Painter’s Paradise

January 21st, 2017

January 21st, 2017

Warpaintopia Logo sml

2017 is bringing new and innovative changes to our events at Professional Beauty and we’re thrilled to introduce Warpaintopia, a collaboration on Sunday 26th February with Paintopia, the UK’s largest bodypainting festival, which showcases this most creative of make-up arts in its own dedicated space.  Featuring three dedicated bodypainting categories in the Warpaint Championships and debuting Online Alley, with YouTube artists painting direct from the Show floor – more about this next week.  We caught up with Paintopia Director, Jennie Roberts, to discover more about the bodypainting competitions that will play a bigger part in this year’s event.

“I am so excited to be collaborating with Warpaint Magazine this year at PB London.  As the Paintopia Festival, which is traditionally held in Norwich each May, is having a rest this year, this is a wonderful opportunity for some of the students and artists who would usually attend there to get involved in a competition with us in London!”

We will be hosting three categories: STUDENT, PRO and PROFESSOR’S APPRENTICE.

While full information and criteria required is available here, this is a brief overview of what each category entails.

2016 Prof Karen Huwen, Apprentice Kasia Kowalska, Model Cheryl Roach

2016 Prof Karen Huwen, Apprentice Kasia Kowalska, Model Cheryl Roach


This category is open to anyone currently studying a relevant media make-up or art based qualification and we will also accept entries from those who have graduated in the last 12 months.  Entrants are required to paint upper body only and will have four hours to complete their design.  They may costume the lower half and make a headpiece to accessorise.  The reason we ask for upper body only is so that it allows plenty of time for the students to showcase their skills and input detail into their finished design.

Judges will be looking for attention to detail, blending, linework, composition, interpretation of the theme, product choices, originality and overall impact amongst other things.


This category is open to anyone with two or more years’ experience in bodypainting and who markets themselves as a professional bodypainter in their skill set.  They will have (insert hours – 5 or 6) hours to complete their design which must cover more than 80% of the body.

Judges will be looking for attention to detail, blending, linework, composition, interpretation of the theme, product choices, originality and overall impact amongst other things.  In the case of the Pros, the judges expect a high standard of these skills to be demonstrated in the finished bodypaint.

2016 Group Shot

2016 Paintopia

Professor’s Apprentice

The Professor’s Apprentice is a Paintopia exclusive competition which pairs an experienced bodypainter with a novice or one who is less experienced.  The aim is to give competitors with limited bodypaint experience, or those lacking in confidence to go it alone, a chance to get hands on expertise and mentoring from their professional partner to boost their confidence.  Bodypainting isn’t something that you just ‘do’ and even artists who are used to working on canvas or paper admit that the human skin presents a whole new set of techniques to learn.  Even established face painters can learn from their Professor when stepping up to a full body paint, and it’s a fantastic competition to not just take part in but to watch in progress, as you see the Apprentices working under the tutelage of the more experienced artist.

Different brush techniques, large scale blending and detailing, as well as creating a design that works from all angles on a three dimensional human body are just part of the skills that are learned and honed during the 5 hour competition.

It’s a measure of the competition’s success that previous Apprentices have gained so much not just in technique but also in confidence, that they have gone on to enter the main Body Painter of the Year Competition at subsequent Paintopia Festivals, while others have gone on to become Professors themselves.

One former apprentice competed at the World Championships in 2014 and came back to the UK with a world ranking.  Since then she has won the Pro bodypainting category at Professional Beauty London in 2015 and 2016, and in 2017 she will be stepping out from behind the brushes and joining Jennie and Catriona Finlayson on the judging panel.

The Professors gain so much from the competition too, sharing their experience learnt through trial and error, and watching the Apprentices confidence grow even during the relatively short time of the competition.

2016 Prof Cheryl Howes, Apprentice Claire Huskisson, Model James Dyble

2016 Prof Cheryl Howes, Apprentice Claire Huskisson, Model James Dyble

Any established bodypainter will tell you that you never stop learning, and just as the Professionals continue to learn from the world’s best like Pashur, Matteo Arfanotti and Nick Wolfe – all regular Paintopia Guest Artists – so the Professionals love to pass along their wisdom to their keen and upcoming Apprentices.

Places for both Professors and Apprentices are still available for Warpaintopia.  To book your place visit  And don’t forget to register your model too.

Professor and Apprentice pairings are made by random selection and both parties will be put in contact with each other one month ahead of PB London to allow suitable planning time in the lead up to the competition.  Judges Jennie, Cat and Brierley are really looking forward to seeing what innovative and imaginative designs people come up with.

Previous Professor Apprentice Testimonials

Jennifer Livens

I’ve entered the Professor and Apprentice competition twice so far.  You get paired with someone who’s an experienced artist a short while prior to the event and you discuss, collaborate and plan your design together over the coming weeks.  It’s a great opportunity to meet and work with new people, you really get an insight into how other artists work and you pick up some great hints, tips and techniques along the way.  Paintopia has a fun, friendly, family vibe everyone’s so friendly and willing to help from the organiser Jennie and the crew to the influential guests like Pashur, Matteo and Nick Wolfe who are basically part of the furniture.  Everyone’s up for showing you something new and pushing your boundaries.  It’s an amazing place to be and a terrible place to leave, it’s a shame it only happens once a year.

Jo Banks

Paintopia 2014 was my first visit to a large event.  Initially I was only going to come along as a spectator, but I was persuaded to enter a competition for the experience.  A little nervous, I enter the Professor’s Apprentice not really knowing what to expect.  I was teamed up with Sabine Vogel as my Professor and couldn’t have been happier.  We discussed and agreed design ideas before the event and on the day (nursing a small headache after the party the night before) we started a four hour frenzy of painting.  It was so relaxed and fun, the time flew by and our design soon came together.  It was my first attempt at painting clothes (a little practice on Bill the day before) and I was really pleased with how it turned out.  We won First Place and I was ecstatic.  The whole experience was one of fun, friendship and learning.  To win was the icing on the cake, but the best prize was the friends I made.

2016 Prof Mel Broom

2016 Prof Mel Broom, Apprentice Shelley Gray, Model Louise Neale

Louise Maclachlan

First time I entered the Professor’s Competition, I was partnered with Fran Heaver as my Professor.  I had not got a clue about bodypainting.  I learnt so much and caught the bug, learning about application on a larger canvas, and then how to work under time constraints too.  It was mind-blowing learning at its best.

Cat Finlayson

I find this the most inspiring joint effort ever – not only do you plan, paint and panic with somebody new you boost both your creativity.  Last year my Apprentice and I had so much fun, we were just turning our model every 20 minutes to continue painting what the other had started.

2016 Prof April Hernandez, Apprentice Sarah Patterson, Model Ruby Trix

2016 Prof April Hernandez, Apprentice Sarah Patterson, Model Ruby Trix

Sabine Vogel

To paint with someone you have never met is a great challenge, but also a lot of fun.  It is called a Professor’s Apprentice competition, however I learned a lot of my Apprentice too.  Starters who are afraid of joining or think they are not good enough, just see it as a one at one masterclass to create a nice piece.  For my Apprentice Jo Banks, this was her third bodypaint and she still managed to get first, because of her great skills and a little coaching from me.  We were a real team.

Nicky Gardner

I was so lucky to have been paired with Cat Finlayson as my Professor for my first bodypainting competition.  She was both inspiring and supportive letting me have a go at creating the design.  I learnt so much more than I ever imagined just by having the privilege of painting with her.  Although we placed 2nd in the competition, which was just amazing, the experience of the day was by far the best thing that I have done in terms of face and body painting.  It was just brilliant fun and I would encourage everyone to give it a go.

2016 Prof Angela Youngs

2016 Prof Angela Youngs, Apprentice Katie DuMont, Model Daniel Kerry

Angela Youngs

Just over three years ago I entered the Professor’s Apprentice competition at Paintopia, having never ever body painted before – I was petrified.  Everyone was so friendly and supportive, and my professor Natalie was great.  Little did I know how much that would inspire me and I urge anyone to enter.   Who knows where it will lead.  Go for it!

Chloe Brady

The Professor’s Apprentice is the best thing that ever happened to me, it launched me into the world of body painting and I’ve never looked back since.  I was the Apprentice and my Professor was Erica Wafford.  She is an amazing painter and she taught me loads was very patient and let me not just apply the base.   I got to make props, do some fine line detail and gave me the confidence to get out there and paint.  We won the first year of the Professor’s Apprentice in 2012.  I owe a lot to Erica, Paintopia and the Professor Apprentice – without them all, I would not be where I am today.



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By Emma Rutherford

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