When I first started thinking about writing a post about my kit essentials, I was going to do the whole lot in one. I then realised that actually there’s too much to say to cover all my kit essentials in one post, so I’ve decided to break it down into various categories, and this week, I’m going to talk about brushes.
Good brushes can make a huge different to your work, and the way that different people get on differently with different brands of paint, is also true for brushes. I think if I was going to break it down to my absolute bare minimum on the job for face painting, I could get away with using just 4 brushes: Party Xplosion Round 5, Pink Tip 3/4 inch short angled brush, Pink Tip Flora 12 and a Toothbrush. I do have some other brushes that I absolutely love, so I’m going to talk about those aswell, but the ones listed above are the ones I’m going to focus on.
Party Xplosion Round 5
This is my favourite brush. Ever. In the world. The bristles are really flexible which makes it really versatile. It’s brilliant for things like outlining, tear drops, tiger stripes, scars and scratches, and really fine lines. I actually have 3 of these in my kit so I can have them on different colours at the same time. I did try the Party Xplosion round 3, but I didn’t really get on with it because the bristles weren’t as flexible, and I haven’t tried any of the other sizes to compare, but this brush is life.
Pink Tip 3/4 Short Angled Brush
I really struggled with one stroke until I tried this brush. I had been using a flat brush but this one gave me so much more control, it’s great for so many things! I mainly use it for roses, butterfly’s, feathers, eye designs and sugar skulls, but I know a lot of people use theirs for so many different things!
Pink Tip Flora 12
I discovered flora brushes at a workshop with Erica Wafford at Body Craft Festival 2017! I had been really struggling with flowers, and straight after the workshop I went to buy the La Corneille Flora 10, and completely changed my body paint design for that day to incorporate the flowers. A few months later, The Face Painting Shop did a video about their new large flora brushes, and I immediately bought the Flora 12, and I absolutely loved it! It gives more of a rounded petal shape to the La Corneille, and it’s slightly smaller so I find it’s better for face painting. They work really nicely together, but on the job I tend to go for the Pink Tip every time.
Ok, so it’s not very versatile in terms of different strokes, but I absolutely love using a toothbrush! One of my favourite designs to paint is a galaxy, and to create all the stars, I use the toothbrush with a variety of colours over a dark base (I find uv colours work best for this). It works great for creating eye masks, and blood splatters, and is a great tool for your sfx kit too when using alcahol paints.
When I started using dagger brushes, it was to improve my one stroke roses, I never even contemplated using it for anything else! I no longer use it for roses but do use it to create petals and tear drops, and now we’ve been blessed with the new Triangular Dagger Brush!
I love myself some big brushes! Until this summer I was using foundation brushes for body painting when I decided to bite the bullet and buy the Mark Reid signature 30, and I have to say I absolutely love it! I also have the Pink tip base brush, but I prefer that for use on the face and use with one strokes to create flowers and caterpillars. I also love my 1 inch short angled brush! It’s great on adult faces, but I find it’s just too big for childrens faces, which is where the 3/4 inch short angled brush comes in. I also bought myself the Da Vinci 14 brush this summer, which is brilliant for body painting linework, and like the Party Xplosion brush, the bristles are really flexible and you can get a pretty good variety of thickness of strokes from it.
The last 2 brushes I want to talk about today are both pretty new to my kit, but I love them! The Pink Tip Flora Rounded 1 has a great fine tip, so you can get really precise linework out of it (it’s also what I’ve used for all of the writing on the boards in the photo’s) as well as great teardrops. The Small Flower Brush is also really lovely for smaller petals and little embellishements.
So there you go! A run down of my essential brushes and what they do! I hope this has been useful, I know everyone works diferently, and I would love to know what your favourite brushes are, so let me know in the comments!
Paint used: DFX white
Global Dark Blue
Superstar Petrol Blue
Nats Gold Edition Blue Wren
Nats Gold Edition Red Fox
Sally Ann Lynch Training Tried and Tested Black Practice A4 Board
I’m like you, a working face painter who spends Saturdays in noisy halls painting Spiderman and unicorns on sweaty, overexcited children. We love our work but sometimes it can be tricky; at busy birthday parties speed is of the essence, especially if the children are quite young. This week’s blog post is about face painting on the job and how your kit can help you speed up while maintaining the wow factor. Work smarter, not harder. Here’s how;
Got any work smarter tips of your own? Please share them below, I’d love to hear them.
Face Painting by Joni
Hi everyone, and thank you for coming back to read my second blog post! This week, I am going to introduce you to my lovely collection of one stroke paints!
Let me start by saying that I know that I have a lot of them! I carry 26 one strokes in my everyday kit, and although I have reduced this number on many occasions, it always creeps back up again! I admit that I buy paints like most girls buy clothes and shoes, and personally, I think it’s a much more rewarding purchase! Disclaimer – It is totally reasonable to have a LOT less than 26 and still be able to do everything you need to do! For me though, they are so pretty, and they fit perfectly into my cases, and if I took some out then there would be GAPS in my kit and I couldn’t be doing with that! Another positive is that they look great in my set up. They attract a lot of attention from people waiting in line, and for this reason, I always make sure that my flyers and business cards are positioned right beside them on the table! (‘ooh look at those magic paints… so THAT’S how she does it’ ring any bells?!)
I’ve spent a bit of time this morning thinking about how I use my one strokes. There are probably 8 or so that I couldn’t do without, and use at most jobs in some form or another; a handful that I keep handy for specific designs but don’t get asked for a lot; some that are variations of classics, and are nice to use for a change, and some that I bought wanting or expecting to love, but not quite managing it yet. My collection is made up of Global, TAG and Dfx, although I’ve been admiring some of the FPA (Face Paints Australia) one strokes recently, so will probably try some of those out pretty soon! There isn’t a specific brand that I think are ‘better’ than any other, and I choose based on how they work for me. TAG and Dfx are softer in my experience, giving a really good blend where the colours meet, Global are more firm, and take a little more work, but, provided that you don’t over-wet your brush, this means that you can achieve a really stunning range of contrasting colours side by side! I’ve been trying to pick out my all-time favourite, but I can’t do it! It honestly changes job by job. The one strokes that I use most often are probably rainbows at the moment, mostly due to the current unicorn obsession, but it wasn’t so long ago that it was all about Elsa, and I was using blues like there was no tomorrow. It’s probably all about to change again anyway as I have been reliably informed by my 9 year old that ‘llamas are the new unicorns!’ and I’m struggling to visualise a rainbow llama!
All of the paints that I have used today are available from The Face Painting Shop, and if, like me, you are limited to online purchases, I know that it can be hard to get a true sense of the blend from a stock photo, so I have swatched all 26 paints for you. (Any plans for a Northern Ireland branch, Nathalie?) If anyone wants me to try anything specific with any of them, just let me know! I have dabbled with putting my own blends together in the past, but it is incredibly messy and time consuming, and I’m not convinced that it actually saves any money considering the number of 30g solids you need to buy to be able to make them. There are also SO many different colourways available now that there isn’t really any need, so I’ve stuck with buying them off the shelf (or website!)
So… let me introduce you to my babies!
Everyone loves a rainbow… right? Rainbow one strokes are so versatile, and since everyone’s favourite colour right now seems to be ‘rainbow’ – they are bang on trend. I carry 5 rainbows and they get asked for a lot. First in the photo is ‘Rainbow Four’ by TAG. It’s probably the most traditional (accurate?) rainbow blend that I’ve found, and is bright, clear, and easy to load without muddying up the colours. Next up is ‘Leanne’s Rainbow (Neon)’ – part of the ‘Leanne’s collection’ paints by Global. It features a neon yellow strip and it packs quite a punch. It also has that amazing Global dark blue, which, mixed with its teal neighbour, gives a gorgeous blend into the yellow. I LOVE both of these rainbows and use them a lot, but there is something special about Leanne’s Neon Rainbow. It REALLY pops! The third swatch in this photo is a new one for me. It is ‘Bright Rainbow’ by Dfx, and I’m still learning to love it. It’s trickier to load, and has a tendency to muddy a little, but it gives a more muted rainbow, and the magenta strip works well in place of a strong red. I can see myself using this one for more ‘grown up’ rainbow designs. Second from the bottom is another from Global's Leanne’s collection,’ Island girl’. I know that this is super popular so I’m sure that lots of you use this already, but if you don’t… you need it! It is so pretty, and so versatile. The colours are magenta, neon magenta, neon orange, yellow and Global’s beautiful teal, so no blue, which softens it a little, but it is still super bright and loads beautifully. Last on this list, but by no means least, is Leanne’s’ Flower Fairy’, again, by Global. It’s not a traditional rainbow at all but has a definite rainbow vibe. It’s dainty and fresh, and looks amazing in fairy, springtime and whimsical designs. It’s a staple for me – Leanne sure knows how to put an amazing blend of colours together!
Roses are basically what one strokes were invented for, and I carry 4 paints that I reach for for the majority of my roses. Of course you can make gorgeous roses with lots of other blends (blue roses rock!) but I find these 4 give great natural looking flowers every time. I find that blends which move from a very dark colour, to white are best for roses and flowers, as they give the greatest depth and definition, and these babies won’t let you down. First on the list is ‘Evil Rose’ by DFX. It contains merlot, red, neon magenta and white, and it is super bright. It makes beautiful pink-red traditional roses, and looks amazing. Below that is ‘Stargazer’ by TAG and it’s almost the same, just without the red strip, so the blend is more subtle. Next is my current favourite, and a relatively new discovery for me…’Posie’ by Dfx. Posie contains a lovely dark blue, merlot, lilac and white, and I am so in love with it. I’ve been using this frequently for roses and flowers, as it’s just so pretty, and quite unlike anything else I’ve come across. Last on the swatch is ‘Black Iris’ by TAG, and it’s a purple blend with black and white edges. Again, the black means that it has lovely depth, and it’s also great for outlining butterfly designs.
BLUES AND GREENS
I’m not entirely sure why I have so many blue one stroke variations, (maybe an Ice Queen Era legacy?) but I don’t plan to reduce them anytime soon! First on this photo is ‘Melbourne’ by Global, and it gives a really strong blue blend (can you see a theme emerging here with global dark blue?) I use this more on older kids and adults as it’s pretty intense. It makes stunning roses too. Below that is Global ‘Calgary’ which you will notice is almost identical to number 3 on this list, which is ‘Ocean’ by Tag. Ocean was my go to blue blend for Elsa designs on smaller kids as it ends on a royal blue rather than dark blue and is therefore a bit softer, but having received Global’s ‘Calgary’ in my surprise bloggers box this month, I think I will probably switch to it once Ocean runs out… it just seems to give a more crisp result. Middle of this set is another from my bloggers box this month, ‘Taupo’ by Global. I am seriously wondering why I have never had this before as it’s absolutely gorgeous! I can see myself using this a lot, and as it contains both blue and green, it will work in all kinds of designs from dragons to princesses! 5th on this swatch is a recent purchase, ‘Beach Front’ by Dfx. I’m not exactly sure what I had in mind when I bought this one, and I’m still trying to love it. It has the potential to be really lovely, and the colours are very 2018, but there is a definite knack to loading it without muddying up the dark blue and yellow, and it’s going to take some practice before I start reaching for it regularly… I feel a challenge coming on! Next are my 2 staple greens… ‘Leaf green’ and ‘Leaf white’ both by TAG. As the name suggests, they make awesome leaves, but I also use them a lot for dinos, monsters, ninja turtles and hulk!
Neons are always very popular with ‘tweens’ and teens, but to be honest, I don’t reach for them as much as I expected to. Neons can be tricky to use in standard light, and I find that it can be hard to use them to their full potential as a result (there is especially something about neon purples which makes them quite translucent and a bit of a wash out in daylight, but boy do these beauties shine under UV! First up is ‘Neon Disco’ by Dfx. I like this a lot, both in regular light and UV. The yellow strip glows super bright! Second is ‘Neon Sun’, also by Dfx and I LOVE this one. It contains neon blue, neon purple, neon magenta and neon orange, and it looks fab under any lighting conditions, but it’s my go to one stroke for UV events – it has a real vibe of neon bar signs at a hot sunny summer destination, and looks great on girls and boys alike! If you work UV events, you NEED this in your kit! Next up is ‘Hawaiian Cocktail’ by Dfx. This isn’t strictly a neon combination, but the colours do react gently to black light, and it’s a pretty blend. I’ve used this for a less ‘acid house’ neon effect at UV events and it looks great. I will say that it was the only one of the 26 swatches that stained, although it was gone by the following day. Last in this section is Neon Nirvana by Global, and it’s a great all-rounder, working just as well in regular light as it does in UV mode. It makes great sunset skies, batman backgrounds, unicorn hair and amazing tropical flowers. It’s another ‘must have’ for your UV collection!
RANDOM PINKY PURPLY REDS!
These 3 didn’t seem to fit into any of the other categories, so I gave them one of their own! First is ‘Cotton Candy’ by DFX. It’s girlie, pretty and soft, and it looks great on tiny faces, making fabulous princess crowns! Personally, I like my colours to be super bright, so this is a little subtle for my liking, but it’s a popular combination and I use it quite a lot. Second in this random little section is another 'new to me' blend that came in my box. It is ‘Sydney’ by Global and I cannot for the life of me, understand why I have never used this before. It is BEAUT! It contains purple, magenta, orange and white and it blends so perfectly on the brush. I haven’t used it on a job yet, but anything I have tried with it has worked. I almost put this into the roses section as they look great! I will absolutely be keeping this in my kit and can’t wait to experiment more with it! Last up is ‘Dragon’ by TAG, and as the name suggests, it is amazing for dragons, flames and I also use it a lot for tribal style boy designs. It also gives an interesting variation to the standard red Spiderman faces! Most brands seem to have a similar blend to this, and I’ve tried most of them, but this is my favourite as the rich red in the middle really warms it up and makes it pop!
BROWNS AND BLACKS
This is probably the least fun category, but still necessary additions to any one stroke collection. Top of the swatch is TAG’s ‘Teddy Bear’ and below is ‘Bear Sense’ by DFX. I use both of these a lot for teddies, dogs and cats, and I really like them both. I probably reach for the Dfx version more often because the black strip acts as an outline for masks, half face designs and saves time at busy events, but TAG’s version is a softer mix and more subtle on tiny puppy dog faces. Last, but in no way least is TAG ‘Magpie’. It is the only black & white blend that I carry, but it does everything that I need it to and more. I love this for outlining skulls, and if, like me, you find fast queue busting skulls to be a challenge, this is a must have for your kit and will bring them to a whole new level! It is also great for dogs and cats, and gives lovely black and white roses!
So there it is. My treasured one stroke collection! Aren’t they beautiful? I mentioned a challenge earlier in the post (thanks for still reading – I know it’s a long one) so here it is. I challenge you, (and myself) to identify your least used one stroke, and use it in as many different designs as you can this week… spend a little time playing with it, figuring out what works and what doesn’t work. Maybe you will grow to love it! I look forward to seeing how this goes for you all! Also – if you have a ‘go to’ one stroke that I haven’t mentioned here, please share it with us in the comments section below! (and I can blame you when my husband spots yet ANOTHER delivery from TFPS!)
Thank you again for reading my latest blog post and for your kind comments about my last one... I still don’t quite feel like a ‘blogger’, but I’m getting there!
I have lots of plans for future blog topics, but if there is anything specific that you would like me to cover, please get in touch and I will do my best to help!
Glitter Gore Tutorial
I’m now in my third year of professional face painting and I have noticed a curious thing. Every year, just like the swallows all know to return to Africa, all the face-painters turn their minds to Halloween. There’s just something in the air.
Whether your Halloween season is cute little witches and pumpkin faces or full-bodied gory SFX, it’s generally the busiest series of dates for face-painters. I love everything spooky so am entirely in favour of the increase in adults hiring professional painters to give them amazing FX before they head out to parties. And here in Essex, if you cut us, we would bleed glitter(even the boys love it). So with this in mind my first blog post is a tutorial bringing a bit of guts and a lot of Essex sparkle. I know gore is not everyone’s cup of tea, but this tutorial is fully adaptable to other colours of glitter. All the products used in this tutorial are available at The Face Painting Shop.
1) Firstly, the safety stuff. Some people are allergic to latex so you always want to ask your clients if they are. Most clients will have had contact with latex in everyday items such as balloons, condoms, disposable gloves, even pants elastic(hopefully not all on the same night). But If they are unsure, you can do small patch test on the inside of the elbow and leave for 30 minutes to see if any irritation occurs. It’s always worth asking on your booking form or disclaimer, not only to save time but to protect yourself against claims. This FX also uses a lot of chunky cosmetic glitter, which I also don’t consider safe for liberally putting on children, as they might rub it into their eyes. It’s in no way as dangerous as *shudder* craft glitter, but it could still be upsetting to remove. This is an adult or teen only look.
2) When picking an area of skin to do latex SFX, you want to find a patch of unbroken, well moisturised and mostly hairless skin. The Global Liquid Latex I used came off very easily with soap, water and a flannel but hair would definitely effect how the wound looks. Ask your client to shave the area of excessive fur before your arrival so you don’t have to mess around with razors. You probably also don’t want to be within the orbit of the eye, although the Global Liquid Latex wasn’t the worst smelling latex I’ve smelled, it could definitely make eyes water. This product advises you use it in a well ventilated area.
3) For applying a layer of latex you want to stay away from your prized and extensive collection of face painting shop brushes. A rounded pallet knife or a sculpting tool are all you need to lay down the product. I wasn’t too fussed about evenness, but it’s better to have any lumps towards the centre of the wound rather than the edges where it should blend with the skin. How many wounds to create is up to you! I personally like things in groups of threes as it’s pleasing to the eye. Global Liquid Latex dries clearish pretty quickly so then you can get to tearing it open. Don’t worry if your client has darker skin and the latex is noticeable, most people aren’t my shade of porridge. You can colour match the latex with a skin palette or the client’s own make-up.
4) Gently use your sculpting tool to pull at the centre of the latex layer until a hole or tear appears. You’re obviously working on top of your client’s living human skin so try to make that first tear by pulling along the skin rather than into it. You can then slide your tool into that and rip the latex along. The excess will peel back on itself nicely, but you can also lift it from underneath to create a little pocket to fill later. To colour the insides of the wound I used Global Pearl Merlot as I wanted to be true to blood colours but glamorous too. I like the contrast of horror and beauty.
5) I then used some Global Coagulated Blood on a cotton bud to edge to wound and give it a bit of wetness. I find it’s best to dab a bit of blood on then smudge it around with the clean end of the bud. Less is more with fake blood, the mistake most Halloween Henry’s make on their once yearly attempt at face-painting is to go looney with the stage blood.
Now you should have a convincing wound or two!
6) Here comes the fun bit. Take some Global Chunky glitter gel and some TFPS chunky glitter! I picked red to go with the blood but I think it would be great with gold, or black and blue to look like a galaxy night sky. Use liquid bling instead of blood if you’re going more glamour.
I mixed my glitter mix together in a clean pot and used a TFPS Small Filbert brush to get the mix right in under the latex skin. Use the gel mix to pick up more dry glitter too, and pat it all in the wound. Set with a finishing spray and are good to go Glamoween!
To kickstart this new blog I want to talk about a subject us face painters all seem to suffer from at some point – self-doubt.
When we start face painting professionally we think ‘can I do this?’, ‘am I good enough?’, ‘am I too expensive?’, ‘will people book me?’
These are normal questions when we start something new, of course they are, it’s unchartered territory and it would be strange and unwise not to think things through. But how often have we seen these questions on Facebook posts? Why are we all so worried about being good enough? Because we want to please. Because we have the privilege to work in a happy profession, one that is full of colour, fun and joy and is about making smiles and creating beautiful memories. And we want to please the people who’ve booked us, to see their faces as they watch their child beam with delight at something we have created. And they do beam. And the parents are pleased and we sigh with relief, glowing a little inside because it went well. And yet.
As our business grows and we become more experienced and skillful sometimes these self-doubting thoughts grow with us and act against us, we compare ourselves to others and find our own talents lacking, we ask ourselves questions that could be helpful but are mainly not; ‘am I fast enough?’, ‘am I worth the money?’, ‘am I too cheap?’ And as if that isn’t exhausting enough we may even continue to doubt ourselves with statements we imagine to be true; ‘I could never paint that’, ‘I’m not good enough to enter a competition,’ and we kind of flounder a bit, stuck somewhere we imagine is good enough (maybe, possibly, hopefully?) and not truly realising our own self-worth.
Well enough. No more. If that child looks in the mirror and doesn’t cry you’ve done your job, if she smiles you’ve done your job well. We need to remember our job is not about us as artists, it’s about the child and their experience, they are allowing us to paint them, they are vulnerable and trusting as they sit silent with eyes closed, often with our hand gripping their head, and parents nowhere to be seen. Their comfort and happiness come first, the art is secondary. And when they open their eyes they will be happy. So, push yourself by all means, challenge yourself, find your weak points and work on them, get frustrated because your teardrops are wonky, try and copy an Olga, reach for the stars! That’s all fine. But let’s all stop doubting our abilities whether it’s painting a one stroke butterfly or negotiating a good stall fee at a festival. We are all good enough. Yes, we can be better and yes, we will be better. So be confident. Smile. Relax. You’re doing fine. In fact, from the look on that child’s face, you’re doing amazingly.
Face painting by Joni
Hello and a warm welcome to all you Lovely Readers of this Blog.
I’m utterly thrilled and grateful to be part of this wonderful blogging team and am excited to experience this new adventure with you all.
I’ll do an intro about my background and business and then we’ll take a look at and have a play with a couple of products which I received in my Blogger’s Box of Brilliant Bits package yesterday (*yes* I squealed as I opened the door, *no* it wasn’t my usual DPD delivery guy Jak who is used to my excitement at receiving TFPS packages , *yes* I answered the door in my terribly unflattering pj’s (Jak never minds this) and *yes* I think poor Chris the new guy is now terrified of me *slightly embarrassed facepalm*! Hahaha) Aaaanyway ...
WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHY, HOW?...
I’m Sophie, I’m somewhere in my thirties and live in York with my teenage daughter, my hubby and our cute & fluffy, mud-loving pup called Coco; occasional visits from the busy teenage step-daughter are sometimes thrown into the mix too.
I was a gigging drummer and occasional fire dancer in a band with my husband and friends for a few years in my twenties. We travelled around the UK performing in an exciting variety of locations: Ally Pally, Isle of Wight festival, Canary Wharf etc. I would dabble in body art even then by using glitters & different coloured eyeliners to draw on various victims *ahem* I mean ‘willing participants’ in the band! This is before I had a clue about any proper, professional body art products. Whenever we played at a festival, I would always abandon my band mates as soon as possible and head straight to the nearest face painting marquee.
I started my business doing Henna tattoos at festivals and events ten years ago, then expanded it over the years to include face & body painting, festival glitter, airbrush tattoos & glitter tattoos. I very rarely do Henna now as the rest has taken over, I miss that amazing smell though!
I remember stumbling across Lisa Joy Young’s first couple of tutorials on YouTube in 2009 and thinking ‘oooh that looks fun & easy, let me try.’ Yes, well … after buying a few one strokes, colours, sponges & brushes and trying it out, I found out that it was certainly fun but wow - not that easy! This was back in the Dark Ages before all the supportive FB groups filled with amazing tips, techniques & step-by-steps appeared and only 5 LJY videos uploaded on her channel, but I persevered and it got easier and I got slightly better with each attempt.
Actually, there was one particularly good chat forum from the early 2000’s (pre-Facebook!) for painters & henna artists back then where everyone used to hang out and job/skill share etc, but can’t remember for the life of me what it was called. If anyone knows it, please do let me know in the comments section below as that will bug me now.
My OTJ face painting designs for those first couple of years were all heavily influenced by talented artists who would kindly share their work online. It took quite a while for my own style to appear and, of course, for my confidence to build up enough to really explore and play with this medium. Even after nearly a decade, I’m still learning and experimenting and finding new ways of expressing with this art form. I think that’s the beauty of it, it never gets boring and is constantly evolving & challenging; I believe this keeps the passion alive.
PAINT ON *ALL* OF THE THINGS ...
I also have another creative business for my permanent art pieces on canvas, rocks and various other surfaces which I started in 2012 to run alongside the temporary body art. It began as something to do during the week as my body art bookings were mostly at the weekends back then. My Facebook Biz page for it grew rather quickly which took my focus away from body art for a couple of years there. I’ve had to take a break from it for a while as the workload & pressure of a long commission waiting list as well as the 3+ hours EVERY day of FB page maintenance (posting content/photos, answering comments, eating too much cake etc!) became incredibly overwhelming and I lost my mojo for it somewhere along the way (if anyone knows where it is then please do let me know and give it a nudge back in my direction!).
It really was a wonderful experience on the whole, especially those halcyon early days where the waiting list was growing and it was really exciting to connect with lovely folk and other artists from around the globe. In hindsight, I can see that I took on too much too quickly and then struggled to maintain the energy of it all. Note to self - find that balance or you’ll topple over! (Oh, and stop eating all the cake)
‘Twas a slightly scary decision last year to go full time with body art again (there was that rather rude voice inside that likes to tell us we can’t succeed y’know?) but it really has turned out to be the best decision for me & my family. I’ve been able to focus my full attention and energy into it and grow it to a point where I have plenty of work during the week as well as at weekends and a growing portfolio of amazing repeat clients.
I absolutely adore my body art job! I love the interesting places I get to see all around the UK, meeting fun & exciting people (both the public and other performers/artists) and I especially appreciate seeing the joy in people young & old when they have the Magic Mirror Moment. Best feeling EVER!
KEEPIN’ IT IN THE FAM ...
My lovely daughter Izzi (a self taught body painter since she was 14) has recently joined me as a working artist in my company along with my very good friend Mel (a brilliant paper cutting artist and calligrapher). They are both fabulously creative artists in their own right and each one has picked up the various body art techniques beautifully with our regular team training days. I'm convinced it must be due to my commitment in supplying a constant stream of delicious sweet treats at each training get together … for motivation of course! I love seeing the joy on their faces when they get compliments for their art whilst out on the job. I’ve seen them fall in love with all things body art and that’s truly a wonderful and humbling privilege to witness.
I also have 3 other professional working artists who are on call to join our team for those big, busy bookings. It’s been quite a big leap from being a solo artist for years to having a team. It makes me feel like an *actual* grown up! ….. for about 10 seconds ….. then I remember that my inner voice stopped growing at about 17 and I get real again *snigger*
TOP TIP #1 …
Believe in yourself and your ability to achieve what you want. That sounds so cheesy but it’s so so true. With lots of belief, commitment & dedicated hard work towards your goals (*Dream Big* because why the heck not?) and by focusing on the positives (don’t give your valuable time to negative voices inside and out), you will surely get where you want to be. I can only speak from my personal experience of what has worked for me (and equally what hasn’t worked as there have been lots of inevitable ups & downs & all arounds), but if I can do it then I promise you, you can too! (Top Tip #1b : Please be kind to yourself if you are finding it hard to believe in your abilities, ok? It’s easy to say to not listen to those self doubts, but it does take time & commitment to overcome these. Surround yourself with supportive & encouraging people and follow your passion, the rest will come. Also, just for transparency, I’m slightly nervous about you all reading this blog but I’m determined to do it anyway!)
WILL YOU JUST GET ON WITH IT ALREADY, Hmmm?...
Wow ok, so that was quite a ramble, haha, high fives all round if you’ve made it this far! Enough with the long intro already, let’s move on to my first Product Review …
As you know from earlier, receiving the Bloggers Box was definitely the highlight of my day/week/year. Opening a box of surprise goodies scores VERY highly on my excitement scale! Is it just me? Maybe I should get out more? Haha.
After much umming and ahhing, I’ve decided I’m going to try out Costa Rica one stroke cake and a pearl merlot cake by Global, along with The Face Painting Shop’s Champagne chunky glitter. I’m kinda thinking that Costa Rica would make great Dragon wings, so before I change my mind, I’m gonna go with that! And just like that *clicks fingers* ….. poooof …..
WHAT DID YA RECKON THEN?...
I do love Global one strokes and we use them regularly in our working kit along with other brands.
I adore the whole TFPS chunky glitter range (especially the small white iridescent one) and have lots in my Glitter Bar already.
FINALLY! … (and there you were thinking this was another instalment of The NeverEnding Story!) …
Well that’s that then. My first ever go at writing a blog after years of it being on my Bucket List. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and can take something from it to help you in your creative journey. Please do let me know what you think below so I can know for sure I’m not just talking to myself … hahaha … errrrrm … is there anybody actually there? *slightly concerned face*
If you *are* there and you *do* like it, then we would massively appreciate likes, comments & shares of it on your social media to spread the love around. *pretty please?*
Stay tuned for more posts coming soon from the rest of our Blogging Team, yaay Go Team!
I’m off to eat cake now ….. Lemon Drizzle Cake, my fave, nomnomnom ….
Well, here it is, my first blog post for The Face Painting Shop! I am so grateful to have the opportunity to give back to a community that has been so helpful and supportive in my journey so far, and that’s what I’m going to talk about today, how I got to where I am now!
I’m Mazz, I’m 24 and living in Sheffield with my boyfriend Alex. Nearly 3 years ago, I left my degree in classical singing at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama halfway through my third year (it was a 4 year degree so it’s not as bad as it sounds!) to train as a hair and makeup artist at Iver Academy, based at Pinewood studios.
Back in 2013 I did a 10 day hair and makeup course with Illamasqua and The Hair Project while I was on my gap year recovering from hip surgery (my gap year consisted of 2 major hip surgeries and 8 months on crutches). I then went off to do my degree, where I spent more time doing makeup for various productions than actually performing in them. I started doing a lot of ‘creative’ makeup looks on myself and any friends I could get hold of to practice on. It came to a teaching module in my 3rd year and I kind of just broke down. I went down the singing route because from a very early age that’s what I was told by my teachers I was going to do because I was good at it and had never seriously considered anything else. About a week later I had booked a visit to Iver Academy (formerly Greasepaint) with a view to starting in January 2016 and pretty much booked onto the course on the spot. I did my last recital in December 2015 and haven’t sung properly since and I have 0 regrets.
I had the best time at Iver! I did the 30 week course, which covers everything you might need to know to start out as a hair and makeup artist in film and tv (including period hair and makeup and prosthetics), theatre, fashion, and beauty, it was the full shebang. Before I started the course when I had been doing research for various productions, I had come across accounts like MadeYewLook, Jordan Hanz, Glam and Gore etc, but it wasn’t until we had a 2 day body art workshop with Mona Turnbull that I began to understand the potential that face and body painting had, and that it could be more than an alternative to a halloween outfit.
When I graduated from Iver in August 2016 I did whatever work came my way, I didn’t want to say no to anything, but I actively searched for shoots where they wanted a body painter and local events where I could do face painting. After a 6 week stint in the wigs department for a West End panto I booked myself onto The Face Painting Shop’s level 1 course, and since then I have really worked at improving my skills and building my business as ‘The Pixie Tribe’ (Mazz Loxton for body art work) while still taking on any hair and makeup work that come my way.
And then we moved. I had been living with my mum near Reading, and Alex and I had been together 3 years and decided it was about time we moved in together. He got himself a job in Sheffield (because we can actually afford to live up here) and we had been promised we’d be able to move in by September, in time for the new school year for Alex’s job (he’s a teacher). We actually moved on the 27th October 2017, and I had a body paint job (where he would be modelling for me) that evening, followed by a Halloween event the next day. It was one of the most stressful patches of my life, not knowing when we were going to move, and therefore not knowing what work to take, and making huge losses, but it’s ok, I made it to the other side without killing anyone (although our mortgage advisor and solicitors got a very narrow escape.
Just after we moved I got what was supposed to be a Christmas temp job as a Dyson Stylist (which translates to hairdryer demonstrator and seller) so I could bring in some money whilst I got myself set up in Sheffield and doing any self employed work I could. They asked me to stay on permanently and I agreed to it on the basis that I could go down to part time so I could put more energy into being self employed. Unfortunately it was fixed days and hours, working Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10:30-7 which left very little time for the work I wanted to do, and it got to the point where I was turning down too much work, so at the beginning of June this year I left, and it was the best decision I ever made.
So that’s where I'm at now! Over the last year, I’ve really started to look at what I want to achieve, and how I’m going to achieve it, because I think I lost sight of it for a while. It’s been pretty tough at times, but I wouldn’t change anything. I absolutely love the direction I’m heading in now, and am always amazed at the progress I have made since I started and continue to make even month by month. (images below are of my competition piece at the World Body Painting Festival 2018)
And now I’m going to shut up! I hope you have enjoyed my first post, I’m so excited to talk about some of the things I have mentioned above in more depth another time as well as product reviews, step by steps and every thing else! Please let me know if you have any questions, or anything in particular you want me to talk about!
Hi I’m Kate, and yes this is my ACTUAL job…..
My husband asked me the other day “if we were to win millions on the lottery, would you still do your face painting?”… my answer was a resolute YES. I think that there probably aren’t many people in this life that could say that. I have a job (and yes, non-painter type people it’s an actual JOB not a hobby, or a sideline - a real, paying, skilled job) that is hard work, sometimes back-breaking, not to mention all-weather, and can be extremely challenging but…..is mainly joyful, exciting, and full of COLOUR and creativeness and SPARKLE. I count myself as having one of the best jobs imaginable.
Unlike many of my fellow talented artists I do not have a background in Art, and wasn’t in the least bit artistic when I was younger, infact my family are still rather bemused at my making a living with such a creative career! My first foray into face painting was when I worked for 10 years with Adults with Learning Disabilities. They were performing a ‘Cats: The Musical’ show and so I was thrown in the deep end - but it was all great fun (and probably atrocious face painting!).
I gave up work to have my babies (I have two energetic boys, 5 and 8 years old) and fate was to show its hand when I volunteered to help face paint at the school’s summer fair, with an old crusty snazaroo kit, terrifyingly long queues and a few photos for guidance! Despite all of this I got some really nice feedback, and just had a feeling that I needed to give this a go. So I bought a basic kit, did a lot of research, contacted a local, amazing painter (who is now a great friend) who took me under her wing, gave me some amazing advice and practiced practiced practiced.
PTA first kit horror story vs oversized current kit and neons above
I’m now in my fourth year of Kate’s Faces and still feel like a newbie (does that feeling ever disappear?) but I’m lucky to have had some fabulous clients, worked with some amazing artists and have a fantastic local network of talented painters whom I work very closely with. I also now have a ridiculously large kit, which I am continually adding too (ssshhh, don’t tell the hubby). I adore face painting, and glitter, and special effects and gore! I adore baby bump painting too – it’s magical painting a bump and feeling baby kick from the outside! I would like to delve more into the world of body painting and plan to use this blog to show you how I get on!
I’m so excited to get involved in blogging for The Face Painting Shop – I’m going to be writing about my life as a face painter, how I built the business up, face painting and family life, doing step-by-steps and lots more so let me know if you have any topics you’d like me to cover.
I would also really love to help, and support other painters who may need it – so if you can think of anything you would like me to help with- be it a certain design you are struggling with, or a business issue, client problems, if you are a newbie and want to start up etc please do comment below or get in touch - It doesn’t have to be on a public forum. You can contact me through my Facebook page www.facebook.com/KatesFaces26 or website www.katesfaces.co.uk and I would be really happy to help.
Hi There!! Welcome to my first EVER blog, my name is Jane, I’m 40 and live in Leicestershire UK with Mark (human) and our fur babies Ted (dog) & Socks (cat). I hope to take you on a somewhat brief journey of how I found face painting and how it became my full time job.
In January 2017 I launched my face painting business ‘Daisy Jane’s Face painting’, with the intent of it being a little side hobby to earn me some extra ££ at the weekends. But fast forward 5 months and I had left my “main job” to become a full time face painter and a dream come true!
But hold on, let me just take you back to 1993, I clearly remember sitting with my careers advisor at school and being told, “You can’t make a living at drawing and painting. Why don’t you work with children instead? You can draw and paint with them!”.
Whaaatt?! It had never crossed my mind to work with children, but that’s what I ended up doing for 20 years! After qualifying, I worked in a nursery for a year, I then spent a year in New York as an Au Pair and on my return to the UK I began my 18 year “career” within Children & Young People’s Services, working with vulnerable children and families, eventually spending 8 years as a child behaviour specialist.
Initially I loved it, but as you’ve no doubt heard before, over the years the government cuts and restructures took its toll and my role was morphing into something I had not applied for. With work load, responsibilities and stress rising my health suffered and eventually my happiness. I needed out… so I quit!
What the…. Am I going to do now?!
I wasn’t trained for anything else!
So for the next 18 months I bumped along in a few part time jobs, trying to find a new dream. I actually really enjoyed a couple of those jobs, but my health still kept getting in the way.
I know… I hear you! “But what about the face painting?!”
Well, something I’ve not mentioned is that over that 20 year period I was often “roped in” to help out. Part of working in area I did, we periodically organised open days and fund raisers to encourage families to come along and get involved and face painting always went down well.
You know how it goes… “Jane, you’re ‘arty’, here’s a box of 5 Snazaroo colours, one brush and one sponge… would you face paint for us?”
Of course I did… admittedly I wasn’t very good, but I absolutely loved it.
After one of these types of events in November 2016, a few people suggested to me that I should do it ‘as a side thing’. I mulled it over for a couple of months and after deciding I could really do with a bit of extra income, in January 2017 I decided to ‘Feel the fear & Do it Anyway’ (Great book by Susan Jeffers BTW!).
For the next 4 months I worked part time and during my days off I started working and building up Daisy Jane’s Face painting. I worked really hard behind the scenes, I practiced, I researched, and invested everything I could into my kit. By May 2017 my calendar throughout the summer was getting really full; I was even turning away work during the week. So I then took another big gamble. Well, I was getting used to these life changing decisions now! I decided to leave my ‘main job’ and focus all my time and efforts on face painting.
So there you have it… for the last 15 months I have been a full time face painter and I can safely say it’s the best career decision I have ever made… ‘Take THAT careers advisor!’
Of course, like many of you I don’t just face paint anymore; I’ve added some other strings to my bow and have plenty of exciting plans for the future. The BEST is yet to come!
I am really looking forward to sharing my thoughts, product reviews, tips and tricks in my future blogs. I’d also love to know if there is anything you would particularly like me to blog or vlog about, so drop me a comment below.
And finally, I just want to say… ‘THANK YOU’ for reading my first blog, I hope it wasn’t too self-absorbed! But I think it’s important going forward that you know a little bit about me. If anyone has a similar story, I’d love to hear it, so please share it with us in the comments.
Until next week…
Well here it is… my first EVER blog post!
I am super excited to have been asked to blog on behalf of The Face Painting Shop, and, I’ll admit, I’m a little daunted at the prospect! I hope I can, along with the other wonderful ladies on board, manage to share things that are useful and interesting to you all. I thought that I should start by introducing myself to you, and talking briefly about why I LOVE being a working face painter.
I’m Kathryn Craig, I’m 39 (eeeek!) and I live and work in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I am wife to David, and Mum to Ruby, 9, and Jude who is 15 months old. We also have a boxer dog, Bodhi, who keeps me on my toes (when I’m not tripping over him every time I turn around.)
My business is called Magical Masks Belfast, and last week saw our 5th birthday. In the 5 years that I’ve been working as a face painter, I have managed to grow what was initially my little side-line, into a fully functional business, with high profile clients that I could never have dreamed of working with when I tentatively posted my first advertisement on Gumtree, (silently hoping that no one I knew would see it and realise that it was me!) I started when my then 4 year old daughter developed an interest in having her face painted. I have an art background, graduating from the University of Ulster in 2001, with a degree in Applied Arts, and I had the classic “how hard can it be?” thought, promptly buying myself a little Snazaroo kit on Amazon. The answer, as always, was “harder than it looks!” and I fairly quickly got stuck into the process of upping my game, and educating myself about the world of face painting! Since then I have attended training with incredible artists including Juliet Eve, Sarah Smith, Naomi Gay, Jennifer Parker, Teresa Mullin, and Livi Lollipop, which has been amazing, and I now have a complete addiction to changing and adding to my kit, which is among my most treasured possessions!
This year, I have been focusing on growing the business, and it’s been a year filled with lessons learned, which I hope to be able to share with you all in future blog posts.
‘I LOVE MY JOB!’
How many people are lucky enough to be able to say that and mean it? Sure, there are stressful parts, crappy days and times I feel like throwing the towel in, but all in all, I genuinely do love my job! I love being self-employed, and I have the best work life balance that I have ever had. I’m able to walk Ruby to and from school, and hang out with Jude during the day. I can choose which jobs I want to take, and which I want to pass on. I can, for the first time in my life, see a direct correlation between effort applied, and financial reward, and am more motivated than ever.
I love that my job allows me to be creative (although on days were I’ve painted eleventy-billion unicorns, that can be challenging!) and I love how I get to work in places, and with people who I would otherwise never have encountered. I have had the privilege of working with some truly inspirational people, from refugee children, to local celebrities, and everything in-between. I feel privileged to be invited to share peoples happiest, and most intimate moments, from birthday parties to baby showers, big community fun days, to small family get togethers. A face painter is always a great addition!
I Love how there is an amazing community of face painters worldwide who share their work, share their knowledge and are always around to help and inspire other artists, new to the business and long in the tooth alike! I feel very blessed that here in NI, we have a strong face painting community, and are always helping one another out with tips, advice, empathy, comradery, and regularly working together on big jobs. Over time, these people have become friends as well as colleagues and we know that we genuinely have each other’s backs – you can’t ask for more than that!
So yes, I DO love my job, and I can’t see that ever changing. If you have had one of those weeks where you have answered endless enquiries, and not taken a single booking, or are feeling disillusioned with the whole thing, take a quiet 10 minutes and think about all of the positive things about being a jobbing face painter. It’s not always easy, but it is SO worth it, and we are all incredibly lucky to be able to use our artistic abilities and creative tendencies to make a living.
Anyway, That’s enough from me for now, but I will be covering all of the things I’ve talked about today, and more, in more detail over the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned, and a massive thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my first ever blog post!