The Skin Illustrator 1853 Palette was custom collection of colors created exclusively for Ma Kalaadevi Ananda for her work on 12 Years a Slave. Nominated for nine Academy Awards® and winner for best picture, the film presented some unique challenges for Makeup Department Head Kalaadevi, her makeup key, Nick London and the rest of the crew.

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The Skin Illustrator [1853] Palette, was custom created exclusively for our work on 12 Years a Slave. We were balancing four Illustrator palettes to blend the pigments needed. @skinillustratorofficial worked with me to create this palette as a tribute to Solomon Northrop, a free black citizen who was kidnapped in Washington DC, drugged and sold into slavery. For 12 years he was missing until Northrup found a sympathizing Canadian abolitionist who sent a letter to his family.  The family sent an official state agent to travel to Louisiana to reclaim Northrup and reunite him with his family. — Ma Kalaadevi Ananda via Instagram

12 Years a Slave

This image depicts makeup that some may find offensive or disturbing. Click image to view.

“The heat and humidity in New Orleans made things difficult for us at times.  The Skin Illustrator palette gave us the right colors we needed to match dark skin tones and create affects. The colors stayed on the skin all day. The palettes became so popular everybody wanted one, even the lead actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor asked for one as a momento.” —  Nick London, Makeup Key

“I was working and balancing four Illustrator palettes to blend the pigment I wanted. After working with the colors for some time, I established … a palette including 10 mixed-color hues which enabled me to create the desired effect.” — Kalaavedi, Makeup Dept. Head.

Kalaavedi touches up Chiwetel Ejiofor

The colors can easily be applied with a brush, sponge or mascara wand. Use it alone, or mix the colors with any of the other Skin Illustrator tones to create your own unique blend of color.

You must use Skin Illustrator Activator, Skin Illustrator Slow Activator, or 99% alcohol to activate the color pigment. Do not use 70% alcohol, MEK, acetone, water or any other solvent. 

Removal is easy with PPI’s Telesis Beta SolvTelesis Super Solv or Telesis Makeup Remover.

Makeup Artist Denise Pugh-Ruiz

Cracking, Bubbling, etc

Due to the high pigment content and lack of unnecessary fillers in the Skin Illustrator color system, cracks, bubbles and any shrunken appearance that may occur in some dried color cells does not affect the quality or performance of the product in any way.

Ma Kalaadevi Ananda

Additional information


Aged Blood, Black, Capillary, Chocolate, Espresso 2, French Qtr. Fuschia, Midnight Brown, Purple Justice, Ultra Blue, Violet


7.25 x 3.5 in (18.415 x 8.89 cm)