is also a metallic range too. The Silver Argente is the best that I’ve used. The paints have a very creamy consistency when mixed with water and blend beautifully. I find them perfect whether I’m painting a smooth base coat or layering the colours. They’re also great for fine line work too. As well as using Paradise for numerous assignments with high profile clients, including the Hollywood movie ‘Dumb and Dumber To’, I’ve also won two World Championships with these paints. The first occasion was in 2007 with my painting partner Carly Utting and then again in 2009 with my assistant Paula Southern.
MistFX by Mistair
Most face and body paints on the market come in a solid cake form. MistFX is a very different product as it’s a liquid and comes in a bottle. Some people can be confused by this and think that it’s only suitable for airbrush work. But the paints can be decanted into a small dish or artist’s pallet and work perfectly when used with brushes or sponges too. They come in a range of 24 intermixable colours with a matt or lovely pearlescent finish and have a very high pigment concentration so the colours are very vivid and give a beautiful professional finish. They’re extremely durable and don’t smudge easily. I’ve painted for some high profile campaigns including The NHS and Coca Cola using Mistair. I’ve also had the pleasure of painting Super Bike racer Leon Haslam at Silverstone. The resultant body painting looked so realistic that people thought he was actually in his leathers!
Suppliers of face and body paint.
For MistFX paints by Mistair and a wide range of other products including make-up, hair art and nail art go to www.skinbysterex.com
Also for Mehron and MistFX and just about every other brand of face and body paint as well as numerous other products and accessories for the professional face and body painter a visit to www.facepaintsdirect.co.uk is a must. Jane offers a speedy and very efficient service. A lot of my work comes in at very short notice and Jane has gone the extra mile on several occasions to make sure that I get the products that I need in time for my assignments.
Another marvellous supplier for artists is Kryolan UK in Tavistock St., Covent Garden. I still remember my first visit when I was a student back in 2002. It was then known as Charles H Fox and was established in 1876. I was like a child in a sweet shop and blown away by the extensive choice of anything body art related, plus the make-up, the books and the videos. And also the range of quite often gory prosthetics and the beautiful wigs that were displayed in the shop.
The original Charles H Fox has since been refurbished and rebranded as Kryolan UK and it remains a wonderful shopping experience for any make-up or body painting artist. But enter at your peril. There are so many tempting products and friendly helpful staff…….you could end up with a serious dent in your bank balance!! www.uk.kryolan.com