Inspiration, Inspiration, Inspiration

4ib4Bdbig

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.

Tiger

Clown

 

Purple

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!

So enough blogging for now – I’m off to lose myself on my iPad in the deepest darkest artistic corners of Pinterest,   Google images Getty Images  and anywhere else they may lead me!

See you on the other side!

 

 

 

 

Friday Favourites – I WANT TO BE …. A FACE PAINTER!

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.

The London School of Face Painting

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.

BIBI

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.

NamNams Face and Body Art

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.

She has a course coming up next month in West Malling, Kent, being hosted by Pampered Delights and Cosmic Face Painting.

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 clare@pampereddelights.co.uk

The Face Painting Shop

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

http://www.thefacepaintingshop.com/Workshops%20Training

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!

Façade Academy of Face and Body Art

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.

FACADE Click on this link to view the schedule of classes for the next few months and you can follow all the latest news by visiting her blog here.

Follies Face and Body Art

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!!”

makeupbanner.

Full details of all the courses run by Follies can be found by clicking here.

Brierley Thorpe

Another star of our painty world, Brierley invites you to her wonderful garden studio to partake in a variety of colourful, individual classes.

BRIERLEY

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 furfangfairy@googlemail.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.

 

 

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.

IMG_7917

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.

FROM SMALL ACORNS …

I recently felt the “OCD” need to clear out some of my 24,000 photos on my hard drive and came across a load of images of when I first discovered the magical world of face painting.  So, after some onerous pontificating and as we approach the end of my 6th year in business, I thought I’d be brave and share them with you!

Allow me to take you back to the spring of 2007 – a visit with friends to a local bird sanctuary, Birdworld in Farnham, and my daughter and her best buddy had their first experience of facepainting!

We queued rather tentatively for some time, as is the norm at these places; the children totally mesmerised and hardly uttering a word as they watched the lady at work.

We finally reached the front of the queue and my beautiful, pretty, girly, “pink in every way” daughter asked to be … “a COW”!   All my coercing towards the butterfly and princess photos on display fell on deaf ears and a cow she was going to be!

I gulped, as a lump lodged in my throat, watching the intense concentration on her face as she tried so hard to keep still for the face painter.

And as for the expression on her face when she took her first glance in the mirror?!  My heart totally melted and from that moment on I was set on the idea of recreating that reaction for her again.   The two of them spent the rest of the afternoon admiring each other’s faces with delight!  (If anyone has any idea who the face painter was then I’d love to know – I’ve never managed to track her down since – and I’d love to thank her for being one of my inspirations to start painting!)

First Time

The idea for Fascinating Faces was created just a few months after!  It was a beginning that many professional face painters will relate to – I picked up a cheap set of paints and decided to just “have a go”.  I got hold of the usual beginners books and set to work on both daughter and husband; my very first attempt being a CLOWN.

Early3

That face was to prove rather significant in the months and years to follow!

During the summer I decided to organise two summer parties for all of my daughter’s friends!  Fairies and pirates were the theme and, as a wannabe make-up artist since my teens, I was in my element with brush in one hand and sponge in the other!  (oh … and wings attached of course!)

Early8

By then I was hooked and as they say, the rest is history!

My first “official” party had a circus theme and was held 120 miles away in Somerset by my daughter’s Godmother, Sophie, and good friend of mine since the age of 4.  The nerves kicked in big time and I spent hours surfing the net for clown face ideas, techniques for sponging and brushwork and attempting to buy the best paints I could for the job.  It was way back then that I discovered the virtues of Grimas cake white and I’ve never been without it since!

With shaking hands and my heart pounding I set to work on Sophie and her daughter followed by Daddy, Granny, Granddad and the Godparents!!!  They had all gone to town with their costumes and within no time the house was filled with white faces, red noses and crazy wigs and that was before any of the guests arrived!!!  I was then joined, somewhat surreally, by the lady who is the voice of Bella in the Tweenies and between us we painted our way through 15 more mini clowns and the party was complete …. all except me …. after all the nerves and excitement I ran out of time to paint myself!

At the party two photos were taken of Sophie and Ellie Mae that have remained as a constant in my portfolio ever since!  They were just so smiley and cute and summed up the atmosphere of the party and my initiation into the facepainting industry as a professional!!!

Early6

Five years on I had an opportunity to recreate that magical day and painted Sophie and Ellie once again!

Early7

Clowns have been an underlying (and unrealised) influence since my childhood love of Pierrot and they now represent a very important part of my life – my business – something I’m extremely proud of.

It has given me an opportunity to combine my two passions, art and children within an industry that has allowed me to use my business and creative skills to the max without compromising my most important role in life – being a mum!  It has also introduced me to some incredibly talented people who I am now proud to call my friends.

I’m now going to brave sharing with you some photos that illustrate my journey in the early days and would invite you to check out my current website gallery to see the progress that is possible as a result of an investment in training; hours of practice and the support and guidance of some amazing people in this industry.

Early4

Early 5

In 2008 I plucked up the courage to enter a competition!  Ended up being put in the “Intermediate” category by mistake after applying as a “Beginner”!  Didn’t get placed but was proud to see my work on display!

Early1

And just a few years later something happened that in 2007 I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams ….. the theme was “Heaven and Hell” and the live competition was “Face Painter of the Year”.

FPOTY

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream”  

C.S Lewis