Instantly I feel dread at having to paint the SAME thing again, and it never really looks the same any way. Or some times I rush through it and find myself uninterested in my own work because how boring!
Also no matter what you say you can't get them to pick even a different color then the last kid! Gah! Drives me crazy!
I call it the 'Safe Choice Phenomenon."
Just stamp this on their face, they'll love it!
Basically, it's the same reason kids will order the same thing at a restaurant every time, or only like cheese pizza, or want cream soda pop, EVERY time. It's because they already know they like that and don't want to take a risk not liking something new, and then having the experience be 'wasted'. So they go with the safe choice, and in this case the 'safe choice' is something they just saw you paint that looks good. So why risk having a bad design when they already know for sure you rock at Hello Kitty?
The reality is that they don't really want 'what she had', what they really want is to not be disappointed.
Our job is the coax them out of this 'what she/he had' hole, and show them that we can rock other designs too, and introduce them to new experiences.
But trust me, kids are stubborn and won't come willingly.
So this is why I have a simple rule and it never fails.
"No Copy Cats"
I always make a point of saying that the birthday girl (or boy) ALWAYS gets to their own design.... no matter what.
"I told you Rarity! It's Rainbow Dash's birthday, not yours!"
Kids can understand "no copy cats" and get behind the idea of this, with no explanation is needed. Though some times I might lament at how at how "boring" painting the same thing over and over is. Or say I'll do it "same same, but different" and make my own changes. Another good line is "sisters, but not twins."
I even let them in on a "secret"..... "Hey you wanna know a secret? I'm not like other face painters you have seen who can only paint a few things. You wanna know what I can paint?" -they nod- "Everything!"
Get kids excited about picking something new, and they will be WAY happier for it, and so will you!
Listen to the radio-active sea sponge!