The below is a social media project I conducted back in 2017 in which I created a new “Corpse Paint” look everyday for 30 days.
This project was originally posted on the long since deceased blog, Modern Valkyrie, however due to the initial popularity of the project and its being shared by larger music blogs such as Metal Injection, these images and videos have continued to have a life elsewhere on Instagram, YouTube, and they commonly crop up in Google Image and Pinterest searches for ‘corpse paint’.
Even now, years later, individuals online still mentioned this project to me. So I decided to reshare this old classic on this, my current web home.
In honor of this most horror & glam loving time of year (October of course!) I decided to take it upon myself to try a little something new; something that would scratch my itch to indulge my consistent desire to dress up, listen to a crypt-full of black metal brutality, challenge myself creatively, while simultaneously parodying normality in the most ridiculously niche way possible…. Thus the 30 Day of Corpse Paint challenge was born.
The idea is simple; in the style of most ’30 day’ Instagram & YouTube challenges, I will create a different corpse paint look daily for 30 days and then post the results in the form of a portrait & time-lapse video of the process.
Throughout the 30 days I intend to dabble in all styles of corpse paint; from the Immortal geometric to the Ghall grotesque. I previously did a photo series in which I tested classic styles of corpse paint on ‘non-metally’ individuals going about their normal daily activities, and that project can be viewed here. The difference in this project is to explore many more variations of how corpse paint can be applied and challenge myself into testing out and creating new styles of the art.
*A note on Products Used: Really, any bloody facepaint or makeup will do. Generally, I prefer to use water-based facepaint over greasepaint as I find it easier to apply, gentler on my skin, and then easier to remove. In some cases I will also use “real makeup” such as goth foundation, eyeshadow or lipstick as they will more easily create the kinds of effects I am going for in a particular look. I am by no means saying the products I list are necessary for each look, they are likely just what I had on hand… And defiantly dont use your $20 Urban Decay eyeshadow on corpse paint just because you ran out of your $1 Wet&Wild shadow… Its a waste and really just looks the same on top of white paint.. Oops…
Day II definitely went in more of a sexy or goth metal chick direction… no complaints here.
Products: Manic Panic Dreamtone Foundation in Vampire White, Revlon ColorStay liquid eye pen in Blackest Black, Wet ‘N Wild eyeshadow in Panther, Mehron liquid face paint in black, & Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Witches
Here… I had an idea… But then I felt it came out looking kinda like an evil clown. Well anyways I had my CatThrone Feline Hunger T-shirt on and therefore decided to bestow the name Teddybear for Fenriz upon this odd corpsey look.
I felt yesterdays look was already getting a bit too similar to some of the previous styles, and jeez, its only day 6! So I decided to try something completely different and attempt a Carach Angren inspired look; in which I get completely carried away. O, and Drama Corpse? These guys constantly remind me of being in Drama Club as a kid… maybe its the over acting, masks, and velvet jackets… or maybe it was just the video scene of Seregor yelling “No! She is dead! She is dead! Mother is dead!” that forever instilled that connection in my mind.
For today’s corpsey creation I decided to alter the classic ‘eye socket & downward spike’ clean paint style commonly used by Mayhem’s prolific former vocalist, Dead, by mixing it with a bit of pagan/tribal warpaint inspired flair.
Today is a Behemoth/Nergal inspired look. There are some photos taken by Peter Beste of the Behemoth fellas prepping for their set on board 70000 Tons of Metal back in 2015 that show Nergal using some sort of white, spray on, hair color as his white base. Spray on hair color eh? why not give it a shot. Yes, I know that aerosol can foundations actually meant for use on your face do exist and can be quite awesome, but I have yet to come across one in white; and quite honestly its Halloween season, colored hairspray is available for less $4 or less pretty much everywhere. So whats there to loose in trying it out? Other than some time and pride if it ends up going terribly. ***If you know happen to know a white spray foundation, let me know! I may try it out on a future corpse)
For today’s look I wanted to try creating something that felt more ‘old school’ and classic, without going full-on Mercyful Fate. For this look I also decided to experiment with products and use grease paint rather than my preferred water-based liquid face paint. As mentioned previously, I dont particularly like grease paint; I find it gooey, harder to work with, harder to remove, and more damaging to my skin. I can see the benefits of using greasepaint as a performer, as water based paint will melt away with sweat nearly as fast as an ice cream cone in hell (ask the girl who tried using it for a full body painting adventure..oopsy), but for my purposes its hardly ever ideal. However, it dose seem to be the first product that comes to mind whenever I discuss corpse paint with others, so I do find it necessary to give it atleast a couple of chances throughout this challenge.
The first 10 days are officially done! *Insert celebratory black metal screech and lightning crash here* Now for just for another 20 days of my skin absolutely hating me… Getting there, all be it slower than than most drone chords.
Today’s look is a dirty, drippy, grotesque creation befitting only those who reside within the depth of Mordor and would make the common-folk of Middle Earth shudder… especially right at the beginning of the video where the paint threatens to com-out looking like a Juggalo; which is a truly terrifying fate.
I love the True Norwegian Black Metal book of photography by Peter Beste, and in that, especially the early images of Gorgototh featuring Kvitrafn and King of hell. Their paint in those images looks like organized chaos; explosions of darkness around the eyes and mouth that have a sense of violence and sullen evil to them. While I assume their paint was likely applied with the fingers, again, my goal isnt to copy well known styles but to create my own style inspired by them. Thus, I present to you all, the look I shall call Queen ov Hell.
I hate grease paint… I hate grease paint… I REALLY BLOODY HATE GREASE PAINT! But I tried it again….. why? FOR SATAN OF COURSE! Well, just morbid curiosity really. And it felt right when aiming to create another ‘old school’ inspired look that essentially crosses 2 earlier styles; The Relic & Teddybear for Fenriz.
Sometimes you have a makeup idea that your totally set on, try it, hate it, and then spend an hour trying everything to make the damn thing work. At least this time it was sitting home alone with a glass of wine and not while rushing to get ready for a show. O’Well, it came out looking kinda like a possessed sugar skull dolly, so here ya go
Ok, so at some point I had to give in and do an Abbath inspired corpse paint. It just wasn’t optional, and neither was the choice of super cheesy punny title – or so I’ll keep telling myself. The idea was to use the general design of Abbath’s classic paint but alter the the ‘triangle eyes’ with a more curved and pointed design following along the upper cheek and terminating at the tip of the nose. I ended up feeling like a black metal birdy, but hey, at least I had a great excuse to make all of those wonderfully ridiculous Call of the Wintermoon faces.
Products: Mehron liquid face paint in white & black, Revlon ColorStay liquid eye pen in Blackest Black
It is officially Day 15! OFFICIALLY HALF WAY THROUGH THIS CORPSE PAINT MADDNESS!! (Be sure to read that bit in capitals in a high-pitched screech).
So in honor of reaching this halfway milestone and continuing my tirade of the blackest of kvlt cheeseyness, I present to you (double bass roll please) BLACK METAL PANDAS!
Do you dare gaze upon their brutal cuteness? BUAHAHAHAHAHA
Products: White spray paint along with black acrylic paint & ink
Ok ok, so Pandas and kvlt cheeseyness aside, Lets get back to some actual corpse paint… on human victims.
This look was an attempt at using the ‘drippy’ painting style used on one of the pandas on my own face. The effect was achieved by mixing the black liquid Mehron paint with a fair bit of water and then literally blobbing it on and allowing it to drip down over a white base created with the leftover white hairspray from ‘The Nergie’ look. Effective use of supplies and new tricks, hey hey.
Products: High Beams temporary spray on hair color in white, Mehron liquid face paint in white & black, Revlon ColorStay liquid eye pen in Blackest Black, NYX liquid eyeliner in Black Vinyl
Skwisgaar is my spirit animal. I almost didn’t think I’d manage to get a video done today with so many other crazy October projects whirling about, but alas, day 17 is infact completed and here for your viewing pleasure… And its possibly one of my more ridiculous ideas so far… BECAUSE THIS IS THE METALOCALYPSE! It was only a matter of time before I parodied Deathklok. So here it is. Yes, yes, I know Metalocalypse/Deathklok isnt technically black metal, but its hilarious and they do have corpse paint, so I say it counts. BRUTAL
With this style I wanted to try a new technique for creating extra fine, fading, points – or ombré effect to use hokey YouTube makeup tutorial speak. Basically the look is created by mixing liquid eyeliner with a small amount of water and then drawing out your design with the light grey solution. The idea is to then add more liquid eyeliner to the remaining water to create a darker solution and draw inside of your previous outline, leaving some of the lighter grey at the edges. This is repeated maybe 3 or 4 times and then solid black is used to fill in the design wherever necessary. pretty nifty.
Products: Manic Panic Dreamtone Foundation in Vampire White, Mehron liquid face paint in black, Revlon ColorStay liquid eye pen in Blackest Black, NYX liquid eyeliner in Black Vinyl, & Elf cream gel eyeliner in Black
Today I just really wanted to with something simple… and sexy. So I went for one of my more comment corpse paint styles, which frankly, I’m surprised I haven’t done for this challenge yet. Anyways, I would usually do this style in the reverse order; filling in the eyes and painting my gnarly spikes outward; however yesterdays new technique experiment inspired me to attempt drawing an outline first an then fill in the black from there. It came out well, although I think I still prefer just winging it rather than having to color in the lines.
Products: Mehron liquid face paint in white & black, Revlon ColorStay liquid eye pen in Blackest Black, NYX liquid eyeliner in Black Vinyl
UNHOLY SHIT! ITS DAY 20! Only 10 days left! Whew! I suppose its about time I throw in a few styles that use that forehead ‘V’ shape that a couple of folks seem to enjoy (Gaahl, Shagrath, Dagon, ect). Personally I think such details fit better in more organic ‘rooty’ forms like this (or similar to Gaahl’s style) rather than in more graphic painting styles. I also decided to try using very wet paint again to allow the style to form somewhat on its own by following the drips and then darkening where desired.
Today’s paint is a cleaner, more graphic, variation of some of the recent ‘skull’ themed ideas. To me, this style feels a bit more ‘tribal’ like it almost belongs in thats scene from Pirates of the Caribbean where Captain Jack Sparrow is kidnapped by cannibals.. and I suppose thats pretty brutal too.
Products: Mehron liquid face paint in white & black
Who else thinks its about time to add some color back into this dismal world of black and grey? Don’t panic! I speak not of nightmares in neon and pastel, but color only FROM THE BLOOD OF THY ENEMIES! Who’s with me!?!
Products: Manic Panic Dreamtone Foundation in Vampire White, Elf cream gel eyeliner in Black, & BLOOD
Jeez, so Kvlt-y with the video titles lately, its time to be a tad ridiculous again… because lets all just be honest that corpse paint is pretty cheesy…. regardless of how damn brutally sexy it is too (except maybe no this one… this one is pretty AntiSexy). This style, inspired by Thy Antichrist’s unique take on corpse paint, essentially uses the premise of ‘age makeup’ but with the contrast cranked to the max to create what I can only describe as a demonic, angry, little old man.
Products: Manic Panic Dreamtone Foundation in Vampire White & Elf cream gel eyeliner in Black
Throughout this challenge a lot of people have been messaging to ask what kind of makeup I’m using, which is then generally followed by something along the lines of “because I want to go out to X-party or X-bar in corpse paint on Halloween”. While the products used in each individual style are listed on the blog (link in bio), I respond to messages with saying what product is used in the particular style they are asking about and what my favorite ‘basic’ corpse paint is, then inevitably, they come back to me with “O, well, I grabbed this $1.50 tube of facepaint at CVS. That will work right?”… /facepalm. Why do I bother giving details.
The simple answer is yes, that random cheap paint will work, however it does work in a very different way than a lot of the other products I have been using throughout this challenge. So for this video I decided to go for a style using the most ‘low budget Halloween budget’ style possible; aka, using nothing but that super shitty Halloween cream paint and applying it only with my hands. Things to note: This paint ‘will work’ however I would highly recommend going for a more ‘messy style’ while using it as it tends to give uneven coverage and smear even if you attempt to set it with powder. Also, I have sensitive skin, so this particular product actually ended up burning a fair bit…
My general tips for corpse painting:
For a basic application I recommend Mehron water based liquid facepaint. This product is fairly cheap, easy to apply in almost any fashion, and then easy to wash off. The product can also be sprayed with the Mehron ‘sealer’ spray to stop it from sweating off. However, if you plan on being in corpse paint for an extended period of time, this product will crack, particularly around the mouth.
For longer wear you can opt to use grease paint (which I hate) or ‘actual makeup’. Greasepaint is fairly difficult to apply, hard on the skin, hard to remove, and will need to be set with a cosmetic powder to stop your face from rubbing off on EVERYTHING. Actual makeup on the other hand (goth girl foundations, eyeshadow, liquid eyeliner) will usually give you the smoothest application and last the longest.
***A GENERAL NOTE ABOUT LIPS: Regardless of what kind of paint you opt to use, I highly recommend using an actual lipstick (particularly a liquid lipstick like the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lip) as opposed to any other random paint as it will be less likely to to crack and flake off or wipe off on glasses, straws, food. And really, nothing looks sillier than a drunk kid in corpse paint on Halloween with bare pink lips or water based paint running all over their teeth.
Also, why is this corpse vaping? Eh, because this style was after all aimed at people who want to wear corpse paint to parties and bars, so it was a decent excuse to play with some pretty smoke effects. Its Non-nicotine, I am not a smoker.
A friend challenged me to attempt a corpse paint style using only organic matter, rather than any traditional/modern form of makeup. So I jacked some flour from the pantry and ground up some drawing charcoal and mixed it up with some water. It felt pretty grungy, but I suppose it would certainly work in a pinch.
Products: Flour, charcoal, & water
In honor of further parodying the internet’s ‘makeup tutorial’ craze, for Day 29 of this challenge, I present… Boyfriend does my CORPSE PAINT!
allowing a slightly intoxicated metalhead near my face with makeup and mini spears… I mean brushes… Tottally terrifying. But safety risks in the name of art and metal, well id say it was pretty worth it
A huge thanks to @_the_lotus_eater For being up for this sillyness :p
Products: Mehron liquid face paint in white & black, & NYX liquid eyeliner in Black Vinyl
The end is upon us… WE HAVE REACHED THE FINAL RITE! Prepare your sacrifices, ready the flesh, and call forth your demons for the last ritual of Kvlt LeananSidhe!
Thank you to all who have followed me on this dark journey of creation, discovery, destruction, and despair.
A blessed Samhain to those welcoming forth the dark winter months ahead and a horrific Halloween to those embracing the darkness for only this night
a very special thank you to @_the_lotus_eater_ for being a wonderful shutter-monkey to help me film this… As well as allowing me to crawl around his basement half naked and covered in paint in just about every unflattering position possible….. Damn low ceilings