One-Stroke Skeletal Unicorn step-by-step
Updating my one-stroke unicorn for the spooky season. I picked some unusual colour choices to show up against my black practice board but I actually quite like the colourful undead unicorn(??). The head is Global Fun Stroke Kalahari and the hair is Global Fun Stroke Moscow.
-Next you want to layer a row of little U strokes up towards those ears. These will make the vertebrae.
-The head shape is the trickiest part of unicorns. Starting with your brush square on to the ears you just created. The stroke for the front of the head is a very long flat S shape with a curve at the end for the muzzle. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it straight away, using one-stroke is practicing until it’s muscle-memory. Practice on paper if you don’t have a practice board (although I really recommend the Sally Anne Lynch ones, I have 5).
-Finish the head by starting where the last stroke ended and curve it up to back between those ears. There may be a gap between these two strokes but you can fill it in with one corner of your brush later.
-The jaw is just two “Comma” strokes. Flip your brush so the colours are inverted for the second one.
-This is where I filled in the gaps in the head and at the top of the neck.
-The horn is a series of decreasing little U strokes stacked on each other from the base. Horns can really go wrong and either look like the poo swirl emoji (too short) or phallic (too round at the tip). Have a firm hand on your customers head and use your pinky finger as a prop if you’re comfortable.
-For the hair I like to use a one stroke loaded dagger brush. Move the brush in long back and forth waves.
-I also use the dagger brush upside down to detail the hair with the tip. This is also great for tiger whiskers.
-Final details with a number 1 brush in black and white. The eye socket is really far on horses, also they only have a few teeth at the front and a few right at the back of the jaw. The nasal socket is just a V. Highlighting the horn really helps it stand out and look professional. Use the same sort of stroke for segmenting a snake body.
There you have it. One Skeletal Unicorn. Hope this helps diversify your designs this Halloween season.
Rosemary Black x
Diversifying Your Business: running workshops
This week’s blog will talk you through how to earn money through diversifying your business; in particular, teaching children’s face painting workshops.
Kids love to be painted but they love painting themselves even more. From the 4 year old who instantly becomes Hulk with a muddy-green, watery face to the quiet pre-teen, carefully creating her festival design, face painting is magical to children, especially for those who aren’t encouraged or able to get painty or glittery at home.
If you choose to run a learn to face paint workshop I guarantee places will fill. Here is my guide to making your sessions a success, based on my own experience and my training as a Primary teacher. Choose the best time for your workshop. After school and weekends are too busy for most families and the Christmas holidays are already an expensive time of year. Half terms and Summer holidays are perfect.Keep the sessions short, children finish activities at different speeds and you don’t want kids sitting bored for half an hour. Have extra activities for early finishers.Make a list of rules and email them to the parent or carer so they all know the expectations regarding health and safety, allergies, behaviour etc.
Make sure you have enough resources – kids like to gouge their way through your paints. I use snazaroo rounds cut in half and joined together with another colour to make cheap, effective rainbow cakes. Don’t throw away any of your old face painting brushes, give them a new lease of life – make sure kids have access to a flat and a round and maybe a petal brush too. Sponges, water pots, towels for spillages and that’s your lot. If you want to ramp it up a bit grab some glitter guns, stencils and bio chunky glitter.
If you’re teaching older children, teens and adults, the Training Tried and Tested boards by Sally-Ann Lynch are perfect. Younger children like to take their work home with them so cut up large squares of baking parchment and draw felt tip faces on.
Keep your teaching pacey and simple but have stretching tasks for the more able.
Invest in sturdy stand up bathroom mirrors so they can paint their own faces if they want to.
Consider making up some mini kits that the children can take home.
You can make up little samples of the products used in the workshop so they can practise their new skills. For Halloween my mini kits contain samples of wax, blood, zombie skin and siliglass. Charge for these, they’re not freebies! Wrapping a bow around the box them makes them attractive too. If you use business cards, pop one in each kit.
If the workshops are profitable why not offer ‘family’ facepaint workshops, gore and sfx or teen only sessions? Above all else have fun, enjoy helping others and don’t forget to take lots of photos to use for Marketing, you’ll want to do it all again next holiday…
Is this something you already do? Leave a comment and share your top tips and experiences, I’d love to hear from you.
FACE PAINTING BY JONI
Hello everyone! By now I’m sure you are all in full swing preparing for the Halloween madness to begin. I know that Halloween is a crazy time of year for the girls in the shop too and that they are all working flat out to get orders out to you all! For those of you who don’t know, The Face Painting shop is the brainchild of Nathalie Farmer, and this week, I have interviewed Nathalie about the journey so far, plans for the future and everything in between.
So Nathalie… where did it all start? Were you a jobbing face painter in your past life?
“Well, it all really started back at college when I was 17. I was a media makeup student, and when I finished my course, I started body painting and doing special effects work. I quickly realised that there was good money in face painting, so I added that into the mix too.
Do you still paint?
“Yes! Not as much as I probably should though. I mainly paint when I’m teaching, and at Halloween. I tend to do more SFX work now.”
When did you decide to start the shop?
“Two words…. BAD BACK! I was doing so much face painting work that my back started to give me big problems, so I needed to reduce the work and therefore find something to boost my income. It started as an online shop, which quickly grew into a monster… all from my dining room at home! We were running online for around 18 months before I decided to open the shop in Essex.”
Was that a scary step for you?
“Not me! Everyone else thought I was crazy and 99% of people tried to talk me out of it. Luckily, I’m very stubborn so I didn’t actually listen to any of them!”
So what was your vision when you first started out? Did you ever imagine that the business would grow the way it has?
“That’s a hard one! Honestly, I never really looked too far into the future. I took every day as it came, but it was definitely a lot harder than I thought it would be. I think my main vision was a one stop shop… I didn’t take into consideration how much work that involved and what that actually meant all that time ago.”
What are your goals for the business in the next 5 years? Any new ventures up your sleeve?
“Oooh… goals… YES! Ventures… YES! And that’s as much as you are getting from me on that one!”
2018 has been a big year for you with the launch of your new company, Eleven16, providing studio space and top quality training for face, body and hair artists... How has that been going?
“Great guns! We have been so busy in the studio. We had Heather Green teaching there last week, her first time in the new studios! We also have plans for more international instructors for 2019 so watch this space. The next plan for the studio is AirCon... it was seriously hot up there all summer!”
Where did the name for the studio come from?
“It’s my son’s birthday, reversed!”
Do you have any plans to open some new branches or will you always be an Essex shop? (Hint, hint…ahem NORTHERNIRELAND...ahem)
“I have been asked this question so many times! Being a bit of a control freak, it would be really hard for me to have another shop that I couldn’t give 100% as I do with the shop now. Having said that, I would love to open another in the future one… Maybe Northern Ireland!?”
The Face Painting shop has won a lot of awards. What do you attribute that to?
“I think that the awards come when they can see our dedication and passion.”
So what do you love most about your job?
“Oooh, definitely working with my team. I have an amazing team around me and that is crucial to our success.”
Would you change anything about it if you could?
“Haha.. Should I answer that honestly? The one thing I would change would be having an outgoing email only. No incoming emails!”
I get that! I think that’s part of why the business has been so successful though. You are very ‘present’ and active on social media
“Absolutely. I have a love-hate relationship with social media. There have been times when it’s driven me to tears, and other times where it has made me laugh until I cried. It is a ’must’ in business though, so I have to suck up the back times and move on. I think it is very important for me to be involved at all levels. I even unblocked the toilet this morning!
How many hours do you work in an average week?
“Around 55, including working at home and in the shop or studio.”
So what do you think makes a successful painter?
“A successful painter needs to be memorable, and have a great website. I always say that a client will remember you, more than the perfect butterfly you painted with all the extras. It’s about more than just the standard of your painting.”
What are the 3 top selling products from The Face Painting Shop’s range?
“The Face Painting Shop pink tip brushes, DFX white 90g and Global one stroke Palettes!”
This is a hard one, given that you know every colour of every brand of paint out there, but black and white aside, what is your single favourite colour of paint?
“Global Dark Blue! It’s got me out of some scrapes before!”
In your opinion, what would you say is the best brand for bases / sponging, and the best brand for line work?
“I have two! Superstar for metallic, and Global for flat colours, and for line work!”
Ok, some quick-fire random questions for you! What is your biggest fear?
Your most useless talent?
“I actually have no idea!”
Your biggest pet peeve?
“Definitely bad manners… I hate bad manners!”
Any annoying habits?
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be, and why?
“Ooooh this is a hard one. I’d love to live in a tropical country near the sea so I could go diving every day!”
I loved your recent diving photos! Is diving something you have always done?
“Yes! I love it. I feel at peace when I’m diving. My love for the ocean has always been huge.”
What else do you like to do in your spare time?
“I don’t have much! I love to take my son, Ronnie, clay pigeon shooting. It’s something he really loves to do. On occasions… go down the pub and get more than drunk!”
You and Ronnie seem to have a great relationship!
“Oh we are very tight. We always have been! I think it helps that he is super laid back”
What was the last thing that you googled?
What was the last photo that you took on your phone?
“A unicorn cup! Not mine… unfortunately!”
(At this point in the interview, my 9 year old joined me and asked some questions of her own!)
If you opened a themed hotel, what would the theme be and what would the rooms look like?
“Good question Ruby! It would have to be a mermaid hotel... Everywhere would look like it does under the ocean!”
Describe yourself in 5 words…
“Driven, passionate, Eccentric, Loyal, and eatstoomanycarbs lol!
What’s the best joke you know?
“Hahahah… I’m actually really crap at jokes! I don’t know any!”
What were you like as a child, and what did you want to be when you grew up?
“Angelic obviously… actually I was very stubborn and defiant. I wanted to be a vet but quickly realised that I didn’t have the brain power! (Bad DNA!)”
What advice would you give to your younger self?
“Carry on doing what you are doing! I wouldn’t change a single thing. I’ve made some crappy choices in my life so far, but that’s all part of who I am today.”
“What’s your favourite food?
And your tipple of choice?
“Pink Gin, Brandy or Pernod!”
What charity do you most support?
“This is an easy one for me… Kidney Research. My son Ronnie only has one kidney, and that is in his pelvis. I also support Macmillan.”
What is your current favourite TV show?
“Keeping up with the Kardashians!”
And one final question… What single piece of advice do you think that beginners and seasoned pros alike can benefit from?
“Get a great website! I often see painters saying that they are struggling to find work yet they don’t have a website and are relying on Facebook for jobs. Sometimes the best painters in the world are actually terrible business people. It’s a hard balance to find!”
That’s all from Nathalie, but I have some more interviews, with more industry big names coming up soon, so stay tuned! Thanks for reading and good luck for the Halloween Madness!
Every year we hear the cry’s from self-employed face painters wanting a Christmas works doo...
We herd those cry’s and are hosting the ultimate works Christmas party for you all.
Drinks, food and surprises will be waiting for you all, this is your official invite to come and let your hair down for the evening with us and your industry friends.
We are collecting for help the homeless on the night so if you have anything you would like to donate (not money) warm clothes, blankets, non-perishable food items these will be more than welcomed.
Hello from rainy Belfast! Autumn is here, and for us painters, that means one thing only. HALLOWEEN! I’m going to admit right here, that I don’t especially like Halloween! It is great for business, and it is nice to be able to work on more detailed ‘one off’ faces rather than the usual party scene faces, but scary faces aren’t really my ‘thing’, and I do get a little frustrated by the seemingly endless stream of people sending photoshopped images from Pinterest and expecting me to recreate it with paint, for a fiver! That said, I am grateful to always be busy at Halloween, and I tend to work from home with private bookings now rather than take on events etc., which is nice, and saves a lot of running around from venue to venue.
This week I’m going to demo my super-fast ‘Walking Dead’ style zombie face, which is great for busy events, but still looks great. It doesn’t require any special effects materials, and can be produced in a few minutes. The beauty of faces like this is there is no right or wrong way to do them. The scruffier the better and each one is different to the one before. I had planned to do this as a live video but in my post flu comeback, I still sound like Gollum, so I’ve done it as a step by step with photos. Honestly though, experiment, have fun, throw some paint around and find what works for you!
Global Light Blue
Global Lime green
Superstar Old Red (127)
Grimas Stipple sponge
Lowe Cornell size 2 round brushes (I have one specifically for white and one for black)
TFPS pink tip brush flora size 6
TFPS pink tip brush round size 4
Apply a semi translucent white base all over the face. I use snazaroo for fast bases and for children as it is fast and easy to apply, and, being glycerine rather than wax based, feels more comfortable on the skin. It is the only Snazaroo paint that I use, and although I have experimented with various other brands, this remains my favourite for fast light bases. The base doesn’t need to be perfect as it will largely be covered, but you want your zombie to have a pale background.
Load your sponge with the light blue, yellow and lime green paint and apply in random areas of the face. I tend to stick to areas that you want to highlight, like cheekbones, temples, forehead, nose and chin.
Lightly load a sponge with the Superstar Old Red, and use this to colour the eye sockets, cheeks and any other random area you fancy.
Load the stipple sponge with a mix of the Paradise Black and Superstar Old Red, and use this to add detail to some areas of the face, giving the effect of dried blood and scuffs.
Add some eyebrows. I always think that the eyebrows look a bit harsh when I’m adding them, but, having experimented with them a little, I find that the overall effect is better when they are dark and a bit severe.
Use the Global Red with the flora brush to add some cuts / scratches across the face. These can be anywhere you like, but I tend to do them diagonally across the face and one eye. Using a thin – thick – thin brush stroke you can get a more realistic looking scratch.
Roughly outline the scratches with the Number 2 brush loaded with some old red, and add some dfx white highlights. This gives the wounds some depth and gives a wet blood effect.
Using a very watery load of the Superstar Old Red paint, lay down some colour around the scratches. I find that outlining them, leaving a clear area between the wound edges and the Old Red wash, helps make them look swollen.
Using the DFX Black, draw some curved lines as stitches, and again, highlight these with the DFX white.
Using a sponge, roughly apply some Paradise Black to the mouth area, extending outwards and upwards under the cheekbone area. This is the base for the teeth, so it will be largely covered and doesn’t need to be perfect, but it does help to make sure that both sides of the face match.
Load the flora brush well with DFX white, and press the brush onto the lips and face to represent the teeth. I’m going to hazard a guess that zombies typically do not have perfect teeth, so don’t panic if they aren’t Hollywood worthy. I like to roughly outline some / all of the teeth for definition, extending the outline into a point above / below each tooth to add some depth.
Using the number 2 brush, loaded with DFX Black, add some fine wrinkles in the areas which would typically wrinkle, such as the forehead, bridge of nose, around the eyes and nose. As with the stitches, add some tiny highlights in DFX White to create some depth
Using your stipple sponge, add some more scraping to any areas which look a bit bare
Using the number 2 brush and some DFX Black, add some nostrils. I like to smudge these a little for a less uniform look.
Load the round size 4 brush with the global red. You will need to make sure that it is quite a watery load. Use this to add blood details. I like to have blood coming from the eyes and nose, and around the mouth area.
Reload the brush with an even more watery load of global, and use this to flick paint at the face, giving the effect of blood splatters!
So there you have it! A super-fast zombie that takes just a few minutes to produce, and looks great! Where you have more time, you can add more detail, but don’t get hung up on perfection. The best part of this design is that imperfections are all part of being a zombie!
I hope that this is useful for you guys, and I would love to see your versions if you give it a go!
Next week I will be interviewing our very own Nathalie Farmer for my blog post, so if anyone has anything that they would like to know about her, please drop me a PM!
How To Clean Your Face Painting Brushes – By Jane Harding
Hello everyone! Welcome to my weekly blog. If you have read my others, then ‘Thanks, I’m so glad you’re back’…. And if this is your first time, then ‘Welcome, it’s great to have you here’!
Last week I blogged about face paint and my favourite things of all… BRUSHES!
So to keep a little on topic, I wanted to talk about some of my recommended best practice… brush cleaning. Now I don’t want to be teaching people to suck eggs… I imagine the hordes of experienced painters out there, could teach me a thing or two about caring for my brushes and kit, so PLEASE, if you have any additional tips, I would love to hear about them, let me know in the comments below.
However; I have seen the question asked a few times within several face painting groups on FB, especially from newer painters, about how they should clean their brushes. So, I am going to go through a quick Step By Step of what I do.
In my opinion, best practice would be to clean your brushes after every job, as soon as you get home!
Nothing damages your precious tools as much as allowing them to sit damp and then dry with remnants of paint and bacteria on, bacteria which will inevitably be there, no matter how careful we are about avoiding cross contamination. If left to dry without proper care, this is when our brushes can lose their shape and will ultimately shorten their lifespan. So my Top Tip: Clean your brushes after every job and as soon as possible.
Not only will regular cleaning ensure you won’t have to replace them frequently, it has other benefits too:
It looks so much more professional to have a clean kit/brushes
Your brushes will keep their shape and will be easier to use
You avoid spreading germs into your paints and to customers
People will notice how sparkly they are and their comments will give you the warm fuzzies!
Before we start… Top Tip: I keep all my brush cleaning bits and bobs by my kitchen sink. No, it doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing, but as a full time face painter, they are something I use all the time and it makes my life easier to have them ready to go!
These are the main tools I use: Brush soap, Brush Cleaning Egg, Brush Drying Rack.
You can of course clean your brushes without the little cleaning egg, but again, I have it to make my life easier and the process quicker. For less than a couple of pounds, I think they are well worth it.
I also didn’t have the drying wrack for a long time, but I picked it up really cheap on the high street and I have to say, I highly recommend getting one. It stops the water sitting in the ferrule which can damage your brushes.
Also, as you can see I have a tub with a secure lid that I transport my brushes in. This is something I have just invested in; I purely use it to transfer my dirty brushes home. Previously I would roll them in a towel, but found they stayed really damp and the bristles got bent, which is something you really want to avoid. The tub with lid is so far working really well for me.
So here we go…
How I Clean My Brushes – Step By Step
Using hot/warm water make sure the bristles of your brush are thoroughly wet. Then one brush at a time, coat the bristles in brush soap. If your brushes still have a lot of paint on them, you may want to rinse them a couple of times to remove the excess. Once they look similar to how I have my brush in the picture above, set each brush aside on a paper towel whilst you coat each brush in soap.
One at a time take each brush and work the soap into the bristles using the brush cleaning egg. Massage the bristles along the different grooves to really work that soap in and try and agitate them enough to remove as much paint and dirt as possible. Top Tip: Although it’s tempting, try and avoid scrubbing the bristles too hard, this could cause unwanted damage.
At this point I also ensure the handles are nice and clean, if needed I give them a little rub with soap using my fingers.
Rinse! Using warm water thoroughly rinse each brush, ensuring all traces of soap has been removed.
Dry off any excess water using a clean tea towel or paper towel. As you do this, reshape each brush. For round brushes pull and twist them along the towel to recreate a nice point on the end, for flat brushes pull them along the towel on each side to recreate the sharp edge.
Step 5: (optional)
If you notice any brushes that have completely lost their shape, then they may need a little extra help. (I’ve noticed that UV Paint can make my brushes lose shape, especially after a busy UV Party and it’s the only paint I’ve used. I’m not sure why this is; it appears to me that the UV Paint dries faster on the bristles, so I think this could be the reason. If you have any knowledge about this, please let me know in the comments below, I’d love to know if others have experienced the same). Anyway, I use a Brush Shaper (as pictured) but if you are unable to find this, you can alternatively use hot water. You simply dip the bristles in the Brush Shaper liquid or hot water and then reshape them and leave to dry. If you use the Brush Shaper, ensure you wash it off once it’s dried and before you use the brush on a job.
Hang them out to dry! Where at all possible dry you brushes upside down so any excess water can drain out of the Ferrule. If you don’t have one of these funky little brush holders, then alternatively you could lay them on a towel, but make sure it’s a clean and completely dry so your handles won’t absorb the moisture from the damp towel, this can lead to the paint on your handles peeling off.
And that my friend is it… couldn’t be easier and once you get into a routine, it really doesn’t take that long. Plus, when you put them all away, they will look so sparkly and beautiful, you’ll want to put them on your mantelpiece so you can look at them all the time… or is that just me?! :-b
Thanks so much for reading… feel free to give me a like or follow on my social media pages (links below) to see what I’m up to, my recent work and updates J
Halloween Kit Must-Haves
By Kate Brown
As promised this week I wanted to run you through some of my Halloween must-have products. Products that have got me through the craziest, busiest Halloween events, and have helped me create some cool special effects. Like a lot of you (and my fellow bloggers!) I am a bit of a face paint addict, and am always trying to find new ways to improve and change up my kit but at Halloween I always come back to these old favourites… **disclaimer**what you are about to read next is my opinion only :-D
White: Easily the most used colour over the spooky period you’ll need to make sure you are stocked up on your white so that you don’t run out! My all time favourite white for bases is…………starblend white. What is so unusual about that I hear you mutter? Well, I’m afraid I don’t use it as it is intended (I can almost hear the starblend diehards gasp and shake their heads in disapproval)
I use my starblends white WET. There I said it. If you are still reading, this is why; using white starblends with a damp sponge (you have to spray the sponge, it does NOT work if you spray the cake) gives the most beautiful, smooth, semi opaque base that you can build up if you wish. It is pretty much instantly dry, and has a much nicer, lighter feel on the skin. I use a normal sponge, and can blend other colours into it easily and quickly – it allows me to base a design out in well under a minute.
My other favourite whites for bases, are Mehron Paradise – which is lovely and soft- and also snazaroo – the sparkle white is great for a delicate sugarskull base! Both applied either with a sponge or my pink tips base brush- a must have in your kit.
Buying my first kryolan bruise wheel was a complete game changer for me in creating quick, realistic spooky/gory/special effects designs. If you haven’t got one, you need one! They are creamy and super blendable and go on without water, you just blend a tiny bit into the skin. LOVE! They come in a few different shades but my favourites are ‘burn and injury’ and ‘zombie’.
I’ve shown you a quick example below, this literally took me two minutes.
I have two reds in my kits, that I often blend and apply with a stipple sponge for a ‘grazed’ look and around wounds (a stipple sponge is a fab tool). I tend to avoid using fake blood on younger children, as they can smear it everywhere and if they smear it onto their outfits, it stains – etc etc. The reds that I love the most are global rose brown and deep merlot. Used separately or together these are effective and realistic enough to look like blood for children’s faces!
Special FX Products
Ben Nye Nose & Scar wax is my go-to for cuts and wounds, its nice and firm but pliable too – make sure you use plenty of Vaseline on your fingers to make it easier to work with!
Zombie Skin. Ahhh-maaaa-zziing. This is easy to use, and a super quick latex paste product which can help you create the scariest of zombies in a matter of minutes. The lovely Rachel Jardine did a great tutorial last year on how to use it, check it out!
I like to use a variation of bloods to create depth and interest and depending on the type of wound I’m creating but my faves are: Global Coagulated blood; gorgeously thick and dark for putting into the middle of wounds for depth and real gore. Vermillion blood is also amazing in ALL the shades but I’m loving the ‘runny crimson’ at the moment to create a ‘fresh cut’ look.
Also regulars in my Special FX kit are:
-Cotton (for stitches)
-Global latex (for soooo many looks – slit throats, burns, cuts)
-Spirit Gum (for helping materials adhere to skin)
-Gems & Glue (for my more glamoreen designs!)
-A good fixing spray, Kryolan have an excellent one (to give your one-off faces great staying power)
There are soooo many more products that I haven’t even got around to trying out yet, and I know that we have some exciting Halloween type products coming in our next ‘bloggers boxes’ so look out for some product reviews of those.
I promised a step-by-step this week which I will post on the TFPS facebook pages, using two of the lovely products they have sent me, Global pearl blue – a lovely soft, shimmery blue, and global funstrokes Costa Rica, which is not one I’d have ever have chosen off the shelf but is stunning. Together they have made a rather lovely sugarskull…keeping in the Halloween theme!
Next week, I’m going to be testing out some high street ‘halloween make up’ (on my poor face) and documenting the results – how does it really compare to our professional products? Should be interesting! (I hope)
Do let me know if you have any questions about Halloween designs or products that I can help with in the meantime!
A Beginners Guide to Body Painting!
My first encounter with body painting was at my first trip to IMATS! I just wanted to sit and watch everyone’s creations come together, I could have stayed there all day! Body painting can be a really daunting prospect when it’s something you haven’t done before, but once you start you won’t want to stop!
What Paints Should I use?
Everyone has their own personal preferences with regards to body paints, the same way you do with face painting, and most people will start with brush and sponge. For body painting I find softer paints give a much more even coverage and blend into each other better than harder paints. I love Superstar and Mehron for covering big areas but I will still go back to Global and DFX for linework and detail aspects, but if I’m honest, my choices are largely based on the colours I want to use. You’re also going to want to think about getting some bigger brushes if you don’t already have any, as well as some blending brushes.
But I can’t draw?!
Does that stop you face painting? No! I had no artistic background before I trained as a hair and makeup artist, which is where I started face and body painting. I’ve found that actually my drawing has improved hugely since I’ve been body painting, and I understand so much more about shade and light, we all have to start somewhere! Some of my favourite pieces have been really really simple and really fun to paint, and require zero drawing skills. The picture below was one of my first body paints. It was the photographers idea, and all we did was take Mehron metallic silver powder, mix it with baby oil and cover our model. We got some photo’s at this stage before literally throwing handfuls of Holi paint powder at her. Because we had mixed the Mehron powder with oil and not mixing liquid (because it would give a shinier result), the powder paint was constantly moving, and no two photo’s are the same, which was awesome! We then also dribbled some of the silver paint back over the powder paint to break up the solid blocks of colour. It was unbelievably simple, but so much fun and still one of my favourite pieces.
Where do I start?
If you want to start body painting but you’re not sure about ideas, pick a Halloween character and paint them! Halloween month is now in full swing, and we’re all busy promoting ourselves for the big day, so pick something that you can use to promote yourself for Halloween! The Joker is a classic and will not only be a great start to your body painting portfolio, but will be a great addition to your face painting portfolio. It can be really hard to come up with ideas when you don’t have a theme to paint to (I hate that feeling when I get someone in my chair and says ‘paint anything!’), so I am going to set you a challenge, yes YOU! If you have been thinking about starting body painting but you have been too nervous, I want you to find a willing friend or family member and paint them as the Joker. You can stick to the top half of the body if you want but I want to see what you get up to, tag me on Instagram or Facebook or wherever you post it! Like so many other things, once you start, you’ll wonder what you were so worried about.
This is why I think the Joker is a good place to start. It’s really important to think about the composition of the body and how it will affect design choices in your body painting, and painting clothing can be a really helpful exercise, not only in composition, but also for thinking about shadows and highlights, and making something look more 3D.
Also think about the muscle structure and the natural shapes and contours of the human body. It’s a really good exercise in understanding composition, will help in designing other pieces, and can be really useful if you decide to paint cosplay designs or zombies etc. Another really good exercise for composition, especially if you want to paint something more illustrative, is to look at heraldry and tattoo designs. Pick a theme and think about image placement, what aspects are more important, how can you fill dead space?
For me, body painting works best when you look at why are you choosing to paint on a body and not a canvas. How will your painting be affected when the body moves, and how can you use this to your advantage?
What if I make a Mistake?
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, that’s what baby wipes/re-usable eco cloths (would HIGHLY recommend, they are phenomenal!) are for! I also think it’s really important to acknowledge mistakes, to think about why something didn’t work and how you could do it differently next time, whether it’s a particular colour combination, a different brush or something you just didn’t like.
Where are the other painters at?
There are quite a few body painting groups and events that go on throughout the year, a lot of people also do their first body paints at these events too. We have all done our first body paint at some point, we have all been in that position where we don’t know anyone, we’re worried no-one will like what we paint and we’re scared that everything’s going to go wrong. So far I have found everyone I have met to be really encouraging and supportive, you’ve got nothing to worry about! Go to the the events, the festivals and the competitions, there’s always someone else in your position, and someone who will know about other events so you can do more painting!
What do I bring to my first body paint event?
A lot of the times, models bring their own underwear and nipple covers. I always bring spares in a variety of sizes and colours just in case. You’ll also want glue (pros-aide) and remover to stick those pesky nipple covers down and to remove them at the end, and cotton buds to apply the glue. In terms of what underwear to buy, I like Primark Seamless thongs. They’re quite easy to paint over and don’t suck up as much paint as cotton. Monster Pasties are by far the best nipple covers I’ve come across, but they are quite expensive. No Nips are also great, and they also make a line of ‘No Toe’ foam latex crotch covers which are a great alternative to thongs if you’re model is happy to wear them as there is no disruption to the paint. Everyone has personal preferences with underwear and nipple covers, it’s a case of finding what you get on with best.
It’s also a good idea to bring food and water. It can be a long day painting and, it hasn’t happen to me yet, but my worst fear is a model fainting, so make sure you keep checking in with them to make sure they’re ok and that they’ve had enough food and water. Also try to remember to let them sit down while you’re painting so they aren’t standing still for long periods of time. Temperature is also really important. Sometimes the venue where you are painting has no heating, or they’ll put you right next to a door so it’s a good idea to buy a portable heater. They’re pretty cheap and not too big so you can fit them into a suitcase with the rest of your kit.
Also you’ll need some form of floor and table cover. Believe it or not, not everyone enjoys colour and glitter explosions (although for the life of my I can’ think why!)
Ok I think I’m ready, What now?
Just do it! Get those paints out and find a victim ….*ahem* willing model, and show me how you get on! I wanna see!
I hope you have found this useful. If you have any questions or want some information about upcoming body paint events please ask me, I don’t bite! Also please let me know if you have a topic you would like me to cover in any upcoming posts.
Hello painters! We are currently housebound due to Storm Ali, and some kind of virus, so I’m taking advantage of the peace to write my third blog piece! This week I am continuing with the ‘My Kit’ theme, and will be swatching all of my solid colours for you. Personally (and compared to my one stroke collection!) I don’t think that I carry an excessive amount of solid colours! My general strategy is to have a light, a dark and a pearl for each colour. I’ve seen painters who carry both a lot less, and a lot more, so I like to think that I’m somewhere in the middle! I carry 36 solid colours in my everyday kit, but I have repotted them into square Amac boxes (available from The Face Painting Shop for £0.90 each) and 12 of these fit perfectly into the A5 plastic document boxes that hold my paints (have you noticed how ‘fitting perfectly’ is a major part of my kit?! – I’m completely anal about it)
Like my one strokes, I don’t restrict myself to any one brand, as I find that certain brands are better for certain colours or jobs. Superstar shimmers are amazing, so almost all of my metallic paints are by them. Global make beautiful dark colours, which are rich, solid and firm so they are great for line work. Tag, DFX and Cameleon are good all-rounders so there are some of those thrown in for good measure too!
So… repotting. I know that this is a contentious issue and there is a lot of chat about whether it is safe / responsible / hygienic / insurance compliant, but it works for me, and my insurer doesn’t have an issue with how I do it. I like how my set up & breakdown times are much faster because I don’t have 36 individual lids to fiddle with. Each A5 document box holds 12 Amac boxes (perfectly!) and I store them without the individual lids on, so I only have 3 lids to manage. Being square, and smaller in size than the standard round 32g pots, the Amac boxes mean that I can also carry more colours. (The same space fits around 18 x 32g pots!) I think it looks better when set up, and I like the flexibility that it gives me to change things around for different jobs, for example for nightclub jobs I will often just bring one set of 12 paints, with my neons and a few metallic inside, meaning that I can travel light & make a quick getaway when the event ends! I will say that I do my repotting very carefully. My kitchen is scrubbed clean before I start, I wear latex gloves, and I mark the bottom of each Amac box with details of the brand, colour, date of opening & batch number. I also retain the original container so that, in the unlikely event of there being a reaction or anything else that means that I need to trace the paint origins, I can easily do so. I never add new paint to the old so that there is only ever paint from a single batch and pot in each container, and I can always be sure of the expiry date. For everyday use, I tend to keep the paints in the same order because muscle memory is real, and those seconds really do count at busy events!
Superstar 127 – Old Red. I LOVE this colour. It is great for outlining butterflies, it makes beautiful double dip flowers, and it is awesome for SFX type work like grazes and dried blood. Any colour that works for princesses and zombies alike is a winner for me!
Global- Red. My go to red almost every time. It is so bright, coverage is amazing and it doesn’t even nearly stain! Great for classic Spiderman faces, reindeer noses and everything in between. It has the typical global firm consistency and is easy to load and use.
Superstar 040 – Pinky Red. This is a fairly recent addition for me and I’m loving it! As the name suggests, it is a pink toned red, and it is perfect for more girlie Spiderman designs, and I’m pretty sure it is the EXACT colour of Ariel’s hair!
Global – Pearl Red. Needs no real introduction other than being that perfect global red, in pearl form!
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Superstar 033 – Bright Orange. This is the best tiger orange ever. As I find with some Superstar paints, it’s not the crispest paint for line work that ever existed, but it sponge blends like a dream!
Superstar 236 – Ploppy Orange. A close second for amazing tigers. Superstar produce amazing metallic colours and this is no exception. I usually use this for tigers on little kids, along with gold, as it gives a softer result but still shouts RAWWWRRR! This applies perfectly with a brush or sponge so is super versatile.
TAG – Neon Orange. I only carry 5 solid neons and this is always one of them. I find Tag neons to be the best that I’ve tried, and the most consistent in terms of UV and non UV use. I use it for outlining sometimes to make designs pop, and it’s great for adding some depth to designs with larger red or regular orange areas.
Global Yellow. Hands up who finds it hard to find a solid yellow paint with really good coverage? Thankfully, I don’t get asked for too many Minion faces these days, (I’m really not a fan of those little things- whatever they are!) and not much else calls for a solid yellow, so I’ve kind of given up the search. I was using Superstar yellow for sponge work and Cameleon Banana for line work, but decided that I really didn’t need to carry 2 yellows, so have settled on Global regular yellow as a decent compromise for both uses. It’s good, but you will still need 2 coats for any larger areas or on darker skin tones.
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TAG – Neon Yellow. Like most neon yellows, it’s not great without UV light, but boy does it shine in the right conditions!
Global- Lime Green. I use this loads on everything from dinosaurs to foliage and it’s a great colour for brush work and sponging – blending beautifully!
TAG – Neon Green. Like the other neons, I rarely use this for anything other than UV work, but it’s also nice to add some definition on top of other greens for faces like Hulk, Dinos, dragons and Halloween witches!
Superstar 129 – Green Shimmer. I only added this to my kit last month having worked alongside another painter who had it, and it’s gorgeous! It’s a love subtle golden green with that typical Superstar pearlescent shimmer.
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TAG- Teal. I love this colour. I use it for foliage and outlines, unicorn hair and contrasting spots on butterfly wings. It also gives amazing triple dip petals with white and dark purple!
Superstar 341 – Peacock Shimmer. Another classic shimmer from Superstar, loads like a dream on a brush or sponge, and has a lovely consistency for line work. This colour works great with pearl red and gold for Christmassy designs too!
Global - Deep green. This is my go to green for foliage & swirls on floral designs, and for texture stencilling on monsters, dragons and dinosaurs. Global’s range of dark colours are all stunning and this is no exception.
Superstar 173 – Petrol. I actually won this colour in a TFPS giveaway, and I’m glad that I did as I don’t think I would have tried it otherwise. It is a beautifully rich blue-green, and is amazing for line work, and outlining green designs. I love it!
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Global- Light blue. Honestly, I rarely seem to use light blue but this is in there just in case!
Superstar 220 - Ziva. Are you even a face painter if you don’t love Ziva? This has to be the ultimate colour. It pops like nothing else, sponges and brushes on amazingly and brings the ‘WOW factor’ to any design I can think of! If you don’t have this, you need it! The only drawback that I’ve found is that it does transfer, so it’s maybe not ideal for larger areas of paint on sweaty children, but other than that it is truly an amazing paint.
DFX - Metallic Blue. This is another amazing colour, and was made for Captain America designs. It has great coverage and loads perfectly. It makes a great highlighter for blue roses too!
Global - Dark Blue. I can’t imagine my kit without Global dark blue in it. It’s a really deep inky blue with an almost metallic sheen. I use this to outline blue and green designs in place of black. It is super pigmented so I don’t use it for large areas of paint (after one particularly traumatic incident with a small child, a bouncy castle, and some white jeans…) but it is still a must have colour in my opinion!
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Superstar 039 – Mauve. I’m surprised that I don’t reach for this more often as it’s a great colour. As per the name, it is a pinky purple colour, and is great for line work. I only seem to use this regularly for butterfly antennae, but I’ve set myself a little challenge to use it more this week… I shall let you know how that goes!
Superstar 238 – Purple Rain. Another perfect shimmer from Superstar. Purple is my favourite colour, and this is my favourite purple. It’s great for line work and sponging, and is a really rich colour with a great metallic sheen.
Global - Purple. This is a lovely deep purple and it’s great for outlining. I don’t use it a lot for sponging as it is pretty dark, but I wouldn’t be without it in my kit!
TAG – Regular Pink. This is the only solid pink that I carry in my kit, and it’s a good all-rounder. I use it for rosy cheeks, flowers, and everything else that requires a baby pink colour!
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TAG- Neon Pink. This is one of the Neons that I use for line work as well as UV work. This and Neon magenta (below) are the 2 neons that I use most…usually for unicorn hair and outlining. They can be a little ‘waxy’ so need quite a lot of working before they are ready to use for non UV work, but providing you do that, they both give a nice solid neon pink colour. As the name suggests, the magenta is a little darker and richer than the pink.
TAG Neon Magenta. As above!
Superstar 139 – Pink Shimmer. I LOVE THIS! It is a great colour. Like most Superstar shimmers it is pretty soft and needs little water to work it, but once you get the hang of it, it’s super versatile. It has a gorgeous pinky purpley shimmer and it’s my go to for lip colour also!
Global- Magenta. Another staple, and another fabulous deep rich colour from Global. I go through a lot of this, and use it for every kid of design, but it makes beautiful double / triple dip petals!
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Superstar 140 – silver shimmer. Finding a white / silver shimmer that works for lines and bases is tricky. They seem to be great at one or the other but not both – but this is the best that I’ve tried. It’s super sparkly and blends like a dream, and is great for all those upcoming Halloween sugar skulls!
DFX Silver. Silver isn’t a colour that I use a lot, but this is in there just incase I happen to need one! Does what it says on the tin, and is a deeper grey-silver than the superstar above.
Cameleon – Fifty. I don’t use a lot of grey, and I’m honestly not use that I’ve tried any others, but Fifty is a great shade, and, like most Cameleon paints, is great for both blending and line work.
Superstar 233 – Graphite. WHAT A COLOUR! This is a recent addition for me and I’ve been using it a lot in place of black for a softer look. I’m planning to use it a lot at Halloween as it is a great, super shimmery true graphite colour and much more rich and eye catching than regular black. It’s a typical superstar soft metallic and is a really stunning addition to any kit!
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Cameleon- Oscar. I’ve tried lots of golds but this is my favourite. It’s a rich, bright yellow gold which shimmers but doesn’t sparkle, making it ideal for iron man! It applies really smoothly and, provided you take your time loading it, doesn’t need a second coat like most golds seem to!
Superstar 015 – Skin. Again, I don’t use this a lot but keep it incase I need it! (Does this make me a paint hoarder?) It is a great medium skin tone colour with a pink undertone.
Tag - Regular Bisque. This is the middle colour from the Tag Teddy Bear one stroke, and is great for animals and darker skin tones. Like the Superstar above, I don’t need it a lot but I keep (hoard?) it just incase!
Superstar 024 – Chocolate Brown. My go to brown! Rich, creamy and easy to blend, it is great for outlining designs using the Tag Teddy Bear one stroke, and for animal designs in general!
This brings me to the end of my ‘Introducing my kit’ series of blog posts. I hope that they have been helpful - make sure you bookmark them for future reference!
Next week I will be demoing a fast zombie design which is great for busy Halloween events and doesn’t require any SFX materials so fab for beginners and pro’s alike!