FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

How do I go about training a new face painter? Contributed by Tom Engle

Training People to Assist with your Facepainting

The key word is PATIENCE. If you are patient then you will find it pretty easy to train others to either help you paint or to paint on their own. Of course, since you spend your life painting little kids faces, you obviously have an abundance of patience to begin with… (Or a VERY LARGE bottle of Valium)

No matter what level the new painter is at, I recommend the following:

Make sure they have their own pallet
Make sure they have their own brushes
Make sure they have their own water
(You get the drift here I think)
Suggest they paint as often as possible (their own legs are good canvases to practice on)
Suggest they start simple, balloons, etc, before moving on to more complex face or body designs Art

As far as Painting Techniques are concerned, other FAQs and personal tastes will govern that (besides, I don't want to step on any toes about styles)

Incidentally, I am ONLY addressing brush and sponge work here. Airbrushing has other aspects associated with it.

Lets start with having an assistant who helps you paint.

If you are fortunate you will have an artist who can dive right in once they know how to use the paints. If this is the case, simply take a few minutes to show them how to use whatever paints you are using, liquids pastes, etc. I would have them work right next to me first to show them some tricks and answer questions like.. Why is this paint so thin? what about the gooey green gray stuff dripping form this kids nose?.. Etc.

If you have helpers who are not artistic (or claim they aren't - I am an engineer by trade and profession and never considered myself an artist) then there are several ways to get them started.

1. You can paint outlines and have them fill in the middle. Eventually they will see the designs and be able to recreate them.

2. You can buy stamps (like the face paint stamps offered by Ruby Red Paints) and have them do the same thing after stamping the face.

3. For full-face designs, show them how to sponge a full-face undercoat, then you can blend and detail with then standing over your shoulder to see how it is done.

4. If you are doing symetircal full faces you can paint half of the face and they can mirror the face you painted on the other side.

The important thing is to be supportive, push them to do more and more. (If there is a line - which there ALWAYS is this is easy to do and to justify). I never fully erase a design a helper does (too demotivating) instead I "touch it up a little" (sometimes the definition of "a little" varies to be quite a bit.. but it doesn't matter). It may take longer, but the helper will still feel better than if you take that baby wipe and erase everything they did. If the line is long and impatient (mmmm.. that EVER happen to anyone?) then slip back to the outline and fill routine.

If you are taking pictures of the work, make sure to snap some of your assistant's work. It shows them you are pleased with their progress.

If you are setting up a business and training INDEPENDENT PAINTERS, it is a little different.

Here I would go through all the paints, brushes and techniques long before the painting. Give them about 10 to 15 designs to practice and learn. Sit with them, offer your face even, and let them paint. Show them how to practice on their legs. Suggest they avoid blending colors for starters. I also would definitely make sure to show them how to use Glitter to add those simple 10-second enhancements that make a real difference in the end product (like the glitter highlight on a balloon or a twinkle on a star)

I also counsel then to limit their offering to just the designs they practiced - for beginners. They can always expand later but it will give them confidence in their ability if they know that thy aren't going to have to do a full-face alligator (there is a story… but not for now) the first time out. Make sure they have boards or books with the designs they are going to do. For a newbie, I would recommend have a personal copy of their designs that they can refer to while painting. That way the kids can be deciding on their designs before they sit down (Of course, Always ask the next one in line what they want before you are done with the current face? Keeps the line moving).

For those painters that you provide a book of designs... provide them with all the pictures that you have in YOUR book. Put these in the type of binders that you can add or remove pages. They can pull out the more difficult designs and later add them in as they build their confidence and skills.

Have the painter first focus on their quality. Once they have this down work on speed. Then they can move on to skills including working with young children, working large crowds, dealing with difficult parents and various problem areas. Again... quality definitely should be first and speed second!

Many of the face painting skills are related to technique. For example using too much water on the sponge or using a brush that is too large or too small for a particular design. You can coach them on this as they progress.

Afterwards, talk about issues that came up, new designs, etc. Be prepared to offer your face or arm so that the painter can show you what he/ she is talking about and you can show neat enhancements back. And always be positive. They will find with the more face painting they do their quality and speed will improve. As you critique TRY to be as positive as possible. In areas of concern, when they paint again and correct the previous problem make sure you compliment them. Do not be afraid to tell them they need to improve in this or that particular area.

And in the end tell them to practice, practice and then practice.






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