SKIN FAIR 2015 – Zoul Creations ‘Gina’

So it’s SKIN FAIR 2015 time and here’s my first skin review, and it’s an absolute belter. We’ve got just over a fortnight of amazing skins to get through and I already feel like I’ve found my happy place!

Now, here’s a thing. I don’t  know if ‘Gina’ from ZOUL CREATIONS is supposed to look like Kim Kardashian or not, but bugger me backwards with a shopping trolley, when I put this skin on my shape (without ANY changes, same shape that I always wear) Kim was precisely who was staring back at me from my monitor!  I mean, JUST LOOK!

kim_006

Isn’t it like her? WOW! I added a blonde hairstyle from TRUTH (Seeing as Kim’s cut her lovely  long tresses and dyed them blonde, I fear she will suffer a straw-like barnet for that).   I can’t say I’m a huge Kardashian family fan, but I do think  that Kim is pretty, which is a good job really because this skin is gorgeous.

And when I say gorgeous I mean sensational.

I’ve already got TONS of compliments on this one and it doesn’t surprise me one pop because whenI first discovered ZOUL CREATIONS last year at Skin Fair I could see this was a quality skin brand, and they’ve been a firm favourite of mine ever since. The skins that Shantia Soulstar lovingly creates tick all the right boxes for me:

  • Excellent colour-depth and spread of tone across the torso, limbs and no unseemly issues with, erm..seams.
  • Epic zoomability,  In other words, zoom in close on this skin and she still looks darn near perfect.
  • Super fine feature detailing: elbows, nails and all the important places are well created with the right level of detail.

Of course, this year  is ALL ABOUT appliers.  Love or loathe the plethora of mesh bodies, gobs and norks out there in the metaverse as you see fit, but you have to admit that appliers are pretty important these days. I’m sure they’re the bane of any skin-makers life BUT the reality is that so many of us have mesh bodies/lips/armpits that to not feature appliers as a selling point  would now be considered seriously lacking, and it would also mean skin makers are missing out on a revenue stream in a class of its own.  So I like to find appliers that are responsive and HUDS that work. I’m happy to report that these do precisely what they say on the tin; I’m wearing the Slink Physique and Slink Casual hands in this picture and there are absolutely no problems with joins at all.  Oh, and the appliers are FREE. So, let’s move beyond my being a dead ringer for a celebrity who seems to have made making a sex tape an aspirational career goal,  and discuss why I’m loving this skin.

A strength of ZOUL CREATIONS has always been the brows.  Brows, as I’ve prattled about on these pages a million times before, are essential to creating the right balance to your look.  Personally I like my brows to be strong, but NOT full on ‘scouse brow’.  Brows are very much in vogue nowadays and there is nothing that disappoints me more than a wonderful skin base with brows that look as though they’ve been drawn on by a five-year-old. Sadly, I have encountered more than my fair share of those. But these aren’t guilty of that; they’re strong, defined and they look fab.  And so does the standard lip, juicy and full with great colour application. (All the pictures that follow are completely un-retouched by the way..)

Gina

The make-ups and lipsticks for this skin are an absolute joy; a thoroughly comprehensive collection of shades for the eyes offering great definition along with a fab array of luscious lip shades to choose from.  I went mix ‘n’ match happy as you can see in the pictures above, and this is just three combinations that I came up with from a palette teeming with colours.  Seriously, sometimes my mind boggles at the skill set of the skin makers we have in-world, and ZOUL CREATIONS, for me personally, belong in the upper echelon of Second Life skin designers.   If you’re the kind of avatar who spends a certain amount of your time swanning about in the nude you’d do yourself a huge favour to try this skin.  It looks absolutely beautiful naked, it really does, and I hope you can gauge that from the picture below.

KIM K

Shantia is debuting a few other skins at Skin Fair too which I’ll come back to on the blog.  You’ve plenty of time to check these out but if you can’t get into Skin Fair at launch (yeah, like THAT’S going to happen!) then you should take a trip over to her store. There’s a number of reasons for this; number 1 you can check out the tantalising array of eyebrows that she sells, perfect for every avatar and cheap as chips, and number 2, you can pick up a FANTASTIC skin called ‘Monica’ at the promo price of…L$75.  It comes with four eyeshadows and four lip shades, and it is sublime, and possibly the bargain of the century too! Oh, and buying it gets you L$8 in store credit as well..come on Shantia, are you doing this for love or money?  Well, I’m going to take a guess, because when I was trying Gina on I got a real sensation of someone who is creating skins and make-ups just for the sheer joy of doing it.  You will know what I mean when you demo Shantia’s skins; I’ve seen frankly far lesser creators charging a small fortune for work that isn’t a patch on hers.

And here’s the thing; I actually asked Shantia about that and her response was, and I quote, “….well I want people with not so much money to be able to have nice skins too :)”

If that  attitude alone doesn’t convince you to seriously check out ZOUL CREATIONS I don’t know what will.   Actually I do, the prices..

  • The skin fair releases are L$499 for each skin pack which includes ALL skintones
  • The make-up packs are L$125 each (you can select eyeshadows or lipsticks. Just buy them all)
  • Sweetlips appliers (not even used them in this review, can’t wait to try them!) also cost L$125 per pack

AND let me repeat my earlier point…

Skin appliers ARE FREE. Which quite frankly is utterly mad!  

So, go to Skin Fair 2015, and before you hit the stores featuring the skins that absolutely everyone else on the grid will be wearing, go to ZOUL CREATIONS.  You’ll probably find that you can buy everything on

You’ll probably find that you can buy everything on display for the equivalent cost of just one single tone of any other of the skins available at the event, but don’t take the low prices as an indication of low quality. These skins are anything but, and I’m totally entranced by Gina.  This is my first review at SKIN FAIR 2015 and the bar has already been set incredibly high but wow, with skins this good we’re all in for an utter treat aren’t we?

One final shot with no enhancements of any kind.  (Incidentally I’ve been using the ‘Canimod’ Windlight for all the pics in this piece, only the top photograph has been heavily edited using Picmonkey.)

gina g_008

If this doesn’t qualify as a must-have skin in 2015 then I don’t know what will. Be sure to check out ZOUL CREATIONS at SKIN FAIR 2015! 

GETTING THE BEST FROM SKIN FAIR 2014

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It only seems like five minutes since SKIN FAIR 2013. I had a blast at the fair last year, and encountered some terrific skins that I featured on the blog. It’s a fantastic opportunity to indulge in some of the work of your favourite skin designers, and a brilliant opportunity to discover new skin creators too.

After falling in love with the work of Izzie Button at last year’s event, along with Cupcakes and Step inSide too, so it’s exciting to ponder whose work will have the same effect on me this year. The event is going to be HUGE and promises some sensational work from designers old and new…and I can tell you already it’s going to be a CORKER of a year.

I’ve been wandering around SKIN FAIR for just over thirty minutes, and so far I have demoed TWO skins, and already they’ve eclipsed my feelings about last year. There has clearly been so much work, time and effort invested into the creations on display and trust me when I say this, so far everything I have encountered has been utterly sublime!

In fact if I’m honest it’s put the willies up me (not literally you understand, well not at this time of day anyway!) because normally I only expect to find a handful that I will enthuse over for the duration of the event. It seems this year that the bar has been lifted so high that you haven’t a hope in hell of jumping over it unless you fancy tickling God’s right eyebrow upon the descent!

So things to look out for; here are a few Kitty top- tips off the top of my head.  I’m not trying to teach anyone to suck eggs with these hints (I mean, that would be gross, does anyway suck eggs, seriously?!) But these are the guidelines that I always adhere to, with some new points to note thrown in for good measure.

For a start check out the legion of eyebrow options that are available this year. I’m not just talking colour, but shape. You can thank Cara Delevingne, Kim Kardashian and the ever-scary phenomenon that is the ‘Scouse Brow’ for bringing them back to the fore, but I’ve always used a good brow as my benchmark for a good skin. There’s something really disappointing about a beautifully shaded and embellished skin being let down by a squiggle or badly drawn brow, and it is reassuring to note that this year (so far of course) I haven’t encountered anything on the more feeble side of style.

Of course it goes without saying that you MUST demo a skin on your preferred shape, but pay close attention to the brows and zoom in and out and check from every angle that you’re happy with what you can see. My personal style favourite is a strong, arched brow which I find works really well with my quintessential eye-liner, (Kitty has to wear liner. It’s the law), but already my preferences have been challenged by two styles. Let me show you what I mean:

SKIN FAIR_001

Now this is a skin from YS & YS ( Your Skin and Your Shape) and the brow, as you can see, is a lovely blend of short, simple lines brought together to create the brow shapw, and it works so elegantly that I cannot help but have fallen totally in love with it. I’m not big on wearing skins with teeth really either, but again, this one is just so beautifully done that I’m sold! (Note I’m wearing my own liner in all these shots, they’re raw and basically taken in my skybox and uploaded onto the interwebz, so no jiggery pokery.  The awesome is just there, with no enhancements!)

SKIN FAIR_002

It’s a lovely skin isn’t it? Be sure to check it out when the show opens, the make-ups are rather fabulous, Monica makes a great juicy red lip! Skin is called ‘Simone’.Here’s another example of brows. This is a JALWA skin, called ‘Meenakashi’ in the Cardamon shade.

SKIN FAIR_003

As you can see this one is much bolder, but the much bolder, darker arch is softened by the graduation of tone at the beginning and the end of the brow.

It’s strong and stylised but works well because a deft touch has been used when drawing the brow in. I think it’s utterly delicious, and Chandra Masala‘s creations never disappoint.

Of course I have just mentioned the importance of Demos but seriously, I cannot drive home this message enough. DEMO DEMO DEMO! Take EVERYTHING off, demo in the nude. Don’t just look at the mush, check out the cleavage, the lady-garden, the bum. Knees and elbows are always difficult, are you satisfied with how they look? They need to be shaded well, not look as though you’ve been play-fighting in mud! Look out for seams. Are there any seams visible? Can you see any lines when you zoom in? Try different windlight settings. You need to know how you will look in different light-settings in different regions, so when you’ve found a skin you like go through ALL the windlights you know that you’ll use, and even try a few that you won’t. Lighting is so important and can really make or break your skin purchase.

Speaking of lighting CHECK OUT THE SHADING. Now I’m not just talking on detail areas like body creases, but the overall shading and highlighting on the skin. Does it look over-baked? I’ve tried many a fab skin only to be dismayed when I see that there a really harsh line between light and shade. This is really one of the points that elevates a good skin-maker into one of the best. You’re looking for authentic lighting on the skin, suggesting natural highlight and tone, not a heavy-handed attempt at blending.

A final point, this year will be all about appliers; not just for hands and feet but also mesh heads. When you decide to invest in a new skin make sure that you can find appliers for all your needs. For example, I can’t go back to wearing my built-in hands now, I’m too accustomed to my SLINK hands, so ensure that the skin you’ve choosing has akll the bases covered. Hand, feet appliers at a base level, moving into boob, bum, belly appliers if necessary. Another thing that REALLY sells a skin to me are the array of make-ups that are included. I love me some make-up on my avatar and I especially adore my liners. So far I’ve seen a number with great make-ups in the range so I think you’ll be satisfied, but again, DEMO IS YOUR FRIEND! (Another tip; when demoing eyeshadow try with more than one eye-colour, in case you decide to change)

For me this is really exciting time to be a Second Life avatar, with so much available to truly refine your appearance to make you completely individual. Whilst I’m sot sure that I would swap to a mesh head ( I love the way that Kitty looks) I must say that they impress me, especially in profile. Avatars never look right from the side do they? The mesh head changes that though, with stunning angles and shaping that make your avatar profile look totally authentic.

But whatever you decide to purchase at SKIN FAIR 2014 above all else make sure that you have an UTTERLY FANTASTIC TIME.

There has been so much organisation and effort put into this event that I hope it’s a well-deserved success for everyone involved. 

(I’ll be doing more posts abour SKIN FAIR 2014 in the coming days; but do a search on my blog and you can see my tips from last year, and assorted Skin Fair ramblings too!)

Introducing Kittylicious ‘Kim’

So I was messing around with shapes last night and ended up making this lovely lady; it wasn’t until I added hair and heels that I realised she reminded me of Kim Kardashian! Beloved has just thrown his hat into the ring as well and said that actually she looks like Jessica Alba; and actually now he’s said that I can see the similarity too! I think if you added brown hair instead of black then yes, indeed, you’d probably have an avvie that looks very much like beautiful Jess.

It certainly wasn’t my intention to make a shape that evoked a Hollywood vibe, but I’m glad I did because I think the results are rather lovely. The skin that I’m wearing is by Gala Phoenix from her ‘Curio’ label.  Long time readers will know that I’m a huge Curio fan; and the recent skin controversy that has impacted Gala has left a very bad taste in my mouth. I won’t discuss it here because if you want to read about it there are plenty of places where you can source all the gossip, suffice to say that I will be very happy when Gala Phoenix returns to the grid because as far as I’m concerned her skins are the best in Second Life.

Come back Gala, we miss you!

If you want to recreate this look then IM me in-world and I’ll happily provide you with a copy of  the ‘Kim’ shape for a mere L$150.  She’ll be copy/mod enabled. As far as styling goes if you’re going to invest in this shape and want to recreate this look then make sure you have the Curio skin, ‘Yum2-Mint Julep1’ in Acorn in your inventory before you buy, because obviously I don’t know how long it will be until Gala comes back to the grid and you won’t be able to purchase it until she does; and I can’t guarantee that this look will be so easily created with other skins.

The eyes are also very important for this image; I’m wearing Fashism ‘Sunrise’ eyes in Dark Brown (M).  Last but not least I’m sporting a style by the inimitable Truth Hawks called Makenzie in ‘Night’. (Note that some of his longer styles in that particular shade also work extremely well in creating a Kim-like vibe) Finishing touches include the girl next door eyebrow shaper from your library in your inventory, and I’m wearing an Adam and Eve hairbase in black. Finally the bangle is by Clutter, and the jeans by Zaara.

What do you think? Kim? Jess? Answers on a postcard to the usual address please…..