We are fast approaching that time of year where face painters get booked up for private Hallowe'en parties or asked to create outstanding individual designs on avid trick-or-treaters. Hallowe'en has come a long way in the past 20 years and is no longer just a washing up bowl for the bobbing apples and a witch outfit. It's big business and the face paint is no longer an absent minded splash of green. It's a crucial part of it. So for that reason I have created a couple of designs for The FacePainting Shop Blog which will hopefully give you a starting point for your creepy creativity this year.
Heres a bit about me....
I have enjoyed drawing, painting and creating things for as long as I can remember, but it was only a few years ago that I actively tried to shape and refine my ideas into something more polished. Art was always my escape and I rarely showed anyone my paintings, doodles and drawings. I worked in Customer Services in an office environment and my mouse mat and notepad bore the brunt of most of my absent minded doodles. One day when each department was tasked with having to take part in a national fundraiser, my work colleagues volunteered me to face paint them all as safari animals. I bought a cheap kit fully expecting to make a mess of it, but actually surprised myself by doing a better job than the examples in the booklet. I was asked to do a few kids parties for friends where I did a few simple butterflies and tiaras. I was happy with them at the time but looking back they were shocking! Then I discovered the huge worldwide Face & Body Painting community and all of the vibrant paint brands and accessories available. I was hooked. The face and body artists I have met since last year are some of the worlds most gifted and lovely people. The majority are extremely supportive and encouraging and there must be hundreds of artists of different abilities that have helped me refine my techniques, discover new methods, try new things and give me invaluable critiques that I use to improve. It's also been such a privilege to watch shy artists blossom in confidence thanks to the vast amount of support and encouragement available. I don't think you ever get to the point where you've become the best you can be and even the most experienced and skilled artists still show obvious improvements in their work. The possibilities are constantly evolving as are the products. I am still relatively new to the industry and I'm just having lots of fun trying new things, exploring different methods and finding my niche in the industry. I love that through blogging for The Face Painting Shop, I will be able to reach out to the next generation of developing artists and encourage and support them the way that I was encouraged and supported by others. And who knows what the future holds for me? I may one day become involved in a new brand, or a new style, but right now I'm just painting my heart out and loving it!
Lots of Love
My first design is based on a Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) sugar skull design. Although sugar skulls didn't originate with modern Hallowe'en celebrations, Día de Muertos falls on the triduum of Hallowtide: All Hallows' Eve, Hallowmas, and All Souls' Day, and is a Mexican celebration where families get together to remember and pray for loved ones who have died.
What I like is that there is no limitations to what you can do with a calavera sugar skull design. So you can make it as creepy and haunting as you like or soften it right down. And even the brightest of colours can be used, or a more sedate neutral palette. I have created a fairly simple design here, but if you want to have a go feel free to put your own twist on it, jazz it up with some teardrops, swirls, tribal elements, flowers, creepy crawlies, glitter, gemstones etc.
Here is a list of my materials, all of which can usually be bought from The Face Painting Shop. Nathalie will be able to help you with an alternative if something isn't immediately available.
Global One Stroke Cake Taupo
The Face Painting Shop's round brushes Size 2 & 4
Royal Majestic 1/2 Angular Brush
Grimas SL6 brush
Loew-Cornell 795 Size 0
Sillyfarm Short Round Petal Brush
I first load one of my sponges with Wolfe White and lay some colour down across my forehead nose and upper cheekbones, blending out and softening as I go. I quite like the faded soft look on my masks.
Then I loaded a sponge from the Global Taupo one Stroke and using a curved motion smoothed it across my eye lids and hollows in my cheeks. Using what's left of the colour on my sponge I lay down some colour on my forehead which will eventually create some depth to my web.
Next I moved onto creating the one stroke rose and buds on my brow line using separate sides of the cake to create the petals and leaves and my Royal Majestic Angled Brush. I reload my brush and create the nasal cavity.
Next I take my Sillyfarm petal brush, load it with Wolfe White and double dip into first the green of the Taupo Cake, then the Dark blue of the cake and create double dip petals along the remainder of my eye socket line to fully enclose it. Then using the same double dip technique I reload and create a double dip flower on my chin and jawline.
Now I am ready for my linework. Personally I prefer to keep my Size 0 brush sparsely loaded as too much paint or too wet paint can leave you with heavy, clumsy lines unless you have extremely good brush control. So I premix some black in the well of my cake and just dip into it frequently while I'm doing my linework. I then proceed to outline just the key elements of the design.
Top Tip: Know when to stop. Too much detail can overwhelm the design and too little will leave minimal impact, so experiment and regularly stop and look at the overall design from a distance.
I love Sugar Skulls and I really want you to have a go at creating a Calavera design, whether it's your own creation, or inspired by mine. Or you can post a design you have previously created.
Please include some brief comments about what you have learned from painting your design, what aspects you struggled with or what you like best about it. There is no end to the possibilities for this design and I'd love to see the broad interpretations of this style. It will also really help those who are creating this design for the first time this Hallowe'en. So please have a go and post your designs in the comments!
In my next post I will cover a Zombie design which can be created in minutes or lavishly embellished for a more intricate high end design...