LepreCon 36 bodypainting by Mark Greenawalt

LepreCon 37 bodypainting by Mark Greenawalt on Jen Amber

Bodypainting Panel With
Artist Mark Greenawalt

Phoenix Mariott Mesa, Mesa, Arizona



DarkCon is the self-proclaimed premier Fantasy & Steampunk Convention for the Southwest Region and it is presented by the Dark Ones. This was my first year doing a body art demo for DarkCon, but the Dark Ones have been staunch supporters of my bodypainting exhibitions at other conventions. The guests for this event included actor Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters), author Jacqueline Carey (Kushiel series), and actress Meg Foster (Masters of the Universe), author/artist Madame M (Creepy Little Bedtime Stories) and game designers Ken St. Andre, John Wick. Other local "A-listers" that I saw at the convention included filmakers Jon Bonell and Nathan Blackwell, author/game designer Todd Vanhooser, and the phenomenal clothing designer Nola Yergen.

Before I write about the bodypainting session, I wanted to thank Wendy Trakes for inviting me to show four short films that I was involved with at the DarkCon film festival. These films included Wish Inc., In Distant Shadows, Second Chances, and No Time for Reason.

The theme for the convention this year was Dark Fantasy and Steampunk. For my bodypainting I opted to go with the Steampunk theme and began designing a costume that would be mostly crafted with liquid latex body paint. Here is the rough sketch of what I planned to paint:

Steampunk costume rough draft sketch

For the props I bought the fascinator hat at Easley's Fun Shop and the cane was something that I had purchased a long time ago. Except for the underwear and boots, the rest would be paint. My model for the event was a volunteer convention attendee named Ariana who did a fantastic job and looked fantastic in the outfit.

For the first step of this project, I used Maximum Impact liquid latex to outline the corsette and the collar piece. Next I masked her legs with painter's tape to make the red stripes using Lux paint through a Badger Airbrush and Compressor. I also painted the bustier cups with this color.

Progress of Steampunk bodypainting at DarkCon

After peeling off the tape, I went over the stockings with a misting of black paint to give the look of see through nylons. For this I used Mehron's magic color paints. For the next step I had to wait until the liquid latex was dry (you can tell when it is dry because it changes from gray to black). Once it dries it is tacky and at this time I used a fan brush to dust it with a very fine shimmer powder. The color of the powder was a reddish copper and it takes on a very metallic look when applied to liquid latex. The color is so opaque that it covers the black completely.

Maximum Impact Liquid Latex Body Paint at DarkCon

Next, the black latex was applied with a sponge to fill in the rest of the strips and the collar piece. Instead of using shimmer on these parts, I used Armorall to take away the tackiness. Notice that the first stripes that were painted are now red and the second set of stripes painted are the black ones.

DarkCon bodypainting demo by artist Mark Greenawalt

After this I began working on the necklace. At the heart of the necklace I really wanted to include a cameo and I bought a matching choker and earrings that featured a white cameo on a black background. The easy thing to do would have been to just glue one of these cameo pieces onto the model, but I did a little experimenting and found a way to mold them. It was pretty easy to make the mold by using my son's Playdough and pressing one of the earrings into it. Then I poured liquid latex into it and let it dry. Once I peeled it out of the mold, it was a perfect copy of the original that was "made out of paint". I trimmed the edges a little and then used more liquid latex to apply the cameo to the model's skin.

Liquid Latex molded jewelry concepts by Mark Greenawalt

To complete the necklace and to add some decorative design to the cups, I loaded some liquid latex into a ketchup bottle and used it to paint lines and dots. This technique is very similar to applying henna or decorating a cake and luckily the Maximum Impact brand of paint is thick enough to not run, even when you are applying it on a vertical surface as long as you are careful.

Applying liquid latex through a squeeze bottle on a live model

The top of the cups were embellished by painting a thin stripe of black latex and then applying a short strip of lace that was also dipped in the latex. While it was wet, I pinched it in segments to give a 3D ruffled look. Also at this stage I applied some airbrushed shadows using Mehron liquid make-up through a Badger airbrush and compressor.

Applying liquid latex through a squeeze bottle on a live model

The finishing touches were to paint on the cuffs with liquid latex and then apply the ArmorAll to make it shine. Plus I hand painted the lacing and tie strings and added a little shadow to this also. The accessories were added before the photoshoot and included the fascinator hat, cameo earrings, the boots and cane, and for a few shots she wore some black out eye contacts with red rims. We didn't use the contacts for all of the shots since her natural eye color was so beautifully intense.

Applying liquid latex through a squeeze bottle on a live model


Here are a few more shots from the final photoshoot. I shot with a Canon 5D and used two Alien Bees with soft boxes and a red color gel.

DarkCon body paint with Liquid Latex

Body art and photography by Mark Greenawalt at DarkCon

Closeup photo of liquid latex molded jewelry

Steampunk bodypainting at DarkCon



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