Red Corset, Body Painting, Doug Mitchel, Red Head

‘Body Painting’ by Doug Mitchel – A book review

Red Corset, Body Painting, Doug Mitchel, Red HeadBody Painting‘ ©  2008 by photographer Doug Mitchel is a kind of how to book of body painting.

The method used in ‘Body Painting‘ is to capture in 144 pages production photos of the works of 10 body painters while they paint a girl.

The production photos start with the model coming into the studio from the street, and on to the finished work.

Each production image has a caption explaining the step the artist is working on.

Then there are images of the finished piece, artists’tools and the artist him or her self…

Finally, there is a one page Q & A bio about each artist’s work and life as body painter.

Body Painting, Rear Cover, red white and blue winter sweater body paint, snow ball, white ear muffs, hot blonde
Eric Richardson's work with the hot blonde in Red White and Blue Sweater and Jeans is world-class

In the back of ‘Body Painting‘ is a few pages of lists of body painting tool and materials suppliers.

That’s pretty much the whole book.

Dry article so far, yes?

This is a dry text.

If you are a lover of body paint images and photography, as am I … this is not the book for you.  Consider instead one of the volumes from this Body Painting Book List.

The Body Painting Book List has some fine images of body painting.

Mitchel’s ‘Body Painting‘ is much more of how to body paint book for fine artists interested in becoming or dabbling in painting bodies.

It has very few fine images of body painted women.  In fact, only the images of the work Eric Richardson seem in anything like world-class examples of body paint.

Eric’s work is of the girl in the red white and blue painted on sweater with blue jeans.

Her image appears on the back cover.  It is fine body paint and the final few images of Sabrina, the model, are excellent.   Yet the captioning is incorrect.  While it points out that the body paint keeps the illusion going in a complete circle around Sabrina’s body, the text says the only thing real (not paint) in the image is the snow ball.  The ear muffs and boots are also not paint.

In many great body paint images, a bit of reality mixed in helps keep the illusion set.  Careful choice of these bits is part of the artists/photographers job in creating the final images.

Again, Eric’s work with Sabrina was the only really fine work I noticed in ‘Body Painting‘.

While I found issues with these images as well, this is understandable as the overall goal of ‘Body Painting‘ is how-to body, not creation fine art images.  I’m sure in real production, Eric’s small issues could have been reduced, eliminated or worked around.

What small issues?

  • Butt crack not painted or retouched … In my experience, this is often a difficult area to get paint, especially brushed on makeup style paint, to adhere.  Possible work arounds?  More diligent application or different paint type, or slight angle of waist in shooting to hide the crack, or photoshop.
  • Sabrina’s blonde hair is turning red from paint, which is probably a form of powder based makeup.  Look closely and you can see the distracting bright red in her blonde locks.
Body paint blue jeans, red white and blue winter sweater, hot blonde, body painting, Body Painting, Doug Mitchel-1362
Great Body Paint Illusion ... Can you see missing paint sliver in butt crack and stray red paint in blonde hair? Still a great piece of work.

The work of the other 9 artists looked like child’s play.  Not saying I could do better painting.  Not my skill.  Look for example of the work of Angela Kirking.

Angela Kirking, Body Painter, Body Painting, Blue fairy sprite, florescent lime hair tubes
Finished shot of body painter Angela Kirking with model JoAnne, notice lazy eyes ?? Does this shot flatter the work ??

Either Angela or Mitchel failed in these final photos to create what for me is an artful work of body paint in pictures.

Kirking Body paint fairy
Production Photo Examples from Kirking's work

The back page of ‘Body Painting‘ promises this 8.5″ x 11″ and less than 1/2 inch thin paperback will be “both a visual feast … and an instructive how-to book.”

It is an instructive how-to book and may be a good choice for aspiring body painters.

Eric Richardson, how-to, Body paint blue jeans, Eric Richardson has definite body painting skills and here is a page from his production shots where he paints onto lovely Sabrina a pair of literally 'skin tight' blue jeans
Eric Richardson has definite body painting skills. Here in a page from his production photos, Eric paints on to the lovely Sabrina a pair of 'skin tight' blue jeans.

There are, IMHO only a couple of feast worthy shots.  Again, if you are hungry for a body painting visual feast, try volumes from this Body Painting Book List.

If you are interested in trying to body paint people yourself, ‘Body Painting‘ might be a good choice for you to consider to learn about this art form.

The production photos give, along with their captions quite an inside glimpse into how a body might be painted.  The many artists’ works profiled in ‘Body Painting‘ use different methods, air brush, paint brush, and so on to apply paints.  Each artist has their own particular style and you may well have things to learn from their technique.

For $10-$20.00 on Amazon, this book might save you much more than that in time and money.

As there is a huge Look Inside Preview available, you can view the extensive preview of ‘Body Painting‘ on Amazon.  Check it out, then decide for yourself.

To see this free preview,  click here then select “Click to Look Inside” once on Amazon.

To buy ‘Body Painting‘ on Amazon, click here.



For a listing of Books Reviewed on, click here.


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