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How to Get Body Painted

Artist and His Model

the back of a model shows the great detail of this amazing artwork.

the back of a model shows the great detail of this amazing artwork.

Body Painting - Author’s Experience

I have had the pleasure of being body painted by a world renowned French Make-Up Artist in 1984, which was to have a major impact on my choice of career.

While studying Beauty Therapy, we had the option of taking an extra course in “Fantasy Make-Up”, to be given by Christian Chauveau the owner of an established Make-Up Artistry College in Paris.

I jumped at the opportunity and signed up. It was not a course for the shy retiring type or indeed any use to those who were not fascinated or interested in makeup.

Looking for a model that first day took awhile. None of us eager to strip down but eventually my friend Brona obliged and became the first model.

The body painting he produced on her skin was incredible, an underwater theme of fish, coral, mermaids, plants and the blue sea. I was transfixed and in amazement that all you really saw was this beautiful painting and not the naked torso of a canvas.

By the end of the 3 day intensive course, Monsieur Chauveau had worked on all of us and some more than once. All different body paintings but all equally stunning.

I knew there and then this was an art form for me and being a Make-Up Artist was what I wanted. It was as if a light switch was suddenly turned on and I knew exactly the path I wanted to take.

Christian Chauveau and I were to cross paths a few years later.

He was a judge at an International Make-Up Artist competition that I had entered. We had 6 hours to create a look on our own models (from top to toe) on the theme “Punk Era”. I was overjoyed to be awarded 2nd place and part of the prize was a week’s tuition in Paris at the Chauveau Ecole de Maquillage.

Henna Applied for a Wedding in India

Mhendi the art of Henna Tattoos which are not permanent but fade over a few weeks.

Mhendi the art of Henna Tattoos which are not permanent but fade over a few weeks.

Young Maasai Warrior in Training

many tribes in parts of Africa include body painting as a tradition and custom.

many tribes in parts of Africa include body painting as a tradition and custom.

History of Body Painting ~

Body painting is an art that has been practiced through the ages and cultures originally using clay and natural pigments found in plants.

Body painting is still used today in many cultures of the world including the indigenous people of New Zealand, Australia, The Pacific Islands and parts of Africa.

Body paint was always going to be something to split public opinion. Was it crude, too explicit or was it an exceptional piece of art?

The king of the cosmetics world, Max Factor caused a right commotion in 1933 at the World’s Fair in Chicago.

The fair was celebrating a "century of progress" so Mr Factor decided to body paint his model to showcase his new line of makeup designed for the movie industry.

He wound up being arrested for causing a public disturbance with his painting.

Scroll to Continue

Joanne Gair Books

The Best Body Painter in The World ~

Considered to be the world’s best Body Painter and Make-Up Artist, Joanne Gair is one of the most accomplished Artists in her field and whose work I have admired and respected for many years.

Famous for the1992 Vanity Fair Magazine cover of actress Demi Moore in a painted birthday suit, this kiwi lady hailing from New Zealand is now a well respected photographer too combining both forms of art perfectly.

Her long list of accolades includes her famous disappearing model body painting of 2000 where it is extremely hard to identify the model in the picture.

Check out these two works of art here and for further information on this talented body painter. Unfortunately I may not link to them and display here as they are protected by copyright.

In the video later in the article, Joanne is featured working on the models for a Sports Ilustrated magazine shoot. She has been associated with this publication for many years. The video shows how the artists copy exact swimwear designs onto the skin and is well worth watching.

Body Painted from Top to Toe

The winner in a Body painting Show for Charity.

The winner in a Body painting Show for Charity.

Detail Up Close

thinking outside the box will produce unique looks for body painting.

thinking outside the box will produce unique looks for body painting.

Reasons to get body painted

  • Traditional Ceremonies
  • Celebrations
  • Festivals
  • Sports Events
  • Protest Marches
  • Charity & Fundraising Events
  • Fancy Dress
  • Promotional
  • Advertizing Campaign
  • You’re Job
  • Artists Model
  • Be Photographed

Hire professionals

Body Painted Cyclists during The Solstice Parade

the traditional naked cyclist event in the summer solstice parade and pageant, Fremont Fair, Seattle, Washington.

the traditional naked cyclist event in the summer solstice parade and pageant, Fremont Fair, Seattle, Washington.

Will I . . . Won’t I Get Body Painted?

Deciding to be body painted does not have to mean the entire body or being entirely naked. Most models will just be topless, not bottomless for the full top to toe painting or be wearing some clothing. It is entirely your choice.

It can be on a small part of the body, such as the ankle, hands, back and shoulder. Tattoos and Mhendi Henna Tattoos are all forms of body painting, be they permanent or not they are globally accepted as works of art.

Answering "Is it something I would like to get done?" be it a small area or more, is the first step. Ask yourself why you want it.

Is it for a special occasion, a charity fundraiser or possibly as a unique photographic gift for your partner? Whatever the reason it’s decision time.

Then you need to decide what you want and where. Depending on your ideas, you may need a professional Body painter or Make-Up Artist.

On the other hand you may have an artist in the family, within your circle of friends or a work colleague who would be more than capable of painting it for you.

I remember coming home one night from being made up like a bird by Christian Chauveau. One of my eyes was the body of the bird and he had painted me into a peacock down one side of my face. My mum, an artist started copying it in a mirror on her own face, not easy, I can assure you!

Because she was an Artist she was easily able to recreate his work using totally different paint and canvas. Check out your “Artistic” friends!

Face painters do not necessarily do body painting, only the more talented or experienced artists will offer to do it. It is something to consider when ringing around or checking online directories.

Body painting could take from 1 hour to over 10 hours depending entirely on the work to be done, the artist and how prepared you are. A quick artist will take approximately 6 hours on average for full body paint.

Have a drawing of what you want painted or bring photographs, books or anything showing the design if it is an intricate one. Don’t expect them to have a portfolio but if they are professional, they will have photographs of previous work.

Always have a list of questions ready to ask before committing to a particular Make Up Artist. If possible meet in person first to talk about the work and find out the answers before making an informed decision.

Always get at least 3 quotes before making up your mind. This rule is a good one for any type of trade or service.

On location featuring Joanne Gair

Simple But Effective Body Painting

a simple design will take much less time to paint.

a simple design will take much less time to paint.

How Much Does it Cost to Get Body Painted?

This all depends on a number of key factors

  • Where you Live – Big populated cities like Los Angeles or New York will naturally be more expensive than smaller ones.
  • Economic Climate – Depending on the economy at the time, prices will change accordingly.
  • The Design – Expect to pay more for detailed intricate designs.
  • How Much of the Body is Painted – Is it a small area or is it full body paint?
  • The Artist – How experienced are they? Do they charge by the job or per hour? Many will charge per job.

A full body paint which is quite detailed could be easily $500.


Body Paint with Airbrushing

body painting may be done with brushes and by airbrushing.

body painting may be done with brushes and by airbrushing.

Artist Paint

Artist Watercolor Brushes

Car Wash Sponge

Your Artist Palette

How to Start Body Painting ~

If you fancy giving this a try yourself, I have put together a quick and useful guide to learning to body paint.

Ultimately this is a fun and creative form of art that you can try out on friends or even as a new part of a business you have already established such as a Beautician, Make Up Artist, Photographer, Wedding Planner or in Event Management.

The Right Tools:

Paint – Always buy professional body paint from reputable supplier, regular paint is not acceptable and should NEVER be used It is toxic and dangerous. I will include some links under credible resources at the end for some excellent suppliers.

Brushes – A variety of different brushes is obviously needed for different brush strokes and techniques. The best place to purchase body painting brushes is not from a makeup store but an art shop. Artists brushes are more in tune with applying paint for the body and the good ones will not shed hairs on the body.

Makeup Sponges – Again, it is useful to have a few different types and textures which will give you more choices in stippling or applying paint. A good sponge to use is the large ones used for washing cars which can be picked up cheaply in dollar stores. I always buy a large one and then cut it down into different sizes. When you have used your sponges in body painting you should always throw them out. Keeping your products and work area completely sterilized is hugely important.

Rubbing Alcohol – An essential part of your kit for work station and brushes, before and after use. Keeping your tools and work area sterilised is incredibly important and cannot be stressed enough.

Palette – Every serious artist needs a palette but no need to buy an artist one that costs money and will do the same job as recycled ideas or cheaper options. Old Tupperware lids, paper plates, large 10 litre house paint containers and yogurt lids are just a few of the many other ideas I have used. Anything with a flat surface and a variety of sizes is always useful. Thorough cleaning before using is obviously a given.

Plastic Bottles or Squeeze Bottles – Again you could pick up some cheap ones in dollar stores or Euro shops that are for mustard or ketchup and use for keeping water in.

Palette Knife – Good to use for scooping the paint onto your palette. It is hygienic and makes for easier mixing of paint and water.

Models – You need to have a few volunteers to practice on so get the word out. Wanting to try body painting seriously must be because you enjoy this Art form and NOT because you want to see nudity. If this is the case then you will get no volunteers and body painting is definitely not for you.

Think of a Theme for Your Art Work

creative thinking in body art. inspiration is all around us.

creative thinking in body art. inspiration is all around us.

BirdsTail Painted on the Thigh

simple accessorizes really showcases the birds tail on this model.

simple accessorizes really showcases the birds tail on this model.

Develop Your People Skills ~

Strong communication skills, an ability to make others feel at ease, being a good listener and a creative mind are all important qualities as a body painter.

If you put yourself in the models position and think “How would I want to be treated” you will not go wrong.

Being prepared as much as possible is half the battle and that means not just your equipment but being able to meet your client's requirements.

Know your capabilities, strengths and weaknesses.

You must put the needs of your model first and foremost.

Great Idea for a Fundraising Event

body painting may be introduced into art gallery openings with the waiters and waitresses painted in fake "clothing".

body painting may be introduced into art gallery openings with the waiters and waitresses painted in fake "clothing".

Last Minute Touch Ups

remember to let paint dry before painting over it or  you will mix colors and possibly make a mess.

remember to let paint dry before painting over it or you will mix colors and possibly make a mess.

Tips for Body Painting ~

  • Avoid very light brush strokes on the skin; they can tickle your model. Paint using even pressure if possible.
  • Develop your own style and technique. You may prefer outlining the design first and filling in later (similar to tattooing) or paint an area fully before moving on.
  • Allow an area to dry properly before applying another layer.
  • A floor covering is a good idea to put down before you begin.
  • Advise your model on how to remove the paint and that they may finds bits of paint still there for a day or two.
  • How to get body paint off? Ordinary fairy liquid or soap will generally work well as they are designed to remove oil or grease.
  • If you are doing a labour intensive paint job take enough breaks but do not let your model lock her knees.
  • Body painting involves many curved areas which is very different to canvas painting. If a model slightly moves it can change your lines completely so remember curves when painting around limbs, the torso, the neck and the face.

Being Body Painted is Fun

 getting body painted is more common than you think.

getting body painted is more common than you think.

Body paint & Accessorizes Suppliers

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Body Painting is a Form of Art

feeling on top of the world in body paint!

feeling on top of the world in body paint!


Author Info ~

Information on the author, her bio and full body of works available @ Suzie HQ

Credit to homesteadbound ~

All dividers used in this hub are used with permission granted on hub, Creating Dividers to Use on Your Hubs


How to Get Body Painted Comments

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on October 30, 2013:

Hi Rebecca,

Apologies for delay! So good hearing you enjoyed this, I really enjoyed doing it but I had to change photos several times by HP rules. So happy you appreciate the artwork!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on October 27, 2013:

Wow! you have certainly proven that body painting is an art form with these photos. Very interesting and voted as such!

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on March 25, 2013:


Many thanks for visiting. Glad you enjoyed the artwork in body painting, many makeup artists use water based paints which make it easier for removing. Appreciate your comments as always!

Claudia Mitchell on March 25, 2013:

Wow Suzanne! I'd get body painted too if I had a figure like these folks, but that is besides the point. This art is incredible. I imagine the paint can be tough on the skin. Beautiful hub.

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on March 20, 2013:

Hi ketage,

Thanks for dropping in, glad you found it interesting. The Asian weddings are stunning and I love the henna tattoos too!

ketage from Croatia on March 20, 2013:

The human body is a work of art, and now it's a canvas for a work of art :)

I liked the artwork, and the pretty models didn't hurt the eye either.

I have been to Indian weddings and Malay weddings where henna was used, beautiful work they did, stayed on for a few days without fading too, I was surprised.

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on March 19, 2013:

Hi teaches,

Many thanks for your comments, always much appreciated. Small body painted pieces are just as beautiful and I love the mhendi style on the hands and feet. I often say I would love to get it done for my wedding. Glad you found interesting!

Dianna Mendez on March 19, 2013:

This shows some really beautiful art work, but would only consider a small area myself. Perhaps a facial paint or feet, if at all. Looks like this would be an adult only show due to the nature of the display. Very interesting.

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on March 15, 2013:

Thanks Carly, appreciate that you have it as your new favorite too!! WOW . ...thanks!

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on March 15, 2013:

Hi Carly,

Great to see you again! So happy to hear you enjoyed this and thanks for your lovely comments! The nude night sounds awesome as do the artwork that is on display, how original to have such a night. cheers for the votes and shares, great to receive!

Carly Sullens from St. Louis, Missouri on March 15, 2013:

oh, wait, I am already following you. :) I don't know how I missed this hub, it is my new favorite.

Carly Sullens from St. Louis, Missouri on March 15, 2013:

OMG! I love this hub! I am so glad I found it. I live in Orlando and every year they have Nude Night. They rent out warehouse and artisans paint bodies. There is also nude art on the wall as well as sculptures. VOTED UP and shared and now following you. +++

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on March 15, 2013:

Hi Crystal,

many many thanks as always, it is great to see you and receive your lovely comments!! Body paint used is easily removed with dish soap, particularly FAIRY LIQUID (not sure if that brand available in USA?) it powers through the grease easily and many paints are water based and easily removed this way or with a soap or shower gel. it is the paint behind ears or difficult places to reach that may still be there for a day or two. If you are not familiar with Fairy, use a good washing up liquid is my advice not a really cheap one unless you know it is good. The body paint, unlike henna tattoos (which I love), is not designed to last for weeks so don't panic!

Much appreciate your thoughts and interest my friend from Georgia!!

Crystal Tatum from Georgia on March 14, 2013:

You always write such informative, thorough and interesting hubs. You have covered everything here for all parties who might be interested. One thing I am curious about is how do you clean all that off - just regular soap and water?- and how long does it take to get it off? Looks like it could take a while!

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on March 14, 2013:

Hi Bill,

Great to have you supporting me as always, glad you enjoyed this. Photos are amazing and I was spoilt for choice in that department. Appreciate your votes, shares and vote of confidence,:-)

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on March 14, 2013:

Hi Kathryn,

Thanks so much! The detail is superb in many of these examples, i agree. Its such a skill to watch being done by some of the talented artists. Spending serious lengths of time painting is an art in itself for some designs. Appreciate your input and interest on this Kathryn!

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on March 14, 2013:

Very interesting Suzie. Certainly some talented artists out there. Some of the photos are amazing. Not sure I would ever venture to have this done but very interesting to say the least. Great job. Voting up, sharing, this Hub will do well :)

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on March 14, 2013:

This is great! It is a beautiful artform, and it is amazing how it turns out. I like some of the embellishments that make the art multi-textured.

Thank you for sharing the information, as well as the photos, with us.

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on March 14, 2013:

Hi tsmog,

Your gift of prose and referencing the art in your poetic style is refreshing and I thank you for including!

I so appreciate you dropping me a line and it is great to know it was enjoyed. If you are concerned with the white beach look you always know some body paint will be sure to leave the bronzed bodies jealous and fading into obscurity next to your luscious set of pins! Cheers Tim!!

Tim Mitchell from Escondido, CA on March 14, 2013:

I'm looking at the backyard garden now. I shared with Fred the Hummingbird and he banged into the window for a peek. Twas not long a squalor assembled pondering the ruckus. Remember in the world of hummingbirds it is the male painted with likeness of this sharing.

Seems those female hummingbirds admired Fred's glistening emerald green, lustrous hue of teal, and tantalizing shades of sapphire blue . . . until reaching the a common article closing - 'The End,' which all 'authors' know is a new beginning . . .

An amazing article Suzie HQ. I applaud while sharing worldwide. I think both Athena and Freyja may jump in line seeking those artists brushes. I ponder too, that seems a way I could walk Tamarck Beach in Carlsbad, California and not be embarrassed of my shinny white legs amongst the bronze models - just kidding about.

Remember to smile (I am grinning from ear to ear) and have fun, fun, fun . . .

One only has to stop in here and fun is guaranteed - promise


Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on March 14, 2013:

Hi summerberries,

Delighted you are a fan of body art when you see it online. Special effects and 3D is another interest of mine and I did some with latex to age actors or to portray distorted faces etc. . .Really amazing what may be achieved, you only have to look at so many movies, sci-fi series or old faithfuls like StarTrek or Star Wars. Many thanks for your comments!!

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on March 14, 2013:

Hi Peanutritious,

Thanks so much for stopping by here, great to hear you have done some body painting and for kids parties! I know the feeling with wanting to look in shape before modelling for a full paint job! Appreciate your votes so much and thanks for sharing on!!

summerberrie on March 14, 2013:

Pretty cool stuff! I've always liked it when images of body painting come across my computer. It is amazing the illusions that can be created. Sounds like you've had some fun experiences with it.

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on March 14, 2013:

Hi MJ,

LOL, never lose that sense of humor and charm! Appreciate your enthusiasm for the ART yes?? LOL It is amazing when you are painting skin as apposed to canvas and how it moves with brush strokes. Airbrushing is used frequently which makes the entire process less time consuming but patience is definitely required. Always available for hire, in fact you made a comment on G+ about being a smurf?? No problem, a blue MJ coming up!!

Many thanks for your votes, shares and pin always much appreciated! :-)

Tara Carbery from Cheshire, UK on March 14, 2013:

This is amazing! Love it! I've done a few face painting parties for kids but have once painted a gentleman friend (all over) which was interesting to say the least! I think it looks incredible! I wouldn't have the guts to get painted until i'd had a good month of intense exercise and dieting! Voted up and shared!

mjkearn on March 14, 2013:

Hi Suzie

Spectacular. Simply spectacular. Definitely HOTD material. Amazing art work.

It's incredible how an awesome piece of art can be displayed on a living, moving, human canvass and not be distorted.

Stunning color in this hub and as usual fabulous formatting.

Can you be hired?????????

How are you with car and bike bodies, ha.

Voted up, ticked, shared, pinned, G+'d, Tweeted and whatever else I can think of.

One of the best hubs I've seen for some time.

Well done you Suzie HQ.


Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on March 14, 2013:

Hi Elias,

Lovely to have your thoughts on this, great to see different views. Glad this made your a day a little "more interesting" and here's to many more!! Cheers and thanks for your input!!

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on March 14, 2013:

Hi Carol,

Wow, thank you so much, I really do appreciate your comments on this one. I was excited to do it as I have such an interest in it. Unfortunately many of my own photos are in boxes as I have moved to the country but was delighted to find a great selection to choose from, spoilt for choice actually! Appreciate your kind thoughts and words, they mean so much, truly. Cheers for all the votes and sharing around . . . you are ace!!

Elias Zanetti from Athens, Greece on March 14, 2013:

Nice photos, sexy atmosphere for this hub :)

When people get creative all sorts of surprises can make our day a little bit more interesting. Great hub Suzie.

carol stanley from Arizona on March 14, 2013:

Though this something I would probably not do...this is one of the best hubs ever. I had such fun checking out the pictures. You did a super job as always...but this was spectacular. VOting up, sharing, pinning and tweeting...

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on March 14, 2013:

Hi Sally,

Many thanks for stopping by. Absolutely, you are right with it evolving and changing with the times. Art has always been an incredibly diverse area where imagination can run wild. Appreciate your voting it up!!

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on March 14, 2013:

Suzie HQ - Fascinating when you think how people have been painting their bodies for generations, most likely the paint has got better and the art more detailed because of it. Voted up.

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on March 14, 2013:

Hi torrilynn,

Many thanks for stopping by. I tried to show different examples of the body art which i am glad you enjoyed reading about. Appreciate your comments and for votes and sharing, many thanks again!

torrilynn on March 14, 2013:

thanks for the article Suzie,

I did like the information on how much it cost

to get body painted and how it it can be seen as a form of art

i found the pictures to be quite erotic as well but found it great

especially for the article and for showing off the words that

you speak with a visual.

Voted up and shared.

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on March 13, 2013:

Hi Bill,

Thanks Bill ( I think??!!), you do make me laugh! Well, i did pick my selection carefully but then you got to rock the boat sometimes. At least none of myself were featured then you really would be speechless . . . or would you?? Probably not!! LOL Mick has a compressor OK so spray painting is no problem, 72 Chevy?? not sure I like that model so may have to think on that suggestion, but thanks!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 13, 2013:

Oh my God! LOL.....well, Suzie, I guess you could have the Mickster spray paint you like a '72 Chevy! I'm sorry, I'll be, I can't be. There were a couple pictures that were downright erotic if you ask me, but of course, nobody asked me, but they beat the hell out of a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. :)

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