Body Painting Guide – GGP Studios, April 2011

An early GGP Studios Design


Other GGP Studios Body Paintings

A Boston Phoenix interview with yours truly about my experiences with body painting.

The purpose of this document is to provide a prospective model with a detailed description of what body painting is all about at GGP Studios. 


Body painting is a unique and interesting art, where painting meets photography in some very special ways. The basic idea is that an artist paints simulated clothing or any other design directly onto the model’s nude body and photographs the finished design. Once complete, although the model is completely nude, a casual look at the photograph will convince the viewer that she is wearing a swimsuit or colorful leotard with designs on it. This is achieved both by the paint design and the photographic lighting etc. Most models get a real kick out of looking in the mirror, once the painting is done, and seeing themselves as clothed even though they know they are nude! It’s one of the most fun and rewarding areas of modern art/photography! It's a really unique and exciting experience that every model should try at least once.
I use professional grade theatrical body paint makeup, which is completely non-toxic, FDA approved, hypoallergenic, and water washable. Some colors come off easier than others, but I haven't had anyone need to go home with paint on them (except when they want to show a friend or SO). I also pay attention to maintaining my paint and brushes etc, in a clean, sanitary condition to keep my models safe.

The painting process goes like this:

1) Some music of a genre that the model enjoys is started (usually from her own iPod).

2) The artist reviews with the model, what will be expected of her. A brief break to allow model to use the bathroom; once painting starts she can’t go again until all shots of the painted artwork are complete.

3) The model gets completely undressed and puts her hair up, to allow access to her neck and back.

4) Four un-posed pictures, sort of like nude mug shots, for documentation purposes, will be taken before and after the painting is done, so the artist can compare the before and after views. These shots are only for the artist’s use, and can be excluded from the release if desired. Pictures may also be taken during intermediate phases of the process.

5) The model stands in front of the artist, who begins by painting an outline of the front of the design onto the model.

6) Most of the "above the waist" portion of the design is completed, leaving the face and small details for last.
7) The model sits on a stool and opens her legs, so the artist can paint the bottom front part of the design. It is necessary to cover all the way down between the legs so that the clothed effect is maintained in any position the design will be photographed.

8) The model next stands with her back to the artist, and her feet apart, and bends over, so the design can be continued to the rear and up onto her backside.

9) The model can then return to standing in front of the artist, and the rest of the design, both front and back, is completed standing up. Some designs may cover the model from head to toe, and others may leave the face or other parts unpainted.

10) The painting process can take 2 or more hours depending on the complexity of the design.

11) After the design is complete, the model moves to a lighted set where a number of shots of the finished artwork will be taken. Sometimes props or headpieces (like ears or horns) may be added to enhance the overall effect.

12) Now it’s the model’s turn to bring the design to life! It's important for the model to contribute some feeling and emotion to make the design look its best during its brief existence.

13) After all the photos are taken, the model showers off the paint, (or puts on sweats to wear it home), and the beautiful design we spent hours creating, lives on only in our images and our memory.

That’s it! Some of that may sound a little scary at first, but the artist is good at making models feel comfortable fairly quickly, even in what might otherwise be awkward positions. Music, conversation, humor and fun are all important parts of the process. Many body painting subjects find it to be as enjoyable as a spa treatment or massage, if you relax, and keep the right frame of mind. I had one model say "It's an experience I'll remember fondly all my life". That's all I could ever hope for! Many can’t wait to do it again! Body Painting isn't something to be endured, it should be enjoyed! It's perfectly normal to enjoy being touched and pampered and become part of living art!

Chatting and Humor

Since painting sessions are hours long, we have a good opportunity to learn a lot about each other. I've had some very interesting conversations with models. I've made many new friends while painting them! It's one of the things I enjoy most about the process!

Notes to models:

1) The model needs to shave her underarms, legs, and pubic area completely smooth, prior to the session. She must also not apply any body lotion or oil that might cause the paint to not stick properly.

2) The model needs to be comfortable with being totally nude during the body painting session.

3) An attempt will be made to provide some privacy in the area of the studio where the painting is done, and where totally nude shots are done. Session time will be chosen to make it less likely that the studio will be shared by others. Complete privacy cannot always be guaranteed, but a sincere effort will be made.

4) At some points the model will need to have her legs apart so paint can be applied to her private parts. It's perfectly OK to have a tampon inserted during painting. No need to cancel a session due to having your period, as far as the artist is concerned.

5) A certain amount of touching by the artist should be expected. Most touching would be to non-sensitive areas such as a shoulder, the back, or the waist, but other touching will likely occur as well. At the beginning of the session, the artist will ask the model's permission to touch her intimately.

  Frequently Asked Questions: