Those of you who are my Facebook friends will be familiar with this next project, but maybe you’d like to know the history behind it. I was inspired by Jame’s Cameron’s recent movie Avatar. The movie was a visual feast, and afterwards I stumbled upon some YouTube tutorials (video1, video2, video3) on how to modify yourself into a Na’vi using Photoshop. Sadly I do not have Photoshop, as I cannot afford it, but I can achieve quite a bit with my own hands. Yearning to try something similar to the Photoshop tutorials, Halloween presented me with the perfect opportunity to paint my face without receiving too many strange stares. Using my painting knowledge and experience from competing in technical makeup at drama districts and state, I decided to put my skills to the test.
Using acrylic paint, my brushes, and a lot of finger painting I was able to create a rather satisfactory result. I began with a blue base, added highlights to my upper cheekbones, forehead, and chin before counterbalancing these areas with shadow, especially under my cheekbones. I briefly switched from acrylic paint to watercolor to create a light, semitransparent blue wash around my neck.
I paid special attention to my nose, painting the sides a lighter tone to eliminate shadows where my nose actually slopes to my cheeks. Then I painted in faux shadows wider than my real nose to create the illusion that it is wide and flat, like the Na’vi. I painted the underside of my nose a darker shade in a cat-like triangle.
I painted my lips a blue hue before moving on to my eyes. I can’t enlarge my eyes to the size of the Na’vi, but I can adjust them slightly with illusionistic paint. I painted around my tear-ducts white, pulling the corners of my eyes in and downward to give them the sense of a cat-like tilt. This was enforced with a thick black outline, darker along the outer corners of my eyelashes.
Finally the painting was complete with some Na’vi stripes and glowing white dots symmetrically placed along the vertical axis of my face. Everything was done by hand with paint except for the irises, which were modified from my blue to bright green using Picnik.
I topped the look off with a blue sweater, a necklace rather reminiscent of the ones Neytiri wore in Avatar, and a couple of small braids. I had a blast playing with my paint and my imagination, and my Facebook friends got a kick out of it. Too bad we didn’t get any trick-or-treaters.
Disclaimer: Acrylic paint is not intended for use on skin, and has not been tested for such use. It is best to use skin-friendly stage/costume makeup for use on skin.
I personally have never had any adverse reaction to acrylic paint on my skin, but it’s a case-by-case basis, and shouldn’t be worn for long periods of time.