I hugely admire the rare artists out there who can conjour up the most incredible, unique pieces of art totally from their minds – be it on canvas, skin, walls, fabric, paper …
Sadly that is not where my strength lies personally and I have to draw inspiration from many sources and resources. I am never comfortable “winging it” especially with larger projects like bump art and body art – I spend endless, frustrating, often fruitless, hours researching images, testing out ideas and practicing my designs on canvas before transferring them to my models.
I keep my eyes peeled constantly when I’m out and about – ideas are out there everywhere – in nature, on wallpaper, wrapping paper, fabric, advertising, flooring etc etc. I often get rather odd looks from strangers when I stop in the middle of a shop to photograph some obscure piece of objet d’art or an intricate pattern hidden in the swathes of gift wrap draped on display in a corner.
Other artists that I admire are an obvious constant source of stimulus. I have a “muse” file set up on my computer full of designs that amaze me and encourage me to stretch myself. Take a look at some amazing face and body painters from the UK and all over the world at earlier blogs here. Inspirational Artists from Overseas and Home Grown Talent
My phone memory is bursting at the seams with reference photos for the more unusual requests we get at busy jobs and wherever possible I check wifi access at bookings before I start so, if time permits, I can look up anything I’m asked for that I’m not familiar with.
Thought I’d share some examples with you of images that have inspired some of my more recent designs.
Excepting an occasional “light bulb” moment, I have recently hit a bit of a brick wall with my own work – a sort of plateau where I feel stuck in an artistic rut – churning out variations of the same designs over and over; not having time to experiment with really new fresh options. I am regularly reassured by the whoops of delight from the children and parents during their mirror moments that I am still managing to deliver what I need to for my customers but I feel the need to challenge myself and have a monstrous, fat, hairy, audacious action point on my to do list (some of my old Prudential colleagues will recognise that reference!) to come up with a whole new portfolio of designs! I want a new tiger, a new fairy, a new princess, a new pirate … a new EVERYTHING. Not an easy task but I would LOVE to come up with a profusion of fresh, original designs that are fast but effective!
I thought by putting this in my blog it’ll commit me to delivering on this goal and whilst I’m not going to give myself a finite deadline, it will be a continuing work in progress and I’ll keep you all posted as things develop!
See you on the other side!
WARNING – THIS BLOG CONTAINS A WEALTH OF INFORMATION TO HELP YOU ACHIEVE YOUR FULL POTENTIAL. I MAKE NO APOLOGIES FOR THE LENGTH OF THE ARTICLE! GRAB A COFFEE, GET COMFY AND READ ON…
I am receiving an increasing number of requests to provide training, from those just wanting a few basic skills to paint their own children or to help support PTA events at their schools to others who want to start pursuing a professional career in our crazy colourful business.
I do occasionally offer beginners workshops but right now with a house move on the cards and setting up a second business this year; I’m afraid I’m stretched to the max!
All is not lost however!!! I would like to use this week’s “Friday Favourites” opportunity to share with you some fantastic opportunities for those wishing to take things a little more seriously.
For anyone thinking it’s simply a case of grabbing some bedraggled brushes from your children’s arts and crafts box; buying a cheap and cheerful set of paints from your local craft supplier (or God forbid, your nearest “pound store”) and a “how to face paint” book and slapping a few colours on some eager kids’ faces … the please, please, please reconsider.
Professional face painters spend many, many hours training, practising and sharing ideas with each other. They invest hundreds of pounds into professional equipment, materials and ongoing training and the “mirror moment” of delight in the child (or adult’s) face when the design is complete is our main reward for our dedication.
The majority in our profession love nothing more that to share our passion and there are endless opportunities throughout the year (and all over the world) to benefit from the generosity of artists far and wide – sharing their skills, ideas and love for the industry through jams, conventions, conferences, festivals etc. I’ll have to leave my tips on those till another week as that’s a whole other blog in itself so, for now, let me focus on some of the inspirational, generous artists out there offering to help you broaden your skills with their training workshops.
Set up in 2003 by Bibi Freeman and Caro Childs this was where I personally took my first tentative and very nervous steps into the face painting world!
The principal tutors are world champion facepainter Bibi Freeman and Christine Mavromatis with additional guest tutors as required.
They offer a huge range of one day workshops allowing you to build your own ongoing personal development programme at your own pace and budget.
Most people starting out find the “Introduction Part 1 and 2″ useful, followed by “Starting Professional Facepainting” for some valuable advice in starting out in business and practical tips on painting under pressure!
Click here to find out more about the classes on offer.
If you love painting at festivals; hen nights; night clubs … in fact anything aimed at teenagers and older then Nams is your girl! Naomi has a wealth of experience in this field; she is a hugely talented artist and a great teacher.
Naomi Gaye is an artist I constantly admire and have featured in previous blogs.
Fortunately for us all, she now tours the country sharing her wonderful talent with a particular focus on adult eye designs.
The date is Friday 25th April from 10am – 3pm and the cost is £80 per person.
The class is aimed at face painters with experience painting children who would like to branch out and learn some new techniques to use on adults and teenagers. This class will give you lots of techniques and ideas to widen your repertoire and hopefully enable you to widen your market and get more business!
Please have a look in the festival galleries on her facebook page for plenty of examples of the kind of eye designs she paints.
The class will cover:
- Placement of design on the face
- Use of colour including co-ordination
- Building up designs with layers of detail
- Lots of different techniques that can be mixed and matched to make a range of different designs
- Designs for men as this is where a lot of people struggle
- Information about working at adults events, eg festivals, night clubs
You must bring your own kit to this class and already have at least some face painting experience, not suitable for complete beginners. If you are interested in hosting a class in your area, please do get in touch with Naomi.
For this class please book through Clare at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Face Painting Shop is the brainchild of the very lovely Nathalie and is quite literally an Aladdin’s Cave for face and body artists! A long over-due “hands-on” Utopia! The only shop dedicated to our industry in the UK as far as I’m aware. Here’s a sneaky peak!
Not only do they offer the most incredible array of products in store and online , you can also book up for classes or even drop in for the odd free event! You might want to like their Facebook page to keep tabs on what’s coming up.
Here’s a link to their imminent one day workshops
Or, if you’re free over the Easter Holidays why not pop along on 11th April for a free demo day for anyone wanting an insight into the wonderful world of airbrushing and a chance to try before you buy. Nathalie promises lots of tea and cakes and children are welcomed!
Launched 6 years ago by Juliet Eve, an award winning and highly experienced face painter. She is always willing to share her knowledge and experience and is a great supporter of FACE, The Face Painting Association.
Juliet and invited instructors run weekly scheduled courses from her base in Hemel Hempstead, Herts, UK. These are for beginners to advanced, also body painting, airbrush, Glitterart and temporary tattoos. She frequently travels around the UK and Europe conducting bespoke and 1-2-1 classes and often hosts visiting instructors from all over the world. Nick Wolfe will be visiting from the States on 5th May 2014.
Based in Kent, Liz Bylett and her team offer a whole host of opportunities for development.
Liz tells us more … “The introduction day is full on with so much info…. “Improvers” is a great next stepping stone for extending skills new tips and techniques. Then from there is a specialist one stroke rainbow cakes day- which can be taken as a one off with no prior knowledge but works best with prior skills! Then we have the amazing 5 day Master class route where you learn all of the skills for face and body art in 5 days! Plus you get a kit included. And images on the last body paint day too! Or you can take the body paint as separate 2 day course in itself.
Then we also have henna and glitter tattoos and balloons days to add on to your party businesses.
And finally, new for 2014, is our “Make Up- Intro Day, Bridal Day, plus Avant Garde- my fave!!”
Full details of all the courses run by Follies can be found by clicking here.
Another star of our painty world, Brierley invites you to her wonderful garden studio to partake in a variety of colourful, individual classes.
Her Spring/Summer schedule includes a range of glorious subjects and her classes are limited to a maximum of 4 attendees.
All classes are held in East London and are priced at £90 per person per day and run from 11am – 4pm.
Friday 23rd May 2014 : One Stroke Florals:
Aimed at painters new to, or struggling with one stroke painting. Learn the essential strokes necessary for petals, leaves and more abstract floral shapes. We will practice the strokes on our arms, build them up into individual flowers and then assemble larger pieces on each other’s arms, chests and faces. We will focus on roses, pansies, fuscias , daffodils and a range of leaves including ivy, holly and autumn leaves, depending upon time. Useful for children’s and adults’ faces and body designs.
Friday 6th June 2014 : Roses:
A whole day devoted to roses?! Having taught one stroke florals, I have found that painters can easily spend a whole day concentrating on roses, so if it is roses you are determined to master in lots of forms, this class is for you!
We will learn one stroke roses, tattoo roses and more realistic, detailed roses, buds and foliage.
Aimed at painters who have a fairly broad experience in various techniques at beginner to intermediate level, but who maybe avoid painting roses. Master the techniques over this day and you’ll be painting roses all the time!
Friday 27th June 2014 : One Stroke Characters:
Learn the essential strokes to create popular animal characters – dragons, snakes, sea horses, scorpions, penguins, plus graffiti writing, fairies and robots, all using clear, crisp strokes which are transferrable to other designs. We will look at all of these if time permits. We will paint our own and each other’s arms.
Friday 18th July 2014 : Girls faces:
In this class we will look at the essential ingredients for creating beautiful designs for girls : crowns, swirls, dots, stars, starbursts, crescents, one stroke roses and buds, multi- dipped flowers and leaves, small butterflies, rainbows – layered over stencil work and complemented by gems and glitter. We will look at the golden rules of placement and explore colour combinations, flow and dynamics. Suitable for painters with some experience who are maybe struggling with placement or certain techniques, or are looking for some inspiration in readiness for the summer.
Friday 29th August 2014 : Women’s Eye designs:
Suitable for painters with some general face painting experience but who are maybe nervous about creating adult eye designs professionally, or are stuck for ideas, or looking for guidance with placement or certain techniques.
We will use one stroke, double (multi) dipping, line work, stencils, feather and gems and combine face paint with eye shadow and makeup. This class is all about creating flattering designs for women which can (mostly) be created very quickly.
Friday 26th September 2014 : Mixed Media:
In this fun class we will experiment with a range of techniques, styles and products to create colourful arm designs for older children / teens and after lunch progress to larger eye designs and upper chest or arm designs for adult bookings of for portfolio work. We will build layered designs using stencils gems and small prosthetic pieces. Be prepared to dive in and surprise yourself !
For further info and full details on what to bring, please email Brierley at email@example.com or call 07808 738 436
You can see more of Brierley’s work on her Facebook page.
This is just an introduction to some of my favourites – there are many other wonderful artists out there willing to share their skills and experience. Please feel free to comment below on any recommendations you’d like to add or reviews on the people I’ve mentioned.
Bump Art is one of those “Marmite” ideas! You love it or hate it! For me it’s one of my FAVOURITE areas of my work! I remember my own pregnancy with such fondness and I am thrilled whenever I am invited to share some precious hours with new mums-to-be and help them create a particularly special and fun memory of their treasured time.
In 2011 we appeared on the BBC for Comic Relief painting bumps for Red Nose Day. As part of a UK wide team, we raised nearly £8,000 for this worthy cause and had a lot of fun in the process! Sarah and Katy were two of my beautiful models who have since become my friends too!
Today, three years on (and coincidentally the start of Sport Relief weekend) I met up with Sarah and Katy again with their “babies” to celebrate their third birthdays! They were both absolute angels but just as wriggly in real life as they were as bumps!!! The children that is, not the Mums!
So for this week’s Friday Favourites I wanted to share this fun area of my work with you with the help of two very cute models!
If you would like to book a Bump Art experience for yourself or as a gift for a loved one then please take a look at our website to find details of a special offer we have available currently in partnership with Lovelight Photography in Pirbright, Surrey.
Please click on this link Lovelight Showreel to have a peek at some previous shoots!
And one last bit of fun ….
I have to admit to occasionally being a little cynical of grandiose declarations on websites and marketing material claiming to be “the best in town”; “can’t be beaten on price”; “market leading provider”; “match any price” etc etc.
What I look for when engaging a supplier of any variety are personal references, referrals and testimonials.
In turn, this is also hugely important to me when promoting my own company. I take tremendous pride in the service we offer; exceeding our customers’ expectations is our aim and it is so rewarding to receive wonderful feedback.
This week I wanted to share with you some of our most heart-warming comments and what I believe was behind the generous and kind words.
“Everyone had a wonderful time, and I must say your contribution to the day was a highlight for most of the children. They all said it was really good because they could choose what they wanted to have done themselves!
Sandra Wells, Send
This is one of the reasons we choose not to use photo boards when we work; we encourage children to use their imaginations and tell us how they want to be painted and we love the challenge and variety this gives us with our art.
“I just wanted to say what a fantastic job you made of my twins’ faces thank you! They looked amazing! They also loved the photographs and I wondered whether you could possibly email copies to me please as I would like to get them made up into mini canvasses for their bedrooms?”
Alison Tysoe, West Byfleet
Whenever possible I try to take photos of all the children I paint at parties and then put together a montage for the birthday child as a memento of their special day! It’s a lovely way of capturing the freshly painted artwork for the parents before smudges, chocolate and sometimes a few tears wipe it away!
“Just a little note to say a HUGE BIG thank you for making our daughter’s party so special. We all had such a brilliant time and it was down to you getting the adults involved and interacting with kids in such a wonderful way. I never thought a face painting party could be so much fun. I really appreciate the time you gave us and for staying on longer so that my husband could join in the fun.”
The children LOVE it when the adults muck in with the party shenanigans too. Whenever time permits, we will always encourage and entice the parents to get involved too even if it’s just a sprinkling of glitter!
“Thank you so much for all your hard work on Friday. Your face painting was truly amazing and I would not hesitate to recommend you or ask you to come and work at another of our functions. I had no idea we were going to be quite that busy. By the end of it we had had the busiest day since we opened 18 months ago – beating even Christmas eve!
John Taylor, The Richard Onslow, Cranleigh
With a background in corporate marketing and event management we pride ourselves in helping companies promote their events wherever possible and hope we manage to increase their exposure and footfall.
On this occasion, we were booked for a special Royal Wedding celebration – the sun shone down; the pub was heaving and my queue was endless! FANTASTIC!
“You are a terrific artist and everyone was asking where I had found you.
Thank you Claire for your patience and understanding with the guests and when I heard you had not worked with special needs before, I found this absolutely amazing and I cannot thank you enough. I know family and friends loved having the painting done as well.
A thousand thanks would never be enough.”
Val, Ron, Claire-Marie, Daniel and Ben, Hindhead
This particular party will always be in my heart. It was a special lady’s 30th birthday celebrations and was my first booking working with special needs children and adults. Most of my beautiful models that day were unable to talk but the wonderment in their eyes when they looked in the mirror melted my heart. I am so grateful to Val and Ron for inviting me to be party of Claire-Marie’s special celebration.
And just one more to finish on …
“Your painting is more awesome than awesome!!!!”
Bella (aged7), East Horsley
Thank you Bella for warming my soul and melting my heart with that comment.
Please remember to take the time to say thank you to people and companies who have delighted you with their service. So many people are swift to complain at the slightest error but slow to show their appreciation. It means the world to any customer-facing business and is worth more than any bottom line figure any day.
You can read more of our treasured testimonials on our website here.
A couple of weeks ago I did a feature on my favourite artists from around the world. This week I’m going to bring things closer to home and want to share with you the work of some amazing artists here in the UK.
Our little island is brimming with incredible artistic talent and here’s an insight into just a few of my favourites.
BRIERLEY THORPE Brierley Thorpe Face and Body Art
I first became aware of Brierley at the FACE Conference in Hertfordshire in 2011 when she won the FACE Award and the Best Kept Kit award. I’d not had a chance to speak to her during the conference nor see her working but I quickly became much more familiar with her artistic talent. To say her designs are instantly recognizable is an understatement! Her strong and dynamic style stands out immediately and the vibrancy takes your breath away.
Her body painting is equally awe inspiring each one set off brilliantly with exquisite hand-made headpieces; hairpieces and jewels adorning the beautiful models.
Each design is the result of extensive research and inspiration from a profusion of sources. Brierley explains here in her blog how her recent design painted at the 2014 Paradise Jam came about.
You can see more of her resplendent work on her Facebook page here.
Brierley also offers training workshops in her studio in Walthamstow.
KJ (KELLY-JANE ERKIN) KJ Entertainments
The 2011 FACE Conference also resulted in my first meeting with Kelly-Jane – known fondly to most as KJ. I’ll never forget setting up my kit beside her for my first attempt at the Face Painter of the Year competition (and my first ever live competition) trembling with nerves. On striking up a conversation, I was relieved to hear that she was as anxious as me and we both egged each other on to avoid bottling it all together!
KJ and her partner (in love and business) Dan run KJ Entertainments in Cambridgeshire offering everything you could need for a party from KJ’s painting to Dan’s awesome balloon modelling with a little bit of fabulous singing thrown in too!
KJ’s painting designs are quite simply the epitome of prettiness! Her style is uncomplicated and seemingly effortless. She has a natural ability for one stroke painting – producing such delicate work with flamboyant brush strokes.
What I love most about KJ’s work is that she is a fabulous example of an extremely talented “jobbing” face painter – someone who can turn out endless, original, rapid designs with a bit of an edge keeping impatient children and parents happy whilst still turning heads with the results. I often look to KJ’s photos for inspiration when my creative genes are waning!
WENDY HOLROYD (The Paintertainer)
Another artist with an immediately identifiable style. Wendy, from St Albans, has been painting since 2007.
Wendy is renowned in our industry for her beautifully delicate, lifelike butterflies. Many an artist strives to perfect a “Wendy Butterfly” much in the same way that we aspire to emulate a “Mark Reid tiger”!
Her talent is magical to watch – effortless brush strokes and often unexpected colour blend choices come together to produce flawless, ethereal designs.
I’m particularly grateful to Wendy for saving me from my design nemesis – Spidey. It is a pet hate of mine when I see beginner face painters (myself in the early days included) smother entire faces with layer upon layer of red paint followed by heavy black linework – you can see the parents shudder at the thought of removing it all at bedtime! Wendy’s delicate interpretation of this popular boys’ request inspired me (and many others) to come up with my own version that wows the children; beats the queues and pleases the nervous parents.
NAOMI GAYE “NAMS” (Nam Nam’s Face Painting and Body Art)
Bizarrely, I’ve just realized that Nams is yet another artist who I first met at what seems to be becoming a rather significant FACE Conference in 2011!!
She has won many awards during her ten year painting career including three times winner of the FACE Association” Face Painter of the Year – I managed to pinch it off her in 2012 but she stole it right back again in 2013!!! Well deserved I hasten to add!
Based in Brighton, Nams has been face painting for 10 years and is a fabulous all round face and body artist but is particularly known for her intricate eye designs. She is always a massive hit at festivals and frequently shares her expertise with fellow painters touring the country offering training workshops.
A huge thank you to all of the above artists and many many more that inspire me every day. We have so many talented people the length and breadth of the UK.
Please please please non-painty people, if you are looking for a face painter for your event please don’t compromise and pick the cheapest you can find. There are SO many wonderful, professional artists to choose from who may not be “cheap” but you really do get what you pay for in terms of experience, quality of products; customer service and professionalism. Fascinating Faces covers Surrey and the surrounding counties but we can always recommend people to you all over the country so please get in touch wherever you may be! We’re always happy to help you find the best.
“FACE” The Face Painting Association was formed 20 years ago so that like-minded people could get together to share ideas and professional problems in order to improve standards and raise the profile of face painting. You can find out more about joining or find a professional face painter local to you by visiting http://www.facepaintingassociation.com/
Credits to all the artists mentioned can be found by clicking on the pink text within the article.
A little detour from all things painty and glittery this week!
I wanted to share with you a few of my favourite websites and blogs. There are some real gems out there and I love discovering new and inspiring sites. I’m just going to focus on four this week …. saving some others for a future Friday Favourite Special!
It goes without saying that I’m very proud of my own site www.fascinatingfaces.co.uk cleverly created by the geniuses at Bright Five in York and winner of a Bronze Award in both the 2012 and 2013 Mumpreneur UK Awards.
I gave them a very limited budget but a free reign on the design and they nailed it (and a logo) in one go. Their own website is having a fabulous revamp right now but you can meet the team and read their musings on their blog. http://brightfive.com/blog
Moving on to less biased favourites …
Last August, through the wonders of Facebook, and having been totally enraptured by a photo of the cutest bunny missing its owner, I discovered a heart warming blog called Family Days, Tried and Tested. Deborah and her family had found this sad lost soul on Baggy Point beach in North Devon and were doing their best to reunite him with his owner.
Click here for more photos of Bunny’s adventures in Wales.
29,871 shares and a little over 24 hours later and his heart-broken owner was traced to Aylesbury and bunny was very quickly and safely posted home! It captured my heart (and several thousand others) and I’ve been an avid follower of their posts ever since!
It follows the magical adventures of a Welsh family of 6 children ranging in age from 1 to 20! They embrace the outdoor life come rain or shine and are always up to something new and exciting.
Each adventure is punctuated with exquisite photographs that capture the magical innocence of childhood. Like me; they love to document their life with these images and I find them a constant source of inspiration for ideas to do with my own daughter. I highly recommend liking their Facebook page as I find it the easiest way to keep up with their news!
Take a peek at some of Deborah’s endearing photos – I’m sure you’ll be hooked in no time too!
Whilst on the subject of photography, I had to include the fabulous Sarah Aires in this article.
I am extremely lucky to work with several incredible photographers, all of whom have been or will be featured in my blogs at some point! It would be a crime to keep their talents to myself and a chosen few!
Sarah is a hugely talented photographer; an inspiring teacher and, actually, just a rather lovely, beautiful person who I’m blessed to now call a friend. Her personality, love and warmth are evident in her work and you can see the results in her website and blog. I was totally smitten with her site when it launched. So memorable and unique; it encapsulates the concept of photography being seen as beautiful, timeless artwork on the walls of your home. (I love clicking on the tassel and changing the wallpaper! Go on … have a go … you know you want to!! www.sarahairesphotography.co.uk)
Sarah is an amazing all-round photographer but I particularly adore the way she captures so much love and joyousness in her work with families, at engagement shoots and at weddings.
As I said, I’m just looking at a few favourites today and my final fave is the rather marvellous “Smiley Coach” – LISA PARKES!
I first met Lisa at a Fabulous Women Networking evening at the Radisson Edwardian Blu hotel in Guildford. A perfect example of paths crossing at the right moment – we didn’t actually get an opportunity to connect until saying goodbye at the ticket machine in the car park late that night! A fleeting chat that led to some welcomed support, opportunities and friendship.
Lisa is a “life coach”. A phrase I use hesitantly as I know it sadly turns a lot of people off but please hold back your preconceptions, open your minds and hear me out! Lisa is the SMILEY COACH! Her forte is supporting and guiding children of all ages through the quagmire of early life. I have first hand experience of Lisa’s skills and can honestly say she has a magical bond with children. Having attended several of her workshops and some 1:1 sesssions, my rather anxious 9 year old daughter refers to Lisa as “the lady who takes my worries away”. Says it all really, doesn’t it?!
Lisa runs wonderful half day confidence workshops covering topics that are particularly pertinent to young children – “get your worries out”; “get your angries out”; “friendship know-how” and “back to school preparation”. Often craft based; restricted to small numbers and fabulous value – they are a wonderful tool to help children cope with the stresses of modern day life.
For more focused support, Lisa offers 1:1 coaching at her welcoming consulting rooms in Weybridge. Also, coming very shortly, Lisa is teaming up with Judi Craddock of Peppermint Style to offer a programme of coaching focusing on helping young teens with their body image.
Life can be tough for us adults in this modern world; imagine how tricky it can be for our children to find the right stepping stones to guide them through. Lisa and her colleagues are there to help parents and children navigate their way!
That’s all for this week! I hope you love these as much as I do and I’d love to hear your feedback. Have a great weekend!