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The Art of Body Painting With Pictures

Updated on December 16, 2014

History of Body Painting

It is no secret that I am an avid fan of body painting (a.k.a. bodypainting). The artistic style of painting bodies with decorative imagery, might be a relatively new idea to the business world of marketing and advertising gurus however; the art of body painting itself, is as old as the Neanderthal man. Cave paintings in France and Spain, indicate that ancient peoples wore temporary body paint for a wide variety of reasons.

  • Protection: Body paint was worn as an added layer of protection from the scorching sun and skin chapping wind. Bat guano was mankind's first sunscreen. It was also the worlds first type of mascara, and eye liner.
  • Camouflage: Ancient people also used body paint, much like the military does today, as a way to disguise themselves from their impending enemies, or remain hidden while hunting wildlife for food.
  • Intimidation: Body paint was worn as an intimidation tool to scare off mortal enemies.
  • Religion: Ancient people put on body paint, during certain religious ceremonies, to call upon their ancient ancestors or spirits. In some religions it is still worn during ceremonies to keep evil spirits at bay. In India and parts of Pakistan, women were adorned in full body Henna tattoos.
  • Beauty and Social Status: Early Mesoamericans such as the Mayans, Incas and Aztecs wore body paints made from elements such as copper, tortoise, silver and gold. They painted their bodies as an entitlement or declaration of their social status. Both males and females, painted their faces to enhance their beauty. In early European history, Celtic men painted their whole bodies blue with blue paint called woad. It was is believed that the name Celt, derived from the Indo-European root ‘kel,’ which means ‘hidden.’ Their race of peoples were known as the 'hidden people', by early conquerors such Julius Caesar. The Ancient Egyptians outlined their eyes in a mixture of black charcoal dust and bat guano.
  • Medicine: Certain minerals and organic plant matter, believed to have healing and moisturizing properties, were used to paint a sick person's body. The Aloe plant has been used since the times of the ancient Sumerians. They first used the Aloe plant on their bodies to heal ailments and to moisturize their skin.


Much like the Celtic race, some native American Indian tribes were known to adorn body paint into battle. They would not only paint themselves but, they would paint their horse. It is safe to write that body painting was invented, as a way for individuals to appear unique, amongst their fellow mankind. From the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs to the late Pacific Islanders- adorning ritual make-up was a sign of power, battle readiness, patronage, and heritage.

Literal Breathtaking Masterpieces

For your viewing pleasure, entertain yourself by looking at these amazing images provided below. Since this hub was put together, over 60,000 body painting enthusiast, have viewed this article. Let us celebrate this creative achievement of mankind's heritage, and honor those people who are inspirational, in turning this ancient practice into live works of art.

Free Wallpaper

Fun Body Painting Facts

  1. In 1933 at the Chicago World's Fair, make-up inventor Max Factor was arrested along with his model, for causing a public disturbance. They were arrested when Max Factor decided to display his new make-up especially formulated for motion pictures, by painting the model's whole body in his make-up.
  2. Body paint artists' use a non-toxic paint manufactured by several different companies. This includes many of these manufacturers: Kryolan, Mehron, Snazaroo, Wolfe Face Art & FX, Ben Nye and Fardel.

  3. Body painting is considered the most ancient form of art.

  4. The term henna tattoo is inaccurate, because tattoos are the surgical insertion of permanent colored pigments. The correct definition for henna surface body painting is Mehndi.

  5. In 2005, the Playboy mansion calendar featured models wearing painted on bikini swimsuits.

  • To attend a body paint festival in the United States you will have to travel to either upstate New York for the American Body Arts Festival , and the US Bodypainting Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

  1. Wearing body paint for extended periods of time can cause heat stroke if your body is completely covered.
  2. The Pillow Book, (a Peter Greenaway film made in 1996) is centered around the art of body painting


An Airbrushed Look

Accomplished by using an airbrush and body painting
Accomplished by using an airbrush and body painting | Source
5 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Airbrushed Body Painting

How Do They Do That?

  • A lot of bodypainters today, use an innovative technique, known as airbrushing to achieve their looks. Of course there are many different application techniques and kinds of paint, which can be applied. However, not all of them are as fast as the airbrush.

"The speed with which the paint can be applied means an entire body can be covered in minutes."—Beth Asaff's blogger, Airbrush Body Paint


Airbrush Basic

Liquid Latex Body Paint Applications

Have you ever wondered what an artist uses to paint a person's body, to make appear as if the model was wearing clothes? A lot of the time, they are using a product known as Liquid Latex Cosmetic paint. Liquid latex body paint can be;

  • Sprayed

  • Dripped

  • Splashed

  • Dipped

  • Poured

  • and, Painted on!


Painting Liquid Latex Over Clothing by Brand X Latex

  1. Coating Clothing And Fabrics: According to Brand X Liquid Latex, can be used for many applications. You can create rubber coated clothing, masks, and other practical applications. You can coat nonabsorbent fabrics such as Spandex™, Lycra™, and denim, but does not work well with cotton or other porous fabrics. Latex can be applied to clothing while on the body and as is recommended. Latex is permanent in carpets, drapes and other porous fabrics and materials.

Liquid Body Paint

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