To say it had been a manic week is a little bit of an understatement! But within the space of seven days I ended up with three trips to London under my belt. Two of which were for the Paradise Jam at Paradise Wildlife Park, and the second was for the Warpaintopia competition at Pro Beauty London.

Firstly the Paradise Jam. I had first attended this event in 2018 and it's a lovely gathering of face and body painters getting together, painting, socialising, trying new products, engaging in competitions and generally having a lovely time. It's events like these where you can really see what a great community we are. It's so nice that the majority of us see each other as colleagues rather than competition, and it is such a lovely encouraging atmosphere at anything like this. It was quite a busy one this year as it appears it's getting more and more popular, but I still managed to get my paint on! I took down my sister Zoe for her first time coming to an event like this and she modelled for me. I wasn't quite sure where I was going with this other than I wanted to do something ocean-y, and for some reason everything I do lately ends up blue?! It is my lucky colour though, and so far 2019 has been pretty damn awesome, so maybe they're linked? Haha.. Who knows!


The above was created all with Kryolan's Nebula Airbrush makeup which is such a joy to work with, as well as the Kryolan Airbrush and TC-501C compressor. I absolutely adore this compressor, it has all the power of my old Iwata Studio Jet, however is half the size! Which is just absolutely perfect for when you have all this paint and makeup to carry around too! I also used my absolute favourite Pure Pigment in Blue from them. I am literally in love with this product <3

Fast forward a week and it was time to head back down to London but this time for Pro Beauty London and the Warpaintopia competition. It was my second year coming down for this one. I painted the absolutely lovely Hayleigh Johnson who was just an absolute joy to work with. The theme was 'Inspired by Walt Disney' which is just perfect for me. I decided to embrace my inner theme park geek by working along the idea of concept art. I wanted some part of the design to be like white paper with simple line concept like drawings on, then merging into the full colour reality that we see at the likes of the Disneyland Parks. I used things like Big thunder Mountain, the hatbox ghost from Haunted Mansion and an 'Its A Small World' doll to name a few.

We placed 2nd in the competition winning a Silver medal and also the most gorgeous Illamasqua clutch bag and goodies! 


The whole design was freehand airbrush using my Kryolan Airbrush and TC-501 C compressor, and then predominantly using Pro Air Airbrush paints, with a little Cameleon Bodypaint and Kryolan Nebula thrown in. I also used some of the Kryolan Pure Pigments again to add another layer, and finished with lots of sparkly glitter. We had 5 hours to complete the paint, which isn't long at all, especially when just before lunch I decided to try and wipe off half of what I had done because I didn't like it! This didn't go smoothly, it resulted in a bit grey mess which took a lot of layering to try and hide the dull greyness. In an ideal world I would have fully removed it before moving on, but time was SO limited - and with only 2 hours remaining upon the return from lunch and still a fair bit of front detail left to finish, and the entirety of the back and face - I just had to crack on and hope for the best!


In the end I'm happy with how the detail work turned out, especially on the legs. I'm not so sure about Donald, but I love Snow White and the It's A Small World Doll. Sometimes I look at the pictures and like the blue concept art section, sometimes I don't - however this was the area that could have very easily just looked like a dull grey smudge.. So it could have been so much worse! I wasn't happy with the back at all, but it was a mega rush to get it finished and other people seemed to be impressed by it. And I just wish I had had a little bit of extra time for lashes and a few more precise details on the face, but alas thus is the nature of the competition environment!

I must admit, I am a little bit tired of competitions. Not in a negative way and not that there's anything wrong with them, the Warpaintopia one is run by a wonderful team and it's always a lovely experience. But they are quite exhausting and mentally and physically draining, both in the creation process but also, as calm or as carefree as you may feel about it, being judged for your art over and over again can take its toll, both before, during and post painting.

I think these kind of things are such a great platform for new artists to showcase themselves and get themselves seen. I've been entering competitions for a while now, I pretty much started my career in this industry with competitions as I entered one with my 3rd ever body paint. I do enjoy the adrenaline rush, the practise you get working against the clock and learning to work to a brief. They are such great practise for building up your stamina, skills and expertise to prepare you for the kind of conditions you would face in the working world.

I do however feel I'm at a point where I have proved I can work in those conditions not just to the industry, but mainly to myself. Competitions for me have always been about setting my own personal bars and goals, and winning or not is a completely separate matter compared to how I judge myself in them. They are almost like the body painting version of an intense workout, both mentally and physically.

I also feel that as most of my work like this has always been in fast paced environments, I would love to be able to spend that little bit of extra care and time making sure to get things perfect and precise. Body paint competition conditions really aren't like that, it's all about getting as much bold impact as you can as quickly as possible. 5/6 hours is not a long time to completely cover a body! As I want to head into the makeup world a little more, I want to play around with more editorial looks and the studio environment where things have to be really precise. I think being able to fully master both worlds is the key to becoming a versatile artist in the working world. Although I am a weird one, I guess usually people don't have a problem with the precise stuff, but the painting at super speed stuff. I'm just so used to painting in a lightening speed environment, that I need to remind myself it's okay to be calm and precise and not rush sometimes!