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A model’s guide to bodypainting

So you’ve been hired to work with a bodypaint artist, but you are wondering… how should I prepare? What should I expect? What should I bring?


Photo: Hoodlum Model: Miss Leila Bodypaint: BodyPainter Rich

Now, this will vary from artist to artist, but here are some general guidelines to go by:

  • Arrive well hydrated and well fed. If you starve yourself you won’t have enough energy to get through what will likely be a very long day; and if you are dehydrated you are likely to pass out or lose vital energy before you even hit the stage or shoot.
  • Avoid lotions, oils or any tanning products for a day or two before your shoot. These put a barrier on your skin that can really interfere with getting nice coverage.
  • No deodorant or anti-perspirant the day of the shoot. Bring some with you if you are concerned, but again this could create a coverage problem. Many pro painters have clear products that will work for you AND take makeup coverage.
  • Basically arrive with clean skin and hair. No makeup products unless otherwise directed. If you are doing a “glamour style” bodypaint that leaves your face exposed you should ask whether a Makeup Artist and/or hairstylist will be available. To be extra prepared, bring your own small kit if you have one.
  • Bring a nice LIGHT robe that fits loosely, for if you need to leave the painting area before your design is done.
  • An old and comfy pair of flip-flops will save your legs and feet if you need to stand while you are painted. Don’t bring anything that might be ruined if you get paint on them. Trust me on this one, you will thank me!
  • Bring hair rubber bands or other method to get your hair up and out of the way during the painting process.
  • Bringing your own flesh colored thong and/or pasties is a good idea, just in case modesty or legal issues come up.

Realize that good bodypainting is a very time consuming and tiring process. If you are posing in a large space or outside, you will likely get cold. The good thing is, you will be basking in the glow of all the attention!


Photo: Hoodlum

During the painting process there are a few things to remember:

  • Try to hold still, dancing and gesturing with your arms can make things difficult for your painter, even moving your head can affect the way your legs are painted.
  • DON’T LOCK YOUR KNEES. Standing rigidly is a great way to eventually pass out.
  • Let your painter know if you need a stretch or break. Very often we are concentrating on our work and we forget sometimes that there is another human involved who may be on a different schedule.
  • Also, let your painter know if anything they are doing is making you uncomfortable. They may or may not be aware, but if you feel that something inappropriate is going on, it is your right and responsibility to SPEAK UP!

So, finally you are finished and ready to go, there are a couple last things to make your experience better.

  • Bring some loose fitting old clothes to put on for your trip home. If no shower is provided you will want to protect your car seat with an old towel.
  • If you have some baby shampoo handy, this often works very well for removing water based makeup from your face and hair without irritating your skin and eyes.
  • If your painter used a long lasting temporary tattoo makeup, you will need to remove it using rubbing alcohol. Do this in a WELL VENTILATED AREA!
  • Keep some good hydrating lotion handy for afterwards, you’ll need it.
BodyPainter Rich

BodyPainter Rich

Rich has been making a living airbrushing and painting on people for 20 years. People wanting to learn more about airbrush, bodyart, and combining the two, are encouraged to check out his YouTube Channel or contact him about classes and seminars. www.secondskinimages.com/

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