This year for LepreCon 32, I had two presentations planned. The first was to recreate the cover of Robert A. Heinlein's novel, "I Will Fear No Evil". A few years ago, the WesterCon sci-fi convention was held here in Arizona and I noticed that they had a blood drive going on in honor of Robert A. Heinlein. I had never read any of his work, but a friend of mine was incessantly urging me to read one of his novels. But it wasn't until last year's CopperCon convention when someone in the audience of my bodypainting demonstration asked if I had ever read "I Will Fear No Evil" by Heinlein. They mentioned that there was bodypainting referenced in the novel and that there was a used copy of it available for a buck in the dealer's room. I read this book and I was hooked. I've now read about 10 Heinlein books.
In trying to come up with an idea for LepreCon this year, I remembered the Heinlein blood drive and wondered if they would be having one at this convention. I contacted the Heinlein Society and they said that the blood drive hadn't been successful at the previous LepreCon so they were not planning to do one. I then tried to sell them on the idea of having me do a bodypainting recreation of a Heinlein cover as a promotional effort to get people to donate blood. They liked the idea and we went forward with the idea. They coordinated the event through United Blood Services and I started to produce the reproduction.
For this project I wanted to get a special metallic blue bodypaint for the model and the best paint that I have found for this application is Temptu from New York City. I contacted them and they were very gracious in donating product for the project since it was a non-profit organization. Next I bought a drop cloth and painted it with red and orange spray paint to replicate the backdrop. I had planned on painting the city also, but ended up taking care of that in photoshop. The only other prop that I needed was the red fabric and I picked that up at Jo-Ann's Fabric.
I searched high and low for the perfect model for this project and as of the day of the event, I still had not confirmed one. I got lucky though about twenty minutes before the demonstration when I asked Sabrina Poulsen if she would consider modeling for the project. The project entailed being topless in front of a bunch of sci-fi fans while being sprayed with cold, cold paint. Not the most glamorous assignment, but fortunately she accepted. I had painted Sabrina with a Celtic Knot at last year's CopperCon convention.
It took the full 4oz. of Temptu bodypaint to cover her with the blue and then I set out to airbrush each of the white stars using a Badger airbrush and compressor. Sabrina has red/auburn hair so I also had to paint her hair blue/black for the project. Overall the painting took just under 2 hours to complete. Here is a picture of the actual book cover for comparison (click to enlarge).
I'm told that the blood drive was a success and they had more donors than they expected. I'm proud to say that I was one of the donors. This was the first time that I had donated blood in a long time, and I must say that it gives you a great feeling.
The very first model that I had asked to model for the cover project above was Courtney Black. She declined due to the full nudity issue involved in the project, but she proposed that I paint her as the Sith Twi'lek from the new Star Wars Legacy comic book series. I hadn't heard of this character, but once she showed me one of the pictures of the character and I was on-board immediately. At the time, the comic book hadn't been released and we only had two "sneak-peak" images of the character to go by. Courtney is a gifted seamstress and costumer so she welcomed the opportunity to make the clothing portions of the costume and solicited the help of the AZ 501st Stormtrooper Legion to help make the tentacles. She even went the extra mile by ordering the sith eye contacts to make the look complete.
We started very early in the morning for this project and used Totally Tattoo brand bodypaints. I had to guess at most of the tribal designs that the character had since neither of the released images showed very much of the detail. Again, this took approximately 2 hours to complete the design and get her into costume. I was thrilled to know that Steve Colston, also known as Maul Rat, would be there in full Darth Maul costume for the photoshoot (note: Steve does his own make-up on himself...I wish I could take credit for how great of a job he does with this character). I have known Steve for a little while now and he is absolutely awesome as Darth Maul and very cool to work with. You can check out his website at www.MaulRat.com .
Once the photoshoot was complete, Courtney and Steve took off for the new west valley Samurai Comics store. Owner Mike Banks was taking part in the national Free Comic Book day and many of the 501st were on hand in full regalia. I couldn't go due to commitments at the convention, but I'm told that Courtney's costume and bodypainting was a big hit at the store. You can see some of the pictures from the event on the Samurai Comics website at www.samuraicomics.com and the photo page at http://pub34.bravenet.com/photocenter/album.php?usernum=2836929449&album=40228 . They also have a page at myspace where Mike Banks reports on the success of the event and says, "One of the highlights was the girl who came dressed as the Sith character whose name I can't spell-- she is the one who looks similar to Darth Maul-- red body, black tattoos... Oh my god! she was fantastic! Local artist Mark Greenawalt actually painted her entire body. The kids loved the Stormtroopers, but she gave the dads some nice eye candy to look at."
At the time of the convention, we did not know the name of this character. The premiere issue (issue #0) was released in June and since then the veil of secrecy on the name has been removed. The Sith Twi'lek is named Darth Talon. I thought that it was kind of ironic that I gave the name Talon to my Star Wars character that I painted four years ago at LepreCon 28.
Here are some additional pictures from the event:
Please feel free to also visit the bodypainting web pages from my previous three live demonstrations at LepreCon 28, 29, and 30 at the links below:
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Unless noted otherwise, Photography and Artwork by Mark Greenawalt c2006. All rights reserved.
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