I received my copy of Becstar Anthony’s book, Fantasy Makeup, in the mail yesterday.
Rebecca “Becstar” Anthony is a YouTube star in face painting circles. I have not actually watched any of her YouTube tutorials (I choose not to watch ANY tutorials) but have seen her work in Illusion Magazine (she was the cover artist of issue #11) and other images floating around the internet. She also teaches workshops around her home country of Australia.
She has just released her first self-published book and is selling it through her website. As I am a book person – I love to look at print photos, the smooth glossy paper, the smell… er, ahem… I decided to order a copy for myself.
The price was on the high side considering the size and content: AUS $29.99 + $5 worldwide shipping = $34.99 which converted to almost $40 CAD for me. The book contains 13 designs on 32 pages (including covers) on glossy paper with cardboard covers, coil-bound. Compare that to the Nick & Brian’s (Wolfe) Faces of Fantasy book which has 15 designs on 32 pages, all on cardstock, coil-bound which sells for $15.00 CAD… that is a HUGE difference. Granted Becs’ book has written instructions and some technique information at the front but if looking at number of designs vs cost it is about the most expensive book out there for face painting designs.
I know that self-publishing is a hugely expensive endeavour – most people don’t have the capital to invest in a print run big enough to keep the cost in the $15 range (usually 10,000 copies) so I know the price is higher to cover her costs.
My first observation is about the cover image (shown above) of the blue and white sugar skull which is what she has called a “bonus feature” which is the last design shown in the book. She refers to it as “bonus theatrical makeup look”. As a professional theatre make-up artist I have to take issue with calling this design, which is absolutely spectacular by the way, theatrical. This design would never read on stage… the details are too fine, too subtle and the impact of the bling would be completely lost in the distance from the actor to the audience. The products she used and described in her step-by-step are professional grade theatrical brands which I can only assume is why she has called this a “theatrical make-up look” as it has been done WITH theatrical cosmetics.
Each of the 13 designs are shown in five step-by-step photos with very brief written instructions under the first four photos. The brands and colours of the products used are noted at the top and Becs has also included a photo of the specific paints used, which in all but two designs, include split cakes. This is helpful for painters, I think, so that we can choose a similar colour if we don’t have the one listed.
In looking at the designs included in this book I would classify it as an intermediate level. This is due to the complexity of Becs’ line work and details. While most of the designs are relatively simple in that they are not extensive full-faces (in fact there are only two full-face designs out of the thirteen in the book) the designs she has provided on have a lot going on.
Most of the line work demonstrated is very skilled, and beginner face painters would require a lot of practise to be able to emulate the exquisite detail Becs has shown. While there are written instructions they are not specific about which brush was used in her examples or what type of brush technique was used – this information is important to beginners. Intermediate level painters will be able to assess what is required by looking at the results.
Personally, I found the selection of designs rather repetitive. There are: two butterflies, two brow designs, a one-side eye design which is butterfly-ish in shape and style, two forehead/eye designs, two asymmetrical butterfly-ish eye designs – all well done but very similar in general shape and style – and also a one-stroke dragon (shown on an arm and then on a back in the final photo), a full-face tiger and the full-face sugar skull.
While the designs are similar, very similar, Becs does use a variety of colours and different brush strokes within them. All are beautiful and extremely well done… I just would have liked more variety in the choice of designs, particularly for the cost of the book. All the designs are on females, and in looking at them, there are three that I would call unisex – bat brow, dragon and tiger.
The designs provided in this book are beautiful, and with some practise of the detailed brush work, most face painters should be able to use them on the job with great results. With the techniques mastered most should be doable in under five minutes. If you are a raw beginner it will take some time to get to this skill level. But as an inspirational tool this book will deliver as it does make you want to try to get the same results yourself.
The title is Fantasy Makeup but it doesn’t really demonstrate that in my opinion, except for the cover design. Something like “Glamour-Eyes” would have been more descriptive of the content which is 75% eye designs.
If you are a fan of Becstar you probably will love this book. I like the book, but, for my money I would have preferred a wider selection of designs or ideas and a little more content, but nonetheless, it is a nice addition to my library.