If you’ve been booked for a body painting gig as a model then you might be wondering exactly how it all works. It’s pretty different from other types of modelling and it’s a good idea to be well prepared and go into it knowing what you’re signing up for.
Communication is Key
The person that’s going to be able to guide you best on what’s required before and during the day is the body painter that’s doing the piece.
This post is more to give you an idea of common things that you’ll want to keep in mind and you should definitely check in with your body painter to find out what they would prefer and to discuss any concerns you have.
The Days Before Painting
In the days running up to getting painted, you’ll need to get your skin nice and ready so that the paint can be applied evenly.
Lotions and Skin Creams
Lotions, skin creams, tanning products, and any kind of potion you put on your skin can create a barrier between it and the paint. It’s best to avoid them for a few days before you’re going to get painted.
Paint tends to cling to dry skin so before you go lotion-free for those few days make sure you’re applying it regularly.
Hair can show through the paint, or in the case of thick hair interfere with getting nice clean lines so in some cases your body painter may want you to shave or wax certain areas where the hair could cause a problem. This can sometimes include the baby hair on your face if you’re going to be doing a close-up face piece. It’s usually more of an issue when it comes to sponge and brush application so if you’re getting painted with an airbrush then you may be able to leave your body hair alone.
I prefer my models to wax a few days in advance as there’s less chance of razor rash or stubble regrowth. But, not everyone wants to wax so if you’re reaching for the razor then you’ll want to do it with enough time for any razor rash (if you suffer from that) to clear up and to make sure you haven’t done it so far in advance that you’re left with stubble.
Getting painted nude can be intimidating and for some people, they decide it’s the perfect time to go on some kind of crash diet to make sure they’re looking as thin as possible. It’s way better to have a healthy happy ready to go model turn up than one that’s half-starved and exhausted.
If you’re really concerned about your weight/physique prior to the shoot then exercise and a healthy nourishing diet is a much healthier happier way to go. But, in all honesty, there’s no need! If a body painter has chosen you to be painted on then they already love the canvas they’re working with so why try and change it?
If you’ve got any allergies, for example to latex which is a common ingredient in lash glue, let your body painter know in advance so they can find alternative products.
Some body-paints can be a bit harsh on sensitive skin so if you’re prone to breaking out or dealing with sensitivity then you should discuss that with your body painter too.
There’s certain products like barrier sprays that can be used to help protect the skin and certain paints that are less harsh on delicate skin. They may want to do a patch test to check that the paints aren’t going to cause any kind of reaction.
If you’ve got any skin conditions then you’ll want to mention that as well. In some cases, it’s not going to be safe to body paint someone if they have certain conditions.
Talk With The Artist about What You’re Comfortable With
I know I already mentioned that communication is incredibly important, but prior to the shoot, you’ll want to make sure that you are completely comfortable with what’s happening. You don’t want to turn up and find that there are four other models all nude and you’re all expected to be heaped together in some kind of erotic pose if you were expecting to be part of a solo artistic piece.
Here are some things you might want to discuss with your body painter:
- What level of nudity will there be?
- Will there be other models involved in the shoot and if there’s nudity will you be touching and how?
- What are the pictures going to be used for? (Make sure you sign a model release form that gives only the usage rights you are comfortable with).
- What style is the shoot? Is it erotic or artistic for example?
- What areas of the skin are not going to be painted? Just because your being body painted doesn’t mean that every bit of skin is going to be covered. If you’re good with being nude so long as you’re covered in paint you’ll want to make sure the areas you’re concerned about showing are going to be painted.
- Will you be using modesty covers?
- Where is the shoot taking place? If it’s outdoors make sure you find out where. You don’t want to assume it’ll be in a fairly private location then find out it’s in the middle of a busy city area. If it is in a busy area it’s worth checking that you’re legally allowed to do what you’re planning to do.
- Who else will be present during the shoot?
Be aware that there is a level of touching involved with body painting and it’s better not to take on the job if you’re not completely comfortable with that.
What to Bring
You’ll want to come to the shoot with everything you might need, and again it’s best to talk to your body painter to see what they will supply and what you need to bring yourself. But, even if they say they’re bringing everything it doesn’t hurt to have some bits and pieces with you that’ll make your day more enjoyable.
Food and Water
You’ll need to stay hydrated and nourished throughout the painting process so make sure you’ve got some snacks and water on hand. You’re going to spending a lot of time standing still in the same position which can get tiring so you’ll want to stay in tip-top shape.
Try and avoid foods that are really messy to eat or require too much preparing. Things like nuts, bananas and fruit smoothies are great as they’re full of all kinds of nutrients that can help keep you going.
If your body painter is supplying the snacks and drinks make sure you let them know if you’ve got any food allergies, dietary requirements, or if there are any foods that you don’t eat so that they can work around that.
Loose Fitting Light Robe
There’ll be times during the painting process where you’re not getting painted (like when you’re eating or stretching or just having a bit of a break) and it’s nice to have something that you can pop on that’ll keep you covered by won’t smudge all the artists’ hard work. Likewise, if you need to leave the painting area for any reason then you’ll want something to cover up in.
Having a robe is also really handy if it’s a bit chilly and you want to warm up when you’re having a break.
If it’s going to be a cold day then you might want to bring a heavier robe or some kind of blanket you can wrap up in. But, you’ll need to be very careful when you put it on or take it off and check with your painter that it’s ok.
Mini Makeup Kit
You should check beforehand what’s happening with makeup. Some artists will want you to come with a basic natural look (or something more elaborate), while others will want a clear clean bare face to work with.
If a makeup artist is being hired then you can probably skip bringing a mini makeup kit with you, likewise if your face is part of the body painted piece.
Nipple Pasties or flesh-coloured thongs/covers might be needed for the day. Usually, your body painter will provide them but it’s best to double-check whether they will be needed and whether you’re expected to bring your own.
Also, check if you’re going to be applying them yourself so that you can practice applying them before the day – it can be a little fiddly to get them on without creases.
Hair Ties/Clips & Brush/Comb
During the painting process, you’ll usually need to keep your hair tied back and out the way. Again most of the time your body painter will have some, but it’s doesn’t hurt to check or to bring a few along. Don’t stick a hair tie around your wrist though as it’ll leave the dreaded hair tie mark that’ll take a while to fade.
Having a brush or comb to neaten up your hair once the painting process is over is handy, along with any particular styling products you like to use.
Loose Old Clothes & Seat Covers
It’s not always possible to shower or have a full cleanup after you’ve been painter (check with your body painter). If that’s the case then bring along some old clothes. Some body-paints transfer onto pretty much anything they come into contact with so you don’t want to ruin anything nice.
If you’re going to be driving home then bring along something you can throw over your car seat so you don’t end up smudging body paint all over it – an old towel works well.
Clean up Kit
This is another thing that your body painter will normally provide.
If you’re being painted with water-activated paints then the easiest way to get them off is with a shower, but you can do a decent amount of clean up with some baby wipes or baby lotion.
At the very least you’ll probably want to get any paint that’s on your hands off so that you can touch things without transferring paint onto them.
Check what kind of paint is going to be being used and find out if you need to get any special products to remove it. You don’t want to get home and find you’re covered in alcohol activated paints which can only be removed with 99% alcohol.
Also find out what the likelihood of staining is, how long it could last, and things you can do to minimise the chances of staining and how to get rid of them. You don’t want to end up stained green for three days especially if you’ve got other shoots coming up!
Body painting can take a long time and even though most body painters are incredibly friendly and want to chat there may be patches where they’re concentrating or where you just want to relax a little. Bring along some music, an audiobook, a podcast, a real book, whatever you fancy to keep you entertained. Just make sure it’s not something that requires moving around too much.
Check in with your body painter about what kind of stuff is going to be ok to bring along, if you’re doing something like a blend into the background style painting then it might be tricky to read a physical book while they’re doing it.
Standing around naked can get a bit chilly and having something to pop on your feet so you’re not standing on a cold floor can really help. Make sure they’re a pair you don’t mind ruining as they might end up covered in paint and getting stained.
The Day of the Painting
The big day has arrived! You should have found out everything you need to know so that you turn up to the shoot ready to go according to whatever directions the artist has given you.
Being Paint Ready
Unless your body painter has instructed you otherwise then you’ll want to show up with clean hair and shaved/waxed skin, with no makeup and your nails unpainted. Don’t tie up your hair otherwise you could end up with that classic ponytail kink in it.
Don’t wear deodorant as it can react with the body paint, and leave your jewellery at home.
Finally, make sure you’re well-fed and hydrated. I’d avoid super heavy bloating foods, but having a decent meal before the painting will give you lots of energy to see you through the process.
What to Wear
Some clothes should be avoided on the day of the body painting as they can leave marks on your skin that can take hours to fade.
Ankle socks tend to leave marks around your ankles. Underwear can leave indents around your hips and ribcage. Basically, wear loose fitting clothing that won’t mark your skin, and skip socks and underwear – or wear very loose ones.
It’s best to find a balance between you and the body painter of you sitting/standing comfortably, and being in a position where they can access all the areas they need to.
You’ll probably find you’ll be moving around quite a bit, especially if it’s a full body 360 degree piece.
If you’re doing a blending into the background piece you’ll be standing in the same pose trying to be still for long patches of time which can make you ache after a while. Because you’ll need to hold the pose for so long for this kind of painting make sure that it’s something that you’re not going to need to break out of every few minutes.
If you do need to stand for long periods of time then don’t lock your knees!
Asking for What You Need
It’s easy for body painters to forget that they’re painting on a human that has their own needs like food and water and toilet breaks. Don’t be afraid to ask for breaks when you need them, even if you just need to stretch out for a bit. Getting body painted can be tiring and if you’re sitting or standing in the same position for a long time then you start to get achy.
If you get too cold or hot let them know. Maybe you’ll be able to pop on your robe for a bit while they’re working on a different area of your body if you’re cold, or stick a fan on or have you stand in the shade for a bit to cool down.
It’s tough to paint someone when they’re jiggling around. You’d be surprised how much smallish motions like hand gestures or moving your head around can make other parts of your body move. Try and stay still while you’re being painted. If you are going to make a big movement like you need to sneeze or something then let your body painter know.
Body painters are professionals and if your body painter is doing something that you feel is inappropriate or is making you uncomfortable let them know. They may not realise that they’re making you feel that way.
Body painting does involve a degree of touching whether that’s with brushes, sponges or whatever other tools the painter likes to use and if there’s any nudity involved that can include painting on intimate areas.
Getting painted can be an amazing fun experience. It can be tiring if you’re having to stand in an awkward pose for hours or if it’s too cold or too hot, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be fun.
Most body painters work with models because they enjoy working and creating with another person.
After The Paint
You made it! Hopefully everything went amazingly and you’ve got some fabulous pictures from the day. Once you’re all cleaned up you’re going to want to take some extra special care of your skin as some people may experience breakouts, some redness, sensitivity or just general dryness.
After you’re all done and you’ve washed all the paint off, you’ll want to give your face a good cleanse. Even if it looks like all that body paints washed off you’d be surprised how much is left once you start using a good cleanser.
Then it’s time to break out your lotions and potions. Moisturise, cleanse, tone, whatever you like to do to keep your skin fresh and lovely, do it.
This post is super long, but I really wanted to try and cover as much as I could think of. It can be nerve-wracking if it’s your first time and I always feel less nervous when I’ve got as much information and am as well prepared for something as I can be. I hope this was helpful and if any of the rest of you (models or artists!) have any other tips or advice or want to share their experiences of getting body painted or body painting I’d love to hear them in the comments!