The 2nd Annual International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival

Tempe Centerpoint Theater, Tempe, AZ
October 27th - 29th, 2006

I was glad to be asked back for the 2nd Annual Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival in October of 2006.  The year before I had done bodypaintings of Lady Death and Purgatori, comic book characters from CHAOS! Comics, as part of a live demonstration and movie special effects seminar.  This year I was invited back to do the seminar again and I came up with a few ideas for bodypainting projects.  The event is held at the Tempe Centerpoint Theaters and my bodypainting had to be done in the public thoroughfare just outside the theater entrance.  Because of this, my projects had to maintain a "PG-13" rating.  Here's what I came up with...


Since it was a film festival, I wanted to incorporate something from the realm of special effects make-up techniques.  I had never really tried to do a bald cap and thought this might be a good opportunity to try it out.  Earlier in the year I had painted a Captain America outfit on a bald male model and found that a shaved head is a high-impact canvas.  This time I didn't need to find a model with a shaved head, just someone willing to have a bald cap glued on for several hours.  Yes, that's my son, Sage, playing the guinea pig for me once again.

For countless bodypainting projects, I have used spirit gum to glue on jewels, feathers, glitter, etc. and it has worked well.  I tried using it on a rubber Halloween mask the year before and it didn't work well at all.  I did some research and found that most pro make-up artists use a product called Pros-aide to glue on prosthetics.  I ordered a small jar of this and laid my hands on some foam latex prosthetics and the weekend before this film festival tested the products on myself and came up with this vampire character (oh, yeah, and I added the colored contacts and fangs for effect).

foam latex prosthetics and contact lenses

The Pros-aide held perfectly and now I was willing to use it for the bald cap project (note:  the Pros-Aide was very tedious to remove and required Pros-Aide remover so I don't recommend trying this product without some level of make-up artistry skills).  The ears would typically be cut out of the bald cap, but I had decided to go for an alien-robot look and decided to cap the ears too.  This proved to be a little tricky getting the seams to go away, but in the end it looked okay.  I started gluing from the center of the forehead and then moved outward till I reached the seam at the ear and then did the back of the neck to the ear seam.

Next I painted the face and bald cap with an assortment of airbrush paints from Temptu, Mehron, and Graftobian.  Some of it was freehanded and other portions were done with hand-cut stencils.  I found the outfit at a Savers thrift shop for about 5 bucks and generally kept with it's color scheme.  The hands were also painted to match.  Here are a few progress shots of the process.

Child actor Sage Greenawalt

bald cap special effects make up technique

Airbrushed painting on bald cap and face
Painted foundations

alien bodypainting with bald cap
Alien headshot

It had gotten dark while we were wrapping up the painting process and luckily I had brought along studio lighting to get some good night shots.  The photos with the rock in the background were taken inside of an out-of-commission fountain which proved to have a very alien look in the images.

After the photoshoot, my son and I went off to schmooze with some of the celebrities at the convention.  First up was Heather Langenkamp, the beautiful actress who played Nancy Thompson battling Freddy Kruger in the Nightmare on Elm Street movies.  Next was author Michael A. Stackpole who has penned several Star Wars novels and then Brian Pulido, creator of Lady Death and Purgatori and the co-founder and festival director for the film festival.  Here are a few of our shots.

Heather Langenkamp from Nightmare on Elm Street
Heather Langenkamp
with Mark and Sage

Michael A. Stackpole author of Star Wars novels
Sage with 
Michael A.

Brian Pulido creator of Lady Death and Purgatori
Sage with

Next Sage and I got to hang out at the festival and watched the Star Wars fan film series.  The night was capped off at the International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival Costume Contest.  It was well past his bedtime when Sage finally heard the results, but it ended up being well worth the wait.  Here is a picture of him receiving the "Costume Contest Winner" plaque from Heather Langenkamp, Mick Garris (Showtime's Masters of Horror Series), and Chris LaMont (President of the Phoenix Film Foundation).  Cool!


I had worked with master leather worker Kevin Speidel of last year and I wanted to come up with an idea that would incorporate his costuming skills once again.  I brainstormed to come up with a warrior woman that wore leather and incorporated bodypainting into her image and eventually landed on Lady Guinevere (Kiera Knightly) from the movie King Arthur.

In hindsight, the legend of King Arthur may not be the most representative story for a horror and sci-fi convention, but I was incorporating the genre of fantasy as a subset of science fiction.  More importantly, I was recreating a movie character that I found to be sexy, powerful, and intriguing.  I did have a second plan to recreate another character, Stephen King's Carrie, and covered a white gown with red paint and stage blood.  This would have justified the horror genre for my demonstration, but unfortunately the model that I had secured never made it to the event.

Model Paris Harshman, however, did show up and did a fantastic job as Guinevere.  The painting itself is fairly simple so we started painting about 2 hours before the seminar.  I chose to paint her with Mehron water-based liquid make-up so that it would be easy to for her to remove it after the event.  I knew that the paint only had to last long enough to take pictures and then stand around at the seminar.  I mixed up a concoction of blue and white and then ran it through a Badger airbrush powered by a Badger compressor.  The designs were brushed on with Paradise face paints by Mehron.  The only trouble that we had was sprinkles of rain that visited every once in a while that threatened to remove her paint job.

Kevin once again did a fantastic job on the outfit.  Using leather remnants from previous projects and leather belts from the local thrift shop, he was able to recreate the movie costume while adding a splash of his own flair to the details.  Unfortunately the leather didn't get along with the paint where it rubbed against Paris's skin, but ironically I think that it added a little bit of reality to the painting.  I imagine in the days of yore when they painted themselves for battle and then donned their leather armor, the paint would rub off in areas.  In addition to the Guinevere costume, Kevin had also prepared leather costumes for two other models and brought along his bodypainting kit to paint them.  One of his models wasn't feeling well and bowed out, but the other was painted with an intricate red scale design.  Also joining us on the patio was artist Jason Kimbell.  He was applying realistic scar make-up effects to his model.  Our projects were completed around the same time and we set off to do the photoshoot in an abandoned fountain in the city courtyard and then we were off to the seminar.

The seminar was moderated by Joe Gruberman and I was joined on the panel Jason, Kevin, Nathan Blaine, and one other guy (can't seem to track down his name, but I'll get back to you on that if your interested)..  Our models were brought in and we were given the opportunity to explain the process to those who hadn't seen us painting.  After that we were interviewed about everything from how we got started to where we planned to take our crafts.  Here are a few pics from the day. 

Kevin Speidel with leather designs
Kevin with 
models in

Model Paris Harshman in attack mode
Paris with axe
and sword

Catching a
ray of

Poised with
an aire of

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Unless noted otherwise, Photography and Artwork by Mark Greenawalt c2006

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