Comic book superheroes are a highly popular source of cosplay inspiration, given that there's quite a wide range of fantastic characters to choose from. With their epic super-suits, weapons, and power poses, it's easy to see how these pop culture icons are a constant fan favorite when it comes to donning a new persona for that next cosplay convention.
While wearing an actual costume of prop belts, holsters, and other strapping accessories is impressive on its own, others take it up a notch, stunning con-goers and netizens alike by portraying the superheroes they love and admire, using nothing but the tool of body paint and makeup.
This list features some of the most amazing superhero and supervillain cosplays – formed entirely with the magic of body art – that prove that you don't need a fancy spandex suit to pull off your favorite character's look as long as you're creative.
Here are 20 Jaw-Dropping Superhero Body Paint Cosplays.
20 Wonder Woman (Zombie Version)
Zombies are a cool enough thing on their own, but throw a bit of DC into the mix, and you've got yourself a pretty epic cosplay that's sure to make con-goers look twice. That's exactly what body-paint artist Paul Roustan does here with his remarkable zombified version of Wonder Woman, cosplayed by the Instagram user 1starlight07.
Roustan's body art not only adds a fairly convincing undead look to the cosplayer's skin – with the dull blue-and-grey blotches and touches of rotting, red wounds – but also encompasses the rest of the Amazonian warrior's suit, with all the right details (golden plating, cuffs, and all) added for that realistic three-dimensional look.
His accurate colours make for a gorgeously vibrant, comic-book feel, which is a nice contrast to the rest of its The Walking Dead-esque appearance.
Paul Roustan is an award winning, international body-painting artist and professional photographer based in Los Angeles, with many other amazing body art cosplays under his belt.
BODY ART 💛❤️💙 Its always so much fun painting @tyspanayis but turning her into #SUPERGIRL was epic!!! I filmed this look for you too so that will be up in the next few days. 💋 Hope you guys like it. I would love to hear which superhero you would like to see next.... 😘 Products used: Face: @wonderlandmakeup primer @urbandecaycosmetics foundation and concealer @katvondbeauty shade and light palette @nyxcosmetics_uk bkusher palette @jeffreestarcosmetics highlighter @queenesotericcosmetics lipstick @eylureofficial brow pomade and strip lashes @barrymcosmetics eye liner @anastasiabeverlyhills modern renaissance palette @mannymua733 @makeupgeekcosmetics palette Line work and body art: @globalcolours paints @thefacepaintingshop brushes @annabelles_wigs wig @mesmereyezcontactlenses Lenses Cape and Nipple cover from #eBay #wonderlandmakeup #anastasiabeverlyhills #eylure #nyx #katvondbeauty #jeffreestarcosmetics #barryM #urbandecay #udpro #supergirl #dccomics #superman #dc #artist #art #annalingis #louteasdale #brian_champagne #norvina #muashoutoutsdaily #artofvisuals #artcollective #comiccon #wakeupandmakeup #bodyart
Body painter and make-up artist Anna Lingis perfectly details the curves and edges of Supergirl's impeccably toned figure, blending in dark shades and white highlights with great precision.
The result is a mind-blowing, purely painted costume of this classic DC heroine – and with her striking blue contacts, as well as the black lines drawn around both Panayis' face and wig, viewers have to look twice to make sure they aren't staring an actual cartoon character.
Anna Lingis is a professional body and make-up artist, as well as the co-founder and editor of the creative publication Dupe Magazine. Tys Panayis is a singer/songwriter, body paint model, and successful co-owner of the international fashion brand East 15 Threads EXV.
Your still photo I owe you of Batgirl I painted on 🎨 http://www.twitch.tv/kaypikefashion 🎨 October Here is the Print:🖼 http://bit.ly/BATGIRL_Print 🖼 Help Support Future Artworks : 💸 http://bit.ly/doantionlongterm 💌 http://bit.ly/Patreon_Kay 💌 🎨🎨🎨🎨 This one was fairly challenging to do for the headpiece, Ive tried several different techniques for hetting that half head of hair and I would not recommend a series of clip in wefts, it creates pressure points. The half wig I made for Sombra is the way to go for sure!! 🎨💄🎨💄🎨💄🎨💄🎨💄🎨💄🎨 Paint Supplies are from @sillyfarm , for 10% off and to show your love use KAYPIKE10 as a code 🎭💇🎭💇🎭💇🎭💇🎭💇🎭💇🎭 Wig is Wefts in Warm Light Brown from @ardawigs use KAYPIKEARDA as a code 🎨🎨🎨🎨🎨🎨 #batgirl #dc #gotham #batman #cospaint #bodypaint #bodypainting #bodyart #facepaint #facepainting #art #artist #makeup #makeupartist #mua #comicbookmakeup #yyc #twitchcreative #twitch #streamer #twitchtv #cosplay #cosplayer #comicmakeup #specialeffectsmakeup #sfxmakeup #sfx #SigmaPro @aliciasilverstone @mistergarf @alysonstoner @tarastrong514
Kay Pike has made rounds throughout the Internet with her eye-popping renditions of famous superhero characters, all purely portrayed by body paint. It's even more impressive when you discover that she does all this work on her own – modelling, painting, and designing each of these cosplays herself.
With the incredible work that she's contributed to the cosplay realm, it's no surprise that Pike's comic book portrayals are some of the most viral ones on the web to date. While having quite a wide catalogue of work to choose from (and it's hard to actually pick a favorite), one of her most popular projects was DC Comic's Batgirl, largely borrowing from the New 52 version of the character.
It's amazing how Pike was able to add such depth and detail to a costume while still maintaining its overall cartoon-y, boldly-lined appearance, but she pulls it off incredibly, and has even gotten the pose, headgear, and cape down pat. Another impressive detail are the pink highlights throughout the suit, bouncing nicely off her backdrop of purple and pink hues.
17 Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy has spurred quite a number of cosplay interpretations, though Jessie Melero's rendition of the DC villain is a sure show-stopper. Covered in green paint from chest to toe, his model sports the ever-striking emerald appearance of Pamela Isley, posing with her venus fly traps – or as she so lovingly refers to in the comics, her “children.”
Melero borrows from quite a number of different character versions, including Poison Ivy's appearance in Batman: The Animated Series, her Uma Thurman portrayal in Batman and Robin, and even a slight touch of her much more updated look from Assault on Arkham (as seen from the painted green vines encircling cosplayer's legs). The leaves covering her torso and arms are a nice detail, and are a detailed work of art on their own.
Jessie Melero has a wide, accomplished repertoire of cosplay-related projects, including hand-built props, costumes, and most prominently, body painting.
16 Lady Deadpool
Does this suit make me look naked? It's been 2 YEARS since I got the coolest paint job EVER. It's not often someone can say they got naked and had their booty airbrushed by a professional graffiti artist -- and it went VIRAL! Shout out to @wiseroner & the team at @nakedvegas! Miss you guyyys. #HereAtNakedVegas #Deadpool #NakedVegas #BodyPaint #LadyDeadpool #marvellegends
Kicking off the list is this absolutely stunning take on everyone's favorite mercenary: Deadpool by Salt Lake City's Megan Golden. No doubt is the paint job on this cosplay impressive – from the way the artist (Wiser Oner) has carefully applied all the right contours and highlights to the striking colour and suit details (namely the iconic belt and thigh holsters).
So we're not all that surprised that Golden's portrayal made its rounds throughout the internet. Those perfectly painted abs and cheekbones poking out her “mask” are an awesome touch, too.
Megan Golden is a cosplayer, model, and actress based in Utah. She has featured as both a cosplay guest and a panelist at pop culture conventions, and is additionally a writer and podcaster for Cosplay for All. Her eventually viral Lady Deadpool was first debuted at the Naked Vegas booth of the Wizard World convention in Las Vegas.
Wasn't @actorboy38 a great Cyborg? This was such a fun day😍 Gerrick was such a trooper, trying out contacts and body art for the first time! I have so many beautiful photos that no one has ever seen that I look at from time to time. Would you guys like it if I posted more? This piece was painted back in the summer💕 Model: @actorboy38 MUA: @lustredust Contacts: @primalcontactlenses Products: @kryolanofficial + @europeanbodyart #cyborg #teentitans #dc #comics #comic #comicmakeup #yyc #lustredust #dccomics #bodyart #bodypaint #kryolan #superhero #art #100daysofmakeup #100daysofmakeupchallenge #amazingmakeup #amazingmakeupart #argenapeede #dcuniverse #dcunited #cosplay #cosplayer #menofcosplay #artofinstagram #undiscovered_muas #makeupfanatic1
Cyborg is undoubtedly one of the coolest superheroes in both the Justice League (2011 reboot) and the Teen Titans, with his genius-level intelligence and ability to manipulate almost any form of technology (which, given the era we live in, would be a pretty awesome power to have).
With the help of amazing make-up artist Lianne Moseley, Gerrick Winston brings this popular DC character to life through some jaw-dropping body art that makes you look twice to make sure he isn't wearing an actual cybernetic suit.
Detailed with perfect shades of grey and subtle white highlights that give the impression of shiny metal, this cosplay proves that you may not need to go all out with a bulky, engineered superhero get-up to turn heads at a con. The extra colours and shading on Winston's face also grant the look more accuracy, making him look almost exactly like Victor Stone himself.
Savage She Hulk 👊💥 First time body painting myself 🙄 Not too shabby. I could have done more shading and detail work but I didn't want to spend all day on it. (And I only did half my body so no full body shots for this one) #shehulk #shehulksmash #bodypaint #artist #mehron #mehronpaint #makeupsfxartist #moretocome
She-Hulk can be a rather tough cosplay to perfectly pull off, what with her rock-hard, perfectly sculpted biceps. Thankfully for Renee Enos, these superhero arms are a part of her natural look, being an enthusiast in not only cosplay, but also health, fitness, and bodybuilding.
Applying body paint of the Marvel heroine thus made for a wonderfully accurate, jaw-dropping transformation as Enos sports Jennifer Walters' iconic look with the perfect physique, detail, and sass.
The bold, detailed lines on this cosplay are stunning – giving an appearance like she jumped straight out of a comic book. The contouring also gives the look a fine touch, emphasizing her already impressive build.
As another amazing tidbit: this is also Enos' first attempt at body-painting.
Rogue is easily one of X-Men's most butt-kicking – and terrifying – super-heroines, absorbing the strength, powers, and memories of anyone who makes unfortunate contact with her skin.
UK-based cosplayer Eleena pays wonderful tribute to this famous Marvel face, wearing a flawless body-paint cosplay of her classic '90s costume, complete with the character's gorgeous brown locks and iconic white streak.
Collaborating with the skills of artist and photographer James Hall, Eleena sports a painted guise that looks exceptionally convincing as a superhero bodysuit, with contours outlining her chest and abs – tiny details that were accurately replicated straight from her comic book counterpart. Topping the look with Rogue's brown leather jacket, the cosplay does great justice to one of Marvel's best.
12 Green Lantern (Gender-bent)
In brightest day, in blackest night... Cosplayer Jenny B and artist Cyd Cheng bring us an eye-candy interpretation of one of DC's most classic heroes – Justice League's Green Lantern, with a gender-bent twist.
Blending together a wide range of stunning green hues, Jenny dons a painted costume that stays true to the superhero's colourful comic-book design. With detailed linings of thick, black strokes, and subtle white streaks that effectively highlight the suit's skin-tight features, this cosplay looks as if it came straight out of a cartoon poster.
Additionally, Jenny fiercely carries this look with detailed, painted green mask that also perfectly contours that famous Hal Jordan scowl.
Jenny B is a frequent body paint model who has also posed as other well-known icons in pop culturel including Harley Quinn, C3PO, and Poison Ivy. Her outstanding Green Lantern was done at the Birmingham Comic Festival in 2016, as part of the Midlands Body Paint Project.
As the face and leader of his own X-Men team – and arguably, the most notable faction – Cyclops fights crime alongside his fellow mutants with his distinct power of emitting deadly, red energy beams right from his eyes. Wearing protective eyewear at all times to keep these “optic blasts” restrained, this character easily takes a seat as one of Marvel's most destructive and recognizable characters.
The brushstrokes across Joe's chest, neck, and arms are remarkable – blending in various blue and purple hues that create wonderfully impressive dimension to the Cyclop's skin-tight uniform. Of course, the bold, black lines are always a nice touch, emulating that awesome cartoon aesthetic.
Other notable details are the realistically shaded muscle contours on the cosplayer's arms, the cartoon highlights added onto the tips of his hair, and of course, a perfectly illustrated replica of Cyclops' visor.
Tomorrow start SDCC!!! Can wait to see you all again and meet new people! I will be selling prints at @ivydoomkitty booth #4016 with the most beautiful ladies! My schedule is: Wed 7-8 Thurs -Sat 3-6 Sunday 3-5 Friday and Saturday I will be all morning till 3 in square Enix booth as Lara Croft for the new game #laracroftgo ♡♡♡ Sunday 2-3 I'm gonna be at kotobukiya booth as Cammy! @jessicanigri @leeannavamp @nicolemjean @heather1337 @jeniferann #nadyasonika
Mystique is one of the most well-known X-Men foes in the world of Marvel, best recognized for her scaly, navy-blue skin and supernatural ability to shape-shift into any being she pleases. Like many on this list, Mystique is quite a tough character to cosplay due to her unclothed, entirely blue appearance.
However, cosplayer Nadya Anton (also known on her social media as Nadyasonika) perfects this character to a T, posing for her DeviantArt and website gallery as the movie version of the character in purely body-painted costume.
Collaborating with make-up artist (and Syfy's Face Off ex-contestant) Lymari Millot, the meticulous process took about 8 hours, getting the shade and coverage just right. According to Anton, the scales were applied one by one with extra prosthesis on her chest and lower region for comfort.
Topping off the look with piercing yellow eye contacts and her sleek, orange hair, Anton's portrayal is definitely one of the best Mystique cosplays to date.
A body art tribute to my all time favourite comic book hero - the one and only BATMAN!!! Model: @dansmith032 / Photography: @dotheinstathinghy / Bodyart, backdrop & post: Elvis Schmoulianoff #batman #batman75 #gotham #gothamcity #dc #dcuniverse #dccomics #bodypainting #charactermakep #batmanart #darkknight #cosplay #comicbook #superhero #creativephotography #halloween #halloweenmakeup #batmanartcontest
The list wouldn't be complete without one of the biggest cultural and comic book icons of all-time – Gotham City's caped vigilante, Batman. With his vast array of hi-tech gadgets and Happy Meal-friendly vehicles, the character has transformed into one of the biggest influences of 21st century pop culture, yielding countless on-screen adaptations, merchandise, and video game franchises.
Cosplays of this popular DC hero are thus a common choice at comic conventions, but make-up artist Elvis Schmoulianoff adds a creative twist to his interpretation of The Dark Knight.
With his body art subject Dan Smith, Schmoulianoff paints on a stylized, cartoon portrayal of his favorite comic book superhero, inspired by Tim Burton's cinematic rendition. The model's cape, gloves, and mask are all two-dimensional make-up – though they create a perfect, stunning illusion of the famous Batman outfit.
Putting his own spin onto the body paint costume, Schmoulianoff also adds an illustration of Wayne Manor on Smith's chest, painting a crowd of flying bats and the ever-famous bat signal in the centre (which, coincidentally also works as the bat symbol on Batman's suit).
With comic book images as a backdrop, this collaborative artwork makes for one of the most creative Batman cosplays.
8 Venom (Gender-bent)
"it's showtime, #freaks " #cosplayer @leynasweet with #creative #bodypainting #cosplayphotography #spfx and #photoshop edits by @officialartisticurves #venom #spiderman #specialeffects #marveluniverse #marvel #marvelcosplay #spidermancosplay #venombodypaint #cosplaygirl #cosplaymodel #antihero #genderbendcosplay #cosplayersofig #cosplayoftheday #igcosplayoftheday #comicon #cosplaybabes #bodypaintcosplay #antihero #venomcosplay #cosplaybabes @starsofcosplay @cosplay_and_babes @cosplayafterdark @nerdycosplay.ig @cosplay_only @cosplayculturemag @hotandgeeky @badasscosplay
Venom is popularly known in the Marvel Universe as one of Spider-Man's greatest foes, best recognized for his black-and-white skin-tight suit, frighteningly large eyes and deadly, fanged grin.
The product of an ordinary human being (journalist Eddie Brock) and an alien symbiote from outer space, his ultimate goal is to kill Spider-Man and destroy everyone and everything he cares for.
Being one of the Spider-verse's most formidable enemies, Venom makes for quite a phenomenal cosplay choice when done right – given his outlandishly deformed features. Cosplayer Leyna Sweet absolutely nails this challenging costume with her body-paint collaboration with ArtistiCurves, posing in an entirely latex-painted genderbent cosplay of the Marvel villain.
Not only do they pull off Venom's elongated jaw, but Sweet adds a cinematic feel to her photo as she poses in a contorted position, peeling off parts of her latex costume – creating the image of her agonisingly resisting the symbiote's bond.
Livestream fresh! Todays theme was Groot! Soooo heres our take on Groot! 😊 . . . #zombunnyfx #specialfx #specialeffectsmakeup #airbrush #diamondfx #facepaint #facepainting #bodypaint #groot #iamgroot #guardiansofthegalaxy #marvel #marvelheroes #cosplay #cosplaymakeup #wearegroot #tree #babygroot #movie
Groot is one of the MCU's most beloved and famous heroes – an impressive feat given the fact that he's essentially just a living tree whose vocabulary is literally limited to his own name. As an iconic staple of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Groot fights off his foes with the help of his superhuman strength, regenerative abilities, and plasticity.
His appearance as an entirely tree-like creature makes him one of the most difficult superhero characters to cosplay, but body art team ZomBunny FX perfects his wooden physique as they replicate Groot's character design onto one of their models, solely using costume paint and make-up as their artistic tools.
With some carefully placed lighting, an illusion of Groot's hollow frame is created, emphasizing the painted timber grooves around the cosplayer's body.
For a costume that wholly relies on body paint and lacks any wood-like material, this portrayal of Groot is one of the most spectacular ones yet.
6 Harley Quinn
Who doesn't love a bit of Harley Quinn? With all her unstable quirkiness, adorable – albeit insane – hyperactivity, and intriguing dynamic with The Joker, its hard to not find ourselves drawn to one of DC Comics' most well-known villains – and it seems cosplayer Maka from Kentucky couldn't help but pay tribute.
Donning her classic, animated '90s style, Maka poses in a dazzling head-to-toe body art of the iconic DC anti-hero, beautifully applied with a stunning skill and precision by makeup artist Matt Goodlett.
The vivid black and red colours create an illusion of Harley Quinn's actual bodysuit, complete with the glistening effect of her costume material (which was probably the coolest detail of the cosplay, apart from the accuracy). The comic book lines on Maka's face are a neat addition, making her look just like her character from the on-screen cartoon series.
This unique take on a classic member of the DC universe is one that's carefully done to the finest detail of the original design, and made all the more impressive when you realize it's all just two-dimensional body paint.
Bishop is an intriguing character of the X-Men storyline in the Marvel comics, being an officer of the Xavier Special Enforcers in the 22nd century who eventually travels back in time to 1991 and joins his heroes, the X-Men. He has the tremendous power of absorbing most forms of energy, converting them into other, deadly energy forms of his choosing.
Vonetta Berry of ABC Body Art does justice to this notable X-Men anti-hero, as she paints on his 1991 get-up onto her model Kenneth Frierson. From the brandished “M” and sharp edges on his face to the cartoon outlines of his yellow holsters and red bandana, Berry doesn't skip out on a single detail, creating an accurate depiction of Bishop's comic book design and tough exterior.
ABC Body Art is a Texas-based face and body art business, and has paid tribute to a handful of other Marvel characters, including Rogue, Captain America, and Deadpool. Her model Kenneth Frierson is a health and fitness model with a Youtube Channel dedicated to his profession.
4 Captain America
As one of the world's bravest and noblest superheroes, Captain America is a popular character to cosplay at comic book conventions, having an easily distinguishable costume and iconic shield to boot.
An agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and a member of The Avengers, he is also considered one of the MCU's most significant characters for his world-changing exploits and constant pursuit of human rights and justice.
Pashur even creates the three-dimensional illusion of Captain America's boots with some flawlessly effective shading, and adds in an exact replica of his shield to perfect the final look. Being a model and actor himself, Lerwill also has the sculpted physique to carry Cap's appearance accurately.
Pashur is an award-winning body-paint artist whose impressive catalogue of body artworks can be found on his website Canvas Alive. His excellent rendition of Captain America was done in Los Angeles for a photoshoot dedicated to Golden Age Superheroes.
3 The Powerpuff Girls
#powerpuffgirls all grown up 😉 These #cosplaybabes are the best! #bubbles - @deedanger98 #buttercup - @catalina.andreea.model #blossom - @leynasweet And as always, amazing designs and #bodypaint work by the one and only @officialartisticurves #cosplayoftheday #cosplay #cosplayers #cosplayersofig #powerpuffgirlscosplay #cosplaygirls #bodypaintcosplay #grownuppowerpuffgirls #powerpuff #cosplayhotties #cosplaybabes #cosplaybabe #inked #torontomodel #altmodel #cosplaymodel #igcosplayoftheday #instagood #instafollow @cosplay_and_babes @cosplayafterdark @gogocosplaycom @nerdycosplay.ig @badasscosplay
These cosplay babes bring us a pretty awesome blast from our childhood pasts with their stunning portrayals of Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup from The Powerpuff Girls.
Not only does their metallic body-paint look like actual shiny, spandex super-suits, but the artist also does a fine job of applying their own interpretation of the trio's costumes into the final look, giving the girls an extra sleek, edgy, comic book style.
The unique addition of arm and leg bracers are a fierce accessory to their overall aesthetic, and completed with their classic poses, make for a super-sweet nostalgic treat for all fans of the unforgettable cartoon series.
The cosplayers seen in the photo are Dee Danger (Bubbles), Catalina Andrea (Buttercup), and Leyna Sweet (Blossom). Their costume art was designed by body painter and photographer AristiCurves, who has done quite a number of other body-painted superhero cosplays on various models, including the Pink Ranger, Spider-Man, and Wonder Woman.
Love this one with model Luke Vanko as Yondu, painted by myself at Comic Con Leicester 2017. Brilliant image by photographer @mark_boulton_photography_e17 Part of our work with @midlandsbodypaintproject #yondu #yonducosplay #yondubodypaint #gotg #gotgvol2 #guardiansofthegalaxy #guardiansofthegalaxyvol2 #comiccon #comicconleicester #comicconleicester2017 #yondufin #guywholift #fitfam #sexymodel
Yondu is undeniably one of the greatest comic book anti-heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and was played fantastically in the Guardians of the Galaxy film franchise by The Walking Dead's Michael Rooker.
As a professional model and frequent body art subject, Luke Vanko teamed up with artist Zoe Apollo to create an incredible portrayal of MCU's Yondu, with his discernible blue skin, red eyes, and famous orange metal head crest.
The scars on the side of Vanko's head are a nice detail – marking the character's grueling years of space plundering – and the Yaka Arrow prop adds an extra touch of awesomeness. Of course, it definitely helps that Vanko actually looks a heck of a lot like the actor Michael Rooker.
This amazing body art was done at Comic Con Leicester in 2017. Zoe Apollo is a professional body painter, model, and pole dancer based in Lincolnshire.
1 Silver Surfer
Marvel style #tbt in celebration of Avengers Age of Ultron. Body paint I did from last year💥#bodypaint #silversurfer #makeup #makeupartist #ppiproducts #paint #mua #makeupartist #promua #crisalexmua #marvel #comics #surf #ronlim #marveluniverse #avengers #coverart #skinart #cosplay #nerd #airbrush #illusion #photoshoot #losangeles #geek
The Silver Surfer is a fearless cosmic entity in the Marvel universe, his most discernible features being his purely silver skin and his silver flying board. As a character with an extremely other-worldly appearance, it's no surprise that he is one of the most difficult superhero cosplay choices – being an entirely silver, shiny being from head to toe.
Jeff Rowe and Cris Alex, however, blew fans away with their rendition of Ron Lim's 1989 Silver Surfer (specifically, from the cover of of vol 3, issue #30) – fully replicating the exact comic book art to the last detail.
The process took about six hours, using a number of Skin Illustrator colors to get the right whites, blues, and bold, black line art onto the cosplayer's body. Alex even added the tiny Ben-Day dots onto the Rowe's chest for that extra comic book art effect, and painted Rowe's eyelashes white to complete the illusion of the Surfer's silver eyes.
Which cosplay from the list impressed you the most? Do you know any any other jaw-dropping body paint cosplays that we forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments!