Oh my goodness, where do I start … I am inspired every day by artists from all over the globe … many close to home who I have the pleasure of working with week by week and some further afield – this week I’m going to focus on my favourite international artists.

My top five change regularly depending on what I’m working on and what mood I’m in; but these guys are always at or close to the top, week in week out!

NICK AND BRIAN WOLFE – Orlando, USA I had the great pleasure of meeting Nick a couple of years ago and took part in an awesome training workshop with him.  Sadly, I never got to meet his equally amazing brother, Brian before he lost his battle with cancer last year, but was fortunate to receive messages of advice and support from both of them over the years.

Nick and Brian Wolfe

I adore watching them work; I could watch for hours – their style is unique; the speed with which the designs come together is awe-inspiring and their repertoire endless!

I feel hugely privileged to have been painted by Nick on his last visit to the UK (shouldn’t really have grinned in this shot as it ruins the mouth effect but couldn’t help myself!!)



Check out their tutorial videos on FabaTV – as well as learning loads; you’ll laugh throughout too – the glint in their eyes is never far away!   I am very precise with my style of work and Nick and Brian both inspire and help me to “loosen up” with my painting and go with the flow a bit more.   If body painting is more your thing; then you can’t go far wrong checking out their work – many designs are like “magic eye pictures” the more you look the more you see – designs within designs within designs!


LYNNE JAMIESON – Werribee, Australia.  Lynne is the magical talent behind Face Magic.  LYNNE 1

I have admired Lynne’s work from my first days of face painting and whilst I’ve not yet had an opportunity to participate in face to face training; I have relished the tutorials she has filmed for FabaTV.  Her application style is highly individual and it is fascinating to watch her effortlessly work her magic in front of your eyes.   Her humble and modest persona makes you warm to her immediately and she has a wonderfully calm and relaxed style of teaching.


Whilst her manner may be gentle; her artwork is flamboyant and dynamic – each design pops off the face and exudes character and charm.


JENNY SAUNDERS – Melbourne, Australia.   Another antipodean inspiration; I have been a fan of Jenny’s work for some time; seeing photos appearing on various websites/social media sites over the years but it was an article in Illusion Magazine (Issue 18)  that really raised my interest and admiration.  Her work oozes with personality and character and is so vivid and vibrant.


Each face instantly identifiable with its rainbow of hues and meticulous line-work and blending.   Her photographs clearly illustrate the joy and excitement in each child’s eyes and, in my mind, totally epitomise the wonder of our craft.

GENEVIEVE HOULE “JINNY” – Quebec, Canada.  An exquisite face and body painting artist whose seamless shading and decorative line work have always been a great influence on my work.    Her style of painting, particularly her blending, is more akin to make up application – beautifully smooth and totally precise.   She has produced a couple of fantastic training DVDs which are somewhat pricey and I’m not sure that they are still available in the UK – but if you can get hold of a copy – they’re fantastic.  

Alternatively, she has produced some wonderful youtube tutorials for beginner painters which can be found on her website  or directly at her youtube channel.  And, of course, you can also find her on FabaTV!

(I wasn’t able to make contact with Jinny before publishing the article to get her approval to share some photos but there are plenty to be seen on her website if you’d like to take a look!)

MARK REID – New Mexico.  How could I finish my top faves without including the inimitable “King of Cats”, Mark Reid.   Another amazeballs artist that I’ve also missed several opportunities to meet over the years!  There are very few tiger faces that I see painted that don’t scream out a hint of Mark in some form or another!  His brush technique and symmetry are exemplary and I understand from friends that he is a fabulous teacher – with, unsurprisingly, a huge emphasis in his workshops on linework, linework, linework!  He even has his own range of brushes and glitter gels!


Like all of the artists I’ve mentioned today, you can get access to his training through FabaTV and Mark has also produced several books and DVDs which should have pride of place on every face/body painter’s shelf!   In the UK you can purchase these from Illusion Magazine, The Face Painting Shop, Facepaint UK, Dauphines and probably others too!


So that’s my top five – I’d love to know who inspires you … please feel free to comment below!

(Links to all the artists websites can be accessed by clicking on their names!  I urge you to take a look and be inspired too!)


Friday Favourites ….. BRUSHES!

It’s been a while since I last updated my blog so I’m going to attempt to inspire myself by coming up with my Friday Favourites – hopefully weekly, but we’ll see how it goes!

I plan to venture into other areas of my life as well as the painty, glittery world so it may be anything from brilliant brushes to awesomely inspiring artists to fabulous friends or delicious culinary delights (!)  ….. suggestions welcomed!

Would love to hear your Friday Faves too!  Please feel free to comment below!

Let’s start with brushes – I have copious amounts stored in various places – I can’t restrain myself when I enter an art shop – just have to keep trying more!

Brush Pot  IMG_7914

But like many of you out there, I always revert back to my trusted favourites at each gig; especially when painting at speed!

1.  My king of brushes is my humble teeny weeny Grimas S2 – I think my “mild pulmonary heart murmur” would positively screech if I found myself at a job without one!  Introduced to this right at the beginning of my face painting career; I have never been without once since.  I love it for linework; dots and detail – I’ve tried many other fine brushes but always return to this little gem.

2. Flower petals are the design that draws the most oohs and aahs when surrounded by an audience and my reliable Da Vinci Nova Short Round Brush is what floats my boat!  Once again, I have many other options in my cacophony of brushes but this is the one I feel most comfortable with.  It loads quickly; holds plenty of paint and is perfect for double-dipping.  I have a 4 and a 6 but find the latter is the one I reach for more often than not.

3. Whilst I’m not a huge fan of one-stroke painting (mainly because it’s not my forte!), I do love it when I meet a more adventurous model who wants more than “just a few LITTLE flowers around my eye”!  It is then that I reach for my Donna Dewberry 3/4″ One Stroke brush.  I originally bought this from Fantasypaints4U but it appears they no longer stock them.  I’ve done a quick search and found one as part of a set here.


4.  My “jack of all trades” has always been my Kolinsky No. 6 Sable Brush – beautiful for crisp, angled tiger-stripes; perfect for curls and swirls; lighter use can produce a fabulous thin line and you can even use it for petals.   However, following a recent, enlightening post on Facebook by a highly respected colleague, Brierley Thorpe, I am keenly searching for a synthetic alternative.  She writes “Sable brushes are made from Siberian Weasel, Himalayan or Yellow Weasels and Martens. These animals are not politely asked if they’d mind parting with a little annual snip of their winter tail. Manufacturers obtain the ‘hair’ in the form of whole tails or pelts which are sourced from the fur industry. Its a grim old trade. Buy synthetic brushes please”.   Despite my plethora of brushes, I have still not find a replacement that I can work with, so, painty friends, please comment below with any recommendations.


So you’ve made a great decision and invested in an experienced, professional face painter for your event, so now what else can you do to ensure you get your money’s worth and take advantage of the opportunity.

Here’s a few pointers and suggestions to help you make the most of your investment.


POSITIONING OF THE FACE PAINTING AREA IS KEY – ensure they are highly visible and appropriately placed eg. near the other children’s activities and with plenty of space around them allowing for comfortable queuing. Where possible, arrange for the face painters to be set up relatively close to toilets/kitchen areas as this enables water changes to be easily done and facilitates speedy comfort breaks if needed.

CLEAR SIGNAGE is also highly recommended both to direct customers to the face painters but also to help manage expectations of the parents and children in the inevitable queue. Remember to include the following:

• Minimum age warning (most professional face painters do not paint children’s faces under the age of 3)
• Opening and closing times
• Children to be supervised at all times by parents/guardians
• Long waiting time warning
• Prices
• How many faces can be painted per hour

WORKING ENVIRONMENT – If the event is outside please always ensure you provide your artists with a gazebo or marquee (preferably with sides).

This is equally important in hot weather as it is in wet weather. In wet weather the reason is obvious – as colourful as it may be you really don’t want a stream of rainbow paint trickling across your event site! Side panels really help in inclement weather too as gazebos can act as a wind tunnel making it very difficult to paint.

Hot weather can also be our enemy as the sun can melt and damage some paints plus there is a risk of sunburn/heatstroke for the face painters and models alike.

Most of us come to these events prepared with snacks; water; flasks of coffee etc to keep us going but offers of sustenance throughout the day are always gratefully received! A fed and watered face painter is a happy face painter and will most likely paint even better faces!!!

ADEQUATE RESOURCING – Please ensure you book enough artists for the expected footfall. A good rule of thumb is one face painter painting an average of 10 faces per hour.

A minimum of two face painters is recommended for longer events as it avoids having to physically close the queue when a break is needed. (Breaks can be staggered throughout the day). Never underestimate how many you will need as you can end up disappointing more people than you please.

MANAGING THE QUEUE – If you are charging customers then we advise allocating a member of your event team to deal with the money. This can save vital seconds/minutes of the face painters’ time. Only take the money for each person as they reach the front of the queue – more of that later.

A good tip, if the venue permits, is to set up a large mirror (ideally freestanding) somewhere away from the painters themselves. Valuable minutes are eaten up if the child stays in the chair looking in the mirror with parents taking endless photos!

If your event is themed, you could even set up a dressing up area near to the face painting stand with various items for the children to put on whilst looking in the mirror. You could even add a large empty picture frame for the children to peer through creating great photo opportunities.

Please avoid the temptation to use any sort of ticketing system. In our experience it just causes terrible confusion and arguments. Whilst you may think this will avoid long queues, it just becomes very complicated when people wander off and don’t return in the correct order. Keep it simple. Let them queue.

Seasoned professionals will keep a close eye on the numbers waiting and will close the queue at an appropriate time. (ie when there are about to be more people waiting than time allows to paint). In most cases 30 minutes or so is aequate but at very busy events it is sometimes necessary to close a queue up to an hour before the end. It is extremely helpful to artists if a member of the event team can be around at this time to help deter people who want to join the queue. If you have a tannoy system in place, then an announcement that the face painting queue is now closed is also very helpful. Even when we are all packed up we can guarantee still hearing the age old plea of “oh surely you can paint just one more”!!! You would be amazed at how much verbal abuse face painters receive when having to turn customers away once the queue is closed.

MARKETING YOUR EVENT – Established painters often have a big social network following and will be able to help you market your event. If you have any promotional artwork produced we are always happy to display this on our website, our Facebook page and through Twitter. In most cases we hope that we can not only bring you our artistic skills but also bring customers along too!

Please remember to brief your artists on your charity cause / corporate background / sales focus – we are engaging with the parents – your customers – throughout the day and are ideally placed to help you get your “message” to them.

WHAT TO CHARGE – Well this is really down to you, your target audience and how much you want to recoup or raise for your charity. We find that in our main area of business (South East UK) £3 per face is the average at public events. When you compare this to £7 per face charged for amateur face painting at some very large children’s entertainment parks on top of the very high entrance fees, we feel that £3 is incredible value for money! If you are a charity and choose to just use a donation bucket then we would highly recommend a volunteer physically holds the bucket to encourage donations and perhaps even displaying a sign of a “suggested minimum donation”. We have found that when charity buckets are just left beside us they often go unnoticed or just collect very small loose change.



Face painting is always a popular activity choice for parties, fetes, corporate events and fund raisers. The face painters’ “tent” frequently has the longest queue and is a fantastic attraction to encourage families to attend.

Budgets are often tight for everyone but this is one area where I would highly recommend that corners are not cut.

An experienced professional facepainter will be comfortable with painting at speed; dealing with children of all ages; placating tired parents and generally managing a busy queue.

There are a number of pointers a client can use to ensure they are booking a professional:

• Ensure they are fully insured with a public liability policy in place. Any individual painting professionally will have this set up as a minimum requirement. Many facepainters also have CRB certificates in place as a result of working in other child related environments, however, whilst this is a nice to have, this should not technically be necessary as a facepainter would always request that children are supervised at all times by their parent/guardian.

• Check their health and safety/hygiene policy. Most professional facepainters will use one sponge per child. Many will have a minimum age for facepainting. We only paint children aged 3 and over as their skin is starting to mature by this age; also many of the paint manufacturers do not recommend use of their products on children under 36 months. Brush water should be changed regularly and all equipment should be thoroughly cleaned between jobs. Children with skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, impetigo, chicken pox, cold sores etc should never be painted or those with streaming colds, conjunctivitis etc.

• Ask to see examples of their previous work or view their website gallery. This will give you an idea of the breadth of their portfolio. Look for a variety of detail in designs as this can illustrate the artist’s ability to paint more straightforward designs if needing to work at speed at busier events.

• Take out references from previous clients. Most of our bookings come through word of mouth recommendations but we are always happy to provide references if a new client requests this.

• Ask what products they use. Popular brands are Snazaroo, Mehron, Diamond FX, Wolfe, Cameleon, Superstar. Acrylic paints or metallic/craft glitter should never be used on the skin.

• If a face painter is a member of FACE (The Face Painting Association) this will give you the assurance that they have been tested against strict criteria and should adhere to a strict code of conduct. This is not to say that non-members don’t (!) it’s just one more pointer to help guide you.