The French Body Panting Awards 2019
At the beginning of the month I competed at the French Body painting
awards, and was so excited to get the photo’s back the other day, so I
thought I would tell you all about it, from concept and design to the actual
event itself. For those of you that have been thinking about competing, I
hope this gives you a little bit of insight as to what goes on!
Competition is such a good way of challenging yourself, as well as learning
from those around you and getting to meet some awesome people! I did the
Amateur Brush and Sponge category at the World Body Painting festival last
summer, and I was determined to come back this year to improve my score,
however I just wasn’t feeling the theme (Galactical Zoo incase anyone is
wondering). I had a look around to see what other competitions were going
on both inside and outside of the uk and came across the French Body
Painting Awards, which is a World Body Painting Association Sanctioned
event and fell in love with the themes! When I signed up, the theme for the
Brush and Sponge category was ‘Poetry: The Power of Words’ and the
theme for the open category was ‘Spirituality: beyond the visible world’. I
loved the themes, I thought they had a lot of scope for creativity, but then
just before Christmas I got a very unwelcome email. The theme for the open
category had changed from ‘Spirituality: beyond the visible world’ to
‘Finland: a tale between nature and innovation’. I’m not going to lie, it left
me very uninspired, and I couldn’t get Monty Pythons Fish Slapping Song
out of my head for about a week.
One of the problems with themes that look really exciting is that it can be
hard to narrow your ideas down to one solid concept. I started sketching for
about 10 different ideas (I’m not even joking) before I settled on a concept
to match a design I had come up with. ‘The Ballad of St George and the
Dragon’ is written in poetry form and it meant that I could keep my idea
that was actually inspired by fairy tales and gender stereotypes.
I was lucky enough that Alex had agreed to come as my model for the brush
and sponge category, and had recovered from breaking his knee back in
November, so I was able to practice on him, which is the first time I have
actually practiced my designs on a human being rather than a practice
board before the event itself. I knew what I was doing and was able to
physically see the design, make some changes and prioritise elements that
would take longer to paint.
In the way that it can be hard to narrow your ideas down on a theme you get
very excited by, it can be quite easy to stay objective about a theme that
doesn’t inspire you so much. I decided to take my inspiration from the
Finnish composer Sibelius, who I knew a little bit about already having
studied for a music degree a few years ago. My concept was that Jean
Sibelius was an innovative Finnish composer who took inspiration from
Finnish nature and folklore and is credited with helping to give Finland a
national identity during their struggle for independence.
I then also decided that the auroras looked like frequency and liked the
story that the auroras are painted by the tail of an arctic fox. I didn’t have
the opportunity to practice the full design before hand because I hadn’t
managed my time quite as well as I potentially could have done, so I ended
up making some changes on the day, which I wish I hadn’t made, but I now
know how not to paint auroras!
The week before
I spent the week leading up to the competition refining my designs,
practicing elements of the pieces (although I wish I’d given more attention
to painting books and auroras!) and creating bits of costume for the Finland
piece, which I would be marked on for the open category. I knew we would
also be marked on SFX for the open category, but because Alex had to be in
work again on Monday morning (longest spring term ever!!) we had to catch
the last flight out on Sunday night, which meant that we wouldn’t be able to
stay long enough after the competition to remove any prosthetics applied to
my model. But I did manage to customise some shoes and I also made a glue
gun ice crown (I might have had a bit of a glitter incident whilst making this
When my alarm went off I think Alex was ready to murder me. Because our
flight had been delayed we hadn’t managed to have any dinner, and hadn’t
eaten since a quick lunch on Friday. We didn’t get into our hotel until
midnight, but we got ourselves to the convention centre on time (via Paul
the bakery) and made our way over to the body paint area. If you have ever
done the Pro Beauty competitions, it was almost exactly the same set up.
We signed in, we got set up, got to know our neighbours and recognised
some familiar faces. One thing I really love about body painting is that even
in a competition environment, everyone is really friendly. I then had a
sickening sense of realisation that I had left my DFX black and white and
home, and I knew I would have to adapt some of my elements to work with
what I had brought (literally everything else).
So we got going, there were only 2 or 3 of us that didn’t have an assistant,
and I really felt the struggle. I spent the first 2 hours painting armour and
although I knew it was a big chunk of detailed work, looking around it
looked as thought I had hardly done anything because I didn’t have any
background laid down.
The background was actually the last thing I started on, and had already
decided that I was going to change my background colour from red to green
to give more of a contrast (there was a lot of red before...). However, I made
a poor decision and decided to use the Superstar Golden Green and DFX
Metallic green, instead of a flat, brighter green, even though I had brought a
tonne of greens with me! NeverthelessI had committed to a poor decision
and had to roll with it. I was very tight for time, and as the end was drawing
nearer, my dragon scales got bigger, and I finished the last one just as they
We were number 14 so we had a bit of time to clear up whilst we waited to
go in to see the judges, and to think about what I was going to say to them.
After the jury we got in the queue for photography. Alex had never modelled
at a public event before and the photographer was really great with helping
with poses. We then had a bit of an opportunity to have a look at what other
people had done (this is probably the most useful thing about competitions
as you can really see what really makes for a great design) before heading
over to the catwalk and presentation. I knew before I even booked the hotel
and flights that I wasn’t going to do well, so I wasn’t disappointed at all with
the results, I didn’t come last and that was good enough for me!
It was the same process as the day before, but on the Sunday Alex was
assisting me and we were painting a French model. I am VERY lucky that
Alex is a French teacher and could translate what I was saying to her. As
people started filtering in, I started recognising more people from the World
Body Painting Festival, including the 2x airbrush category champion who set
up next to me. I knew we didn’t stand a chance, which almost made it easier
for me to just enjoy the painting.
There wasn’t really much for Alex to assist me with other than changing
dirty water, but it was little things that were just time consuming like
painting music notes, snow on mountains, a bit of background work, as well
as bits he thought I should work on that really made me appreciate having
an assistant as well as having the ability to communicate with our model.
I actually finished everything I had planned with about 10 minutes to spare
so I went round looking for things I could add to help bring the design
together, like adding a few bits of one stroke to my models wrists and ankles,
and adding some extra shading to the arctic fox. I knew I had ruined the
auroras so there was nothing I could do about that and it wasn’t worth
worrying about! We then got packed up pretty much straight away after they
called time, and Alex made a translation of what my piece was about so he
could speak to the judges in French this time. There were only a couple of
us that hadn’t used prosthetics, and I knew that was going to affect my score,
but it would have been irresponsible of me to make and apply prosthetics to
my model knowing that we wouldn’t be able to remove them for her at the
end of the stage presentation.
A SATURDAY IN THE LIFE OF A FACE PAINTER – BY JANE HARDING
Hi everyone, how are you? Keeping busy I hope… I certainly have been, hence why I’ve not had a chance to write a blog in a few weeks. Over the Easter break (which falls a week later in Leicestershire, compared to the rest of the country); I worked 17 days straight at various events. Then almost as soon as that was over we went straight into the May bank holiday, so I feel like I’ve not stopped! I’m shattered, but you won’t find me complaining, I feel very grateful for being so busy.
Anyway, having read Joni’s ‘Day in the Life’ blogs (which I loved and if you haven’t read them yet, go check them out) I thought it was a great idea and so decided to write one too! If you’re anything like me, I love to hear about other face painters, what they get up to and how they work, so I thought you could never have enough of this kind of blog!
Are we sitting comfortably? Then here we go…
My Saturday funnily enough starts on a Monday, because this is when I send out a courtesy message to all my customers for the upcoming weekend. I reassure them that all is well, check any last minute details and provide an opportunity to answer any further questions the customer may have.
I then skip to Friday when I get all my kit ready to load straight into my car on Saturday morning. I also sort out any themed designs I might need and route plan so I know exactly where I’m going and when I need to leave.
Most Saturdays my alarm goes off and then Mark (my lovely man) brings me a cup of tea in bed, how lucky am I?! I give Ted (my Maltese fur baby) a full days’ worth of fuss and kisses, then get up! Lol… Pretty much all I need to do is get ready, make a packed lunch, load my car and I’m off! On this particular weekend I have 3 parties booked in on Saturday and 2 on Sunday.
If I don’t have any big events or corporate jobs booked in at the weekends, I generally have 3 or 4 parties booked in, sometimes 5 or 6 if I’ve been lucky and the timings all work out. But as I’m sure you all know, very often the times clash as most parties fall between 12 - 4pm. The biggest tip I can offer to you to try and increase your number of bookings on a single day, is to always suggest a time slot you can do, if an enquiry comes through for a time you’re already booked for. I frequently offer alternative times and days to customers when I can’t originally fit in and I’ve had a lot of luck with them being able to move the time or change the day, so this is definitely worth trying,
Back to my day… The first party is 11am -1pm, I arrive approx. 20mins early so I have plenty of time to get set up and start promptly. There’s not as many children as was initially expected so I’m really happy that I can spend a little bit extra time on each design, the parents opted for a Glitter Tattoo ‘Bolt on’ as well so every child has the opportunity to have a paint and a tattoo if they like. I even fit in a few adults; it’s a lovely warm up to a busy day.
This was the first time I ever painted a Thor design. It was a special request from the guy who wanted a superhero who has a beard. Off the top of my head Thor was the only one I could think of, and thanks to the Onalee Rivera FABATV class I watched and using my Onalee Hero Pallet, I was able to keep the customer very happy.
Time to pack up and get going to my next party… and as with many parties I am set on my way with some food for the journey. Literally one of my favourite sandwiches ever… fish fingers with pink ketchup and a can of Coke! Mmmmmm
I quickly eat my sandwich in my car, set the Satnav and I’m off! The next party is 2pm – 4pm, I arrive as planned 20mins early, unload my car again (seriously, this loading and unloading is the hardest bit for me! Lol) meet the parent, start setting up… as normal a small crowd of children stand around watching. I encourage them to play and promise to tell them as soon as I am ready. I don’t know if it’s just me, but normally they prefer to just stand and watch anyway… so I make sure I put out my design choices for them to look at and encourage them to choose, in the hope they will know by the time I’m ready for them!
This party’s a busy one, 30 children in 2 hours. I’m a pretty fast painter, so I don’t restrict my choices for a party of 30, I use my full word banner and normal designs. I then decide how detailed or basic each design will be based on how well the child is sitting. If they are the perfect model I can whip out most of my full designs in 3mins, if they struggle to keep their chin up or constantly move around I will leave off some line work or highlights etc. They still look fab and the child goes away having had an enjoyable face paint.
Party number 2 done… pack up, load up and on to the next one! The last party of the day is 5:30 – 7:30pm and across the other side of the county so I have enough time to travel over without rushing. Again I arrive 20mins early unload; it’s a new venue for me so I find the area I’m supposed to be in, it’s a huge children’s zone, with slides, soft play, ball pits, climbing walls and more! This party’s a big one… there’s a lot of adults around helping with what looks like a banquet of food, the professional photographer comes over and introduces herself to me which is very lovely. I start to set up as one of the parents find me, I’m informed there’s approx. 60 children (almost double than I was originally informed), but many of those are under 3 years (who are not old enough to be painted) and they are very understanding that not all children will get painted.
Needless to say, I display a limited range of my fastest designs and paint like the wind! I paint solid for the 2 hours, I barely even notice when the photographer is over my shoulder taking snaps. I’m sure she got some amazing shots and promised if she could get permission she would send me some *fingerscrossed! Half way through the party the food is ready and OOOO EEEMMMM GGGGGG… It smells incredible! So I am super excited when I’m given a big takeaway box full of food to take home with me… this is definitely one of the big perks of being a Face Painter! They gave me so much food I share it with Mark when I get home… at least I don’t need to make dinner! lol
With there being so many children to paint, I closed the line around 15mins before I was due to finish, I had 5 children in line which I got finished a little after my official finish time. But as I didn’t have another party to get to, I was happy to stay just to finish those in line, I often find this little bit of flexibility and kind gesture is noticed by customers and much appreciated, as it certainly was by the parents at this party. They couldn’t thank me enough. All in all a very successful day!
Obviously I have the dreaded car load and unload again, then drive home... my lovely Mark comes out to help me unload my car for the last time today, we eat the delicious food and then it’s time to clean my kit… ugh this is literally the last thing I want to do right now, but it’s all got to be clean and ready for tomorrows parties.
By about 9pm I’m finished, I spend some time with my boys, cuddles with Ted, double check where I’m going tomorrow and then bed… this Face Painting lark is hard work!
There we have it, a Saturday in the Life of me!
Oh and if you were wondering… no, I didn’t eat my packed lunch, I took that with me the next day! Lol
PRODUCTS USED IN DESIGNS:
Onalee Hero Pallet
Leannes Neon Rainbow
TAP Fairy Stencil
Sillyfarm Rainbow Cake – Crystal Water
Make Up Palettes
Make up palettes are a good addition to our face painting kits, especially with festival and wedding season upon us. Teens and pre-teens love the look of an open make-up box and have even asked for selfies with my hard-to-obtain palette by a famous Instagram MUA.
They look pretty but do they deliver? And what do us face painters need in a make up palette?
I want good pigments and vibrancy, no chalky dusty pale powders please. The colours have to be rich and smooth and easy to apply with minimal fallout. I am not a qualified make up artist but I know the colours my clients go for; this year it’s sparkly pinks and purples, sunset oranges and metallics, face paint is great for most designs but for the eye lid and lash lines make up is a better option.
I was recently seduced by the look of a famous palette but in absolute honesty was disappointed with the product. After double-checking it wasn’t a fake I ditched it in favour of a much better, and way cheaper Lick and Lash one. The one I bought is called ‘Carnival’ and has shimmery and matte colours, I absolutely love it. The pigments blend well and can be as subtle or dramatic as you like, mix with a little Mehron mixing liquid and you have beautiful lip colours too.
Use your pink tip make up brushes to apply and blend, paint on some flowers, add a touch of Pixie Paint and you’re ready for the summer.
Lick and Lash palettes are such good value, they come in at under twenty pounds each and mine is lasting ages. They also do lots of different colour combinations.
Have you tried these palettes? What make up do you recommend?
Here are the MSDS saftey sheets for Fusion Body Art - https://www.dropbox.com/sh/e9be420n2lmkqwb/AACLelfwh62AbKcbugRjEI2Ca?dl=0
We are excited to announce that we have been appointed the official UK distributor of Fusion Body Art
Fusion Body Art is an Australian owned company established by two brothers whom for many years have had great knowledge and experience in the face paint industry. They previously part owned & managed one of Australia’s largest face paint companies, they are famous for being the original colour designers of colours like Magenta & Dark Blue.
Fusion Body Art has formulated and designed a completely new range of water-based face & body paint. Included in the range is a full set of Prime colours, a full set of Pearl Colours and a full set FX Neon colours. Also, Fusion Body Art has carefully selected a full range of Split Cakes, Rainbow cakes & Palettes using our new colour range.
Fusion Body Art has been formulated to be safe and gentle on the skin, with excellent bold vivid colours that face and body painters will love. Fusion Body Art colours are vegan friendly, gluten free, paraben free, perfume free and are not made from animal biproducts or tested on animals.
Starting fresh, they have worked on improving many colour lines to create better and brighter shades of colours, like our Fusion Prime Light blue, Prime Lime Green, Prime Pink Sorbet and many more.
They have also developed a new range of Fusion Body Art Pearl colours, with a creamier wax-based formula that will provide better coverage.
But they wanted to bring to the industry even more than that, something they feel the industry was lacking for years. So, they have developed a completely new white, Prime Paraffin White. Prime Paraffin White is a Japanese wax-based formula that will be the new standard for white face paint around the world. Fusion Body Art uses only the highest quality pigment, specially sourced by Fusion Body Art to provide you with a bright and opaque white that should flow off your brush like ink.
We are so happy to introduce you to this fantastic new range of Face Paint & Special FX products along with other famous Face Painter Ranges, including Australian artist Leanne Courtney & US Artist Onalee Rivera, who have designed amazing rainbow cakes and split cakes for face painters around the world.
Fusion Body Art is proud to announce that they are the sole manufacturer and worldwide distributor of everybody’s favourite range, Leanne’s Collection & Onalee Rivera. We are also excited to release Leanne’s New Butterfly Palette that we are sure you will love as much as we do.
You will also find a brand-new set of rainbow cakes with Fusion Body Art. These bright and bold rainbow cakes have a Mermaid & Unicorn theme that will be perfect for today’s most popular designs. The Mermaid and Unicorn cakes will also be available in a palette called “Mermaids & Unicorns”.
Festivals – A Quick Guide
By Joni Nettleship
Do you do them? If so, do you pay pitch fees? How much? Is it pay per face and how much do you charge? How long do you paint for and what time do you pack away? Do you paint after sunset?
Festival season is looming and you need to keep your wits about you if you want to remain sane and end up with a profit. If this is your first festival experience here are my top tips:
-Keep your prices up, I’ve lost count how many times I’ve been asked to work for free/my best rate. Your current rate IS your best rate so don’t be haggled down. Any talk of no budget/small budget is not your concern.
-Pitch fee. Unless you’re turning a huge profit you shouldn’t be paying big daily fees. Similarly ‘donations’ at the end of the day should be reasonable, for example 10-15 percent of profit (not takings) and always discussed in advance.
-Remember that the start of a festival or music event can be slow. If you can, think about setting up early then returning when you know it’ll be busier. In my first years face painting I wasted hours sitting in empty fields wondering why no one else was there. Now I set up early, leave and go back mid afternoon sometimes having squeezed in a birthday party. Time is money.
-You will always get good natured souls trying to get you to paint them for free, if you’re lucky you may be offered different payment, for instance a slurp of their drink or a sweaty embrace. It is always their birthday. Do what you will.
-A headtorch is invaluable after the sun goes down and the evening crowds arrive, stay focussed and paint your ass off because it will get to that point where..
...Drunk people will stumble into your kit.
Good quick festival designs are one stroke swirls, flowers, rainbows, anything involving a stencil and good old glitter. Guys like the Bowie stripe and Mike Tyson (I know I know). Pack extra water, don’t drink alcohol until you’ve finished and enjoy!
Superstar Fluorescent Glitter Swatch
I love a delivery from the face painting shop just as much as the next person, there is always something really exciting inside, especially when it’s a bloggers box! We never know what we are going to get. When we got the Whacky Whistles I was practically bouncing off the walls, and when I asked Alex if we could buy loads of them to give out as wedding favours, he unfortunately didn’t seem to appreciate them as much as I did. Maybe I’m just easily pleased, I don’t know. But when this months box of glory arrived, I had to take a minute, and make myself a cup of tea to regain a functional state. Inside were some of the most beautiful glitters I have ever seen! And they were arranged in the perfect order! (I have to have all my colours in a very specific order, from red-orange-yellow-green-blue-purple-pink).
They arrived while I was doing my last blog, a SBS Dragon Egg Belly Art, so of course I had to incorporate them! I then did a swatch on my arm of them so you can see each colour in all it’s wonderful glory.
Superstar do some absolutely stunning glitters, individually and as sets. Each blogger got a different set of glitters (there are 6 different sets all with 6 unique colours!!!) and I cannot wait to see what the other bloggers get up to with theirs and what you get up to when you get yours!!
If you have any questions about these glitters or anything else, please let me know!
The Pixie Tribe
If you’ve ever been asked to paint a mermaid on an arm and drawn a complete blank, then this is the blog for you. I got the inspiration for this mermaid from a polymer clay artist, because inspiration is everywhere. Even slightly human proportions can go very wrong very quickly, and before you know it your mermaid has giant boobs and no arms. She’s hugging her tail so no worries about painting a seashell bra on her.
I hope you find this useful. I want to see your version!
Rosemary Black x
Face Painting and Autism Awareness Month
Hi all, well here we are in in April already, if you didn’t know it’s Autism Awareness Month so I thought I would write my blog this time on face painting children and adults with additional needs. Before I had my two little boys, my career was spent helping people on the Autistic Spectrum, so it is a subject close to heart – you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t use the most current terminology, or if I leave something out. This is just my take, and my experiences! I don’t just cover children with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) in this, but kids with disabilities or health problems as a whole. I’m lucky and privileged enough to volunteer my face painting services at a wonderful hospital, and at my local children’s hospice (also my Business’ nominated charity) so I take my experiences from there too.
It goes without saying that all children are different, and this of course applies to all children with additional needs too. Although there are some common traits in behaviours, and different things you can look out for, the first and BEST thing you can do when a child sits down in your chair is a quick and subtle check with his parent or carer that he is going to be ok with what you’re doing. The chances are, that if the kid is sat in your chair, he will be! But it could be his first time, or it might cause an unexpected reaction, so saying something like “are we ok with painting on the face buddy?” would hopefully prompt a response from the child or the parent. Many children with ASD will be very happy to tell you EXACTLY what they want and don’t want, down to the tiniest detail.
Some things to look out for with children or adults with ASD, are that sometimes textures and feelings on the face feel alien or strange (as per ‘normal’ kids right?). Sometimes the sensation of touch, or even smells can be really intense for them, so go slow and steady. If it’s their first time, let them feel it on their hand initially, and explain what you are going to do next so they have the time to process it. Look for any non-verbal cues that the child/adult is uncomfortable and stop and reassure them if so. There may or may not be some repetitive movements/sounds that the child makes, if he does just give him some time to do so – these movements/sounds are important to help the child make sense of their situation and often to help them to feel safe.
There will be others with more profound disabilities that need their parents/carers to be their voice and say what makes them happy, maybe how they have been known to respond positively in the past etc. With these more profoundly disabled kids, it’s really important to be really verbal, talk about what you’re doing, show them the colours, let them hold a sponge or spray their hand with water so they can feel the texture and add to their sensory experience, and absolutely give them that mirror moment when you’re done.
When you’re working with children or adults that are suffering from a serious illness, and for example may be receiving chemotherapy, or are hooked up to lots of machines there are other things to consider. There are the practical matters of seeking guidance as to where would be the best place to paint these little ones, and then navigate the best you can around the tubes/ whatever may be in place. You need to be very careful with glitter, both fine and chunky in these scenarios just in case it gets into the tubes – and in some places it’s best not to take it out at all. It might sound really obvious but if you have the slightest cold or cough, do let your events organiser know, as the immunity of some of these people can be really threatened by the simplest virus. Psychologically it can be hard working with this group of individuals, but it is one of the most rewarding thing I have done in my painty career – and to be able to bring a smile to that child’s face is a huge privilege.
I thought I’d finish my blog by teaching you a few useful Makaton signs! As I used to teach this wonderful sign language as a communication tool in my previous career, I am always delighted when every now and again I get to use it in my painty life..
(I thought I’d give you a few options of what to sign, depending on how the face paint went! ;-) Remember that when you sign Makaton you always speak at the same time. If you’d like to know more there’s lots on youtube to learn from and I’m really happy to help out too – just send me a pm or contact me through my social media handles below.
I hope that you may have found this blog useful in some way, do you have any more tips on how to best support children or adults with additional needs that you can share with us? I’d love to hear them.
DO FACE PAINTERS NEED A DBS CHECK? By Jane Harding
Hi everyone, I’m going to talk about something that’s pretty boring today, but it’s really essential as a Face Painter to know about this stuff. Firstly because we work directly with children, but also because you will inevitably get asked by potential clients if you have a current DBS Check and it will benefit you to know how to respond to these requests.
Having previously worked in Children & Young People Services for almost 20 years I have a very good understanding of what the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) is and what is required when working with Children and Vulnerable People. In my old role within Social Care it was essential that I had an Enhanced DBS with Barred List for obvious reasons, but it’s not so clear to everyone, if the same checks are required or even available for Face Painters. Hopefully this blog can help clarify that for you.
Please note: Some of the information I am sharing is from my own knowledge, but I have also cross checked this with the information shared on the Government website for the Disclosure & Barring Service. Here’s the link to the website so you can read and check for any latest updates.
Disclaimer: As with anything where the law is concerned. I will always encourage you to do your own research and contact the relevant professionals and/or government dept. for guidance.
WHAT’S A DBS?
A “DBS” refers to The Disclosure & Barring Service that was formed in 2012, when the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) merged together. The DBS are an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the home office and their job is to help employers make safer recruitment decisions, preventing unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups Inc. children.
Firstly let me explain about the different types of DBS. Unfortunately it is not as easy as someone asking if you have a current DBS. Because there are different types of DBS and they all have a different level of ‘check’ to them. I am not going to list what they all exactly check for, as this is easily found on the website above and there is really only two types of check that I want to talk about and that are relevant to this topic, those being the ‘Basic Check’ and ‘Enhanced Check with Barred Lists’.
The Types of Checks:
DO YOU NEED A DBS TO BE A FACE PAINTER?
In short the answer is NO. As a Face Painter you will most likely be self employed as a sole trader. Currently, the only DBS Check available for individuals to request on their own behalf is a ‘Basic Check’ and these will not provide the level of check that a potential client would be hoping for. So what does a Basic Check, ‘check’ for?
As explained on the DBS website, ‘A basic check will contain details of convictions and conditional cautions considered to be unspent under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.’
This means it WILL NOT highlight ‘Spent’ convictions or if someone is on a ‘Barred List’ i.e. sex offenders register. The only check that will currently provide all this information is an Enhanced DBS with Barred List and this can only be requested by an employer. When our clients are asking for a “DBS Check”, it is very likely that they do not have a full understanding of what the DBS is or the different checks available; and so the information they think they are going to get, is that this person has been “checked” and has therefore not had any current or prior convictions in relation to the job they are doing and are not on any barred lists, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is our responsibility to educate people on what it is they are requesting and what the actual law says with regards to this.
The law states that you are only required to have a DBS check if you are working in a regulated activity with children or vulnerable adults. As face painters we do not meet this criteria. Here’s a link to the information on the DBS website explaining this:
WHAT DO YOU SAY IF A COMPANY ASKS IF YOU HAVE A DBS?
This has happened to me on many occasions and following my response, I have never had to get a DBS or lost the job because I told them I haven’t got one. This to me proves that it’s mainly the client thinking that we need one and by asking for that information they can tick a box, rather than knowing what the law states.
I always reply professionally, I acknowledge their request and their reason for asking this, however I then politely explain that by law Face painters are not required to have a DBS check, firstly because we would never be left unattended or have sole care of a child or vulnerable person. I explain that as a sole trader I would only be able to obtain a ‘Basic Check’ and that would not provide them the relevant checks they are hoping for. I explain that only employers can request an Enhanced DBS with Barred Lists. I provide them with the contact details to the DBS so they can contact them directly and clarify that this is what the law states. Every single time I have replied in this way, the client has replied quite quickly that this is absolutely fine and they no longer require it.
WHAT IF I ALREADY HAVE AN ENHANCED DBS THROUGH MY OTHER JOB?
This is quite common, as many Face Painters come from a background of working with children in schools or nurseries etc. so may well have the Enhanced Check with Barred Lists. I was certainly one of these people before I left my old job and focussed full time on my face painting business.
It really is down to the individual how you manage this. I am not saying what’s right and what’s wrong. I know some people advertise they have a DBS and/or would reply to clients that ask, that they do have one. It’s certainly the easier option than explaining why Face Painters don’t need one. But my personal feeling on this is that it doesn’t really help our community as a whole and actually only exacerbates the problem of clients thinking that we need one. If they see one Face Painter advertising that they are DBS Checked, it would be very easy to assume that this is expected on some level across the industry. So ultimately I believe it would be most beneficial for everyone in the face painting community to re-educate all those people that ask us if we have a DBS check. It doesn’t take long to share this information with clients; you could literally type up a standard response to copy and paste to them if you are asked. As long as you reply in a professional, polite and informative manner, clients will actually appreciate you sharing your knowledge, at the end of the day it will save them time if they know they don’t need to check for something they don’t need!
And that my friend is basically all you need to know. I could go into explaining the ‘update service’ and exactly what each level of check covers, but that’s all available via the link above and it’s a lot of information that’s not really relevant to us.
I hope this has helped you to understand a little more why we don’t require a DBS, and how you can share this information with clients or anyone else asking you… lets share the knowledge and change people’s expectations for the benefit of everyone.