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Body Painting, Cosplay, and Leggings with Breanna Cooke

Breanna Cooke is a costumer, body painter, and graphic designer who has figured out an amazing way to integrate Redbubble’s leggings into many different types of artistic expression. Breanna is the artist behind the “Black Dragon” leggings which have proved to be very successful with gamers, cosplayers, or dragon-loving fashion fans. Her leggings can be used to compliment any look that requires a flash of reptilian inspiration, and as you see in the images below, they work amazingly well with a multitude of styles.

We spoke with Breanna about the origin of her leggings, her body painting and costuming career, and more. Plus, take a look at how gamers and YouTubers Panser from TradeChat and TheZombiUnicorn have made the “Black Dragon” leggings part of their lives.

Breanna Cooke's "Green Dragon" costume and "Black Dragon" leggings

Your “Black Dragon” leggings are very popular with Redbubble fans, what inspired them?

They’re inspired by my Green Dragon costume (which is inspired by Ysera from World of Warcraft). The costume started as a Halloween project, and I used fabric paint on a body suit so it would share the “look” of being body painted. It’s a fun costume to wear, so I made a leggings version. Although I love the green, I decided to make this first pair black so they’d be a bit more versatile with my regular clothes.

Breanna Cooke as Maleficent

On your Instagram, there are several pictures of you integrating your leggings into various costumes. Did you design your leggings to go with the costumes, or the other way around?

It actually started the other way around. I love making and wearing costumes and body paint, but sometimes it’s not always practical. So I decided to make leggings that allowed me to wear a smaller scale version of my art. But, I’ve also started incorporating the leggings back into costumes, so it has become a big cycle! When I wore my Maleficent costume, I wore my Black Dragon leggings underneath to hint at Maleficent’s dragon side. I also did a body painting piece with my friend where I painted her upper body to create a whole new character from the leggings.

An original character featuring Breanna's leggings

Do you have plans to create more leggings that are similar to “Black Dragon” so others can use them the same way?

Most definitely! I’m planning to make the Black Dragon leggings in more colors, such as green, red, blue, and maybe even purple.

How did you get involved with design, costuming, make up, and body painting?

There are a lot of pieces that have all come together. I grew up making Halloween costumes with my mom, painting art projects, and playing dress-up. After graduating with a degree in Art, I worked as a Graphic Designer and created costumes for a local arts center in St. Louis. I was also competing in ballroom dancing and making my own dance costumes, so I learned a lot about movement, functionality, and makeup from my own performance experiences. I continued making Halloween costumes as an adult, and they started to evolve as I blended my dance and fine art experience with makeup, body painting, and fabric. I often take workshops from other special effects makeup artists to keep expanding my knowledge. I’ve always been drawn towards bringing creatures to life, so a lot of my costumes end up being fantastical interpretations of various creatures.

Your leggings are very well-designed. Do you have any tips for artists in the RB community?

Thank you! Definitely order a test pair before you release them publicly. It’s helpful to see how the design will flow on a real body. Sometimes the test pair will reveal elements that need to be moved because they create an unflattering shape.

Are you currently working on anything new that you’re excited about?

Along with more dragon leggings, I’ve been working on some coloring books of various creatures. I just published one called “Everyone Colors: Amazing Sea Life” (available through my website), and I even made some of the sea creatures from the book available in my RedBubble portfolio. And now I’m working on drawings for the next coloring book. More fun creatures, of course!

Check out how gamers and YouTubers Panser and TheZombiUnicorn have made Breanna’s leggings work for them.

Panser invited a friend along for her shoot

Panser takes her leggings on an adventure

TheZombiUnicorn reads in (reptile) style

TheZombiUnicorn uses her dragon powers to mystify many creatures

Discuss Breanna Cooke’s costumes and leggings below, and be sure to pick up a pair of your own at her shop.

Breanna Cooke's "Green Dragon" costume

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