Unicorn Face Painting Tutorial Instructions and Product Details
Before we start, I'm going to go through 3 different types of basic horse head shapes, and some tips on painting eyes. There are many more, so look around and try out different styles to find out which best suits you!
The first style is more like a realistic horse shape. Start by drawing a circular shape. Then, about half way down, create the nose length and fill in with your chosen colour. Keep in mind proportions and add more if you need to!
Add an ear shape on the back of the head, and a smaller one that looks like its behind the head. Choose where your horn will go and pull it outwards, ending on the tip of your brush! You can paint your horn in another colour, but using the same colour, will save time.
The next design, is similar to My Little Pony characters. Start with the same basic shape, but make the ear larger than the first horse. The nose is more upturned & stubby. It can easily be painted with a flick at the bottom of the head. Placing the neck, will help with the placement of your unicorn's hair at the end.
Horse head number 3 is similar to horse number 1, just with more angular features. This is all a matter of personal preference and finding a style that you can work with best!
A good place to start with different eye types, is by searching for 'cartoon eyes'.
I like to create large, oval shaped eyes with eyelashes coming off one edge.
A very EASY method is to draw a closed eye line, and add lashes for the cute factor!
Another example is more of a realistic almond shaped eye.
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Global Strong Black http://goo.gl/Ti55lx
The Face Painting Shop Brushes http://goo.gl/PNhnYE
Global Maui Rainbow Cake http://goo.gl/6EiPxB
Global Leanne's Collection Neon Nirvana http://goo.gl/9vp02D
Sally-Ann Lynch Training, Tried & Tested Boards http://goo.gl/IyByqF
Artist Website: http://goo.gl/pgRBnj
Artist Facebook: http://goo.gl/XuZeeW
How much to charge for your face and body art services
This is without a doubt one of the TOP questions asked in face painting groups. Not just from new painters, but also seasoned painters who are starting to clock onto the idea that their art is worth more!
The face and body art industry is undergoing rapid expansion. It has become a common occurrence to see painters at a local funday and at festivals. Despite this leap into the public eye, there is still a lot of work to be done in changing the perception that we are 'just face painters'. This is why maintaining similar rates for the average painter is so important.
If you later go on to become famous for your work and/or super high in demand, then you can pretty much charge whatever you want. However, this blog is focussed upon not underselling yourself, so that is the direction I'm going to be coming from.
“Just Face Painters”
The implications in this statement rankle me something rotten. Especially when I hear it coming from people in our own profession! Seriously, there will be enough people outside of the industry misunderstanding what we actually do, we don't need to fuel that fire!
Yes, we are face painters (or body painters, or makeup artists, insert your job title here), but this is actually quite a rare skill to have. I'm not counting all of the volunteer painters who don't take it any further. But YOU. You who have spent countless hours perfecting and practicing your craft. You who have spent a small fortune making sure you get the best products and equipment. You, who have taken the initiative to research thoroughly the health and safety implications of your work.
You are rare. Your skills are worth a decent wage.
You are not just a face painter. You bring a smile to faces, a bit of magic into lives and give people memories that are unforgettable.
Take into account expenses
Aside from the blood, sweat and tears we put into our businesses, we have to take into account all of our outgoings and factor this into our pricing, too. Most businesses in their first year, will either make a loss or break even. This is because they reinvest their earnings to help their business grow. While doing this, you need to make a thorough record of your outgoings and figure out which expenses are likely to be one-offs (or once-in-a-whiles) such as your table and chair, and which expenses are likely to be regular (can you say black and white paint, anyone?)
From your regular expenses, you can work out how much you will need to spend out of your earnings to keep your products topped up.
In addition to that, you need to add on travel time and expenses, set up/take down time, insurance costs, website fees, business card costs, marketing, uniform, time spent answering emails, the fact that most of your bookings will be prime time weekends (which likely means time away from your family and more! Notice that the word 'time' keeps cropping up there. Time really IS money!
Don't worry, I'm getting onto the part of 'what to charge'. Putting all of this into perspective and getting it clear in your mind, will not only help you with setting prices that you feel are 'worth it', but also steer you away from a common struggle a lot of new painters face and that is low self esteem and guilt over their pricing.
What to charge … finally!
So no doubt there are going to be variations in what to charge for your services. Relevant factors to consider are – your location, your skill level & experience and the type of services you offer. Below, I am talking about Face Painting only rates. Body Painting, Airbrush Tattoos, Special FX, Make-up will come under different pricing structures, however, the method to get the information on pricing is the same!
I am based in the UK so I have a better idea of what face painters here charge on average across the board. For those abroad, I have seen many discussions in various face painters forums on pricing and I would advise you all to make good use of the 'search' function to do some research about what other painters are charging in your location. The information you need can be found easily if you look for it!
Setting out an average of prices between face painters in the same area is good for everyone in the long run no matter what your skill level. If you are a beginner and are massively undercharging, the general public is going to get the wrong impression that more experienced painters are 'expensive', when actually they could probably do with pushing their own prices up a bit. It also means that if you start by undercharging, you are going to find it difficult to raise your prices in the future, when you come to realise that you can't build a business and make a living on a pittance. Start as you mean to go on!
In the USA I have seen many face painters advise others to take not a penny less than $100 an hour. Some charge more, if they are in a big city, and some charge slightly less if they are in a less populated area where the cost of living is lower. However, this is a good ballpark figure to give you an idea of what your services are worth.
In the North East of the UK, the average rate is £75 for the first two hours (minimum booking time of 2 hours), and each additional hour priced at around £30. This rate is similar around the UK, with London and the South East having higher rates, probably due to the cost of living being higher there.
There are certain times of the year when you will be in higher demand than at any other time. These include Halloween in particular, and in the UK bank holidays tend to get snapped up pretty quick. One important thing to remember is that higher demand means that you can put your prices up and people will happily pay them, you will likely be booked solid on certain public holidays, and you need to be aware that you are going to be working harder than ever before. You will likely have to take extra time to prepare new designs and possibly buy additional products (for example special fx materials for Halloween). For all of these reasons, consider increasing your prices on these occasions.
Communicate with your peers
Reach out to painters in your area and find out what the average is. Don't do this to deliberately undercut them, though. Networking with local painters with mutual respect, and similar pricing could land you extra work if they are booked and still getting enquiries – trust me, alienating your colleagues is not something you want to do.
I am very very transparent about my prices on my website, and while I understand not everyone feels comfortable doing this, I believe it creates a general acceptance of what I charge. These are not state secrets, they are my prices and they are non negotiable. Any painter in my area who reaches out to me for advice on pricing, I always tell them what I can, because I know that it has a long term good result for me as well. There is plenty of work to go around, and prices continue to go up year on year as we become more accepted as a worthwhile skill provider.
On that note, do stay current with your pricing. If the cost of living is going up, and your prices haven't budged for quite some time, you might want to give it some thought of pushing those up a little. What is interesting is how price perception works with the public. If they are paying more for your services, they will value you more, fact. You may price yourself out of a certain market (and don't worry there will always be painters willing to fill that gap who don't have the pricing knowledge you do), but you will open yourself up to a market of people that appreciates what you do.
Make it worth your while
A key point I want to make is that the price you charge has to be WORTH IT for you! It has to be worth getting out of bed for. Worth all of those painstaking hours of practice. Worth leaving your own children on prime time Saturday and Sundays for. If it isn't, I can guarantee you will fall out of love with this work very quickly, and all of that time and effort will be redundant. So know your worth!
If you are a painter and wish to contribute to a standardization and acceptance of our rates, feel free to comment with your location and rates for the record. You may just prevent other painters from undercutting you, when they realise how much they could be fetching!
Raising the profile of Face Painting and Body Art is something I am absolutely passionate about. I believe this can only be achieved by working together for our mutual benefit and a great way to start, is by making sure we are charging a fair amount and most importantly, not apologising for it.
I hope this has given you some food for thought in setting your pricing, and most importantly in not underselling yourself! You are worth more!
Tips on Improving your Face and Body Art Photos!
Why is good quality photography so important?
Photos are every creative artists golden ticket to sure business – when done right! For a long time I was becoming increasingly frustrated when my photos weren't getting the engagement that I needed for my business to grow. One day, I had an epiphany! My photos were actually rubbish – they were rubbish quality and were badly thought out.
No, this wasn't just me talking down on myself, this was me being realistic. The truth was hard, but denying it was only going to hold me back! Once I realised where I was going wrong, I gradually began to change the way I took, and posted, photos of my work - it couldn't get any worse so I had nothing to lose.
It all sort of clicked into place as I used trial and error to find what worked for me – and no surprises, my engagement went through the roof and doubled my bookings in a very short space of time. Perhaps it was coincidence, but I'm not taking any chances! Looking back, I can clearly see the difference in not only my skills as a painter, but also my photography, and the correlation between this and my booking rate can't be ignored!
If you can relate to my story, this one is for you! I'm going to tell you exactly how you can improve on your photo quality and increase bookings, firstly without spending a penny, and secondly if you choose to invest.
Tips for improving photo quality on a budget!
These tips will work to improve photos that are even taken on smart phones! Obviously the better your equipment, and understanding on how to use it, the better your photos – but not everyone has access to expensive tools and training!
You don't have photography lighting equipment? Not a problem! Plan out some of your schedule to paint and take photos in the morning or early afternoon when the light is best. Natural lighting is one of the best ways to automatically enhance photos, and what's more – its free
So you have your lighting, but honestly, its not going to be much use to you without the proper positioning. If you stand with your back to the light, you are only going to get a silhouette, and the bright colours and swirling lines you spent so long perfecting will be lost to the darkness. Try turning to face the light instead, so that the colours can be captured properly and perhaps a bit of eye sparkle will show up as well! (More on eye sparkle, later!)
Beware of having any clutter in the background which will, without a doubt, detract from your main feature. Try taking photos on a plain background – against a wall. There are now some great apps which can take the background out of your photos, although this is much easier if you take the photo against a plain backdrop to begin with. Feature accounts on instagram will also 9/10 reject your repost tag on the basis of a messy background. Its a shame, because often they can see just how skilled the work is, but the photo quality simply lets the concept down – don't take the risk!
This is SO important! I don't even care if you feel vain – you need to experiment with angles and find the most flattering ones to show off your work best. If this means you have to take a photo of each side – so be it! Better to take 50 photos and find the ONE, than take 1 and find the none! Typically photos that are taken head on, aren't the best for showcasing creative make-up, unless you are extremely lucky to have this as your best angle. They are very reminiscent of 'head shots' for passport photos or similar, and this can take away from the creative vibe slightly. Try some slight head tilting and compare photos so you can clearly see which ones work best for you!
EYE SPARKLE! Trust me, this is like magic gold dust that attracts clients like moths to a flame. When a person smiles genuinely, we can see it in their eyes – I call this, eye sparkle! It shows life, vitality and pleasure, and this is very attractive – it evokes interest in other people. When a person is fake smiling, you will notice that it doesn't reach all the way to their eyes. 'Dead eyes' can be useful for scary photos of zombies and monsters, or artistically sad concepts, but most of the time, I advise opting for eye sparkle and a happy expression where appropriate – especially where you are looking for childrens' party bookings. Show them your magic!
Adding props to your images is an excellent way to enhance your designs – as long as they are not too overpowering! For example, adding a little pearly necklace on a mermaid design, or a flower headband on a sugar skull or a Steampunk tophat on a mechanical body painting piece, or even a bit of bling – it all works to capture the imagination, and make you memorable.
Spend some time researching online about the specs of your device. If you take all your photos on your smart phone, try to do the majority with your back camera, as typically, they operate in a higher resolution. Speaking of which, check your camera settings so that you are shooting in the highest res possible for your device. You can also use free apps or filters and tools on instagram (such as increasing saturation) that can transform your images in seconds! Choose filters that are flattering and not too harsh on the eyes.
So your photos are already looking a million times better than before, but you still aren't getting as much engagement as you'd like. Marketing is something that I'd like to go into in depth in another blog, but for the sake of this one, I cannot stress enough how important timing is when it comes to posting your pics. It will be different for everyone, but experiment with posting at different times and see if there are patterns to engagement. There are generally 'peak times' when you are more likely to be seen on social media – for example, lunch time, when everyone is flicking through their feed at work. Weekends are also prime time for posting! You also have to do it quite regularly to build a momentum, so don't worry if you're not seeing immediate results – think of what you do today, as having an effect next month. Typically, a person has to be exposed to your business around 7 times before they will consider working with you – so keep plugging! Business is all about long term investment!
Again, this could really come into my marketing blog, but captioning is something else you could be using more to your advantage. Social media is supposed to be social! Choose themes that are relevant to your target audience and choose captions that can include them – perhaps ask a question, see what they've been up to, get to know your customers a little better. The personal touch goes a long way, and since you've now got some awesome photos to capture peoples attention, you might as well keep it with some well thought out captioning. In my experience, even if noone comments, people are much more likely to 'like' photos with a good caption/emojis than without them. This is important because as you have no doubt noticed – when people like things on Facebook, it tends to appear on the newsfeeds of their friends who FB decide might also be interested!
You have a little cash to spare? Here's how you can invest!
If you try out just a few of these ideas, I guarantee you will see your image quality improve vast amounts! As a result your engagement will increase and with that comes bookings! Give it a go and see how lucrative a simple photo can be!
I hope you've found this helpful, and I look forward to seeing all your fabulous images on my newsfeed!
More and more I am seeing new face painters crop up on the scene, and judging by conversations in some groups I am a member of, this is pretty much universal.
The natural reaction might be that these new painters are going to somehow steal my business – and indeed, there have been examples of undercutting prices, and even shadier methods to lure potential clients away. We should exterminate these threats immediately right? Erm… NO.
My actual reaction is that these people are NOT my competition and I wish them the best of luck in their business endeavors. You see, I LOVE that face and body painting is becoming more mainstream. Standards are being set higher than ever before, and newbies are relatively quick to catch onto these standards by way of social media interaction with other painters.
Aye, I can see the eyerolling now – this chick is naive to think people aren’t muscling in on her business. Not at all – here is how I logically break this down – really, its just simple maths.
First of all – I have to accept that these people are here on the scene, they have made a committment to building a business, and without hiring a hitman (which I promise I’ve only half-considered ONE TIME) there is nothing I can do about it. So I have to make peace otherwise the bitterness would eat me up from the inside out.
Then, I look down and count how many pairs of hands I have. For the record – I only have one pair of hands, unfortunately by way of my unprecedented human conception and birth, I am not an alien, nor am I a reincarnated Hindu God.
I’ve done my research, too. I thought it might be quite handy to find out the number of people who live in my vicinity that could potentially require my services. In my home town ALONE – not including outreach areas that I can also travel to, there are around 300,000 people. I’ll grant you not ALL of them will be interested in face painting or body painting, but even just taking 10% of that number leaves me with 30,000 people. Now what on earth am I going to do with that amount of people?
Most of my childrens party bookings come on weekends, and nearly ALL of those are requests for the same time slot (1-3pm or 2-4pm are the most popular). So lets just say I have 2 bookings a weekend for every weekend of the year.. that is 52 weeks x 2 = 104 clients I need. Some of those might even be repeat clients for the next year.
Now lets think of ways I can increase my sales through the week – maybe looking at corporate clients, body painting for adults, bump painting etc. The point is, even if I have 365 days of the year solidly booked with 2 clients per day (unlikely but not impossible depending upon your services and marketing skills, but come on, I want a day off SOMETIME) – that is 730 clients. What the hell am I going to do with the remaining 29,270 potentials?
The whole purpose of this little maths lesson is to illustrate a very important point – there is MORE than enough work to go around!
YOU have to be the one to go out and get it!
Now, I’ll grant you, you may live in a small town and it could get a little ‘cosy’ if another painter suddenly opens up shop next door. In order to get regular, reliable work in this gig you have to be willing to travel. This is why I will make no apologies to other painters who see me as a threat – I won’t apologize for them not being ambitious enough to put themselves into the public eye, and I would even encourage them to do so! Clients aren’t just going to come knocking on your door without prior invitation so you have to be prepared to put yourself out there, which brings me to my next point…
I always say that if you don’t promote yourself, then who will? Please don’t immediately jump to conclusions that because another painter is advertising her/himself everywhere that you also advertise, that they are somehow muscling in on your business, or that they think they are better than you. It is just good business sense to promote yourself at any given opportunity so make sure you do the same!!
The fact is that not only is there enough business to go around for those smart enough and confident enough to reach for it, your work will also speak for itself. Instead of comparing yourself to those other local painters, concentrate on your own work, branding and marketing strategies and that will pay off. It will also release the pressure immensely. You simply cannot compare yourself to others in a sustainable way. You are never going to be that person – there is noone else like YOU in the world, so celebrate that fact and do your own thing! You’ll feel better, promise.
I am proud to be a member of a great Facebook group of other local painters in my area. Its a place for us to vent, share tips, have a bit of a chat and also share jobs that we can’t do because we have another commitment. Mutual respect and generosity goes a long way – its important not to feel so threatened by other painters to the point where you might actually be missing out on business!
If you don’t have a local group on social media for your area – why not create your own? You can find out what the going rate is so you’re not inadvertently stepping on any toes(or possibly ripping yourself off), and you may even get access to jobs that you wouldn’t have before.
If there are others in the industry who have been doing this longer than you, don’t take this as an automatic sign that they have some kind of superiority complex. More often than not, folks are more than willing to share their experiences which can be valuable learning opportunities. The trick is, not to be so stubborn in seeing these other painters as competition, that you could miss out on learning to avoid the mistakes these painters have already made. You may even find some helpful troubleshooting tips for problem areas you are currently struggling with. Theres no shame in not knowing EVERYTHING. No one does, you know.
Thats not to say there is NO value in competition. Friendly competitiveness can effectively motivate us to do better. Its when that competitive vibe becomes menacing or starts to take over that it becomes a problem, and a hinderance to our business goals.
If we all worked on changing our perspectives, focussed on our own goals without feeling instantly suspicious of other business owners I think we would all be a lot happier for it.
If you are trying to do better JUST to one-up your imaginary ‘competition’ in a race that doesn’t exist, I can pretty much guarantee you are not going to get as much job satisfaction as you absolutely could be getting. If you instead focus on doing something for YOU, with integrity, grace and of course a passion that shines through in the form of amazing skills (that improve as time goes on) then you are going to feel so much more accomplished. Once you stop comparing yourself to what others are doing, to the extent of it taking over your time with weird ‘cyberstalking’ tendencies – you open up a whole world of possibilities.
If it transpires that someone else IS stealing your work, luring away your clients, then STILL the responsibility lies at your door. If you are more proactive, dedicate the time to improving your craft, marketing and securing that business then you will have absolutely nothing to worry about. Of course its not fair! What is? Its just another opportunity to dig your heels in and think up some innovative ways to stand out from the crowd.
I realise that not everyone will agree with my point of view – that’s ok! You don’t have to! This is just my opinion and I hope it has perhaps given some food for thought with people worrying about how they are going to survive in this dog-eat-dog world. Maybe more focus needs to be placed upon not ripping each other to bits, and instead building each other up, if not directly, then indirectly by simply wishing the best for our peers.
As a final note I want to say on record that there is absolutely NO excuse for ‘stealing’ someone elses work, photos, branding or outright copying their ideas to promote yourself. Do your own thing – its more authentic and more sustainable in the long run!
I wish YOU the best in your endeavors. I know that with hard work and commitment anything is possible!
Thanks for reading!
Super Simple Puppy Face Paint Tutorial Instructions and Products listed below!
We use a filbert brush and white paint to create an oval shaped
Using a flat or angled brush and a colour of your choice, create some floppy ears.
Fill in the middle area, connecting it with the muzzle.
Don't bring the colour down further than the
Use a darker shade of your chosen colour to outline the bottom half of the muzzle
Use the same colour to create short hair strokes as an
outline all the way around your design.
Dogs have a rounder nose than cats so take this into account
when painting yours on.
Add 3 small dots in a triangular pattern on each side of the muzzle.
Paint a little red tongue coming out of the side of the mouth and outline in black.
Use a liner brush and some white paint to give your dog some fuzzy fur and highlights. You can
'fuzz up' the muzzle, too, if you like!
This design is so quick and tidy - easy to replicate on the job in a matter of minutes!
For those of you who missed out on getting a spot on the Heather Green Workshops this month - we have great news!
We are holding a meet and greet evening for you to come and meet Heather, have a chat with her and take as many selfies as you possibly can :-)
It will be a great chance to meet Heather and do some paint shopping at the same time.
Nibbles and reshments will be provided
TUESDAY 16TH AUGUST 2016
So please join us from 6.00pm (the doors will be locked until this time)
**Please note the shop will be closed during the day while Heathers classes are in progress.**