You can see my work here:

or in motion here:

My Proof:

My name is Paul Roustan. I've been painting on women and men for nearly 10 years.

My work has been featured in a variety of outlets such as the Chicago Sun-Times, Providence Journal, Playboy, Airbrush Action, DIG Boston, Spike TV, Skin Wars, Sabado Gigante, The Queen Latifah Show, Hollywood Today Live, and various blogs like BoingBoing, The Blaze, Laughing Squid, io9, Gizmodo, among others!

Edit: Thank you for all the questions and your interest. I'm out!

Comments: 141 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

OpenSign29 karma

Ever get a boner?

RoustanBodypaint56 karma

Does the Pope poop?

Yes. Every time I paint my wife it ends up as anyone would imagine.

JohnWad17 karma

What about when you paint other women?

RoustanBodypaint43 karma

Not really. It's just a naked woman. If they were bumping and grinding on me while I paint, that might be a different story. But 99.9% of the time, everyone is just standing around, while I paint with tunnel vision, worrying about the task at hand.

KomodoMoses18 karma


RoustanBodypaint16 karma

I never though about the models being "patients" ha!

but yeah, sometimes a flinch from the model throws off a line or two, but there are always ways to fix or improve things. So, nothing has ever been terribly ruined.

Consistent tickle reactions can get annoying, but it's part of the gig. I definitely roll my eyes when they over dramatize it. But, they are just having a good time.

kinbladez18 karma

Serious question, when you first started did you find it sexually arousing or has the human body always been a canvas for you? I ask because I've often wondered if it is simply a matter of how you're focusing on the task at hand, obviously this is an art form so it's not so much intended as a "sexually appealing" art but the human body is by its nature a sensual thing. So yeah, have you always been able to view your subjects as canvas, or was it a challenge when you started to focus on that alone?

RoustanBodypaint45 karma

The first time I painted someone, I was nervous in unfamiliar waters. I bought a bottle of wine for the model, the photographer, but mostly to loosen myself up.

Ever since, all studio work has been nothing but professional. No one ever crosses the line. And now, I've painted so many people it's just as benign as brushing my teeth.

Early on, painting guests at night clubs, things could get a little weird because there were many guests who never received the kind of attention that I, a total stranger, would give them.

So, things would happen here and there. For example, I've had to have a gal removed from a club because she would not leave me alone. I've made a gal orgasm while painting her. And I've made an insecure woman who beat breast cancer feel like a ray of sunshine when she gained the strength to remove her top.

Other than that, I mostly work with pro people, and it's always just another day on the job.

kinbladez11 karma

That's fascinating.. I hadn't even considered the sensation from the model's point of view, I had always just seen some of the work and thought to myself, there is no way I could be professional about that, especially in some of the more personal areas. Your work is incredible, though, and thank you for doing this AMA and for answering my question!

RoustanBodypaint6 karma

Thank you for your interest!

OpenSign9 karma

How exactly did you make her orgasm?

RoustanBodypaint13 karma

I was painting her chest.

ExpectoPatronum132 karma

I thought about this for a bit. WHERE ARE MY ORGASMS?! We worked together enough times. Fuuuuuck.

RoustanBodypaint2 karma

Ha! Stop being so professional.

kinbladez10 karma

I also feel like you missed a terrific opportunity to provide your "proof" for this AMA painted on a person. js.

RoustanBodypaint10 karma

I agree. ABSOLUTELY! Wish I could set something up real quick for this. But, here I am on a saturday morning after two long days on a movie set. The last thing I want to do right now is paint :) The couch is my best friend today.

ExpectoPatronum1318 karma

What happens when you take a model out to shoot in the woods in the summer? Does she have to check for ticks afterwards? ARE THEY IMPOSSIBLE TO SEE ON BLACK PAINT?!

I know the answer to this one...I hope you're doing well out in LA. I feel very fortunate that we have gotten to work together so many times and I'm thrilled about your book! I'm going to see what I can scrape together because I would love a copy.

RoustanBodypaint14 karma

Haha! I was thinking exactly about our shoot together as I was reading that... then you tricked me!

ExpectoPatronum136 karma

I mean. It's a serious concern.

RoustanBodypaint9 karma

Lime Disease is not something to play with.

Napkins8613 karma

What is the most awkward situation you have been put in as you painted one of your models?

RoustanBodypaint22 karma

I once picked up a model and drove her to her boyfriend's home to paint her. He forgot to leave her the key, so we spent half an hour trying to find a way in.

As I started setting up to paint her in the basement, I heard her scream in the kitchen above. I raced up and saw a bat flying in a panick back and forth.

We spent another half hour chasing the bat out of the house.

Eventually, as I was wrapping up painting her, someone entered the house. It wasn't her boyfriend, but her boyfriend's mom. Apparently, it was the mother's house, not the boyfriend's house. And she had no idea what was going on.

I'm a pretty chill guy, and it was easy for me to relax the situation. But it was definitely awkward.

The mom was cool, she just asked the model to at least let her know in the future.

I worked against better judgement on this one. But I was heavily motivated by the result.

TLDR: Broke into House, Had a Bat Chase, Got Caught by model's boyfriend's mom.

Libertus8212 karma

He's currently running a kickstarter to produce a book. Interested? Check it out!

RoustanBodypaint6 karma

Yes, thank you!

I've been wanting to make this book for years without going through a publishing company. I just want to make it my way without anyone telling me what works and what doesn't.

It's a cool book, please check it out!

Libertus823 karma


RoustanBodypaint3 karma

Great! :) Now I have to try and figure out who you are :)

radams500012 karma

It's cool how you don't just paint super heroes on naked chicks. Have you ever spent a whole day painting someone, stepped back, and said, "ooh, that looks like crap.?"

RoustanBodypaint14 karma

Definitely. That's all part of the learning process. I always think some part of the body painting looks like crap, but there's also an area that looks really great. No matter what, I don't really sweat the negatives.

a_cool_username_9 karma

No matter what, I don't really sweat the negatives.

I see what you did there.

So how does perspiration affect your work?

RoustanBodypaint17 karma

Ha! Perspiration hasn't been too much of a problem. For the most part, the models being naked and airbrushed makes them VERY cold. But there are some models that manage to sweat even when cold.

This generally happens just in the armpits, but sometimes down the back. As long as the paint is not touched it stays fine.

However, in the case that I need to paint someone who will sweat a LOT, like a gogo dancer, I need to use an alcohol based makeup which is MUCH more durable. Like a temporary tattoo.

This stuff can withstand sweat MUCH more effectively. The person could even jump in a swimming pool and it will stay strong for a while. It requires an oil based cleaner to remove more easily, like baby oil or dishwash soap.

toiletduckling10 karma

What's one thing you always wanted to paint on your subjects?

RoustanBodypaint27 karma

I've been really wanting to do a series of older models, 60+.

I want to paint a picture of them when they were aged 5-9 on their torso Then I'd have the model do something fun that a child would do, like swinging on a swing set. And I'd try to photograph the model in a pure moment of joy.

The idea would be about the "inner child".

I've tried to set this up now three times, but it fell through each time for various reasons. Still hoping to get that accomplished. It's been difficult for me to find the right models for this project.

TheBeardedGM8 karma

How do you find your models?

RoustanBodypaint12 karma

I started finding models on

After I completed maybe 4 photo shoots, and developed a basic portfolio, before I knew it models were asking me. Eventually, it got to the point where I could start being selective.

Nowadays, I prefer most to paint people I've painted in the past. I think the developed relationship is a major part of my work. Whenever I paint a new model it's like starting from scratch, which I don't mind. But I taking things further and further, and building upon what I might have done in the past with the same models.

I still use Model Mayhem here and there when I'm looking for a specific look.

MrDubious8 karma

Hi Paul! Saw the link on G+, thanks for doing an AMA!

You're an artist in an unusual medium who has achieved some measure of notoriety. Does that translate into dollars and cents, and if so, how did you begin monetizing your artwork?

RoustanBodypaint9 karma

I make a nice chunk of money. The problem is in the consistency. I have to constantly hustle for work as a freelancer. But, when I do have something lined up I get paid a lot.

If we ranked pay by the hour, I'm wealthy. If we rank it by the year, I'm broke :)

Things have been much easier and efficient since I moved out to Los Angeles in the last 3 months.

peachykeen-ontheball8 karma

Have you ever felt that the body (canvas) is too less a space for your art? What do you do in such instances?

RoustanBodypaint4 karma

I don't enjoy painting the arms too much because that always feels like it's not enough space. So they end up becoming more decorative very often.

Other than that, I feel like the body is the perfect canvas for me.


How did you begin bodypainting? It doesn't seem like an art form that you would encounter every day, much less decide to pursue it yourself.

RoustanBodypaint8 karma

My story is even more unusual than most body painters.

I've always been a cartoonist/illustrator. In 2005 I was working as an editorial illustrator for an adult magazine. I was also airbrushing t-shirts on the side.

The idea occurred to paint a model for one of the magazine's photo spreads. I ran it by the founders of the mag, and they said, 'let's give it a shot!'

I became obsessed with it and never stopped painting people after that.


How many bodies have you painted in your decade of body-painting?

RoustanBodypaint9 karma

I've painted around 300 people for my own studio work, and thousands of people commercially.

ragestar232 karma

Are you anybody's go-to body painter or is that number really common amongst other body painters?

RoustanBodypaint3 karma

I'm not really sure where I stand compared to other body painters. I think compared to some of the most popular body painters, I've painted less than average.

But yes, I do have several contacts that hire me regularly.


What was the worst experience you've had while painting?

RoustanBodypaint15 karma

I had this one job that was a 5 hour drive away. About 4 hours in, the ball bearing on my car went bad and was locking up.

I decided to keep driving to get to the gig. Hoping to find a mechanic to repair the car once I was there.

Because it was Saturday, I couldn't find anyone to do the job, so I figured I'd worry about it after the gig.

As a result of my distraction, and to keep a longer story short, I made a series of mistakes that led me to disregard the flow of air and the overspray of my airbrush. This new brand of red I was trying unknowingly had more overspray than any other product I had ever used.

Within an hour or so, the photographer who had hired me noticed a ton of overspray on much of his stuff, all over his house. To put it lightly, he was not happy.

I never felt smaller in my life being so clearly at fault.

Ultimately, he was too distracted to do the photography that he had planned and he decided to cancel the whole thing even though I was about 95% done.

It was a tremendous bummer to hose off the model in the back yard so no further damage would happen. Not only from embarrassment, but because here was a finished body painting that would never see the light of day. I usually don't care about the body painting being removed, but to not document it at all it was something I'd never done. It only existed for a small handful of people to ever see.

In addition to that, I of course was not paid for my time and work, I ended up having to have my car towed from New Hampshire to Rhode Island. I paid for the cleaning of the photographer's property, And I missed out on a gig that evening. I lost a LOT of money that day.

Bums me out to even bring it up.

TLDR: I effed up bad! Bad day! Car Broke Down. Overspray everywhere. No one ever got to see the body painting. Lost a lot of money.



Wow. I can't really imagine a suckier situation than that.

mightybird5 karma

he did get to hose down a model in the backyard.... there are worse things.

RoustanBodypaint21 karma

Well... to shatter your fantasy, it was a male model.


If you had to choose just one, what has been your favorite work yet?

RoustanBodypaint4 karma

So tough to choose, but this one always comes to mind when I'm asked this question.


My eye was caught by that one as well. Is there any particular reason (besides the boyfriend's mom part)?

RoustanBodypaint5 karma

There aren't too many body paintings that I have done that were more pure.

My interest in the concept was out of genuine curiosity, not motivated by money or tackling an idea. My painting was very fluid and effortless like I wasn't even doing it. It was a very meaningful concept to the model. The photograph and pose came out very strong. These are many of the things I hope for when completing a project, and this one nailed it all.

It was just perfectly pure. Genuinely Fun. Everything I live for.

danamongden4 karma

Gear: What brushes do you use? How many do you have hooked up and live during a typical session?

Air: What is your air supply? Personally, I use a 20lb CO2 tank, and as such, I don't feel safe painting inside due to the risk of tank failure. So I mostly paint at outdoor events. If you use a compressor, does the sound ever become an issue? What PSI do you have your regulator set for?

Paint: What paints do you use? Who is your supplier? How do you determine their safety for skin? How easily do they clean off?

RoustanBodypaint6 karma

I generally have one or two airbrushes hooked up. It's usually either an iwata hp-bcs, a badger omni 3000, or a Paasche VL

I have an iwata Hammer Head Shark compressor for my home studio, and a Badger TC-910 for travel. I use around 35 psi for body painting. It's often recommended to use 10-20 psi, But I push it a little more because I use siphon fed airbrushes not gravity. neither of these compressors are very loud.

My favorite brands of body makeup are Mehron Liquid Makeup, European Body Art Vibe and Endura, and Temptu Dura Air. The water based makeups come off very easily. The alcohol makeups take a little more scrubbing. Usually baby oil helps remove those. These brands are FDA compliant for use on skin.

Pick2343 karma

What's it like painting (for) all them assholes?

RoustanBodypaint5 karma

I'm not sure I understand...

(Literally) I haven't painted too many assholes, because most people's holies are not exposed. Just some coverage through the crack is enough.

(Figuratively) which assholes are you talking about?

Pick2343 karma

:) both

RoustanBodypaint2 karma

It's exactly like when two unicorns mate in front of a double rainbow.

Stuifiee3 karma

(probably) simple question, but what is in your opinion the best body painting you've ever made?

RoustanBodypaint5 karma

The best body paintings are the ones that I don't think too much or struggle over. They just come out naturally, effortlessly.

Kinda like those days when you hit every shot playing basketball.

The model nails the expressions, the paint flows easily, and the photo comes out smooth.

It's like a zen like feel and can be hard to achieve. But, I've done it a few times. I, of course, wish I could do it every time.

idknickyp3 karma

it seems like a number of your shoots are out doors, how do you do this logistically? Specifically the one where the girls are painted to match the houses their standing in front of (looks a bit like San Francisco). I would guess the cops/neighbors aren't particularly keen on quasi-naked people around.

also, you seem to paint primarily women, why?

RoustanBodypaint7 karma

I take a very guerilla approach to street photography. Ask forgiveness later. Know what I mean?

I try to strategize as much as I can, but there is a lot you can't really control. So, my plan is to just go about it as fast as possible.

I'm also very aware if there are children around. I don't personally believe there is harm in a child seeing a non-pornographic nude body, but I don't think it's right for me to impose my beliefs on other parents. So, I avoid areas with children nearby.

Luckily, I've never had any troubles with the police. But I wouldn't be surprised if it eventually happened.

idknickyp3 karma

totally makes sense! that definitely requires a lot of confidence. how long do your shoots usually take? and how many photos will you typically take in a shoot? also, unsure if this has been asked but how much gear do you use? are you just working with natural light? a lot of your photos look like theres atleast some diffuser/reflectors if not some strobes. how much control do you have over the photos (do you usually hire a photographer, do they edit photos, etc)? Sorry if this is a lot of questions! the more I look through your stuff and read your answers the more I am fascinated by what you're doing and your process.

RoustanBodypaint5 karma

Guerilla shoots can take 2 minutes to an hour, depending on the location.

I LOOOVE shooting with natural light. In the cases that I can't, I tend to use a home made beauty dish with a speed light attached. I also have a home made ring light, and a few hot lights, but those are used much less regularly.

I'm a sucker for Prime Lenses.

I take all my photos. Images from other photographers are generally work from back when I started, or photographers or gigs that hired me.

As far as editing, I try to keep it as close to when it was shot as possible, adjusting contrast. I'm a purist in this regard only because it's important to display the body painting so there's no doubt it is as it was made.

idknickyp2 karma

that's awesome! you mentioned you also do commercial work, will whoever hired you allow you to keep this same workflow or do they try to encourage you to do have others photograph or different lighting, etc? I'm very new to photography and just looked up prime lenses, so do you generally just work at one specific aperture or do you have a few? why do you prefer working with them?

RoustanBodypaint2 karma

Sometimes people let me do whatever I want, sometimes they need me to do something specific. I'm hardly ever hired for photography, just body painting. So generally, I paint and get outta there. It's their project to do as they please.

The aperture varies depending on location and lighting. I hardly ever shoot past 5.6 or 8. I try to stay around the 2.2 area.

Primes let in a lot of light allowing me to work really well in low light conditions. And they have gorgeous sharpness and bokeh.

idknickyp2 karma

good to know. If I continue to work in photography I may look into buying (or at least renting/testing out) one, those sound like a dream. I feel like I am perpetually annoyed with lack of sharpness (although that could completely be a lack of experience/expertise, not a camera problem). that size aperture just seems to really suit how you take photos.

RoustanBodypaint2 karma

get yourself a 50mm 1.4 Thank me later.

idknickyp2 karma

looking it up now, seems like a pretty reasonably priced lens. once I get a good camera (as a broke student I'm just working with a ~10yr old pentax so nothing too great) I will definitely look more into that, Thank you so much :)

RoustanBodypaint2 karma

If you're absolutely positively short on cash, you can't go wrong with the nifty fifty, 50mm 1.8 You should be able to afford that one. And if not, make it happen.

RoustanBodypaint3 karma

Regarding your question about primarily painting women...

  1. They are much easier to hide blatant nudity with posing.
  2. The world still has a tremendous phobia of the Penis.
  3. A lot of men won't get naked for me.

With that said, I've painted a LOT of men, possibly more than women. I've done it mostly for commercial purposes. And I don't generally post my commercial work on my website. But you can see a few males sprinkled throughout my portfolio.

idknickyp2 karma

completely makes sense, people do always seem more ok with naked women.

interesting, would you classify what is on your website as fine art photos? what distinctions do you see between those and commercial?

RoustanBodypaint3 karma

I'm kind of tired of the classifying of things as "Fine Art". Who really knows the answer to that? The Elite? The Art lover? The Art scholar? People have widely varying definitions of what constitutes fine art. So, I don't really like to self proclaim myself as a Fine Art Body Painter.

But with that said, I am a better body painter than Kanye West.

I consider my work "studio work", work that I do for me, out of exploration. With no money involved. And it usually takes a LOT of energy out of me.

I consider "commercial work", work that involves an exchange of money, a trade, something that I can do more easily than someone else can, so they hire me. It's not something I might be entirely invested in emotionally, and might not even pose much of a challenge.

idknickyp2 karma

the more artists I talk to (I do a lot of ceramics/pottery and speak to a lot of other ceramicists) the more I hear answers like this. It's kind of exciting living in a time like this.

that seems like a really logical and practical distinction.

thank you so much for taking time to answer all these, your work is so beautiful, both the painting and all the photos. I love getting to hear how others approach their art/business/whatever.

RoustanBodypaint2 karma

My pleasure. Thank you for your interest!

majicpablo3 karma

Do you paint the dick? Also that is some impressive artwork.

RoustanBodypaint8 karma

Yes, I've painted dicks. Thanks.

MProph7 karma

Remember that time you covered a guy in dicks?

RoustanBodypaint13 karma

Yes... Yes I do :)

danamongden2 karma

Body hair (even the tiny little stuff that's normally invisible) is always messing up my own bodypainting because it grabs the paint so well. How do you deal with it? Or is this one of those things that only the painter sees because of the different viewing distances?

RoustanBodypaint3 karma

I never really worry about body hair. i don't ask the models to do any shaving. They often volunteer it. I prefer the models are as they like to be. I want the images to be a reflection of who they are.

However, sometimes you get male models with really hairy legs that make detail kinda tricky. I usually just do the best that I can, and work with what's available.

fipfapflipflap2 karma

Kinda late to the party, but very curious: how do you feel about people treating your work as pornography, just using it as an excuse to look at attractive naked women?

RoustanBodypaint5 karma

I have no control over people's reactions, I only have control over my own. Some people get turned on by the weirdest things, like socks or underwear. Doesn't mean I shouldn't wear them.

Guava_2 karma

Do some people frown on your profession?

RoustanBodypaint2 karma

Yes. I run into many walls and am often labeled a pornographer.

urban_sketcher1 karma

What do you think about painting with a brush (like, a sable brush). I'm an illustrator, so it seems more natural to me. Or Is the airbrush just the only way to go?

RoustanBodypaint1 karma

Many people body paint with brush and sponge. Nothing wrong with it at all. I'm just most comfortable with the airbrush.

random_ass1 karma

Your proof pic... Isn't really a proof pic.

No date and time, I can see it's hosted on your site, but then I can link to that image on another thread and claim I'm you. Or maybe someone is doing that right now

RoustanBodypaint3 karma

Updated Just for you! :)

RoustanBodypaint3 karma

Don't forget to refresh

TheBagman071 karma

What tips would you recommend for dealing with a really bumpy or wrinkly scalp? What issues are unique with painting people vs painting shirts or cars?

RoustanBodypaint1 karma

I just paint right over bumps or wrinkles. I haven't had any issues with that.

Painting people requires less air pressure than shirts, and the makeup is not as smooth as automotive paint. Painting cars is far more tedious with all the prep work and finishing. Painting T-shirts is very similar you just need to switch to makeup and turn down the air pressure. Also, you need much less makeup than paint. Because the Shirt saturates paint when skin doesn't.

lifeinhexcolors1 karma

What kinds of paints do you prefer? I've been wanting to get into body painting but i live in a very, very remote area and we only have basic non toxic acrylic paints at the arts and crafts store. It cracks and is generally crappy. Any products you can't live without?

RoustanBodypaint1 karma

My favorite brands of body makeup are Mehron Liquid Makeup, European Body Art Vibe and Endura, and Temptu Dura Air. The water based makeups come off very easily. The alcohol makeups take a little more scrubbing. Usually baby oil helps remove those. These brands are FDA compliant for use on skin.

lifeinhexcolors1 karma

Ah! Seeing the price, no wonder an artist like you would choose these! Do you mostly airbrush? I tend to actually like the slow process of the classic brush. Also I've looked at your gallery and your blending is impressive. Care to share advice on that if you have time? It's the most frustrating part to me!

RoustanBodypaint1 karma

I airbrush pretty much all the time. Which helps with blending.

RoustanBodypaint1 karma

p.s. you can order them online at places like

FlippingGoats13371 karma

What's the weirdest thing you've painted on someone?

RoustanBodypaint4 karma

That's a tough one. Maybe this one :

I'm sure I've painted much weirder but I can't remember really.

Anablue1 karma

How do you like Sillyfarms products? I Am a face painter and I find there prices not to be the greatest. I also use Mehron paints. They are about the best. I found a pretty good website called Jestpaints.

RoustanBodypaint1 karma

I've done some collaborative work with Silly Farm. They have discounts to alleviate prices. But, I often recommend them to beginners because it's a one stop shop for everything you could possible need. So you would save on shipping as well.

I regularly order my stuff directly from the supplier like Mehron or European Body Art, as I need it. I usually order specialty items like black light makeup or sfx contacts and pasties from silly farm and have no issues.

Anablue1 karma

Your work is EXTRAORDINARY ! Where are you located ?

RoustanBodypaint1 karma

Thank you. I live near Los Angeles.

Anablue1 karma

Have you ever painted anyone famous? Your work is soooooooo AWESOME ! As an artist, I appreciate your detail. Blending, colors, dimensions, etc.

RoustanBodypaint2 karma

I just recently painted a celeb, but I'm not allowed to talk about details yet. The closest thing otherwise is painting FOR celebrities. This zombie was my most recent. I think we all know who the celeb is.

bitemperor0 karma

Sir, how the FUCK did u end up with a job like this?. Jesus. This is every mans dream.

Grab hot.bitches and paint them. Fuck yes!

Have 2 bits /u/changetip

MProph2 karma

With any line of work.. you decide "this is what I want to do" and then you do it. It's not easy, sometimes you have to carve out your place in the world and if it's an industry that doesn't already exist strongly, you've got to create a desire for your skills / art / service.

But seriously, it all comes down to thinking: "I want to _______ for a living" and then you get good at it and make it a career by figuring out how. If you're driven enough as an individual (this is the key to it all), and talented, you can succeed.

RoustanBodypaint1 karma

Well said! That's exactly what I did, with a bunch of people telling me I couldn't do it. And now here I am!

RoustanBodypaint1 karma

Dude! Sweet! Thank you!