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:

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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!)

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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.

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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!)

Skin Fair 2013: Kitty Steps Inside Runa

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As I said previously, one of the best things about Skin Fair is trying skins out by creators that are new to you.  They may be well established on the grid, but for whatever reason you’ve never actually tested one of their skins. This was the case for me and Step inSide.  I’d never worn one of Lany Jun’s skins before today, and now I realise that I’ve missed out. But still, better late than never!

This skin is Runa (in Tan) and is an absolute joy to wear.  I think I’ve found a new favourite for my avatar! (Who am I kidding? They’re ALL  my favourite so far!)

The base skin comes with plenty of options by way of tattoo layers for eye shadow, blush and lips, meaning that you can mix and match your look to your heart’s content. It’s great fun finding combinations that are really striking and then playing dress up with your wardrobe to find the prefect outfit and hair to match.

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This is a skin that you WANT to wear and needs to be seen. The pictures I’ve taken here aren’t touched up in any way (apart from the main shot) so you can see that when wearing Runa in world it looks just as amazing as when photographed and ‘fannied about with’ as we say in these ‘ere parts. Ahem. I think that this is because there’s a crispness and an illumination to this skin that is almost ethereal. The skin is so well-coloured and highlighted that it is practically radiant. It oozes quality and panache, and is very adaptable to a myriad of looks.  Of course the tattoo layers add depth to the skin by way of different colour combinations, but even the base skin, when worn on its own, feels extremely substantial.  Image

It’s hard to put the sensation you get when wearing this skin into words because you’re going to think I am completely mad, but I’m going to give it a shot. To me, as an avatar, a true quality skin has a ‘weighty feel’ to it. It’s a combination of all the excitement you feel from wearing a beautiful skin and the effort and hard work that went into creating it by the skin designer. Runa feels like a heavyweight skin, and would strike out some serious blows in a boxing ring!

But there’s more. Zooming in for detail is satisfying; little touches such as highlight on the inner corner of the eye and gloss on fingernails do not go unnoticed by the wearer.  The ever important  eyebrow isn’t overly plucked, nor is it wild, but neat without being overtly formal. Colour is even across the body, and highlights denote key features satisfactorily.

Picking favourite elements of this skin is tough, but I really like the lips on this skin; they look juicy and moist and even more so when a lip colour is added. But for me the face is just beautiful. I *never* change my face shape in Second Life; I’ve worn the same shape for donkey’s years and sometimes I make myself fatter or thinner depending on mood, so the framework of my virtual chops always stays the same, and this skin ‘hangs’ beautifully upon them.

Runo is a sensation and I have no qualms in recommending Lany Jun’s work to anyone. When Skin Fair 2013 opens, be sure to ‘Step inSide’  and try on a demo. I’m sure that you will be extremely satisfied by the result,  I sure am!

Skin Fair 2013 opens on 14th March

Kitty wears in this post: