Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Don't Just Pin Inspiration...Paint it!

I guess I'm feeling a little nostalgic about my face painting journey so I'll share this memory with you. Katherine ask on Facebook, "please could you share 3 things that you've done in your career that has taken your painting to another level?" I actually remember that time extremely well. 

About six months after I started my face painting business I was getting really discouraged. I seem STUCK in my same bad habits, my work wasn't improving much and I was ready to quit. One night browsing, I came across this Christina Davison cat design on Facebook and instantly fell in love and had to try it.

It's obvious there were a lot of techniques I wasn't doing properly when I painted my version but it was the first time a work of mine resembled a painter's that I really admired. This made me feel that...someday...I would paint as well as she and Mark Reid and Marcela and other face painting heroes of mine.

FABAtv has since come out and you can actually watch Christina paint this beautiful design and learn it for yourself. I highly recommend her "All About the Animals" class where it is featured. I, myself, actually went to Amarillo Texas and studied with Christina. She really helped me with my teardrops, my butterfly line work, my animals...basically filled huge gaps in my techniques. I could finally do a real tiger stripe!

So, if you feel like you are in a slump and don't like your work...take on the work of another inspiring artist...even if you haven't taken a class from them, even if it looks nothing like the original, even if you aren't sure what paints they used or brush....just do it. You may find that EVENTUALLY, it will become one of your most popular designs....something you never thought you'd be able to paint.

Back to My Future

I got my first face paints from a local face painter on December 31st...just before 2010 turned to 2011. You can see what I got in the photo of the receipt. It was a 90 gm white, 90 gm black and a tiny regular rainbow one-stroke cake, a small glitter and some hydra sponges. It came in a brown paper bag like a pint of whiskey and we met in the parking lot and did the "exchange" before she went in for her New Year's Eve gig. I took a double look inside...can this tiny bag possibly be holding $56.54 worth of product?

Since that fateful night, I've spent THOUSANDS & THOUSANDS of dollars on supplies and tried many new trends in the body art market. I've bought lots of different bags and cases. Tried almost every kind of brush and applicator I could find. I've bought powders and gems, glitters and glues, shirts and wings, gels and cleaners; cameras and a laminator. I've been to conferences and workshops; subscribed to FABAtv and bought magazines and books. Watched ALL THE YOUTUBES and been on forums and Facebook.

So, if I could travel back in time and do a Marty McFly and stop myself in that parking lot and give me advice on what NOT to buy or do, this is what I would tell myself...

"You cannot save money by spending money."
You know those fabulous craft store coupons that beckon you to spend simply because they exist? How can you resist their siren song? DO NOT go to Michaels and Hobby Lobby and Joanns (all within a mile of your home) and browse and feel compelled to buy, only buy if you need something and even then...do you really NEED it?

"You are not a fairy or a princess."
Play to your strengths. Just because someone else is having great success wearing a costume, wig or wings does not mean that you will. I know they are pretty and sparkly and fun but they just aren't for you.

"Do more marketing and follow-up and a little less practicing."
I want you to know that skill alone will not get you jobs so take some of that time you spend doing swirls and curls and market yourself. Marketing is what makes your phone ring, your skill is what makes them pick up your card, followup is what makes them a repeat client year after year.

"Don't buy a Fat Max or other heavy kit containers."
There are many painters that have great success with large kits because they work fairs or large events and can wheel right up and start painting. You, however, only do one fair a year and every weekend have to go up and down front stairs, down to the basements, and into back yards. One time you had to go to the top of an amphitheater. Keep your kit as simple and compact as possible.

"You can live without Glitter Tattoos."
Oh, how you will love glitter tattoos from the moment you see them. So sparkly, so fun and they last days and days. Your clients will actually like them as much as face painting at gigs. BUT...they are expensive, sticky, messy, time consuming and your daughter is going to start college soon and won't be around to help you any more.

"Don't buy cheap brushes or multiples of every brush."
Don't buy 4 of every brush. You will end up with CUPS AND CUPS of used brushes that you don't use any more because you bought too many (and HAD to use the craft store coupon!) Buy a few GREAT brushes recommended by the pros and protect them from water damage and clean them properly. Good brushes will absolutely make your work look better.

"You don't have to body paint."
You've taken several classes on body painting. You bought an airbrush system because you felt that you had to body paint and didn't enjoy using it. There isn't really a market in Utah for it and there is a lot of other awesome artists you can refer gigs to. You are not a failure if you don't want to body paint.

"Good Henna takes time and practice."
Henna is a great business model. It's cheap, easy to pack around, fairly easy to mix up, great profit margin....BUT takes just as much time as face painting to learn properly. You don't have the time to do both well. If you are going to stain someone for two weeks, you really should know how to do it right.

"You don't have time for extra services."
You barely have time to stick a little gem on a face paint. Your fantasy of offering pamper parties with hair foils, foil jewelry, hair chalking and painted nails is just that...fantasy. Having these items in stock for the off chance that you will be called for that type of party is indulgent. You know you are just a crow and want the shiny things...RESIST!

"A camera left at home, no matter how good, cannot capture the moment."
You will love the pictures you get with your really good camera but I wish you had bought a higher end point and shoot because bringing the big, nice one along is difficult.

"Be more picky when picking pay-per-face events."

You've spent so many miserable afternoons paying to paint and not making any money. The tent takes a while to set up and tear down. It's usually hot and lacks shade. You need to follow your gut and only do PPF when
  1. It's cheap or nearly free to rent the booth space 
  2. There is a carnival planned or other entertainment that people expect to pay for 
  3. They aren't greedy organizers and letting just anybody buy booth space 
  4. People are expecting a face painter to be there. 
  5. The expected attendance is 10,000 people per day.

"Stop being late!"
Check on google maps and see how long it will take you to get there and then LEAVE ON TIME! You can stay an extra half hour to make up for it; but, chances are they will only remember that you were late.

I would give myself a big hug, tell myself "You will LOVE face painting!" and invite myself to dinner so I could tell me all the RIGHT stuff to buy and do right off the bat...but that might cause a rip in the time space continuum....so, maybe just dinner and no hug.