The Need for Speed
When I first started out face painting, I sought out advice from a very experienced painter in my area, whom is now a great friend. Amongst all of the wonderful advice she gave me, I remember she told me that I should eventually be able to paint around 15 faces an hour. At the time, I was averaging about 15 minutes a face! So was quite overwhelmed
at the thought of being able to paint that quickly, and to a good standard. This week’s blog is about how I built up to that number and my top tips for increasing your speed.
Starting off Small
I ditched my book of designs as I knew that by continually looking at something for reference was slowing me down – this was a big step and pretty scary!! But it gives you lots of freedom too – your client doesn’t know what you are supposed to be painting (eliminating the ‘you’ve missed that bit, I want that bit’), you can vary the design as you like, keeping it really simple if you have a long queue or adding in my detail and embellishments if you wish. My first step was to memorise, REALLY memorise 6 popular designs, and really try and nail those designs. I think I chose a butterfly, tiger, spiderman, flowers, Captain America and a princess crown (If I was learning now I’d almost definitely replace one of those with a unicorn!). I painted my Sally Ann Lynch Tried and Tested board with these six designs and took it to parties, ppf jobs and practiced and practiced. Naturally I got quicker and quicker at these designs.
Build Up Your Repertoire
As my confidence grew I began to add in extra designs – so I’d practice at home the basic steps to creating a design, and then add it to my board. And over time, I added more and more, mixing up the design boards completely, taking multiple boards with me, even bravely taking requests for things I’d never painted before and using my imagination for how they’d look on the face – something I never thought I’d be able to do!
Now I generally don’t use a board to display designs on, unless I’m working at a themed event and have been asked to specially design one – I LOVE working a themed event, and the challenge of thinking up new ideas, and painting something other than unicorns and superheros! However- I still revert to my 6- face choice board if I know I really have some numbers to get through. Last weekend I had a 2 hour party with 45 children to paint, one of the parents managing my queue and a very knackered Kate by the end of it!
Utilise Your Time-Saving Tools
We are lucky to have SUCH amazing products available to us now, splitcakes, one strokes, stencils, all of which make our jobs so much quicker. I utilise these as much as I can on busy jobs to help me to be quick. I love to blend out a face and spend time on a design but there is a time and a place!
I try to remind myself not to be a perfectionist if I’ve got a long line or a very busy party, and I think this is really important if you do want to build up your speed. I don’t mean that you should completely compromise on quality, as it would be soul-destroying to turn out work that you hate – but to try and find a happy medium. Focus on high-impact designs that are simple and quick. You have to remember that members of the public are going to be impressed with your skills even if you don’t add on those five starbursts, and the shading, and the liquid bling etc etc.
So to recap:
TOP TIPS FOR INCREASING YOUR SPEED
Use a display board so children can choose their design ahead of time
If you’re a beginning start with a small selection of designs and memorise them
Use one strokes/stencils/splitcakes to get more ‘bang for your buck’
Keep the designs simple, bright and high-impact
Thanks for reading, I’d love to hear any comments or tips you have on this subject. Next week I’m going to starting CHRISTMAS designs woohoo! Using some gorgeous, glitzy products from The Face Painting Shop.
Thanks for reading, I’d love to hear any comments or tips you have on this subject. Next week I’m going to starting CHRISTMAS designs woohoo! Using some gorgeous, glitzy products from The Face Painting Shop.
Let’s talk about instagram, part 2
In part 1 I covered the basics of Instagram and getting started with it. In this post, part 2, I’m going to talk about the business tools, how to make the most of them, and some of the extra features.
How to make your profile a business profile
There are so many benefits of turning your profile into a business profile! It makes it easier for people to get in contact with you, you can promote your posts, and you can get insights and analytics to help show you how your posts are performing, and give you information about your audience. There are a couple of requirements to have a business profile. 1) You have to have 100 followers, and 2) you have to have a Facebook page. This is because Instagram is owned by Facebook, and it uses the information from your Facebook page to fill out your business details for your Instagram page. It then also connects your payment details so that if you choose to promote one of your posts, it already has everything it needs.
So, how do you do it? Go to your profile, and there will be the 3 line menu button in the top right corner. Click that and it opens a small menu, and right at the bottom is a ‘Settings’ button. Open that and it takes you to a really long menu. Scroll down until you get to the ‘Business Settings' section and you should have the option right there.
Insights and Analytics and how to use them
The insights page is split into 3 sections. Activity, Content and Audience. The ‘Activity’ tab shows you a week on week report based on profile visits, website clicks, reach and impressions. It also shows a graph to say which days of the previous week had the most actions taken on your posts.
If you go into the content tab and select ‘see all’ You can see all of your posts ranked by engagement they have received, how many likes, comments, profile clicks, emails, website clicks etc etc your posts have generated. You can also select the time frame that it takes into consideration.
The audience tab shows you a range of graphs including the locations your audience is from, the age range of your audience, the gender of your audience, and at what times or days your followers are most active.
That’s a very brief explanation of the insights page, but there are so many useful things to take from that information, and can really help you to see if you are getting the most from your posts.
Promoting your posts
This is basically a social media ‘advert’. You can pay as little as £3 to ‘boost’ your post, and you can customise your target audience. You can even save this target audience to use again in future promoted posts. This is such a great tool because you might want to change your target audience depending on your ad, wether you are promoting maternity art, a glitter bar for a wedding or face painting for a children’s party. You can then also tweak these settings depending on if the ad is getting you the results you wanted or not. You also then receive insights as to how much of your engagement has been generated by the promotion vs the organic reach (people who would have seen and interacted with your post without the paid promotion). Just be careful when you are choosing a post to promote though. I have had a promotion cancelled in the past because there was too much text on the image itself, and photo’s with lots of text or ‘clutter’ don’t perform as well on social media as ‘clean’ images. This is something instagram automatically did rather than me choosing to end the promotion, so just keep that in mind!
I talked in part 1 about using hashtags, and making the most out of them, as well as supporting other face painters by engaging with their posts. Business hashtags are another great way of expanding your reach and supporting other local businesses who in turn might support you. Working with local businesses can be really beneficial to both parties, and social media can often be the first point of contact for this, you could discover loads of local businesses you didn’t even know existed! I know of a couple of hashtags around where I live. We have ‘#Sheffieldissuper’ (which started off as a twitter page, retweeting a lot of the content they were tagged in) and ‘#Southyorksbiz’ which literally reposts everything it has been hashtagged in, which has it’s pro’s and cons. It might take a little bit of time to find relevant local business tags, but once you have found them, they can be really beneficial!
Keeping your profile relevant to what you do
For me, this is a biggie. I have 4 separate instagram accounts. 4. I keep each area of my business separate, and then I have a personal account too because, as much as I love my dogs, and as much as I think they are the most gorgeous, idiotic, lovable creatures ever, my clients might not. Having a separate personal account also allows me to follow other accounts unrelated to work without my business newsfeeds getting clogged up with cakes, other people’s dogs, and pictures of forest floors and mountains. I’m not saying that if you are a face painter and a glitter tattoo artist that you necessarily need a separate account for each service, they are complimentary services that you would probably perform together at the same gig. For me though, if I have someone looking me up for face painting at a children’s birthday party, they’re probably not interested in the bridal hair and makeup I did the other day, and equally if I’m being considered for a fashion shoot or a film, they might be put off by the face painting. You also need to consider your marketing strategy, especially who your target market is, and if it is the same for each area of your business. That being said, there are a few people that actually do follow all 4 of my accounts (although these are mostly my family and close friends), as well as those who only want to see images from one of my accounts and that’s fine! It’s totally up to them.
Instagram stories is a relatively new feature, entirely stolen from snapchat, and is now also a feature on Facebook. It’s a another way to engage with your followers and increase your exposure. For me, it’s where I post more sort of behind the scenes stuff that I don’t want on my main profile. Live videos can be great for engaging with your audience, as is captioning and hash tagging your stories, which can also then include your story in the main story for that hashtag. To add to your story, go to your newsfeed (or your profile), and on your logo there will be a little + button which you need to click. From there you can decide wether you want to add a video, a boomerang or just a quick photo to your story.
User Generated content
Personally, I am rubbish at remembering to take photo’s while I’m on the job. It can be really hard, especially if it’s a busy event, to find the time, and to find the time when you have done a really good paint rather than when you’ve been stuck with a wriggler for the last 10 minutes! A really good way of generating photo’s of your work other than taking them yourself, is to encourage people who have been painted by you, or whose children have been painted by you to tag you in any pictures they post of it on Facebook or Instagram. These can then be re-shared to your profile, and you can tag the person who originally posted it, and thank them for it! As well as building your exposure, this is a good way of making sure you are totally, 100%, completely GDPR compliant.
Sometimes there might also be professional photographers at the events you are painting at. Photographers are your best friends! I have been sent some really lovely photos of my work from events where there has also been a photographer, and it’s also a great networking opportunity.
Taking into account your own social media habits
The last thing I want to talk about today is your own social media habits. What makes you want to interact with someone else’s post, what makes you want to unfollow someone? Think about this and then apply it to yourself. Imagine you are a potential client, and be really honest with yourself. Are you posting engaging content? Are you posting at a time that your target audience is going to be using instagram? Morning breaks, lunch breaks, and just after dinner (and by dinner I mean evening meal, NOT lunch!) are the times I have found most effective for me to post during the week.
And the other last thing is this. Just remember that in general, we only post what we want other people to see. People constantly say to me ‘Ooh Mazz, you look like you’re doing really well, you always look busy’. That’s because that’s what I want people to think. There are times where I am really busy, but equally there are times where I am sat at home wondering what I’m going to do with myself. We know social media is bad for our mental health for this reason, so remember to take everything you see online with a pinch of salt.
I hope you have found my instagram blog posts useful and that you have managed to take something away from them. I would love to know if you have tried anything I have talked about and hear if you have found it has changed anything for you! Please also let me know if you have anything in particular you want me to talk about in future posts!
Hi Everyone! I hope that you have all enjoyed the rest week between Halloween finishing and the Christmas jobs starting! The season starts for me on Saturday, with a ‘switching on of the lights’ event, and I am both horrified that it’s not even December yet, and yet really looking forward to the Christmas tunes! With this event in mind, I have created a little video showing three super easy one stroke Christmas doodles. These are great for faces and arms alike and are really easy to recreate. Enjoy!
These designs were painted on a Sally-Ann Lynch TTT Large practice board.
Tag Teddy Bear One Stroke
Superstar 040 Pinky Red
TFPS Pink Tip short ¾” flat brush
Loew-Cornell Gold Grip size 2 brush
TFPS Pink Tip round size 3 brush
TFPS Aurora glitter
Tag Leaf Yellow One Stroke
TFPS Pink Tip short ¾” angled brush
Loew-Cornell Gold Grip size 2 brush
Global Neon Rainbow Cake
Superstar 024 Chocolate Brown
TFPS Aurora Glitter
Tag Magpie One Stroke
TFPS Pink Tip short ¾” angled brush
TFPS Pink Tip round size 3 brush
Loew-Cornell Gold Grip size 2 brush
Superstar 033 Orange
TFPS Aurora Glitter
Festive Foliage step-by-step
Excited for Christmas? In our house we don’t decorate till after my husband’s December birthday so I have to fit all my festive fantasy into my face-painting. I’ve seen lots of holly berry tutorials this week but I want to show you a couple of other wintery wonders to pepper into your designs. I’ve also done a time lapse so you can see how to bring variations of these elements together into an eye design.
I’ve got complicated feelings about yew berries. Last year my three year old picked up and ate some from a playground floor. The berries themselves aren’t poisonous but the little seed in the centre of each, are. After a day in A&E under monitoring he was given the all clear.
So they are dangerous but beautiful. I used TAG Leaf White one-stroke for the foliage. You simply tap the flat of your brush straight down to create each needle. That’s the chisel edge stroke. It’s a good move to have in your repertoire. The spray of needles are delicate and need to be given space in a design to be recognisable. The black seed of each berry should look away from each other. They aren’t as glossy as holly berries so no need to highlight, you can outline if you choose/have time to.
To add a little more interest to your designs, pine cones can be used as a feature. I take Global Rose Brown and either make round egg type shapes or little fat sausages. Once they are reasonably dry, take a well worn brush and layer/crisscross with more chisel strokes to create the seed segments. Christmas is a great time to be using older brushes. They add texture. I use one of the first filberts I ever got for little dabs of chunky glitter. And older round brushes used with a wetter paint make fantastic dots and circles for berries. To finish off the pine sprigs I add irregular sprays of TAG Leaf White again. Using the same chisel stroke but back and forth to make more variation in the length of the needles.
To finish, top things sporadically with little banks of white. Be subtle with this snow effect as you don’t want to cover up all the lovely painting you’ve just done. And as always, it’s not complete without glitter. I used some TFPS chunky glitter in “Champagne”.
Training Tried and Tested, a Review
Practice makes perfect, it’s a well known fact. We learn through making mistakes, appraisal and creating muscle memory. When I started face painting, I printed out a face chart and laminated it and that’s how I practiced, but the plastic is far too smooth, and the colours don’t show very well. After a few months (I don’t know why I waited so long) I bought myself the Sally-Ann Lynch Training Tried and Tested A4 practice face and it made a HUGE difference.
Sally-Ann Lynch has worked so hard to create and produce these practice boards, and by now, I’m close to having the full set. They take paint so well, they’re easy to clean and they look beautiful when they’re all painted up with designs at events, and make it so easy for people to choose designs. I actually punched holes in the top corners of my boards to hang from my Gazebo at festivals, and to hang from the arm of my painting chair when I go to events.
I was so excited when I opened this months bloggers box and found the male torso board and a Pink Tip Triangular brush inside. I have a really big wedding fayre this weekend and alongside face painting, I am promoting a ‘Something Different’ Body Painting Hen Do, and it was the perfect excuse to put both the board and the triangular dagger brush to work. The Triangular Dagger Brush is PERFECT for tiger stripes, I love how crisp you can make those lines! I also used some of the Dupe Pigment in Copperline for a little bit of extra definition and shimmer in the shadowed areas, as well as my Da Vinci number 14 brush for those really big tiger stripes.
I also have the female torso and the back torso, and in the lead up to the world body painting festival this summer, these are what I used to practice my design. They are a great size to practice on, and it really gives you an opportunity to visualise your design.
Those designs have been on those boards since June, and the paint hasn’t budged until I washed it off yesterday morning, but didn’t take any effort to wash off when I needed to. They have both now also been repainted for this weekend.
So as well as the A4 face board, the 12 face board, the female front torso, the back torso, and the male front torso, I also have the A4 black board to display things like pricing, little notices, advertising bits and pieces etc etc. I absolutely love the way colour shows up on this board, especially one strokes. The only thing I would say is that I have found it a little harder to clean off than the clear boards, but once you’ve painted back over it, you can hardly tell.
Nothing is ever going to be as good as real skin to practice on, but I would argue that these boards are better to practice on than real people. They don’t squirm when you bring a brush near their face, they don’t move unexpectedly, they don’t need to pee, they don’t need to sleep, you can take as much time with these boards as you like without worrying about how long they have been stood up. You can get a realistic idea of how your design is going to look, and it’s so easy to wipe something off and change it if you don’t like it.
I really hope this has been useful to you. As you can tell, I am a big fan of these boards, and plan to keep adding to my collection. Please let me know in the comments below if you have any questions!
PAW PATROL STEP BY STEPS BY JANE HARDING
Thanks for dropping by and having a look at my/our blogs, we all really appreciate you taking the time to read and watch every week, so thank you all for your ongoing support.
I am sure some of you out there are aware or have seen the 4 Paw Patrol Step By Steps (SBS’s) I created earlier this year. I am aware they have been shared across Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. I’ve also received so many lovely comments about them and how they have “saved the day” for a couple of people on the job who quickly needed a Paw Patrol design. Honestly, hearing comments like this made my day, it really is the reason I made them. I have learnt so much from all the great face painters out there sharing their work on Social Media, so I love that I can return the favour.
Originally I created SBS’s for Chase, Marshall, Skye & Rubble and I lost count how many times people have asked me to complete the set by creating SBS’s for Rocky & Zuma. The wait is finally over, I have made them and you can find them all here for the first time!
As you will see, I created each one of these designs on a Sally-Ann Lynch Training Tried and Tested Board. Having used these boards since I started face painting almost 2 years ago, I can highly recommend them. I don’t have my own children to practice on and I struggle to paint my own face because I am VERY short sighted, so I find these boards invaluable for me to practice. I would also suggest using them as I have done here repeating the same design over and over, this helps tremendously with muscle memory (which helps speed) and just remembering the designs when you don’t have a picture. The more often you do something the easier and quicker it is to paint and remember!
Below each SBS I will list all the paints and brushes I used and finally some tips about adapting them when you need to be super quick… Enjoy!
NEED TO PAINT THEM REALLY FAST?
My biggest tip to create these in super quick time would be to leave out the base/face colours. Literally just paint the hat/goggles, ears and nose.
This still makes the character super recognisable and looks really cute. When I have tried this OTJ, I still had time to outline but if you are really struggling for time you could leave that off too. Personally I would choose to outline and leave off the highlights, but ultimately, leaving off the base colour really does save a lot of time.
And that is it! I hope they have been worth the wait for some of you and that they continue to help a few people out there.
As always leave any comments in the box below and if you would like to see more designs from me, give me a FOLLOW AND SUBSCRIBE on my social media platforms… links below.
I’ve got the Powder
Not everyone uses or knows what pigment powders are for so I thought I’d do a quick run down of the ones I own. Someone recently asked on the Facebook tips group what they should use for dripping paint tears instead of acrylic(!!). Pigment powders are the answer.
I use them on adult faces mostly. They stay put and catch the light beautifully. Dry I use them with a TFPS blending brush, perfect for contouring and stencilling. Used with Mehron Mixing Liquid they are exceptional for line-work. You can premix a vial for on the job. All the pigments I own have been swatched here with the mixing liquid. It dries quickly and doesn’t budge, it seems like a big cost outlay but goes very far.
The Proline by Dupe pigments come in pots and are sold by weight rather than volume, so don’t be surprised if the amount in the pot varies. I do like that the heavier powder stays in the container, the Mehron powders can drift out in a cloud. They blend beautifully dry, great for contouring and eyeshadow. Ice Ice baby is such a good highlighter I’ve decanted some for my own personal use. The Proline pigments are great all rounders.
Mehron metallic powders are so bright when used with the mixing liquid. For that molten metal look they are amazing. Used dry I find they have a dark undertone, especially the Rose shade. That rose gold warmth disappears and the results are slightly ashy coloured.
The Joker Step By Step Face and Body Paint
A few weeks ago I posted ‘A Beginners Guide to Body Painting’ and talked about painting ‘The Joker’ as a good design for your portfolio, especially if you are just starting out. I then decided that I would also paint The Joker, and do a step by step for you. Before I start I will raise my hands to a couple of things. 1) I hadn’t realised just how quickly we were starting to lose daylight by the time I got around to painting this, so I didn’t get to finish this in quite as much detail as I would have liked, which is why we have a separate step by step for the face paint! 2) I don’t know why I didn’t paint the lapels to hide those pesky pesky nipples, lesson learnt! 3) I would normally paint section by section rather than getting each section to the same stage as I prefer to blend wet paint into wet paint, but for the purpose of this I thought it would be better to show the progress of each section at the same stage.
I would also like to thank my boyfriend who lets me paint him from time to time, and volunteered himself for this step by step!
I started out by finding a reference photo I liked (there are so many incarnations of the joker!) and copying out the clothing lines using DFX UV white. I prefer UV white to normal white as it is easier to blend away and doesn’t affect the colour you put on top as much. After I based my lines I put a blob of each colour I was going to use in the sections I was going to use them in. The purple at this point was Mehron Mauve, the Orange was Global Orange and the Green was DFX essential Dark Green
I began to fill in the tie and jacket, adding some shading to section off the lapels from the main boy of the jacket. This was deliberately left quite streaky so I could go back in with a different purple (Cameleon Purple Poison) to add more texture to it later.
Once I had filled in the tie and jacket, I filled in the shirt and waistcoat, again adding a little shading definition so I knew where my fabric folds were.
At this point I went in with my second layer on the jacket before adding extra shading and blending in white highlights (superstar white). I also decided to change from red shading on the jacket to Global Dark Blue (which I also used for the waistcoat)
By step 4 I was beginning to run out of day light and knew that if I didn’t hurry up I wasn’t going to be able to get any shots on my camera, so to finish off the clothes and give everything that ‘Pop Art’ finish, I lined everything out in black and a little bit of white (both dfx), added buttons and added a little bit of texture to the shoulder seams.
As we were running out of time, I didn’t get to do the face I wanted (see below), so instead I airbrushed a white base before airbrushing his eyes black, and instead of cleaning the black out of my airbrush I went straight into the red for that smile so it would be a bit of a darker red. I then cleaned it out to airbrush his hair green and voila! The Joker face in minutes! I actually did loads of these in the summer at festivals. If you airbrush, it’s a really quick and easy face paint to do. All the airbrush paints I used were Senjo
The Cartoon Face
Base the face out in white paint. It doesn’t have to be perfect because there is quite a lot of texture that goes on top.
Mark out where that big smile is going to go, blend a grey paint over the eyes and paint those eyebrows black.
Paint in the teeth and gums before outlining the lips. The teeth don’t need to be white white, I’m not convinced hygiene is all that high on the jokers list of priorities!
Scrunch your face up and create texture and lines where you naturally have it, and use a small blending brush to buff them out a bit. And there you have it!
The paints I used for the face were: DFX white, Superstar Plum Red, DFX Black, Superstar Light Complexion, DFX UV yellow, and Global Magenta
I hope you have found this useful and that you might give it a go! Please let me know if you have any questions or there are any topics you would like me to cover in the comments below
We survived Halloween 2018! I didn’t take on quite as much work as I usually do this year, and it was lovely to be able to spend some of the evening with my family, so it was a successful one all round for me!
This week I want to talk about magic. Face painting has the potential to bring genuine magic to a child, and yesterday I experienced this in the most amazing way. I’ll be honest. I’ve been in a bit of a ‘funk’ recently… I’ve got a lot of stuff going on with my extended family, I have a 16 month old who seems to need around 5 hours of broken sleep per 24 hours, I’m in my annual ‘post-summer blues’ period, and I’ve been really busy with work. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been working away and painting my very best wherever I can, but on some level, I’ve been coasting. I had a super busy Sunday planned, including a venue dressing (we also provide balloon décor / event balloons) so I was up until the wee hours on Sunday morning preparing balloons, and then up at 6.30 am to do the rest, then spent a few hours dashing around delivering and setting up my venue. In-between times I was up several times with the baby, and was properly exhausted. I left the venue at 12.30pm and was to return at 3pm to provide face painting, with another job in-between. When I was on my way back to the 3pm job I honestly felt like crying in the car because all I wanted to do was get home, and unwind / sleep! When I arrived I was greeted with about 5 times more people than I expected, the room was packed and there was no room for me to set up, other than a small space by the doors, which wasn’t ideal. A queue formed while I was setting up, and I (and my set up) was constantly getting bumped into / jostled around with the crowd. Things weren’t looking great for an ‘easy’ job. But… the music was good, the vibe was great, and I got stuck in and was getting through the queue at a good rate, and was happy with my work. Around an hour into the job, a little boy sat in my chair. He was quiet, shy, and his mum was there to help him. She explained that Darragh, 7, (not his real name) was a huge fan of the movie ‘Mary Poppins’ and asked if I had any suitable designs for him. His request was leaning towards having a flower on his cheek, like the one on Mary’s hat. I could have painted a simple push petal flower on his cheek and sent him on his way, and to be fair, he would have most likely been happy with that. But I had a quick think, and offered to paint Mary’s actual hat, with the little flower and berries in the centre. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t amazing work. I didn’t even ask for a photo at the time because it was just ‘okay’ and because I didn’t know what was about to unfold- it was just another ad hoc, un- practiced, slightly dodgy painting. However, he was THRILLED. He immediately transformed into Mary herself, in every way possible. He had a helium balloon on a ribbon from one of the tables (which under normal circumstances gripes me a little as its ‘ruined’ one of the displays!) but for Darragh, this was not a balloon. This was Mary’s magical flying umbrella, and he was MARY! He floated around the room greeting people with ‘Good Day Madam / Sir’ and visited me several times, asking if I had any ‘unruly children’ who needed a good Nanny, and demonstrating how he could remove that giant invisible coat stand from his imaginary bag. The whole thing was magical. Mesmerising. I couldn’t take my eyes off him, and I honestly felt so privileged and blessed to have been able to bring that magic to his day.
You know how it goes. There are the children who look in the mirror when you have painted them, nod, and slide off the seat to go on about their business. There are the children who smile, thank you and say ‘I love it!’ before going on with their business. There are the children who hang around, interested, asking questions and in awe of what you do… appreciating the art, and really enjoying the experience... but sometimes, there is genuine magic. It’s that magic that turns a potentially stressful or difficult booking into the best job in the world. I left that booking like a different person. I was full of the warm and fuzzies, and feeling so incredibly lucky to be able to make a living from some paint, some experience and some ‘hocus – pocus’. Mostly though, I feel so blessed to have been able to create something that transformed a shy little boy, into his idol. He WAS Mary Poppins yesterday. He had the hat, the umbrella, all of the invisible accoutrements that make Mary Mary, and he was loving life. He won’t forget that feeling for a while, if ever, and neither will I. There has been some learning in this for me. I’ve never painted a Mary Poppins hat before. I knew before I started that given the queue, the jostling, the time pressures, my mood, this was not going to be anywhere near my best work. I could easily have said ‘I’m sorry, I don’t have a Mary design, how about a superhero / dino / dog?’ and none of the magic would have appeared. We all want to be at our best, demonstrating our skills on the little human advertisements wandering around the venue, sporting our best, well refined and executed designs, but sometimes, stepping out of our comfort zones in a pressurised situation, is the absolute best thing we can do for our own growth and development.
Today I feel like my funk cloud has cleared. I’m inspired, am aware of how lucky I am, and I want to do this again and again. And again. I have the best job in the world.
I guess the moral of this story is that we should embrace the hard jobs. Pretty much like life itself, that’s where the growth happens, and the inspiration and the strength comes from. It’s easy to walk into a dream booking, paint lots of happy children, feel good and move on, but there is the potential for this magic at every single job and we should be actively seeking it at all times, maybe even more so where we don’t feel particularly happy. It’s what makes the job properly worthwhile. It’s where the real job satisfaction lies, and it’s where the ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ happens!
I would love to hear some of your magical on the job experiences -so when this blog post is published I will open a thread on the group page so that we can share.
Buy from the High street? Think Again!
Hey y’all! Halloween time has been and gone already and I hope you have survived, with backs intact and pockets heavier! Is everyone Halloweened-out? I hope not…..
This week I thought I’d have a little fun. Whenever I’m out shopping at the high street or supermarket, I’m always drawn to the Halloween displays, I love looking at the costumes, seeing if there’s any cool little accessories I can buy, and then CRINGING at the Halloween ‘face paint kits’ or ‘special effects kits’ they sell. When I first became a Professional Face Painter and I learnt about good products, I really used to become really quite annoyed at these kits, I think I may have even dropped a few remarks out loud to people buying them (ha ha!!). Now I look at them with bemusement, maybe give a knowing smile to myself, but I still cringe for the poor children who will end up looking like they’ve been covering in toothpaste and/or attacked by Slimer from Ghostbusters.
So I thought I’d buy a couple of these kits, and give them a roadtest! Do they do what they say on the packet? Can you achieve the looks that are portrayed on the packaging?
I decided to test three ‘kits’. These beauties……one from a well know supermarket chain and the others from a cheap and cheerful nationwide high street store. I won’t be using any of my own products, brushes, sponges etc.
First up, the day of the dead make up – apparently. This came with no instructions of how to apply, just three small pots of ‘paint’, a square of sponge, something that resembled a brush and what I think was a type of eyeliner – but could’ve been a crayon tbh.
The base for this look was supposed to be an opaque, powdery white as seen on the front of the packaging. Imagine my surprise then when I had smeared the entire contents of the white supplied all over my face, with the supplied sponge and it looked like I’d just put a bit too much moisturiser on. No amount of pouncing with the sponge or any of my normal blending techniques was going to make this base look smooth. Worst still, it felt so WET, and unfortunately it stayed that way. When I added the black, again it felt sooo wet and heavy. Because of the consistency of the paint it was impossible to get a nice coverage – it just kept smearing every time I added more. The bristles of the brush kept falling out too which was just LOVELY to work with - urgh (not quite your pink tip standard!).
As for the detail – using the eyeliner/crayon, I carefully drew around the eye sockets and then added a web- but as the faint line went on it scraped a layer of the wet, sticky white base off. Just gorgeous. How they expect anyone to do dots with the supplied brush with the purple paint (which, by the way is a completely different shade to the one on the packet).
So here we are, the finished look. Needless to say I couldn’t wait to get it off my face! It felt heavy, wet and just gross – and would completely slide off your face the minute you got hot or anything touched you. The picture on the front of the packet is certainly not done with these products, so it’s a case of false advertising too. Poor!!!
Next up, the vampire bite. I knew this was going to be bad when my 8 year old, who is TERRIFIED of anything scary, bloody, etc saw the wound and fell about laughing “it’s a piggy snout Mummy look! That’s not a vampire bite!”. But, I diligently followed the instructions, determined to make this dirt cheap wound look great with my amazing special fx skills. Latex is latex right? Wrong. This latex had half solidified in the packet (still sealed), so came out in lumps and runny bits despite me trying to give it a good mix beforehand. There was no implement to apply the latex so I used the end of the brush and smeared the lumpy mixture on the best I could. Zombie skin this was NOT.
On applying the hilarious pig-snout vampire bite, the edges of the wound were so raised and thick that no amount of (substandard) latex was going to stick them down so unfortunately they stuck up proudly, and then the lumpy latex didn’t dry clear -so it was all looking like a bit of a mess on my arm. I thought - it’s ok, the blood will cover all this. To some extent it did, but gosh it was super runny. If you’d have applied it on your neck like the packet suggested the blood would’ve dripped down to your ankles by the time you left the house!
As you can see, it’s car crash special FX – and not in a good way! Although this was not at all expensive, it’s not worth even spending a penny on – the wound was ridiculous-looking, impossible to blend into skin and the products were substandard. Avoid!
Lastly the horror clown.. If nothing else I get a comedy red nose from this right?
I tried. I really tried! I’m not purposely doing these really badly! I managed to get a ‘bit’ more coverage from the white paint that came in a tube but it took a lot of careful dabbing with the tiny postage stamp of a sponge. As you can see it’s still extremely patchy.
There was no blending out this hideous red greasepaint into the never-drying white base – it all just missed into a kind of pinky sludge under my eyes and applying the black – with the supplied brush was an absolute joke. You can tell I’m not a happy clown. Worst yet came when I removed this make up – five minutes after I applied it. It left me with a red, sore face and I do not have sensitive skin at all. To think it could easily be used on children, and left on for hours is unthinkable.
So there you have it. Cheap ‘face paint’ from high street shops is pretty awful, and I suppose this nothing we didn’t already know. What I didn’t know was just how bad it was, even if applied with a professional hand. How deceiving and unachievable the photos on the front of the packets are. I’m even tempted to contact the suppliers and show them this blog and ask them to explain how they achieved the looks shown on the packaging. Watch this space.
For now I’m returning to all my lovely kit, easy to use products and brushes, and feel much more justified in my frequent splurges at The Face Painting Shop :-D! The experience of road testing these products also makes me feel even more justified in charging clients a decent fee for individual Halloween appointments – and just in general. We are worth it! And on that note, I hope you all had a busy and profitable Halloween season this year and are having a teeny rest now – but not for long! The chubby guy in red and white will be here before we know it and I for one am EXCITED!!
Thanks for reading,