My Top Five Products
I was at a job with a painty colleague the other day and we had a lull, and started to talk about our ‘rescue-from-a-fire face painting products’ – so if (and I know, I know - you don’t EVER want to envisage this) your kit was on fire – what would you save? If like me, you have a ridiculous amount of kit and adore shopping for face painting products and tools you’re bound to have a few favourites, here are mine:
1. A good black and white – ok so this is on every face painters list and it has to be top. I’ve tried all the brands and always come back to Diamond FX for my linework black and white. The opacity of the white for me is second to none.
2. A good pink splitcake – I like Evil Rose by DFX but I often make my own too out of white, a bright pink, a berry wine colour and a slither of dark purple. This is such a versatile product- you can create beautiful roses, and other floral designs, princess crowns, one stroke butterflies, cats, etc etc. You can pick up just a couple of colours, or all of them, the possibilities are endless!
3. The Face Painting Shop Brushes – I’m counting these as one of my choices, as I figure I could grab a handful in an emergency right? ;-D Now I love the whole range but If I had to choose my absolute go-to, couldn’t live without ones, I would choose my ¾ short angled, my flora round no3, the flora 6 and a round number 2. I think I could probably do all my face painting with these four brushes if I was pushed.
4. A green/yellow/black splitcake. My favourite is Tag Snake. Another multipurpose and versatile product that can be used to produce beautiful natural floral designs and leaves, snakes and reptiles, monsters and dragons, dinosaurs and superheros! I can’t do without this in my kit
5. Aurora. Oh aurora, many others I have tried and I always come back to you! Just the most beautiful, colour-changing, design-enhancing glitter there is. It's also avaliable in the Irridescent Chunky Glitter.
So there’s my five. If I could squeeze another one in there it would be my bam stencils – stencils have revolutionised face painting, and can totally transform a design. I don’t use them ALL the time, but I so wouldn’t be without them :-O. I’m going to be posting some videos on how I use my top five for many different things, so keep an eye out for those.
So now I have a challenge for my other bloggers! What are your 5 must-have products? I love hearing about what other painters use and love! Warning ladies – it’s SO hard to narrow it down to only 5!!!!
Readers I’d love to hear your essential products – what couldn’t you live without? What do you find yourself panicking about if supplies starts to run low? Do share it, we’d love to know your top tips too!
WONDER WOMAN STEP BY STEPS BY JANE HARDING
I hope this quick little Blog/Step By Step finds you well? After a somewhat quiet January (gig wise), I am looking forward to some exciting jobs I’ve managed to book in for the year to come.
I am also excited to be having Sunday off this week (10th Feb) to attend the Midlands Jam being help up in Chesterfield. This will be my first “official” Jam I’m attending so I can’t wait! You may be wondering, will I let you all know about my experience at the Jam… then ‘Yes’! I am planning to bring you a blog in the very near future, to tell you all about it and I’ll be taking some pics on the day to give you a little more insight. I hope this will be especially helpful for those of you that have also never been to a jam and wondering what they are all about!
ANYWAY, for now I bring you a new Step By Step design! This is how I paint my Wonder Woman Crown, based on the crown worn by Gal Gadot in the latest DC Movie. I also paint the regular style crown, but this one tends to be a bit trickier with so many overlapping pieces and with it needing to be as symmetrical as possible!
So, I hope this SBS helps you to speed up the design on the job and give the children and parents a real “wow” factor moment. I know it’s certainly a design that I’ve found brings the, “Oh! Wow!” whenever I have painted it. Enjoy!
Don’t forget to follow me on my other social media platforms for more tips, tricks, tutorials and generally see what I am up to!
Natalee Davies – Tigress
DFX Essential White
Superstar Valentine Shimmer
The Face Painting Shop – ½ Short Angled
Round Number 3
The Face Painting Shop – Liner
SMASHING GENDER STEREOTYPES
How do you deal with it? The icky parent who overturns their son’s request for a unicorn or rejects their daughter’s desire to be a superhero because it just doesn’t fit with their ideas of gender identity.
In their first years all children love colour – both male and female toddlers love rainbows, flowers and glitter and will freely and without embarrassment ask for them. Parents are usually happy to go along with this until they seem to reach late pre-school, early Primary school when ideas of what it means to be a ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ become entrenched. What does this mean? Well from experience it means girls are supposed to like pink, fairies and butterflies (“She’d like something pretty and girly”) and boys only want something nasty, scary or action-themed and, for whatever reason; social conditioning, peer pressure or genuine desire, these are the patterns which occur. Ok so what’s wrong with all this? Surely it’s normal for boys and girls to want different things?
Firstly, we have to be clear what ‘normal’ means, I think we can all agree that we are right to encourage people to be who they want to be and if that means stepping outside society’s defined ideas of gender then good! Girls generally have an easier time of asking for a superhero than a pre-teen male wanting a fairy but I still hear the cry “because she’s a tomboy” from peers and parents and it’s a rare parent who allows their son to be Elsa or a butterfly without some reference to it from mum or a shuffling of feet and shrug of shoulders from the dad. As artists working with children we need to re-define boundaries so that boys and girls are not only comfortable and confident asking for the design they want but parents are taught that it’s ok.
So how do you deal with it? Listen to the parent or the child? My preferred method is the ‘I can’t hear adults’ one – lean closer to the child and ask them quietly what they’d like. It’s pretty effective but can take guts when you first start out for fear of not pleasing the people who are ‘in charge’. Or go loud and confident, ask boys what they’d like and include rainbow and unicorn. Ditto girls with monsters and vampires. For many children, and adults, face painting is an escape and we as face painters have the poser quite literally in our hands to help make a person’s wishes come true. It’s a real privilege and responsibility and we all need to remember to use that power wisely.
January is usually quieter for most of us so it is the perfect time to do something I don’t do enough of any more; PRACTICE. I would like to rangle more adult face-painting this year so I am creating new eye designs. But what to use for inspiration? You can always use other painters work as a reference, I like to analyse Brierly Thorpe and Caroline Tropicalbird’s on-the-job photos, I want to get that beautiful flow and balance. I also went on Karen Huwen’s advanced face-painting course last year at Eleven16 Studio and want to utilise more of what I learnt about layering, stencils and liquid bling. But I hate to straight up copy designs from other artists, so where to get my inspiration?
Below is an official statement from Cameleon
All Cameleon Professional Face & Bodypaint UV products carry the cosmetics regulation code
1223/2009 to verify that their products and ingredients are tested to the highest standard for skin
safety. This code is clearly displayed on the labelling of all Cameleon products.
Cameleon has always labelled all of it’s products, including UV, in compliance with strict EU & FDA
regulations and guidelines in accordance with the labelling of cosmetic products.
All Cameleon UV was re-tested for safety updates regarding ingredients and pigments in October 2018.
After review, Cameleon are pleased to announce that they are able to remove the wording which
states “not for cosmetic use” from it’s future labelling of UV. However, in accordance with EU and
FDA regulations the wording “for special fx only” will remain in place because UV is classified as an SFX product.
Cameleon cannot comment on policies set out by any insurer in regards to obtaining public liability
insurance for using sfx products. This is for individual artists to discuss with their retrospective
insurers as it would be in regards to public liability insurance for all products any artist uses.
Cameleon would like to remind users of it’s UV products that they are SFX products and therefore
their advice has always been and remains to be that they do not advise the product to be used on
children and that none of their cosmetic products are advised to be used on children under 3 years old.
All of the Cameleon product range, including all of it’s UV products are high quality, skin safe,
professional paint which is cruelty free and vegan.
OOH! Look What’s New!
I love a good stencil. Who doesn’t? They’re life-savers at busy events and can add a bit of wow to your everyday designs. I’ve blogged about stencils before but I wanted to introduce you to my new favourites (and I haven’t been paid to say this, as usual my blogs are truthful and objective) a range of easy to use and very facepainter-friendly ones called OOH stencils. Created by Clayton from Marvellous Masks (he’s also a mean balloon twister, check out Chi Twist) these are designed with little faces in mind. What I love is their circular and curved shape – no more moving your stencil around to get a flow going, these do it for you; the star semi-circular one can be used on its own for a super-fast design or as a final flourish to a floral. And look how easy it is to do a crown! The circular mermaid is fantastic, the scales are the right size for both kid and adult faces (don’t ask me how) and you don’t need to move the stencil to add scales around the eyes so no more stencil wiping or smudging because crown and both eyes can be done in one go. You can even use more than one colour on each stencil as they are big enough to keep the colours separate and clean but not too large to swamp the face.
The other great thing about these circular stencils is that you can flip some of them over, for example flip your double jumping dolphins and you have a shell, the beauty is you don’t have to use two stencils and they are far enough apart not to smudge into each other – I hate a cramped stencil that does that. I always lose my finger daubers and the sponges I use often pick up an unwanted part of a small stencil. Aaaarrrghhh! These really do solve that problem.
So far I’ve only tested the star, mermaid and dolphin but there are many more including truck tracks and truck and monster horns, all semi- circular with eye designs in mind, or circular for forehead and eyes. I hear there are more coming soon. Give them a go and post your designs, I’d love to see them.
Simple Bump Painting Step By Step
Hi everyone! Today I have a simple Belly Art step by step. If I’m honest I sort of made it up as I went along but I knew I wanted to do something with lots of line work and then I went from there!
The First thing I did was lay my background down, using 3 filbert brushes and DFX Uv Pink, Uv Purple and UV Blue.
I took my 1 inch short angle brush and created a heart in the middle with Summer Days from Leannes Global Tropical Palette, and then used a filbert brush and some DFX white to create the flicks around the edge.
Using my Party Xplosion round 5 I outlined the heart with DFX white, and used the TFPS small blending brush to blend into the heart. I then created some swirly bits and started to add some tear drops, adding a sort of butterfly wing shape, again using the blending brush to just blend inside the lines of the wings.
I started to outline what I already had and switched to my TFPS small rounded flora no:1 for the finer line, and then started creating more swirls and looking at anywhere I could add more tear drops.
I went back in with my filbert brush to fill in between the gaps to fill out the design a bit more, and used my TFPS round six to create some dot work coming in from the edges and then going around the design. I finished off by using some silver liquid bling over the top of some of the line work and poofing some aurora glitter over the top
I hope you have enjoyed this step by step! Please let me know if you have any questions, I’m about to start working on two longer posts about setting up a website and comparing insurance companies, so if anyone has any questions about that please let me know!
The Pixie Tribe
What’s in a (business) name?
Hello everyone, did you have a good Christmas and New Year? I had a great festive season, Alex and I (you will have seen Alex featured in my Joker Step by Step Post) got engaged! Now, I’m not just bragging for the sake of it, believe it or not it is actually relevant to what I have to say! Ok bragging a little bit, but that’s allowed right?? One of the most frequent questions I see popping up on face painting pages and groups on Facebook is ‘I’m just starting out and can’t decide on a business name’, so today I thought I would talk about how I came up with mine, and some things to think about.
Let me just get one thing straight first though. I am registered as a ‘Sole Trader’, not a ltd company or any of the other options, which gives me quite a lot of flexibility rather than being registered as 2 or 3 different companies. For me ‘The Pixie Tribe’ is a trading name used to market the face painting services I offer. I started out as a hair and makeup artist doing face and body art on the side, so I was operating under ‘Mazz Hannah Hair and Makeup Artist’ for hair and makeup marketing and bookings, and I was operating under ‘Mazz Hannah Face and Body’ for face and body painting, all under one website called Mazz Hannah MUA.
A few months in and I was catching up with another makeup artist friend at a job we had been booked on together and we both said how much we wanted to do glitter and face painting at festivals. Oh, how very naive we were (I may do a post on this in the future if anyone is interested…)! Anyway, we decided to meet up and talk about it properly, come up with a list of festivals we wanted to apply to and how we would operate, and, most importantly, come up with a business name, so we could set up on social media and start applying for said festivals. The important thing for us at the time was that it sounded fun and festivally, that was basically our only criteria. We eventually ended up with ‘The Pixie Tribe’ which I absolutely loved, big fan of fairies (I’ve also named all 12 of my glitter mix options after famous fairies). Because we were going in with festival glitter and gems , airbrush tattoos, and festival hair styling as well as face painting, we didn’t want our business name to suggest that we only offered face painting. It had to be versatile, and because the original idea was that it wouldn’t just be one of us, it would be a team of us going off to events, it couldn’t be specific to one of our names, and ‘tribe’ then also played into that quite nicely. Not long after this conversation however, she said to me that she was worried that she wouldn’t be able to fully commit to ‘The Pixie Tribe’ due to her filming commitments and would I mind if I were solely in charge? This suited me as I had realised we had potentially been a bit naive in the first place .
After about a year and a half, I was very conscious that the lease on my domain name only had 6 months left, and I was really fed up with my website host. This lead me to really think about my long term business plans after a year and a half of setting up, relocating and almost setting up again from scratch. This was about February last year, and when my website lease was up in August, I decided to have not one, but 2 websites (If anyone would like me to do a blog post on setting up a website and why it’s important, please let me know in the comments below!). One for ‘The Pixie Tribe’ and I ‘rebranded’ from ‘Mazz Hannah Hair and MUA’ to ‘Mazz Loxton’, which incorporates my hair and makeup work and my more fine art style body painting. My reason for changing to Mazz Loxton (Loxton being my middle name) was that Alex and I had been together 4 years at the point I was starting to think abut all of this, and he frequently reminded me that my surname might not always be Hannah. My surname also causes a mountain of confusions and was another reason I had considered changing my trading name for that side of my business. But if I wanted to start building a reputation, it would be more complicated to change my trading name down the road than changing it now, particularly as I do want to do more fine art body art (Loxton Studios has quite a nice ring to it don’t you think?).
So, below are some bullet points with some things to think about in regards to your trading name.
Do you want people to know instantly from your name the type of services you provide?
Are you going to exclusively offer Face Painting or are do you want to leave room to add balloon twisting, henna, glitter tattoos and other services down the line?
What are some of the other painters in your area trading as? There are a lot of people trading with the same or very similar names, so it might be a good idea to think of something a bit different.
What market are you aiming at and will this affect your choice?
Does the trading name you are considering make your business searchable (if someone were to type in Face Painters in your area into google, would your page come up?)
Sometimes I do regret my choice in ‘The Pixie Tribe’ name because you can’t immediately tell from it what type of services I offer, and it’s not the most searchable name, I rely completely on my SEO’s. There are also benefits to including your actual name in your trading name. But I now have my website, hoodies, business cards etc etc, so I feel like I’m in too deep to do anything abut it at this point, but it might be that when we move to a different area I think about this again, and if I’m lucky it might coincide with the end of my domain name lease!
I hope that I’ve maybe helped you if you are making this decision at the moment, or at least given you a couple of things to think about. I hope you’ve had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and that your tax returns haven’t been too much of a headache!
The Pixie Tribe
So today I’m going to be talking about wrigglers! This blog post has been inspired by a party that I did last weekend, where the children, while all lovely, were absolutely the squirmiest wriggliest children ever! It sounds funny, but we all know that it can be stressful, both for the painter and the paintee, and most times means that your finished paint is not even close to your best work. While I’ve yet to find a way of completely overcoming it in every child, I have a little toolkit of tips that I have found helpful, and I thought I would share them with you.
I hope that you are all having a decent January; I know it’s a tough month for parties, but the end is in sight!
To P.P.F or Not to P.P.F?
By Jane Harding
Hello everyone… Happy New Year! Assuming you are all up to your necks in Tax Returns and Event Planning for the rest of January, I thought it might be helpful to some of you if I shared my views on Pay Per Face (PPF) events. Love it or hate it, PPF is something all face painters have done at some point and constantly get requested to work events on that basis.
It does seem to divide opinion as to if people should do them or if they are good money makers. I’ve certainly come across people from both camps.
For me personally, in an ideal world all jobs would be paid by my hourly rate, but I can’t imagine a world in which that actually happens, especially when you consider the really big events, like music festivals which can be huge earners on a PPF basis, but you do need the large pitch fees in the first place to even consider doing those. But I’m not really talking about those types of PPF events here; I’m focusing more on your local community events, carnivals etc.
For me, I feel it’s ultimately about picking your PPF jobs carefully, so I thought I’d share with you some of the points I consider before committing to a PPF job.
1. What is the event? Are there guaranteed to be children of an appropriate age attending? There’s not much point attending an event during the week at a soft play venue on a PPF basis, especially if your policy (like mine) is to only paint children aged 3yrs and over, because the vast majority of children aged 3+ will be at school. Believe me, places will ask you and promise lots of children to paint, so it’s easy to forget about something as obvious as this!
2. What is the expected footfall? Most well established events will be able to tell you the footfall for previous years and potentially how many tickets they have sold for the event coming up, so these can make your decision making much easier. If they are only expecting a few hundred attendees, it’s unlikely to be a great earner. You may think 500 people is a lot, but consider what percentage of those 500 people are going to be your target market? If you are primarily aiming your services at children, then that number will probably reduce by more than 2/3 because most children come with 2 adults. Then factor in, some of those children won’t be old enough, some won’t want it, some won’t be allowed it and some possibly can’t have it. Obviously I can’t predict exact numbers, but hopefully you can see that the 500 soon dwindles down.
3. When is it? If it’s a ‘prime time’ i.e. school holidays, Halloween, Christmas etc. then you are VERY likely to get offered well paid work for your hourly rate (or more) so it’s certainly worth considering if you are willing to take the risk of committing to an event at these times on a PPF basis.
4. What is the pitch fee? I see this question quite a lot in the different groups, asking for people’s opinions on what is an appropriate amount to pay for a pitch. Ultimately it’s a personal choice, but in my opinion, obviously free is best! From my experience most events either ask for a set fee which is normally between £10-£25 (possibly more depending on your location, I imagine London would be more?) or they ask for a percentage. I would always encourage everyone to barter. Sell yourself, your skills, what you can add to the event, I’ve always had great success when doing this, even if it a reduction of 5% or £5, it’s still a saving. There is always the exception when there isn’t movement on the fee, so in these cases I just weigh up all of the points I’m sharing now and decide if it’s worth the risk for ME? If free isn’t an option, I would always prefer to give a percentage of my profits and would push to agree on 10%.
5. What type of event is it? Who is it aimed at? I get a lot of requests to do Charity Events, Dog Shows, and School Fetes etc. Hands up, who’s done one or more of these events in the past? I know I have when I first started out, TBH it was probably a good learning experience having done a couple, it helped me to see what I needed for these types of events, but they certainly weren’t worth doing to earn money. When you consider the time to prepare, set up, attend for 5-6 hours, pack up, clean your kit etc. you probably won’t have covered your petrol, let alone your pitch fee or normal hourly rate. Events like this take a lot of hard work just to set up your pitch. So I really encourage you to consider if it’s truly worth it. Think how much you could have earnt by doing two birthday parties that day and how much easier to set up! It’s a no brainer! Organisers for these events always like to point out all the “exposure” you’ll get… honestly, you will likely get more real interest and bookings from attending one birthday party with 20 kids, than from sitting under a gazebo in a field for 5 hours!
6. Can they get funding? Now this might change my answer to the point above. I always mention and encourage the organisers of those types of events to seek funding/sponsorship for their event from larger local companies, which may agree, for some advertising at the event, to cover the cost of face painting etc. we are after all providing entertainment which will enhance their event and bring more people in. It won’t be possible every time, but definitely worth mentioning as you never know your luck!
7. What is the weather likely to be like? If you’re in the UK like me, then it’s not really worth considering what season it is, because it’s likely to rain anytime! Lol. Last year alone I turned down a couple of large events where footfall and children were guaranteed to be high based on previous years, and the numbers were growing. But when they insisted on a £100 pitch fee, I politely declined, obviously explaining my reasoning. Unfortunately all it would take is for it to rain that day and I’d be £100 down, wet, potentially muddy… but worse than that, I’d then have to clean the wet and mud off my kit, chairs, gazebo, banners… everything! Ugh no thank you! Organisers often throw back at you that everyone is in the same boat, but I like to point out that people still eat when it’s raining, people still buy crafts and gifts when it’s raining, people do not pay for a service that will instantly run away when they leave the stall! There is always the chance that the sun does shine, but unless you plan on painting at lightning speed, it’s still going to take a LOT of painted faces to make back your pitch fee, and earn more than you could if you had just taken on two or three parties instead.
8. Can you widen your audience? If you have additional services that you offer, then PPF is definitely a good place to offer them all to increase your income. It’s also worth thinking about what else you could offer to expand your customer base as far as you can. For example; Glitter Tattoos, Graffiti Arms, Festival Glitter etc. will appeal to old kids and adults too. So these make perfect add ons.
9. Work with others? Can you join forces with another local face painter and work a pitch together? For larger events this can be great on several levels. You split the pitch fee, you can offer more services, reduce queue times, makes set up easier, you can nip off for a toilet break whenever you like and its great fun!
10. Will it help to grow your business? We all joke about the whole “exposure” thing, which I am totally in agreement with. But there may be an exception to this rule, when YOU feel it’s the exposure YOU want. For example; it may give you the opportunity to make links with local businesses or provide an introduction to a specific person or business that you know have real potential to lead into future paid work. I would still always discuss being paid an hourly rate, but if getting your ‘foot in the door’ means taking a risk at PPF, then as long as it’s a calculated move on your part, it may just be worth it.
So there you have it, I hope you found that helpful or interesting to read from someone else’s perspective. Ultimately I really think it comes down to personal preference and what risk you’re willing to take. If you are in this to bring in a profit, then always consider the risks. I personally do one regular job as PPF, as it ticks all the boxes for me and is a good little earner throughout the year. Of course, I do very large events during the summer, but the only other time is if I see potential to grow my business and the pitch is free!
Over the last year I have significantly reduced the amount of PPF events I do because I have learnt quickly that people are actually willing to pay you! And for every rubbish PPF event I did in the past; I have turned away numerous paid jobs… I won’t make that mistake again!
And finally, you might think I am contradicting myself a bit here, but one can hope right? I really think it is up to us as a community, to start pulling together and refusing these huge pitch fees and big financial risks and start asking for what we are worth. We all know how popular our services are at these types of events, and that people flock to our stands to get painted, so why shouldn’t we all get paid for adding such a popular and sought after activity. I truly believe that if we work together, we can change the perception of what our service is to organisers and they will start to pay us what we are worth, as they already do for other Children’s Entertainers!
Let’s do this!