Hello again everyone! I thought I would talk about adult designs this week, especially with Halloween, Christmas and New Year all now coming up. I’ve chosen designs that I think are all really versatile and work in different settings. When I did my first adult party, I got to about 2 weeks before the party before it occurred to me that they wouldn’t want the same thing as kids. I ended up doing mostly flowers and festival glitter, and I kind of got away without really knowing what I was doing. But I’ve got a lot more experience now, and hope this will help anyone that finds themselves in the same position I was in!
Full Face One Stroke Design
I love this design. I love the versatility of each stage of it. I often used this as a Child’s princess design, but I find it can be very easily be adapted for adults too. I’ve shown 2 different versions in the picture so you can get an idea of this, and how it can work just as well as a stand alone eye design. Depending on what else you do with this, you can also use it as the base of a sugar skull.
Last week I talked about how much I loved using a toothbrush, and this is one of the reasons why! You don’t have to contain the design to one eye, it works great as a mask over both eyes , over a sponged on base, or even as a full body paint. You can tailor the colours to the natural contours and highlights of the face and body to add definition. I personally like using UV colours for this designs, and you can top it off with glitter to make it even more awesome.
This is another one of my favourite designs. It works really well in a variety of settings, and I often get children choosing this design as well as adults. You can also cut out things like the base colour and the glitter to save time if you have a big queue.
Butterfly Eye Design
This design is really simple but it always goes down well, and also works nicely when the child wants someone they’re with to have their face painted but they're a bit reluctant. You can also add loads of petals and twiddly bits, and whatever else you fancy!
This is always really popular, especially with men, and works so well with glitter on top! I often get kids asking for this design as well, even if they don’t really know who David Bowie is.
Animal Eye Design
This is another design that works really well for a variety of settings, and for when children want someone they’re with to have a matching design.
Stars (in their multitudes…sorry I couldn’t help it)
This is very similar to the animal eye design, but instead of spongeing on 2 seperate colours, I’ve used a rainbow cake, and instead of linework I’ve used a stencil. I put this in because I wanted to show the versatility of a very simple idea, and demonstrate as with most of these designs, how easily they can all be adapted to create different designs.
Thankyou all for reading again! If you have any questions or anything you would like me to write about, please let me know!
My 2 minute, full face, rainbow unicorn.
The most requested design of the summer and it’s still going strong. Here’s how to knock out a full face unicorn in less than 2 minutes.
(video done on the job at my usual weekend lunchtime gig, model is my daughter hence the roughness lol. Products used; homemade neon rainbow cake, TAG pearl white, Global fun stroke Paris, Global strong black. Face painting shop pink tip 1” flat, Lowell Cornell round number 4)
Joni Nettleship X
Face Painting by Joni
When It All Goes Wrong
It will happen to you and if it hasn’t yet, its just a matter of time. The messed-up design, the forgotten party, the upset parent. Mostly things run smoothly but sometimes things do go wrong and, believe it or not, it’s okay, the child will be happy, the host can be recompensed, the parent placated. We learn from our mistakes and should actually be grateful for them because they make us better business people and facepainters. Read on..
Scenario 1 – the messed-up design.
We’ve all been there haven’t we? Got a bit over-excited and bitten off more than we can chew at a busy party. ‘Darth Vader, yeah no problem, take a seat!’ Ten minutes later you’re sweating and wondering how you got here, this isn’t how its supposed to look, you start to panic a bit as you become very aware of the parents standing behind you, their arms folded, smiling and watching expectantly. The kid looks like he’s wearing a charcoal mud pack, his face is totally black except for two alarmed eyes and he can’t speak because three layers of paint have tightened his face so much he can’t move his lips. You can’t wipe this off, it’s gone too far for that, and you can’t chuck glitter on because Star Wars don’t do disco. Here’s what to do – get that child out your chair as quickly as possible, act amazed at how wonderful they look, smile, smile, smile and give them the briefest glance in the mirror then send them on their way. Nine times out of ten the kid will like it and the parent will take a photo.
Now what can we learn from this toe-curling experience? DON’T GET YOURSELF IN THIS SITUATION IN THE FIRST PLACE! A busy party is not the place to try out new designs unless we are pretty sure we can pull it off. If the parent is insistent then you can use the Time and Stain responses. ‘I’d love to do Darth Vader but it takes a lot of time and I wouldn’t want you to miss the fun.’ If that doesn’t work I guarantee success with this one ‘Darth Vader? Hmmmmm that uses a LOT of black and (looking at parent) I’m not going to lie, it’ll take a while to wash off’
N.B If your messed-up design is on anything other than a Star Wars character chuck some glitter on top. Seriously. The chunkier the better.
Scenario 2 – The forgotten booking.
This is one of the worst feelings – you’re at home with the kids or maybe in the pub and your phone flashes a message ‘Are you still coming? We’re waiting for you..’ and your stomach clenches as you realise you’ve forgotten all about the wedding/party/hen do and there’s no way you can make it. So, what do you do? Contact the organisers straight away. Call, text, dm, whatever, just let them know you’ve made an error and apologise, even if it was their mistake. They may be upset, they may not, I was certain the bride would be fuming that I had forgotten to turn up for her big day but she was fine, ‘Everyone was having such a good time’, she said, ‘we didn’t even realise you weren’t there.’ Parents are more likely to be upset when it’s their child who is let down, so for the forgotten birthday party try and make it, even for the last half hour, and if that’s impossible offer a reduced price for a future booking as way of apology.
Lesson we can learn: once a week go through all your enquiries and bookings and cross reference, bookings can slip through the net, especially at busy times in our lives. Always admit your mistake, people just like to feel listened to.
Scenario 3 – The upset parent or care-giver
This all depends on the reason for the upset. If there’s a legitimate reason then stay calm and listen as it helps diffuse any anger. If the upset is unreasonable like a demand for a face paint when the line is closed (hands up who this HASN’T happened to) then stand your ground. Always stay calm. If the parent has been drinking it’s even worse and you are totally within your right to completely ignore them, close your kit and walk away.
Lesson learned? Listen, stay professional, accept blame if it is justified. Rudeness is never ok, either from you or towards you.
Do you have any top tips for when it all goes wrong? What do you do in tricky situations? Leave your comments below, I’d love to hear what you have to say.
(Next week: The 2 minute rainbow unicorn)
Face Painting by Joni
Get Your Halloween On…..
Whether you love it, or hate it, the Spooktacular season is on its way! I thought I’d write my second blog about my top tips for getting through those few crazy weeks unscathed. Halloween is probably our busiest time of the year, and the earning potential in these few short weeks is huge!! To maximise this there are lots of things you can do….
Boost your Bookings
If you are still becoming established, or want to ensure that your diary is nice and full over the Halloween period, now is time to start drumming up that business! Make sure you’ve got some fabulous spooky designs that you can use as examples (and have permission to use them) – if not, now’s the time to start turning friends and family members into skeletons, zombies, witches, etc – and it’s time to get your art out there! Use social media to advertise your business on local community groups and ask for people to share and share again. Contact play centres and local businesses and try and think outside the box - lots of companies get involved in Halloween now -hairdressers, nail bars, any public-facing businesses. Approach these with your knock-out spooky designs and a professional email and see what they say!
Managing your bookings
When the bookings start flooding in, whether you base yourself at home, or are mobile - it’s essential that you manage your time well. Better to do the legwork now, than in the midst of all the craziness!! So:
In the contract also include removal instructions so you don’t have to run through this on the day, plus your cancellation policy etc.These little time saving measures will allow you to fit in an extra person or two each day = more buck for your bang!
My main piece of advice on pricing is DON’T SELL YOURSELF SHORT. You are a skilled professional, who can create amazing looks for your clients. Decide on your prices and stick to them - believe that you are worth every penny of what you are charging (I know, this isn’t always easy, but it’s something I’ve learnt to do). I never negotiate with people that try and haggle with me over prices – I just honestly tell them that I understand if they go for a cheaper option but that we are worth every penny. Don’t forget to take your travel time and costs into consideration, and as per usual parking etc.
If you haven’t already, now is a great time to reach out to your local network of Professional Face Painters, either through social media or just by picking up your phone and calling them! My links to the other face painters in my area have proved absolutely invaluable, we are able to share jobs around, reach out when we need cover, and at busy times of the year -like Halloween-get together and support each other when only another face painter knows how you feel!!
So, that’s it for this week – I hope you can use some of this practical info to help you on your way to prepare for the Halloween season. Next week’s blog is going to cover some of my go-to essential products for Halloween, and will include a step-by-step using some of the gorgeous products in my bloggers box from the fabulous Face Painting Shop.
See you then!
A Beginners Guide to Face Paint & Brushes
Are you just starting out in the world of Face Painting?
Do you ask yourself any of these questions…
What is the best paint to buy?
What brushes should I get?
Then this is the blog for you. I am going to run you through a basic guide of what I think would set you up well to get out there and start painting, without breaking the bank!
Disclaimer: I am in NO WAY an expert or claim to be, these are just my thoughts, based on my experience of buying and trying paints, brushes and various brands.
It’s important to remember, everyone is different, what works for one may not work for another, but my hope is that this will be helpful to at least a few people who are just starting up and have little to no experience in the big wide world of face painting.
IT’S A MINEFIELD OUT THERE!
Firstly let me say, in my experience most people thinking of starting a face painting business, already own some kind of paints and brushes. If this is the case for you, then as long as your paints are reasonably new (I wouldn’t recommend using half worn paints, which you’ve been using every Halloween since 1999!), you’ve used them appropriately to avoid cross contamination and they are FDA/EU approved, then you should be fine using what you have for now. Top Tip: Check the back of your paints; it will indicate how many months you should use them for once opened.
So, depending on how new you are to face painting, I’m sure most, if not all of you have heard of Snazaroo. I often hear parents in my line chatting to friends about the Snazaroo they have at home, so I know it’s a brand that hobbyists and beginners tend to try first. Most of us started out using it; probably because it was easily accessible years ago, most Fancy Dress Shops sold it and you could trust the brand was safe.
Basically, what I am saying is, if you have a selection of Snazaroo colours that you are wondering if you can use, then yes, you would be absolutely fine. They are FDA/EU approved, a perfectly good paint.
But, if you are looking at trying other brands and not sure which to start with, then what I will say is; I have found I like a lot of different paints, some more than others and some for specific uses. Paint is a bit like Marmite, what one person loves, another hates! So it’s not really a case of me saying “…… is THE best paint to start with”, because it’s just not that simple.
It’s exactly the same with brushes… a real personal preference. On one hand we are so lucky that we have such a huge variety to choose from, but on the other, it’s a bit of a minefield, especially when you start out and have never heard of some of these brands.
I remember finding a split cake by ‘TAG’ for the first time and I had no idea if it was good paint to buy, I felt like I needed someone to just say, “These are all excellent quality paints that many professionals use and would recommend”, to reassure me I wasn’t wasting my money. It was almost like a foreign language, I had no idea what things were! For example; if I said to you, my partner Mark owned a Giggle-Pin Winch for his Land Rover Defender, you probably wouldn’t know what I was talking about or whether that Winch was good or not!? That’s exactly how I felt when looking at face painting supplies. NB; Giggle-Pin are the best winches on the market! :-b But you only know, if you know!
In the beginning I didn’t know where to look or who to ask for this advice. Obviously now I know about things like; this Blog and all the great support groups on Facebook, including ‘The Face Painting Shop – Tips, Tricks and Questions Group’ where there is a world of knowledge and people willing to help out and offer suggestions.
Later on I’ll give you some lists of the paint, brushes and brands that I think are great (I know that’s what you came here for!), But Top Tip: I would also HIGHLY RECOMMEND you find a face painting course or local JAM, as these provide a great opportunity to meet fellow artists and have a nose about in each other’s kits and possibly even ‘try out that brush’ you’ve had your eye on for the last month!!
Wait… What’s a JAM?!
OK, I’m sure this will get covered in more detail in future blogs, so briefly… a JAM is; a get together of Face and Body Painters. They give you a chance to meet like-minded people, watch some demos, play with your kits, have a cup of tea, eat some cake and sometimes buy painty goodies!
ANYWAY… HERE WE GO… FIRST UP… FACE PAINTS
If you are looking to invest in any new paint when starting out, I would certainly recommend investing in a good Black and White. This is because black and white are going to be your most used paints, they are generally used to add detail and highlights to every design, so finding a good one will be of great benefit to you. You’ll find better coverage and crisper line work that will make your designs pop. I can’t tell you how much better my designs looked, once I found a black and white that provided that for me. Now before you jump in and click ‘add to cart’, I would suggest initially getting the smallest size available, usually 32g. That way, if you don’t get on with that particular brand, it won’t take too long to use up before you can try a different one. Top Tip: Once you have found a brand you like, I would definitely suggest buying the larger pots (45 or 90g) as they are the two colours you will use the most and it’s much better value for money.
My personal favourite Black and White Paint is DFX Essential, I know these are popular with a lot of face painters, although I’ve been hearing a lot of great stuff about Face Paints Australia White recently so I have just ordered myself one to try out. Top tip: It’s always good to have a backup paint in case your favourite one is out of stock!
I am not going to get into the differences in ingredients for all the brands today, as I assume you want to get to bed at a decent time… but it is worth pointing out that some brands are wax based and some are glycerine based. I am sure there will be a future blog about the differences of the ingredients and how they perform.
As for solid colour paints, there are so many and TBH I pretty much like them all! I personally use a lot of Superstar (FAB in USA); it doesn’t need as much water to activate as some other brands and you’ll find it quite soft in consistency to others. This is something I particularly like about it, but I know this is the reason that others don’t get on with it… so Tomatoe/Tomato! Just FYI, another of my favourites is Global colours.
Top Tip: I think the most important thing to look at when choosing your solid paints, is what shades you like. Every brand has slightly different shades, so choose the colours that you love.
ONE STOKES/ARTY CAKES/SPLIT CAKES/RAINBOW CAKES: If you are anything like me when I started, I was completely confused… what’s the difference between all these ‘cakes’?! So here you go…
One Strokes & Arty Cakes are basically the same thing. They are all in the smaller pots approx. 1inch wide in a variety of stripy colours for you to swipe your flat/angled brush across, to produce beautifully blended colours in ‘one stroke’.
Split Cakes & Rainbow Cakes are the larger pots that you can swipe a sponge across to produce the same blended colours over a larger area.
It’s exactly the same principle with these colourful little pots of joy, every brand is slightly different, you will no doubt have a preference as time goes on, but ultimately choose the colours you love and that will fit well with your designs.
So here it is… (In no particular order) the list of brands I think are pretty great and you can’t go far wrong with:
Diamond FX (DFX)
Face Paints Australia
AND FINALLY…. BRUSHES!
I perhaps shouldn’t be trusted with giving advice on brushes, as I am a self-confessed Brush Addict! (Please don’t judge me!)
Firstly, don’t feel the pressure from seeing other people’s huge brush collections… *Who? Me?* you don’t need that many (That’s what I keep telling myself! Lol)
Personally I have built up my collection over time and in my defence, I have a selection that I use on every job, then I have speciality brushes for specific designs I paint, that make it easier and faster for me. I also have duplicates so I can have a dedicated brush for black and one for white etc. and then, I have a stock pile of my favourite brushes in case one should break or get lost or be discontinued or… you get my drift!
I also have a mixture of brands, none better than the other; I have just found through experience, there are brands of brushes I like for different techniques and that I produce better work with. It really is a case of trial and error. This can obviously be expensive, so I refer you back to my top tip about training and JAMS.
Are you still with me? Hold on in there, we are on the home stretch.
If you were wondering what specific type of brushes to buy when starting from scratch, here’s a good selection of what I think would set you up well to produce a wide variety of designs.
Liner Brush – Great for delicate swirls on eye designs or super fine whiskers
Round 2 or 3 – Great for line work (Top Tip: x2 so you have one for black and one for white)
Round 5 or 6 – Great for tear drops and thicker line work
Flora – Great for petals (if you can, get a couple in different sizes this will add interest to floral designs)
Filbert Brush – Great for filling in larger areas and for bigger tear drops or monster horns
Flat and/or Angled 1/2, 3/4, & 1inch – Great for one strokes/arty cakes. These are available in short or regular length bristles. Everyone has a preference, but I personally found as a beginner I had more control with the short bristles. I now use a mixture of normal and short. Again, initially I found I had more control with the angled brushes, but I now use flat and angled depending on what I am painting.
And last but not least, here is a list of brush brands that I absolutely love and would recommend trying:
The Face Painting Shop Pinktips (I am not just saying that because of my blog, they honestly make up the majority of my brush collection!) – I pretty much love all of them!
Loew Cornell – (These are my go to line work brushes)
Sillyfarm Paint Pal – (I Love their petal, drop brushes and Cameron Garrett range)
Mark Reid – Signature #4 & #6 are my go to tear drops and dots brushes
Princeton – I found these hard to find, but I have a couple of their angled brushes I absolutely love
Natalee Davies – My go to butterfly brushes
Da Vinci – Love the handle shape of these, lovely to hold and paint with
And that is it my friends! I do hope some of you found this helpful… let me know in the comments your thoughts and what paint or brushes you love. Not forgetting, if you have any questions on anything I have mentioned then please ask away.
Thanks so much for reading… feel free to give me a like or follow on my social media pages below to see what I’m up to, my recent work and updates.
When I first started thinking about writing a post about my kit essentials, I was going to do the whole lot in one. I then realised that actually there’s too much to say to cover all my kit essentials in one post, so I’ve decided to break it down into various categories, and this week, I’m going to talk about brushes.
Good brushes can make a huge different to your work, and the way that different people get on differently with different brands of paint, is also true for brushes. I think if I was going to break it down to my absolute bare minimum on the job for face painting, I could get away with using just 4 brushes: Party Xplosion Round 5, Pink Tip 3/4 inch short angled brush, Pink Tip Flora 12 and a Toothbrush. I do have some other brushes that I absolutely love, so I’m going to talk about those aswell, but the ones listed above are the ones I’m going to focus on.
Party Xplosion Round 5
This is my favourite brush. Ever. In the world. The bristles are really flexible which makes it really versatile. It’s brilliant for things like outlining, tear drops, tiger stripes, scars and scratches, and really fine lines. I actually have 3 of these in my kit so I can have them on different colours at the same time. I did try the Party Xplosion round 3, but I didn’t really get on with it because the bristles weren’t as flexible, and I haven’t tried any of the other sizes to compare, but this brush is life.
Pink Tip 3/4 Short Angled Brush
I really struggled with one stroke until I tried this brush. I had been using a flat brush but this one gave me so much more control, it’s great for so many things! I mainly use it for roses, butterfly’s, feathers, eye designs and sugar skulls, but I know a lot of people use theirs for so many different things!
Pink Tip Flora 12
I discovered flora brushes at a workshop with Erica Wafford at Body Craft Festival 2017! I had been really struggling with flowers, and straight after the workshop I went to buy the La Corneille Flora 10, and completely changed my body paint design for that day to incorporate the flowers. A few months later, The Face Painting Shop did a video about their new large flora brushes, and I immediately bought the Flora 12, and I absolutely loved it! It gives more of a rounded petal shape to the La Corneille, and it’s slightly smaller so I find it’s better for face painting. They work really nicely together, but on the job I tend to go for the Pink Tip every time.
Ok, so it’s not very versatile in terms of different strokes, but I absolutely love using a toothbrush! One of my favourite designs to paint is a galaxy, and to create all the stars, I use the toothbrush with a variety of colours over a dark base (I find uv colours work best for this). It works great for creating eye masks, and blood splatters, and is a great tool for your sfx kit too when using alcahol paints.
When I started using dagger brushes, it was to improve my one stroke roses, I never even contemplated using it for anything else! I no longer use it for roses but do use it to create petals and tear drops, and now we’ve been blessed with the new Triangular Dagger Brush!
I love myself some big brushes! Until this summer I was using foundation brushes for body painting when I decided to bite the bullet and buy the Mark Reid signature 30, and I have to say I absolutely love it! I also have the Pink tip base brush, but I prefer that for use on the face and use with one strokes to create flowers and caterpillars. I also love my 1 inch short angled brush! It’s great on adult faces, but I find it’s just too big for childrens faces, which is where the 3/4 inch short angled brush comes in. I also bought myself the Da Vinci 14 brush this summer, which is brilliant for body painting linework, and like the Party Xplosion brush, the bristles are really flexible and you can get a pretty good variety of thickness of strokes from it.
The last 2 brushes I want to talk about today are both pretty new to my kit, but I love them! The Pink Tip Flora Rounded 1 has a great fine tip, so you can get really precise linework out of it (it’s also what I’ve used for all of the writing on the boards in the photo’s) as well as great teardrops. The Small Flower Brush is also really lovely for smaller petals and little embellishements.
So there you go! A run down of my essential brushes and what they do! I hope this has been useful, I know everyone works diferently, and I would love to know what your favourite brushes are, so let me know in the comments!
Paint used: DFX white
Global Dark Blue
Superstar Petrol Blue
Nats Gold Edition Blue Wren
Nats Gold Edition Red Fox
Sally Ann Lynch Training Tried and Tested Black Practice A4 Board
I’m like you, a working face painter who spends Saturdays in noisy halls painting Spiderman and unicorns on sweaty, overexcited children. We love our work but sometimes it can be tricky; at busy birthday parties speed is of the essence, especially if the children are quite young. This week’s blog post is about face painting on the job and how your kit can help you speed up while maintaining the wow factor. Work smarter, not harder. Here’s how;
Got any work smarter tips of your own? Please share them below, I’d love to hear them.
Face Painting by Joni
Hi everyone, and thank you for coming back to read my second blog post! This week, I am going to introduce you to my lovely collection of one stroke paints!
Let me start by saying that I know that I have a lot of them! I carry 26 one strokes in my everyday kit, and although I have reduced this number on many occasions, it always creeps back up again! I admit that I buy paints like most girls buy clothes and shoes, and personally, I think it’s a much more rewarding purchase! Disclaimer – It is totally reasonable to have a LOT less than 26 and still be able to do everything you need to do! For me though, they are so pretty, and they fit perfectly into my cases, and if I took some out then there would be GAPS in my kit and I couldn’t be doing with that! Another positive is that they look great in my set up. They attract a lot of attention from people waiting in line, and for this reason, I always make sure that my flyers and business cards are positioned right beside them on the table! (‘ooh look at those magic paints… so THAT’S how she does it’ ring any bells?!)
I’ve spent a bit of time this morning thinking about how I use my one strokes. There are probably 8 or so that I couldn’t do without, and use at most jobs in some form or another; a handful that I keep handy for specific designs but don’t get asked for a lot; some that are variations of classics, and are nice to use for a change, and some that I bought wanting or expecting to love, but not quite managing it yet. My collection is made up of Global, TAG and Dfx, although I’ve been admiring some of the FPA (Face Paints Australia) one strokes recently, so will probably try some of those out pretty soon! There isn’t a specific brand that I think are ‘better’ than any other, and I choose based on how they work for me. TAG and Dfx are softer in my experience, giving a really good blend where the colours meet, Global are more firm, and take a little more work, but, provided that you don’t over-wet your brush, this means that you can achieve a really stunning range of contrasting colours side by side! I’ve been trying to pick out my all-time favourite, but I can’t do it! It honestly changes job by job. The one strokes that I use most often are probably rainbows at the moment, mostly due to the current unicorn obsession, but it wasn’t so long ago that it was all about Elsa, and I was using blues like there was no tomorrow. It’s probably all about to change again anyway as I have been reliably informed by my 9 year old that ‘llamas are the new unicorns!’ and I’m struggling to visualise a rainbow llama!
All of the paints that I have used today are available from The Face Painting Shop, and if, like me, you are limited to online purchases, I know that it can be hard to get a true sense of the blend from a stock photo, so I have swatched all 26 paints for you. (Any plans for a Northern Ireland branch, Nathalie?) If anyone wants me to try anything specific with any of them, just let me know! I have dabbled with putting my own blends together in the past, but it is incredibly messy and time consuming, and I’m not convinced that it actually saves any money considering the number of 30g solids you need to buy to be able to make them. There are also SO many different colourways available now that there isn’t really any need, so I’ve stuck with buying them off the shelf (or website!)
So… let me introduce you to my babies!
Everyone loves a rainbow… right? Rainbow one strokes are so versatile, and since everyone’s favourite colour right now seems to be ‘rainbow’ – they are bang on trend. I carry 5 rainbows and they get asked for a lot. First in the photo is ‘Rainbow Four’ by TAG. It’s probably the most traditional (accurate?) rainbow blend that I’ve found, and is bright, clear, and easy to load without muddying up the colours. Next up is ‘Leanne’s Rainbow (Neon)’ – part of the ‘Leanne’s collection’ paints by Global. It features a neon yellow strip and it packs quite a punch. It also has that amazing Global dark blue, which, mixed with its teal neighbour, gives a gorgeous blend into the yellow. I LOVE both of these rainbows and use them a lot, but there is something special about Leanne’s Neon Rainbow. It REALLY pops! The third swatch in this photo is a new one for me. It is ‘Bright Rainbow’ by Dfx, and I’m still learning to love it. It’s trickier to load, and has a tendency to muddy a little, but it gives a more muted rainbow, and the magenta strip works well in place of a strong red. I can see myself using this one for more ‘grown up’ rainbow designs. Second from the bottom is another from Global's Leanne’s collection,’ Island girl’. I know that this is super popular so I’m sure that lots of you use this already, but if you don’t… you need it! It is so pretty, and so versatile. The colours are magenta, neon magenta, neon orange, yellow and Global’s beautiful teal, so no blue, which softens it a little, but it is still super bright and loads beautifully. Last on this list, but by no means least, is Leanne’s’ Flower Fairy’, again, by Global. It’s not a traditional rainbow at all but has a definite rainbow vibe. It’s dainty and fresh, and looks amazing in fairy, springtime and whimsical designs. It’s a staple for me – Leanne sure knows how to put an amazing blend of colours together!
Roses are basically what one strokes were invented for, and I carry 4 paints that I reach for for the majority of my roses. Of course you can make gorgeous roses with lots of other blends (blue roses rock!) but I find these 4 give great natural looking flowers every time. I find that blends which move from a very dark colour, to white are best for roses and flowers, as they give the greatest depth and definition, and these babies won’t let you down. First on the list is ‘Evil Rose’ by DFX. It contains merlot, red, neon magenta and white, and it is super bright. It makes beautiful pink-red traditional roses, and looks amazing. Below that is ‘Stargazer’ by TAG and it’s almost the same, just without the red strip, so the blend is more subtle. Next is my current favourite, and a relatively new discovery for me…’Posie’ by Dfx. Posie contains a lovely dark blue, merlot, lilac and white, and I am so in love with it. I’ve been using this frequently for roses and flowers, as it’s just so pretty, and quite unlike anything else I’ve come across. Last on the swatch is ‘Black Iris’ by TAG, and it’s a purple blend with black and white edges. Again, the black means that it has lovely depth, and it’s also great for outlining butterfly designs.
BLUES AND GREENS
I’m not entirely sure why I have so many blue one stroke variations, (maybe an Ice Queen Era legacy?) but I don’t plan to reduce them anytime soon! First on this photo is ‘Melbourne’ by Global, and it gives a really strong blue blend (can you see a theme emerging here with global dark blue?) I use this more on older kids and adults as it’s pretty intense. It makes stunning roses too. Below that is Global ‘Calgary’ which you will notice is almost identical to number 3 on this list, which is ‘Ocean’ by Tag. Ocean was my go to blue blend for Elsa designs on smaller kids as it ends on a royal blue rather than dark blue and is therefore a bit softer, but having received Global’s ‘Calgary’ in my surprise bloggers box this month, I think I will probably switch to it once Ocean runs out… it just seems to give a more crisp result. Middle of this set is another from my bloggers box this month, ‘Taupo’ by Global. I am seriously wondering why I have never had this before as it’s absolutely gorgeous! I can see myself using this a lot, and as it contains both blue and green, it will work in all kinds of designs from dragons to princesses! 5th on this swatch is a recent purchase, ‘Beach Front’ by Dfx. I’m not exactly sure what I had in mind when I bought this one, and I’m still trying to love it. It has the potential to be really lovely, and the colours are very 2018, but there is a definite knack to loading it without muddying up the dark blue and yellow, and it’s going to take some practice before I start reaching for it regularly… I feel a challenge coming on! Next are my 2 staple greens… ‘Leaf green’ and ‘Leaf white’ both by TAG. As the name suggests, they make awesome leaves, but I also use them a lot for dinos, monsters, ninja turtles and hulk!
Neons are always very popular with ‘tweens’ and teens, but to be honest, I don’t reach for them as much as I expected to. Neons can be tricky to use in standard light, and I find that it can be hard to use them to their full potential as a result (there is especially something about neon purples which makes them quite translucent and a bit of a wash out in daylight, but boy do these beauties shine under UV! First up is ‘Neon Disco’ by Dfx. I like this a lot, both in regular light and UV. The yellow strip glows super bright! Second is ‘Neon Sun’, also by Dfx and I LOVE this one. It contains neon blue, neon purple, neon magenta and neon orange, and it looks fab under any lighting conditions, but it’s my go to one stroke for UV events – it has a real vibe of neon bar signs at a hot sunny summer destination, and looks great on girls and boys alike! If you work UV events, you NEED this in your kit! Next up is ‘Hawaiian Cocktail’ by Dfx. This isn’t strictly a neon combination, but the colours do react gently to black light, and it’s a pretty blend. I’ve used this for a less ‘acid house’ neon effect at UV events and it looks great. I will say that it was the only one of the 26 swatches that stained, although it was gone by the following day. Last in this section is Neon Nirvana by Global, and it’s a great all-rounder, working just as well in regular light as it does in UV mode. It makes great sunset skies, batman backgrounds, unicorn hair and amazing tropical flowers. It’s another ‘must have’ for your UV collection!
RANDOM PINKY PURPLY REDS!
These 3 didn’t seem to fit into any of the other categories, so I gave them one of their own! First is ‘Cotton Candy’ by DFX. It’s girlie, pretty and soft, and it looks great on tiny faces, making fabulous princess crowns! Personally, I like my colours to be super bright, so this is a little subtle for my liking, but it’s a popular combination and I use it quite a lot. Second in this random little section is another 'new to me' blend that came in my box. It is ‘Sydney’ by Global and I cannot for the life of me, understand why I have never used this before. It is BEAUT! It contains purple, magenta, orange and white and it blends so perfectly on the brush. I haven’t used it on a job yet, but anything I have tried with it has worked. I almost put this into the roses section as they look great! I will absolutely be keeping this in my kit and can’t wait to experiment more with it! Last up is ‘Dragon’ by TAG, and as the name suggests, it is amazing for dragons, flames and I also use it a lot for tribal style boy designs. It also gives an interesting variation to the standard red Spiderman faces! Most brands seem to have a similar blend to this, and I’ve tried most of them, but this is my favourite as the rich red in the middle really warms it up and makes it pop!
BROWNS AND BLACKS
This is probably the least fun category, but still necessary additions to any one stroke collection. Top of the swatch is TAG’s ‘Teddy Bear’ and below is ‘Bear Sense’ by DFX. I use both of these a lot for teddies, dogs and cats, and I really like them both. I probably reach for the Dfx version more often because the black strip acts as an outline for masks, half face designs and saves time at busy events, but TAG’s version is a softer mix and more subtle on tiny puppy dog faces. Last, but in no way least is TAG ‘Magpie’. It is the only black & white blend that I carry, but it does everything that I need it to and more. I love this for outlining skulls, and if, like me, you find fast queue busting skulls to be a challenge, this is a must have for your kit and will bring them to a whole new level! It is also great for dogs and cats, and gives lovely black and white roses!
So there it is. My treasured one stroke collection! Aren’t they beautiful? I mentioned a challenge earlier in the post (thanks for still reading – I know it’s a long one) so here it is. I challenge you, (and myself) to identify your least used one stroke, and use it in as many different designs as you can this week… spend a little time playing with it, figuring out what works and what doesn’t work. Maybe you will grow to love it! I look forward to seeing how this goes for you all! Also – if you have a ‘go to’ one stroke that I haven’t mentioned here, please share it with us in the comments section below! (and I can blame you when my husband spots yet ANOTHER delivery from TFPS!)
Thank you again for reading my latest blog post and for your kind comments about my last one... I still don’t quite feel like a ‘blogger’, but I’m getting there!
I have lots of plans for future blog topics, but if there is anything specific that you would like me to cover, please get in touch and I will do my best to help!
Glitter Gore Tutorial
I’m now in my third year of professional face painting and I have noticed a curious thing. Every year, just like the swallows all know to return to Africa, all the face-painters turn their minds to Halloween. There’s just something in the air.
Whether your Halloween season is cute little witches and pumpkin faces or full-bodied gory SFX, it’s generally the busiest series of dates for face-painters. I love everything spooky so am entirely in favour of the increase in adults hiring professional painters to give them amazing FX before they head out to parties. And here in Essex, if you cut us, we would bleed glitter(even the boys love it). So with this in mind my first blog post is a tutorial bringing a bit of guts and a lot of Essex sparkle. I know gore is not everyone’s cup of tea, but this tutorial is fully adaptable to other colours of glitter. All the products used in this tutorial are available at The Face Painting Shop.
1) Firstly, the safety stuff. Some people are allergic to latex so you always want to ask your clients if they are. Most clients will have had contact with latex in everyday items such as balloons, condoms, disposable gloves, even pants elastic(hopefully not all on the same night). But If they are unsure, you can do small patch test on the inside of the elbow and leave for 30 minutes to see if any irritation occurs. It’s always worth asking on your booking form or disclaimer, not only to save time but to protect yourself against claims. This FX also uses a lot of chunky cosmetic glitter, which I also don’t consider safe for liberally putting on children, as they might rub it into their eyes. It’s in no way as dangerous as *shudder* craft glitter, but it could still be upsetting to remove. This is an adult or teen only look.
2) When picking an area of skin to do latex SFX, you want to find a patch of unbroken, well moisturised and mostly hairless skin. The Global Liquid Latex I used came off very easily with soap, water and a flannel but hair would definitely effect how the wound looks. Ask your client to shave the area of excessive fur before your arrival so you don’t have to mess around with razors. You probably also don’t want to be within the orbit of the eye, although the Global Liquid Latex wasn’t the worst smelling latex I’ve smelled, it could definitely make eyes water. This product advises you use it in a well ventilated area.
3) For applying a layer of latex you want to stay away from your prized and extensive collection of face painting shop brushes. A rounded pallet knife or a sculpting tool are all you need to lay down the product. I wasn’t too fussed about evenness, but it’s better to have any lumps towards the centre of the wound rather than the edges where it should blend with the skin. How many wounds to create is up to you! I personally like things in groups of threes as it’s pleasing to the eye. Global Liquid Latex dries clearish pretty quickly so then you can get to tearing it open. Don’t worry if your client has darker skin and the latex is noticeable, most people aren’t my shade of porridge. You can colour match the latex with a skin palette or the client’s own make-up.
4) Gently use your sculpting tool to pull at the centre of the latex layer until a hole or tear appears. You’re obviously working on top of your client’s living human skin so try to make that first tear by pulling along the skin rather than into it. You can then slide your tool into that and rip the latex along. The excess will peel back on itself nicely, but you can also lift it from underneath to create a little pocket to fill later. To colour the insides of the wound I used Global Pearl Merlot as I wanted to be true to blood colours but glamorous too. I like the contrast of horror and beauty.
5) I then used some Global Coagulated Blood on a cotton bud to edge to wound and give it a bit of wetness. I find it’s best to dab a bit of blood on then smudge it around with the clean end of the bud. Less is more with fake blood, the mistake most Halloween Henry’s make on their once yearly attempt at face-painting is to go looney with the stage blood.
Now you should have a convincing wound or two!
6) Here comes the fun bit. Take some Global Chunky glitter gel and some TFPS chunky glitter! I picked red to go with the blood but I think it would be great with gold, or black and blue to look like a galaxy night sky. Use liquid bling instead of blood if you’re going more glamour.
I mixed my glitter mix together in a clean pot and used a TFPS Small Filbert brush to get the mix right in under the latex skin. Use the gel mix to pick up more dry glitter too, and pat it all in the wound. Set with a finishing spray and are good to go Glamoween!
To kickstart this new blog I want to talk about a subject us face painters all seem to suffer from at some point – self-doubt.
When we start face painting professionally we think ‘can I do this?’, ‘am I good enough?’, ‘am I too expensive?’, ‘will people book me?’
These are normal questions when we start something new, of course they are, it’s unchartered territory and it would be strange and unwise not to think things through. But how often have we seen these questions on Facebook posts? Why are we all so worried about being good enough? Because we want to please. Because we have the privilege to work in a happy profession, one that is full of colour, fun and joy and is about making smiles and creating beautiful memories. And we want to please the people who’ve booked us, to see their faces as they watch their child beam with delight at something we have created. And they do beam. And the parents are pleased and we sigh with relief, glowing a little inside because it went well. And yet.
As our business grows and we become more experienced and skillful sometimes these self-doubting thoughts grow with us and act against us, we compare ourselves to others and find our own talents lacking, we ask ourselves questions that could be helpful but are mainly not; ‘am I fast enough?’, ‘am I worth the money?’, ‘am I too cheap?’ And as if that isn’t exhausting enough we may even continue to doubt ourselves with statements we imagine to be true; ‘I could never paint that’, ‘I’m not good enough to enter a competition,’ and we kind of flounder a bit, stuck somewhere we imagine is good enough (maybe, possibly, hopefully?) and not truly realising our own self-worth.
Well enough. No more. If that child looks in the mirror and doesn’t cry you’ve done your job, if she smiles you’ve done your job well. We need to remember our job is not about us as artists, it’s about the child and their experience, they are allowing us to paint them, they are vulnerable and trusting as they sit silent with eyes closed, often with our hand gripping their head, and parents nowhere to be seen. Their comfort and happiness come first, the art is secondary. And when they open their eyes they will be happy. So, push yourself by all means, challenge yourself, find your weak points and work on them, get frustrated because your teardrops are wonky, try and copy an Olga, reach for the stars! That’s all fine. But let’s all stop doubting our abilities whether it’s painting a one stroke butterfly or negotiating a good stall fee at a festival. We are all good enough. Yes, we can be better and yes, we will be better. So be confident. Smile. Relax. You’re doing fine. In fact, from the look on that child’s face, you’re doing amazingly.
Face painting by Joni