Friday, 29 August 2014

How to Clean Water Based Face Paint Cakes

Most brands of professional face paints have an anti-microbial agents in them. This will help keep bacteria from growing on them but there is lots you can do to help!

Anti-Bacterial doesn't mean anti-viral. Contagious viruses can and will live on many surfaces for even up to two weeks some times! This is a big reason why any face paint artist shouldn't paint a child who is sick or even appears to be sick. Even so after every gig you should clean the tops of your paints and give them a spritz with some 99% iso. But if you over do the amount, your paints will dry out big time. Do not clean the cakes with wet wipes because the oils in them can mess up the water activation of your paints and make for irregular applications that do not bond with the skin. Don't use anything that will shed fibers in your paints like paper towel or cotton. Ideally you want to use a dense cloth that can be thrown away after use. You can rinse out wet wipes for this or use something similar to wipe just the tops of the cakes.

 Ideally the best way to keep your paints clean is to wash and sanitize your brushes while you work. Different artists do this different ways.

In the makeup world as you know there is NO double dipping with 'wet product' everything is put on a pallet with a metal spatula and used from there. But this type of procedure isn't feasible with face painting unfortunately. So we want to focus on cleaning the brushes most of all.

Here are some ways it can be done, and each person has a personal preference:
  • Some people carry LOADS of brushes to an event and clean them afterwards. Or even have assistants cleaning the brushes as they go!
  • Some use a 3-4 cup system - 1 cup rinse water, 1 cup alcohol , (optional one cup for rinsing alcohol off if you want to reuse the brush right away) and finally 1 cup for fresh water.
  • Some use brush bath or soap in between.
  • Some use a spray bottle of 99% iso to soak the brushes with
Some mix their iso and water, but this does nothing to sterilize because the iso is now diluted, and doing this can be hazardous to sensitive skin, most of all in the eye area.

Also make sure you are painting on a clean face, and never paint over sores or wounds of any kind, EVEN if they have scabbed over, and NEVER paint a person who is sick.

It's a good idea to carry stickers in your face painting kit for these occurrences and have this posted on a sign at your table that you do not paint people who are sick. If you start painting and a kid starts to cough or sniffle, finish quickly as you can (or if it's really bad just stop dead in your tracks), and sanitize EVERYTHING that may have had contact with them before you continue, including the chair they were sitting in.

If you paint near the eyes or mouth you must fully sanitize your brushes.

Use one sponge per person, and hand santizer between kids. Finally you have to actually wash your hands from time to time. I have a spray bottle of soapy water for this, and a towel with my setup.

Good luck!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Face Painting: All About Sponges!

OMG there are SO many sponges!!! Where to begin?

I'll start with the most common type of craft sponge that face painters use.

Craft Sponge:
You can pretty much get these at any craft and hobby store. They are your basic sponge and work well enough as a cheap face paint sponge. I started with these and while they aren't the worst they aren't really the best. They have a short shelf life and tend to break i the middle a lot. They don't hold up to much abuse over time and need to be replaces often as they wear out. You also have to cut them yourself. They have a buffed ledge which can be nice for blending but not so nice if you want a straight edge. I've mostly phased these out of my kit. The ones I have left I cut into quarters and use as stencil sponges for solid colors, they seem to work better that way.
'Plastic' Sponge:
I call them 'plastic' because that's what they kinda feel like. Unlike other sponges the holes are very uniform, and they have a slight shine to them if you look hard enough. They come in many colors and shapes and are pretty common with kits, in fact I got a few of these when they came with a new kit i bought. The good thing is that they are pre-cut, so you have that nice perfect edge. But I find they need way more paint on them to get a decent load, and some times the result can be too wet, or have trouble coming all the way off the sponge to apply to the skin (which is why they need a lot of paint on them). I only use these when I run out of my favorite kind.

Fantasy World Wide Sponge:

Don't let the same color fool you, these are not the same as the last ones. These sponges are very soft, and high density. By far my most favorite and my number 1 choice for a face painting sponge. These guys don't require as much paint and they are SO soft like butter. They also bounce back to their shape if you crush them. You have to cut them yourself but it's worth it. You can also cut them into different shapes easily with a razor sharp knife.

For small faces it's all just sponge control for me, but what you could do is instead of cutting the sponge in half you could make one side a little smaller.

Ignore the math, just look at the blue area. See how it's not quite cut down the middle? Easy peasy smaller sponges if you want them.

Makeup Sponges:

Don't use these.
You can find them any place that sells makeup and they are not great for face painting. They are very high density and will only soak up your paint creating lots of waste. Moving on.


These are fun for making different sized circles, and are great for putting into split cakes to get a multi-color effect. But I personally don't dauber sponges anymore, because you have to have a lot of them in several different sizes. Uggg... what a space waster. Also i have to fish for the certain size in my sponge bag if I want to be picky (which i always am). Then you can only use it once before needing to clean it? Screw that noise!
Simple solution - I made a stencil lol. I made one and it has 3 sizes of circle on it and is cut to be the same size as my BAM stencils. I only need one of them and, it's flat so it saves space, is easy to clean and I can reuse it. I use quarter cut sponges to apply the shape to the skin just like with my other stencils. Works like a charm

Stipple Effect Sponges:

While sea sponge (pictured left) can give a cool stipple effect I find it's a paint vampire (also they never really look clean from the start, which I never liked). They can also leave behind little bits in your paint, are hard to clean and will hold one to bacteria better then any other type of sponge. Remember a 'sea sponge' is a living organism, these are dried out now, but they can be germ factories of not properly cleaned.
IMO they work better for acrylics. They aren't necessary either as a similar effect can be done with practice using a craft sponge.

Or better yet, this is what we use in the makeup industry. This is an orange stipple sponge and can be bought at most makeup FX stores or online. Easier to clean and way more sanitary if you are still looking for that sea sponge like effect.

And this little guy is another FX stipple sponge mainly used for doing stubble, and other things. It's REALLY coarse but lovely if you want to get a scratched effect with your paint too.

Friday, 22 August 2014

8 Tips For A Clean & Tidy Setup

Some one asked me recently

"When I set up, my table looks clean, organized and professional, but once I start working and if I get so busy, it looks like a mess, now I don't have pots of paint everywhere but still messy, how do you keep your set up clean and neat while you work?"

First of all if your set up is messy, it's not the end of the world. But if it's 'dirty' then you have a problem. 'Messy' and' Dirty' are different, and 'Clean' and 'Tidy' are different, and a makeup table can end up being a combination of them

  • Messy - Stuff all over the place, not organised, looks chaotic, disorderly, and is in disarray.
  • Tidy - Arranged neatly and in order. Everything in it's place, neat, organised and well kept.
  • Dirty - Covered or marked with an unclean substance, stained, not washed, soiled, old and dusty, and is a contamination risk
  • Clean - So as to be free from dirt, marks, or unwanted matter, Washed, sanitized, not growing mold etc
Clean and Tidy is the ideal, however messy but clean is also not bad.

Dirty and tidy is bad, and messy and dirty is the worst.

Why is dirty a bad thing?
When makeup stations have paint dribbles and smears everywhere, the appearance is nasty but the least of your worries. This paint out of the container will collect dirt, grime hair, clothing fiber, and germs. Yes, most face paints do contain anti bacterial agents in them; but if you have used paint smeared on plastic or cloth and it can andwill breed bacteria. Then, when you have to of course, touch things in your kit, and this icky grime will get on your hands and fingers and transfer on to your tools.
The cross contamination is endless and compounding at this point!

Having a dirty makeup station is an excellent way to spread, pink eye, mono, and other germs that are contagious.

When I see dirty paint cases that have caked paint on them and look like they haven't been cleaned. I don't see a rushed artist; I see a surface that wasn't cleaned, and could have contagions living on it that can live on surfaces for up to 2 weeks! When the surface is clean, then I'm less likely to think this.

So being clean is very important, so as professionals it's important that we clean out kits after each gig, or before a new day of gigs begins. This is basic, and standard sanitation, and excuses of "I don't have time" don't cut it. If we claim to be professional then we make the time.

Why is Tidy an important thing?
Maintaining a tidy table is important because if think about it; all those parents waiting in line, what are they looking at? They are looking at you, your paints, and your table. What do you want them to see? While messy might not be dirty, it can still 'look' dirty, and we don't even want that.

So I present....

My 8 Secrets to Keeping a 
Clean and Tidy Work Space:
While I work!

My Clean Face Painting Table:


Dirty Face Painting Tables:






These are photos I have taken of face painting tables that i have seen in my city, some by some pretty big hitters in the industry.

On to the tips!

1. Have A Place For Garbage

I have a tiny bucket i got at the dollar store that i keep under my table as a place to keep trash. It's small and fits in my kit nicely. Used wipes for your hands, and tissues etc can all go in it and out of sight and more importantly OFF the makeup table.
In the makeup industry, we often tape open baggies to the table to put spent trash in to throw away later. But having your own little trash bucket is much more professional looking I think. ^.^

2. Organize

Try to set up your table the exact same way every time. It helps if you choose a side to work from, if you are right handed, then ALWAYS have your set up on your right, this can also help in avoiding back pains and strains for reaching. Put your jar in the same spot, your brushes, your hair clips, EVERYTHING should have a home. Even when it's used. I put my spent stencils in the same spot, i lay my brushes the same way in the same spot, and my spent sponges go in a separate sponge bag rather then cluttering my table. Also we never use the word, 'dirty' or 'used' in public when talking about our equipment, instead we say 'spent'. People who hear things can also internalize them, and i never want any one to think of my equipment as 'dirty'.
Bonus: Table organization will also help you paint faster as you know were everything is on your table without having to scan or search the table for it!

3. The 10 Second Tidy.

Ideally you want to put something back in it's place after you use it, like a rainbow cake, or notice how on my table I have a little container for hair clips. But some times when working fast things do get messy and forgotten. But having everything have a designated place helps when things get messy, you know where to return them to so everything looks tidy again. When things get too messy I take a moment to tidy a bit, I call this my '10 second tidy' after the show 'the big comfy couch' which I first heard the phrase. I even announce it so those in the line know I'm taking a moment to clear the clutter. "One moment folks, I'm just going to do a little 10 second tidy here because some times while I work things tend to sprout legs and pile up right next to me.  What can I say, my tools love me, and even more so when i take good care of them "
See what i did there? I let those watching know that I care about being clean looking, and that i take care of my things, all while telling a joke while they wait. People understand, and they don't mind waiting a moment or two while you put some sponges away, and change your water. In fact they thank you for it. Also remember to actually SAY out loud a reason why you are asking them to wait while you are tidying up EVEN THOUGH it's totally obvious.
Why? Because adding a reason to your request is like a Jedi mind trick.

4. Save Table Space and Have Homes for things.

Much like being organised, having little boxes and containers for things is a huge asset and the more compact the better. I have a tiny container for my hair clips, my cut paper towels, my gems, etc. My cards are in a card holder, my stencils on a clip, and my water, iso, and soapy water atomizers are all small and fit nicely on the table (notice how they are also all different, and the iso is in a bright purple one so i don't mix them up).
Now compare that with the photos i posted of the other setups. in the first one up there has an entire large bottle of iso on the table, in the comparison photo we have large tub of wipes and several trigger spritzing bottles that look better suited to be used in a hair salon, or for holding Windex, rather then for the tiny spray needed to activate your paint. Also though I cut it off in the photo, the original photo also shows their business cards are strewn and scattered on one end of the table for people to help themselves too. Though really it only adds to everything looking messy and out of place.
Having places and containers for things saves on table space. Other great things for this are brush easels, fanny packs for your money instead of a tip jar (if you don't know the benefits of getting rid of your tip jar, check out my write up on Tips for working for Tips), and other things. Compact it, and things will look more professional.

5. Preventative Maintenance

Clean what you can, when you can.
Lets take a look at photo #4 of the dirty setups. Wow... that's pretty gross. This is a face painter at a circus as you can tell from the background and animals. This artist should be extra clean, but that clearly isn't happening. By all the colorful finger prints, the kits looks like it's never even been wiped down!

Obviously you clean everything in your kit after a gig when you get home, but why wait? If I have a lull in my line sure I could check my phone, or paint a pretty flower on my arm, but what does my table look like? Before I touch my phone or decorate myself, I clean my kit. I wipe all the cases of paint stains and water drops, I clean all my stencils and put them away, wash all my brushes, clean the water, empty the trash etc. I do my chores before I play.
Also it's less for me to do when i get home.

6. If It's Not Face Painting Related, Keep It OFF The Table

No food, no drinks, no toys, no hats, no keys, no money etc. Not yours or anyone else's.
Things like date books, pens, extra cards, empty containers etc should all go under the table in your travel case, or in a reusable shopping bag or something as they only add un-needed clutter to your table. Things like your phone, you can keep on the table if you use it to take pictures of your work often, but otherwise should be in your pocket or purse. Anything to save table space and cut down on clutter.

7. Use A Large Enough Table

For my set up I require a min 4 foot table. If I really condense to the bare basics I can work off smaller, but it's not ideal. The point is to avoid having to stack things on top of each other. I try to never lay things over top of my paints, like my mirror, or other things. The paints are colorful and I want them to show and shine. They are a part of my display, and also that they are all in nice rows means that half of my table is already neat and organised looking by default. So i try not to cover it up. Notice in the 2nd photo i posted with the dirty red plastic water cup how the brushes are all over, the paints are all over, the glitter pots are all over. Stacking.... Yes you can do this and still be clean, but it won't be tidy. Try to have a large enough area to work, and if need be buy your own table and chairs and keep them in your car so you never again are forced to set up on a 2ft tall children's play table (this has happened to me more then once.... people are stupid).

8. Use Things That Are Easy To Keep Looking Clean

Clean white things are GREAT for making a clean setup, but difficult to keep clean as we all know. Notice my 'wash rag' that i put my brushes on? It's many different colors in an erratic looking pattern. I made about 10 of these when I found the fabric. It's really hard for this cloth to look messy when it has paint on it because of the colorful pattern. Also it has no white! Steer clear from things that are white, but don't avoid them all together as they can still make your set up 'look' clean and neat. The only white things I keep around are ones that are stupid easy to clean while on the job, like my signs.
All my containers? Plastic. My table cloth? Patterned. My sponges? Dyed black! My water jar? Glass because it gets the most abuse and glass is stupid easy to clean and doesn't stain like plastic does.


Anything to do with arts and crafts is a HUGE magnet for clutter and mess. Trust me, none of my craft tables at home look this awesome lol. But I'm very strict with what face I show to the public and my clients, and how i treat my equipment that is being used for makeup application. If i drop a brush, I spray that sucker with iso and set it aside to dry, that's just how I roll. It make seem strict, but it's the standard in the makeup industry to sanitize your hands after touching ANYTHING that is not your client or your tools. Even your own hair, or their hair, you must sanitize afterward. Of course i don't get THAT crazy with face painting, or else i would be scraping paint out of my cakes on to a metal pallet with a tiny spatula for every design, and throwing away what was not used. But I know the paints have an anti-bacterial agent in them, and I know not all makeup industry standards are practical for face painting. Though I try to adopt as many of them as I can while I work.

Here are photos of my set up that I took in a hurry before I was swarmed at the farmers market. (just a note, I do keep the lids on the rainbow cakes at the front of the table because kids like to touch them and they are at the right height for that. I just took the lids off for the pictures to help the colors be seen better. )

I hope this write up has helped!

Please share photos of your table set up or things you do to help keep yourself clean and tidy while working, or photos of other 'dirty' table setups you have seen! I think we can all learn from them, which is the big reason I take photos of them.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Skin Wars Season 1 Episode 3: Review

There is a new show on The Game Show Network called Skin Wars. 

It's all about body painting and making it into a reality TV show competition much in the same formula as Project Runway, and Face Off. I love seeing the art and skill in these shows and seeing idea's come to life so I tend to enjoy them. Also being into face and body painting myself I really enjoy seeing this type of art in the main stream.

Each week I will blog about each episode, it's highlights, artistic challenges, and what I would have done if given the same challenge.


Season 1 Episode 3

Mini Challenge: 
In teams of 2, paint one full side of your model to represent a yin-yang theme.

Natalie & Angela:
Theme: Happy and Sad
This one was great! Not only was it happy and sad but it was also black and white vs color! Very creative, this really impressed me. On the technical side, the painting was a little harsh and wasn't the cleanest but these girls nailed everything else!

Shannon & Felle: 
Fire and Ice
Wow! This one was amazing! The detail in those fish was amazing. Loved how it wasn't straight down the middle but more of a curve. The colors are very visually appealing and are very complimentary. LOVED how the fire Coy fish in the middle of the models chest was like a circle. I like the ice/water side a bit better because it has more little things in it like lotus petals and stuff, and i feel the fire side needed a little something more. But with only two hours to paint it was defiantly amazing!

Mythica & Dutch:
Theme: Heaven and Hell
I liked the angels and the demons, lots of high detail on the demons, but the angels seemed muddy again, I felt they needed more 'pop' to really stand out. I liked the little story in the middle of love. However I didn't know what was with the veil, that kind of killed it for me and the cut off at the waste was a little boring. The face could have been more interesting.
Note: They really glossed over Dutches work at the end and barely even showed it! WTF?

Gear & Nicole:
Theme: Heaven and Hell
This one was really good. The little extras with the props really added more dimension to the piece, loved the feathers and the demon wings and horn. Nicole's side OF COURSE has glitter, but i think this time it works for the piece. Gears side has more pop this time, and I'm glad to see none of the detail is lost in soft shades of red. This is his 2nd fire style piece and i get the feeling he's playing it safe with painting with fire as he's pretty good at it.

My Idea:
Theme: Life and Death
I would suggest this theme to which ever partner I had.
The idea's in my head revolve around a forest. On one side there is beautiful lush green leaves and flowers, little animals and such. Perhaps even the face of 'mother nature' or a goddess of life in a tree of life. It's bright, it's daytime light, and the feeling is calm. On the other side would be nightfall, dead trees, the skeleton of an animal, fallen leaves, and the face of 'death' or a grim reaper. It wouldn't be a straight line to separate them either but rather a curve much like Shannon and Felle's piece.

My Top 2
1st - Shannon & Felle
This was really the most visually appealing. It nailed the concept of yin-yang, the colors were great, the details were great, it wasn't a straight line for a cut off point, AND those fish being on either side in the middle really made this one stand out.

2nd - Natalie & Angela
Even though it wasn't the most detailed I felt that the 'style' they went for really worked for the happy sad theme they chose, as it felt really theatrical. Also loved the creativity involved and the reveal with the hands. But also that it wasn't just happy and sad, it was also monochromatic VS colored!

My Bottom 2:
3rd - Gear & Nicole
While i really liked the colors and the use of props and embellishments, it felt a little too plain in some areas, the straight line down the middle was a bit boring, but it was over all still pulled off nicely.

4th - Mythica & Dutch
Sorry guys, but the simple face and veil killed it for me. The colors didn't really pop either, and the split at the waist was super boring. What i saw of Dutches work looked nice and detailed, but Mythica's upper part again looked muddy. Needed more contrast and i felt her entire side brought down the piece. I think Dutch should have gone in after an added some contrast with some black to give those angels some pop!

I found it interesting that when they were picking partners it again choose to show a clip of Dutch saying he knew Mythica would pick him, and that he's cool with her being "subservient". After reading some comments on the SkinWars face book page it seems clear that the producers goal to portray him as an arrogant douche is working wonders on those who easily buy into what ever they are fed. Can we just be honest... EVERYONE knew she was going to pick Dutch! I knew it, you knew it, the other contestants knew it. Why? Because we all know he's one of the strongest painters, AND they have worked together before. No surprise. Just like how the next person to choose a partner (Nicole) picked Gear, because he's one of the next strongest painters, it's kind of obvious.
As for her being subservient to him, he's got a point, perhaps a poor choice of wording but they both know who the stronger painter is. Mythica doesn't seem like the type of person to fill herself with pride and think she's the best of the best when she knows she is still learning, she knows when her work isn't up to par and she can take criticism for the most part. But she also beats up on herself too much for her short comings, - she is some times her own worst critic, and her own biggest cheerleader. Any way, so as for her taking the lead from Dutch on this one, that's also probably part of the reason she chose him. She knows he's going to take the lead and seemed totally cool with it. Why this is lost on the people making comments on facebook is anyone's guess.

Finally I felt it was a bit lame, to show Nicole and Gear getting excited about their heaven and hell idea only to shortly after show Dutch have the same idea like he was ripping them off. In truth each team had no idea what the other team was going to do, but the way this was put together made it look like he was being a copy cat, or unoriginal.

Felle and Shannon had an interesting exchange about learning techniques, and Shannon wanted to learn certain things from him. Learning is great, but I'm with Felle on this one, now is not the time woman!

Main Challenge:

The contestants previous partner has now become their competition in a decade clothing challenge. Each group has a decade to work with. 20's, 50's, 70's, and 80's
The strongest piece of each decade will be chosen, and the bottom piece is at right of going home.

Really? The 20's circus? I know that type of performance art is her favorite thing ever, but i really wish she stuck to more actual clothing and not costumes. While it was done well I do not think it fit the criteria.

I really liked this one! The lace on the gloves was great, the pearls were great, and screw what the judges said I actually thought the tights were great too. Unlike the others he didn't go for a skin tight look! He went for the illusion of a dress where there was none. Good Job!

Holy hell again! This was.... incredible. Everything was just so spot on, not just for the look of clothing but the actual 80's style. That shirt is right out of an episode of Degrassi Jr. High. The hair, the shirt, the leg warmers, the fish net sleaves, the pink bra; the freaking runs in the stockings! this was great! What I liked the most was the illusions he made with the skirt and the shoulder of the skirt. The blending there was impeccable, you couldn't even tell that it was a add on. Technically I loved the back panel too, the folds were spot on, and it was a band name style panel. LOVE! He had just enough neon that it wasn't over the top. My only criticism is that the wrinkles are a little too stylized. They are very comic book like with the depth and highlight, i think they could have been a bit more subtle. But that said, at least he had wrinkles in the first place, where are most of the others has nothing for texture.

Again with the muddy colors. I'm sorry but i didn't like this one at all, and i don't think it should have placed over Dutch. I don't like to take away or down play anyone's 'win' but this wasn't really 80's to me. This was an 80's stereotype stage costume. The wrinkles didn't seem right, the jacket was muddy looking, and the tights had messy stripes that were not clean at all. It felt very simple.

Allow me to illustrate what i mean by an 80's stereotype.

This is how people actually dressed in the 80's

This is how Rick James Dressed in the 80's

That's called a stage costume.

Totally happy days! Loved the poodle, that was too funny! Sure the back was blank but it was still good, it felt like the 50's and he really pulled it off. Though i would have liked to see more wear and wrinkles in the jacket.

Noooooo! Shannon why?! I like zombies as much as the next person (if not more), but not for this challenge. This was self sabotage. While i liked the inclusion of the bra, and the illusion of the hanging jacket in the back, this really was more 1940's then it was 50's. Sorry! Loved the winkles and the depth. I really would have liked to see all this without the zombie to hide what i think was one of her better pieces technically so far.

Very cool! Loved the use of props! Also loved the suspenders and her little painted thumb trick. The judges tried to poo on it saying it didn't line up - hogwash! That was brilliant! Only thing i would have liked to see more of was wrinkles! She could have blown it out of the park if her wrinkles were just a bit more there.
Woot! Disco! Loved the pants, loved the shirt with the colors and the disco ball. Even the words that were written because that is TOTALLY what they did back then. It was flashy and colorful, and groovy. People wore words on their clothes all the time... except for Disco Stu... everyone knows Disco Stu doesn't advertise.

My Idea:

Seeing as there are limited decades to work with, I just picked the missing link. The 60s.
Ultimately I would probably go for something like the 60's Mod style

My Top 4
1st - Dutch
Given that the only complaint was the the wrinkles were a bit 'too' stylized, this one made up for it on every other level. The amount of detail and nostalgia in this piece was perfect and complimentary.

2nd - Natalie
Lots of skin coverage and a perfect 70's high school girl. Loved the trick with the suspenders.

3rd - Felle
Hit the 50's on the head! Very cute and fit the theme nicely

4th - Gear
Loved the dress. Nice details, great lace, use of props, and wrinkles in the 'fabric'. This one said 20s to me, that model was a total flapper!

My Bottom 4:
5th - Nicole
Not enough skin coverage, and it really was more of a costume to me. I felt it missed the mark where the theme of the challenge was concerned but was still a well painted piece.

6th - Angela
This one said Disco Era to me. Though perhaps a bit risky leaving so much skin showing. Too much fun, but ultimately I felt that Natalie's was better.

7th - Shannon
This one makes me sad to put here because honest it really was a great painting, the detail was great, and it was all the little things that made me love it. But the clothing style didn't match the 50's era even though it was well painted, and excuse the pun but.... the zombie killed it.

8th - Mythica
*sigh* again with the muddy colors. This one for me at the potential to be so much better but it really felt rushed, and not enough time was spent on details like wrinkles, shadow and highlights.

Note: This was sticking with the criteria that there can only be one top and one bottom from each decade.

Wrapping up:
I can't believe they put Dutch in the bottom 4!! I was ranting all day after seeing this. It really just blew my mind and I think he's right that she are trying to rattle his cage, and create drama. After seeing the things the show is posting in the Skin Wars face book page, I have no doubt believing that they intentionally manipulated things it order to get a reaction out of him. I don't think that Angela should have been sent home, I really thought it was going to be Shannon or Mythica. Starting to get a bit disappointed with this show and it's ever changing criteria.

How To Properly Load Your Paint Brush

This was written with the art of face painting in mind, but most of the same techniques are true for other paint mediums and can be used with other paint mediums.

I'm sure most of this you already know, but I don't want to assume and leave something out, so we will be covering some basics in this post.

1. Know Your Paint:
Paradise for example is a Glycerin based paint, and is easier to blend and takes longer to dry. Tag, DFX, and Wolf are all wax based paints and will dry a little faster but you can get bolder colors.

Wax based works better over top of Glycerin but not so much the other way around I find. They also don't mix together as nicely as they would if you were using all the same base.

Not sure what your brand of face paint is? Check out this neat chart from Jest Paint

2. Know Your Brushes:
Real hair brushes don't work so well for most makeups, weed the real hair brushes out of your kit and switch to synthetic.

You also want to get smooth brushes, and not 'chip' brushes (as I call them) that are more rough.

If your brushes look like this
Banish them from your kit.

You want smooth soft brushes like these

Now that you know your paints and are using the best brushes for this medium it's now time for.....

3. How To Load a Brush:
Now that we know more about the tools we are using lets look at how to properly load a brush.

When you rinse or dip your brush into the water you want to take it out almost dry; you do this by putting your brush on the edge of the jar with the tip facing inward, then pressing a bit and letting the water from the brush drain back into the jar.

If it's a pretty thick brush, you might also want to give it a few pats on your brush cloth too. You want your brush to start out damp, not wet when you first go into the paint. This is because it's easier to add more water then to take away water from your paint.

Start with the least amount of water and add a little bit more if you find it's too dry by dipping juuuuust the tip of the brush into the water. The brush will act a little like a sponge and soak up the water on contact so put just the tip in the water.

Do this until you find a nice consistency, and as you are painting also be aware of the wetness of your paints, as you may not need to add any water to them afterwards for a bit.

Yes it's best to load it all the way up to the ferrule you got that right, but more importantly it's best to load the brush by going back and forth in the paint.
Do you paints have 'holes' in them from swirling the brush in your favorite spot? This is rather common. But it's not the right way to load the brush if you want to get the most out of it.

Swirling the brush gets the paint all over the place on your brush, but it's not packing in properly along the bristles. Swirling will also damage the bristles of the brush and have them wear out faster. Finally by instead loading your brush back and forth, you are going with the natural alignment of the bristles and you will find your paint is able to 'flow' out of the brush much better, smoother, and most importantly for longer.

This will speed up your painting as you don't have to reload as often.

Finally, use the whole surface of the cake, don't pick a favorite spot to load from/ As said with applying water to the paints, some times one area can get 'too wet'. Avoid this pit fall by using different areas of the paint cake and avoid sticking to a 'favorite spot'. Bonus is this will also help your paints look better, and you can avoid that great hole to China you get with swirling, and using one spot too much.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

How To Calm Your Nerves

This article has been permanently moved to

You can still read it in all it's wonderful glory by following this link!

How To Clam Your Nerves Before A Gig

Thank you!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Good Things to Know Before You Get Face Painted

You see a face painter at a festival, fundraiser, or maybe at your company Christmas party. Hopefully, the person hiring this artist has done their homework and knows that this person uses only products designed for use on the skin and employs good safety and hygiene practices.

But is it safe for you or your children to get face painted? How do you know?

In most places, anyone who wants to become a face painter can do so; there are no forms to fill out or licenses to get. Most face painters got into the business seeing someone else painting and thought “I can do that.” But they don’t have all the facts about safety and hygiene to do it properly and safely. They may use products they have around the house which probably aren't designed for use on the skin and could prove dangerous.

At a glance, it may be difficult to tell if the face painter in front of you has done the research and knows proper safety and hygiene practices.

Here are some things to look for:

Does the face painter have signs? Read them. This may tell you many things about the artist including their level of professionalism. They may even have a sign stating that they only use products designed for use on the skin. That’s a good sign (Pun intended). This artist is aware of safe and unsafe products and has chosen to display that they only use cosmetic products that are safe for skin.

Do they have a list of policies?
For instance: “We do not paint children who are sick, or have open sores.” or “Children must be accompanied by an adult”
Not all face paint artists use signage or have their policies posted, so in this case you’ll have to ask questions and observe their practices yourself.

Look at the setup. Does it look clean and tidy and organized? Give them a bit of leeway on this as many a creative-type person are a bit messy in the process of painting. Remember that a set up can look 'messy' but not be 'dirty' and there is a difference. It should be evident that their kit (and especially their brushes and sponges) get cleaned after every gig and they have a cloth bag of clean sponges at the ready. If their station is complete chaos, dirty paint cases, hair in the paint, set up on a dirty towel or paint crusted plastic table cloth then that is a bad sign. Painters using dirty latex gloves should also be avoided, while this is great for the painters own safety, the same is not true for the models who get to be touched by the glove that touched so many other faces. Instead look for hand sanitizer and containers of isopropyl alcohol on the table as this is a good sign.

What kind of paints are they using?
If you see craft paints of any kind, don’t get painted. Anything that says acrylic, tempera, or craft paint is a big no no. The labels are often on the lids or the bottom of the containers, so they may not be visible to you once the artist is setup and painting. If you can’t see the label – ask what kind of paint they are using. Never pick it up and see for yourself as professional painters like to keep their materials sanitary, also didn't your mother teach you it's not polite to touch other peoples things? :P There are MANY different brands of face paint out there, so how do you know if the painter is using actual face paint and not craft paint? Some painters like to keep their particular brand a 'trade secret', or they 're-pot' their paints into different containers, like plastic jewelry containers (I've even seen ice cube trays used like this). So instead when you ask a face painter about their paints, glitter or skin glues, you should hear these things:

Water or grease based
FDA approved/compliant
Made for use on skin

If the answer is “Oh it says non-toxic on the label”, that is a bad sign. Non-Toxic alone does NOT mean it is safe for use on skin. Worse if the answer is “I don't know” then walk away; a face painter should know what kind of paints they are using and their basic properties.

Also if you want a list of ingredients or other safety information, most professional painters should have a print out of the MSDS (Material Data Safety Sheet) for their paints in their kit.

Beware of face painters who 'make their own paints from scratch', because you will have no real way of knowing what's in it! There is no MSDS, no testing standard, no FDA approval etc. Most of the time these homemade paints are merely made with some kind of skin cream, corn starch, and food coloring among other things. Despite all their claims of being more environmentally friendly or 'safer' these home made concoctions lack the antibacterial components added to professional face paints, and all the cream and sugar is a perfect place for bacteria to flourish! They also have a short expiry date due to the food ingredients and that food coloring will be sure to leave a pretty decent stain on the skin. They will also claim to have used the same compounds found in cosmetics, but what they aren't understanding is that many ingredients are sold in 'grades' and most of the grades you can buy are not 'cosmetic grade'. Buyer beware!

Look at the face painter themselves.
Are they clean, polished, professional looking? Do they have a pleasant manner with the models they are painting? Is this a smoke-free zone?

Summing Up

Here’s a list of Red Flags to look for:
  • Craft Paint or craft Glitter, Sharpie Markers, Homemade Paints
  • There is no hand sanitizer or other sanitizing products to be seen
  • Artist blows on the model to apply glitter or help the drying process (Yuck!)
  • Amateurish setup, used food containers (like yogurt cups) to hold water or supplies,
  • Doesn't change dirty water often 
I hope this helps you recognize a safe face painting situation from a risky one. For more information, read the companion article

What You Need To Know When Hiring a Face Paint Artist