COSPLAY FEATURE: Dinny Grayson on Runaways Karolina Dean Body Paint
On every Cosplay convention that is fast approaching, cosplayers from far and wide would start to fret and look for ways to achieve that accurate look of the character they want to portray. One of the biggest struggles for a lot of cosplayers is the correct skin color. It’s easy if your character is human, with a little powder here or a little tanning lotion there then you are good to go. But how about those who have unusual colorings to them? Green, orange, blue or better yet a rainbow colored skin.
Body paint has been the best friend of cosplayers who usually have that kind of problem. And since here at Flipgeeks we would love for you to know more about body paint in cosplaying, we managed to do a short interview with a cosplayer who caught a lot of people’s eye last Nexcon. Along with an interview, she was gracious enough to actually show us how she did her unusual body paint.
Introducing the Karolina Dean cosplayer, Dinny Grayson. We did a short interview with her before she personally showed us how she did her body paint and watching her, you wouldn’t think it was hard to do despite how complicated it looked.
Flipgeeks: Let’s start with simple and typical cosplay questions so our readers would get to know you before we head on to our main feature. How long have you been cosplaying?
Dinny Grayson: Well, I’ve been cosplaying for roughly two years since 2013 but 2014 was really when I took off with cosplaying a lot.
What made you decide to cosplay?
I was with a couple friends at a convention and most of them were in costume while I was not despite them telling me I should dress up since I had a costume lying in my closet from a costume party I had attended a year before. After hanging out with them all day, I just thought it looked fun and interesting; I also like to try new things when the opportunity presents itself and so I went the next day in costume and the rest is clearly history because I absolutely love cosplaying. It’s definitely made me a better version of myself and I don’t see myself deciding not to cosplay anytime soon.
What’s your best cosplay memory?
There are plenty memories I hold super dear to my heart but one time as I was cosplaying Elsa, someone came up to me and said “You look like CGI.” And that just made me ecstatic and I still remember it to this day. It made me feel proud of all the work I had put in my cosplay and made me feel a lot closer to the fictional world I love.
Did you start either buying or making your own costumes?
I started buying my costumes (having them made to be specific) because, despite always having a love for the arts, I had no background whatsoever in any techniques and methods like sewing, working with rubber/foam, etc.
What factors helps you when choosing which character to cosplay?
This might sound a little lame but I’ve noticed most of the characters I cosplay are those I end up having crushes on HAHA. I generally go for characters that I get attracted to – with their design, personality, if I can relate to them personally, etc. However, another big factor I take in is if the process of making the cosplay will challenge me and teach me new things. It’s difficult but I love choosing cosplays that I feel like I can’t exactly do. It definitely motivates me more.
How long do you usually prepare for a costume?
Hahahahahahhaa I like to think I prepare in advance but I usually spit out my costumes near the dates I plan to wear them. Like, I’m planning to attend a convention in September with two new cosplays that will definitely challenge me in making them and guess what? It’s about a month away and I haven’t even started. Hahahah. Hahah. Hah.
Okay, so for the with the main part of this feature and interview, one of your most eye catching cosplay to date is your Karolina Dean cosplay last Nexcon. What made you decide to cosplay her?
First of all, thank you so much that means a lot! I decided to cosplay Karolina Dean because I almost instantly fell in love with her character while reading The Runaways comics. I mean she’s gay, vegan and an extraterrestrial – she’s pretty cool with just by saying that but there’s so much more to her. She is so interesting and flawed and beautiful. I relate to her a lot with how she deals with things in life. Also, her obvious rainbow-appearance dragged me into cosplaying her in her alien form and not in her human form because it seemed very challenging and I love that.
Was it hard to figure out how to cosplay her properly? With her hair, clothes and accessories? How long did you prepare for her?
I definitely spent the most time planning how to cosplay her but looking back, it wasn’t too hard at all. I think it took me 3 days to make her accessories, 3 days for dyeing and styling her wig, and a day to experiment the make up on my face. So about a week but since I was busy with school work and other things it spanned out for about a month. I basically made up methods in my head for her hair, body paint and make up and luckily my first attempts all proved to be the ones I ended up with. My fashion guru, Franko Bo, made my top, pants and armbands. I actually had never worn the entire costume nor done any body paint on my body until the day I wore it to the convention. I’m really glad all the prep went smoothly.
Karolina Dean’s most notable attribute is her rainbow skin color, I’m sure everyone wants to know this. How did you do it?
I honestly was a bit scared for this part because I decided to use body paint and I had never ever used it before. Ever. Though, I think it turned out okay so hooray! So basically, the ingredients to have Majesdanian skin are body paint, glitter, and setting materials. Not too out of this world, don’t worry.
I know that most cosplayer’s problem is that body paint/make up tends to rub off or melt when it’s too hot. Was it hard to maintain the body paint/make up while going around the convention?
Surprisingly, it really wasn’t. My paint ended up not transferring to anyone at all (Glitters however, did. Sorry guys.). It also helped that the convention was air-conditioned because anything wet will disrupt the paint. I held a cold water bottle once and my paint definitely tempted to mess up. However, besides that it was very comfortable. Just avoid water or moist things (I used a straw and a tumblr that didn’t moisten on its surface for my water) and you will be fine!
And now for the main event of this feature, we here at Flipgeeks aim for our followers and readers to learn more. If it wouldn’t be too much, could you show us how you did Karolina Dean’s skin?
- Golden Phoenix Body Paint (Basic colours in Yellow, Pink, Grass Green and White)
- Johnson’s Baby Powder
- Suave Max Hold Hairspray
- Make up Sponges (One side has holes)
- Foundation Brushes
- Eye shadow and Blushes (for contouring)
As mentioned, Karolina was my first ever time to work with body paint ever. With that being said, my method may be wrong I suppose for someone who has been doing body paint for the longest time but this is what personally worked for me. I start out with clean and dry skin and make sure I work in a cool area (Philippine weather does not help with this).
I then begin painting on pretty random patches of color on my arms, torso, back, neck and face. I use pink, blue (I had to mix a teal and white) and yellow. I don’t necessarily blend these colors together but I generally don’t use too harsh lines. I also like to use brushes for applying blue and yellow but a sponge for pink (It worked best with my body paint, I also do not own a third foundation brush haha)
Afterwards I chose to give a galaxy texture to my body paint by using a sponge with holes that I punched in to blend. I don’t swipe on the paint but simply dab to blend and the texture will show. I blend it everywhere between two colors that meet.
After all of that, I like going an extra mile by grabbing an old toothbrush and using white body paint to splatter on “stars”. Watering it too little won’t make decent splatters but watering it too much will cause the splatters to be undefined and fade.
Lastly, I grab baby powder and powder myself up generously.
To be even sparklier and seal further, I grab my Urban Decay Highlighter, which is basically cosmetics glitter, and brush that on my painted body. The final step for sealing is spraying myself with hairspray and be sure to don’t spray too close!
Lastly, I do the final touches for make up using eyeshadows, blushes and false lashes.
So, let’s do some additional questions regarding the body paint. What part of applying it is the hardest for you?
Probably the splattering of the white paint because even though I can paint my back, splattering on the white paint in that area is difficult. Also, I use my thumb and run it on the tooth brush to splatter it on so I get white paint all over my thumb by the end of it which I need to cover with whatever colour again.
What is the most enjoyable part for you while applying the paint?
Definitely the glitter, hehehehe. However, for paint alone, that would be creating the texture. It’s so much fun to see everything blend like a sky on your body.
How do you prevent the paint from rubbing off or crack?
I just sealed it like I was told by my friends who experienced body paint before and through my research. I guess the brand also helped with the paint not rubbing off or cracking or maybe the glitter? I’m actually not too sure as this is my first time using body paint but I’m glad that I had no trouble with it.
How did you discover that hairspray actually helps maintaining the paint on your body?
Research and Friendship. It’s the key to cosplay, basically. Hahah, but seriously, it’s true. I was told hairspray is what can set body paint as well and it worked!
Does any kind of baby powder work as a sealer?
I would like to think so! Mine is just drug store, your everyday baby powder. It also smells really amazing so that’s a plus.
Do you have a preferred brand for the paint/make up that you think works better?
I have experienced two brands of body paint in my life. Those are Snazaroo and Golden Phoenix. Personally, I really like how Golden Phoenix works on my body. It dries like water colour on paper while I find that snazaroo is quite creamy and still stays that way even after sealing. The only thing is Golden Phoenix paints, at least the ones I can find and buy, come in 10g only while snazaroo comes in much bigger amounts.
How long usually the paint stays on?
I would say, if you’re careful, it can definitely last the whole day. I had my Karolina Dean cosplay on at a convention from around 9am to 8pm. It never cracked, rubbed off or transferred.
Is it hard to remove the body paint afterwards?
Absolutely not! These are water activated and when I immediately hopped into the shower, the water stripped most of the colour. There were still some colours stained on my skin but a quick rub of my skin with a bath glove or sponge immediately removed it. No staining whatsoever. My bath was incredibly fun. Mint green and glittery.
What do you think the most important part that everyone who wants to try body painting for cosplay should know?
Give it a shot! It’s kind of intimidating (especially for those in tropical climates) but you’ll never know how something turns out until you try it and there’s no harm in trying! Learn to also work with your environment and what’s convenient for you when choosing paints and methods. Once you already have your paints, always test the body paint on a part of your face (I usually do by my jaw) and on your arm to check for allergies. This is so important. You want to look cool, be comfortable and stay healthy.
Thank you so much for your time Dinny! It was fun learning how you did that body paint. It was a great learning experience for us. I hope we can feature you again on your future cosplays!
Thank YOU ALL so, so much!! This was such a wonderful opportunity! I hope by doing this I have helped someone learn something new!
For more about Dinny Grayson, you can contact her thru:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/dingrayson