I was able to attend the annual Paradise Wildlife Face Painting Jam, which this year had a ‘Once Upon A time’ theme. Organiser Juliet Eve asked if I’d do a freehand glitter tattoo demo, and I decided the demo could be part of a bodypaint I did there. AND there was a head-piece competition so I thought I’d enter that at the same time.
I always like to push myself to try new things, and immediately thought; story books – writing on skin! I hated graphics (the lettering side) when I was at college and have rarely seen well-executed wording on faces so tried to work out how to do that. I didn’t have the time or skills as yet (I really need to do a hairdressing course!) so was also trying to think what I could put on my models’ hair to go with the theme. Then I suddenly thought – a paper wig!
The last #paperwig I made was in 2014 for the Paintopia Professor’s Apprentice Competition in which Nicky Gardener & I placed 2nd. That theme was Vintage Children’s books – not dissimilar – and we chose Treasure Island. I’d designed a wig made from paper quilling strips, which on the day it turned out we had to slice open, as our model was sick and she was replaced by the much larger James. Who rocked it and completed our awesome team!
Anyway, I decided this time vintage paper would look best, and bought some post-war story books from a charity shop. Lots of slicing later I had a sort of Rapunzel wig. I made lots of paper flowers on my crciut to adorn it, a bit like the Tangled Princess look.
I’m now designing and making stencils (and can do custom stencils too) which Jennie planned to launch as #CutByCat at the Jam as part of her Paintopia Face & Body Painting Supplies shop. So, I made a bunch of custom stencils of fairytale phrases, and also cut them out of glitter card to form part of the wig, and a crown on Izabella.
Izabella was free to be my model, and kindly said she’d meet us there Monday morning. My mum agreed to wrangle my 2 boys at the Paradise Wildlife Park (a zoo that hosts the event) so we drove down through snowy gales the night before to meet up with Paintopia Jenn in nearby hotel. I did try to start assembling my wig before bed, but luckily realised I actually had to have it bare so I could firmly attach it to Iz’s hair before I assembled all the other bits! Euan refused to let Jennie leave our room, so with that and loud music from other rooms it was a loooong night…
The snow had stopped but we collected a very chilly Iz from the station before arriving at the bright but freezing marquee that always contains the Jam. After greeting lots of familiar faces, I set up and started getting the paper wig onto Izabela. It was shallower than my previous attempt (I’d built up the bouffant bit of the ships figurehead wig with plastic bags which I guess we just ripped out to fit James’ head). Luckily, all the paper flowers I had made to decorate the Rapunzel paper plait filled in the forhead space perfectly.
Arranging and attaching all the glittery words took a lot longer than I expected, plus I was chatting and answering questions, so by the time the judging for the headpiece competition started I’d only managed a hint of colour over the white base on Izabella. We were really happy to place 2nd and win some fantastic brushes from the Bodycraft Festival team, thanks so much!
Suzanna Forrister-Beer had the most amazing prosthetic Special FX horns on her husband and came first, just beautiful. Also lovely was the kids entertainment, my youngest was boogying on down…
I continued adding mainly Cameleon Bodypaint from the Paintopia shop, layering lettering and stencils and blending with Kryolan powders. I stuck to white, blues and black as I wanted an almost monochrome book-like feel to it.
Last of all I added some quick hand painted swirls, then some freehand glitter tattoos using the waterbased Mouldlife Aquafix in the bottles with fine tips I sell. Finishing touches were flat backed pearls and tiny accent flowers from Hobbycraft.
These 4 photos by www.apheadshotphotgraphy.co.uk
And finally the image in my head of Izabella peerg throught the ‘O’ on Once Upon A time was out in reality.
Paintopia Jenn put together a fab vlog on it too.
(Yes my hair is a mess I kept stuffing on a hat when going out to check my snowy kids!)
Huge thanks to all involved, the organisers and everyone who came to talk to me or shop with Paintopia. I had a great time chatting (though not as much chat as usual as I was full of cold) and my family loved the zoo and entertainment as usual!
My final clip of Izabella is here:
This was an unusual booking; the client wanted ‘walkabout’ mobile painting at an outdoor event in Bath’s Southgate Shopping Mall.
I did a few mobile gigs when I lived in Hong Kong about 11 years ago, walking up to decorate guests at dinner tables or around in bars, and they never seemed as successful (to me) as when I have my kit set up on a table with a tall client chair. But I have done a few since then, so it can be done, but I had a think on a new kit setup…
I used to have the Snazaroo walkabout ‘ kit wheel’ which you gripped in one hand, but found that too heavy and cumbersome. Plus you really need both hands free, one to work, one to steady/ rest on the customer as standing people are even more likely to wibble about than seated!
So, I created a walkabout kit that fitted into an old face paint bag I converted into an apron, with a few extra bits. Not the most stylish but handsfree and pretty comfy apart from when I dropped it all at one point! I’ll tweak it a bit before the next booking as some things I ordered to make it didn’t arrive in time…
Basically its 2 of the magnetic panels I use in my face paint kit, taped together, taped onto 2 of the Ikea pots I sometimes use as brush holders which fitted tightly into the ‘apron’ pocket.
The paints (mainly one strokes and mini black, white & skin tones) I already have with magnets on their bottoms, so they sat nicely on the panels. The new Pixie gels I’d decanted into bottles that sat tip down in a nail varnish holder inside one of the Ikea pots, with space for brushes in the middle. A bag of sponges, a ring of stencils (I didn’t use either in the end) and a facecloth clipped onto the apron and my water spray & glitter were in a side pocket.
Helen’s red snazaroo wheel & my kit as we warmed up hands with hot mochas before the start!
I’d got the lovely Helen hired too, (she ended up with a tired arm from her Snazaroo wheel) so we arrived to find that it was outside and a bit chilly… a special Student Shopping Night promo in the Southgate Shopping Precinct. Its funny as I do lots of student club body art/ face painting bookings but sober, ready-to-shop students were very different! We started by working down the huge entry queue and did eventually have our own little queues going.
I stuck to using the new Pixie Cosmetic glitter gels around simple eye abstract or flowers as that is what most people wanted. All the stencils and extra paints I had squeezed in were not needed! Various acts and stalls were set up and the Scare crew from Avon Valley Wildlife & Adventure Park kept making clients jump, but we wanted to follow around their evil clown as he had a real flamethrower which was cosy!
The kit worked reasonably well but I need to re-think the brush holder being under the paints – my fingers got horribly messy as I kept having to grab the brushes by their painty tips to reach them. I have an idea for a brush holder for next time…
Not many photos as we were so busy & it was dark, but an interesting evening!
Several months ago I started seeing more and more about painters creating ‘face bling’.
This is clusters of sequins, gems, feathers etc, arranged into shapes like intricate bindis and usually stuck together on a base of pet-grade silicone. This cluster can be dried and added to face paints with cosmetic adhesive.
Back when I first started painting (2004? or earlier) I added dyed craft feathers, sequins etc to my work with spirit gum. I soon learnt that many of those either have layers that detach (leaving a clear plastic disc behind whilst the brighter metallic sequin layer falls off) or the dye leaked out onto the skin from the damp object. I stopped using them and haven’t been impressed with the pre-sticky gems available since (although Kryolan launched a nice range recently) – many either don’t adhere to skin or paint well, or won’t peel off the paper backing they come on.
I’d been sent a few samples of flat-backed acrylic gems when I ordered some cabuchons for bodypaint projects last year (in cream, pearl and black AB – I use them SO MUCH!) and had meant to look into it. I paid for some more samples to be sent from China and picked my favourites to order in bulk.
(I haven’t as yet got a good cabuchon supplier but will add them when I do – I use them for bubbles, rivets, buttons, jewellery, eyeballs….)
Due to language problems (they spoke English well enough to take my money but now have none to reply when I ask why I only got 100 not 1000 of a range of gems I paid for!!) I’ve had to change suppliers, but I finally have a good selection in stock on this shop page.
I don’t have time (new baby, kid, moving house etc) to sit and make bling clusters myself, so I chose gems which are much more striking than the usual ones available in the UK, and can be used alone OR added to clusters.
I will get time to paint & photo them in use soon, most of my recent bookings have been massive speed-painting events in Malls & I don’t get a chance to get my camera out. I only have these 2 from a street party event last week and my camera was not behaving 😦
Green snowflake heart (camera acting up so not great shot sorry)
As a centrepiece to crowns, an accent at the outer corner of an eye, etc, they are fabulous. I tend to do most of my paint, add a blob of the cosmetic adhesive (which I sell here on my freehand glitter tattoo page) and then finish off adding white or whatever final details whilst the blob dries. the finale is adding the gem and a poof of aurora glitter (from Funtime Faces). it always gets a huge wow and the lovely best bit is, the kids then have something to ‘keep’ (aside from any photos) of their facepaint.
The range I sell in my shop on here are all lightweight flat-back acrylic gems.
They include (click teal coloured words for video link):
Snowflakes with irridescent shades overlaid with silver metallic patterns – helloooo all you Christmas/ Frozen type designs
Shells – finely detailed in unusual AB mixed colours for all sorts of mermaid, flower and abstract designs
Hearts – princesses, abstracts, butterfly etc designs
small faceted AB hearts (in glitter or plain AB in mixed shades)
slightly larger aurora hearts with pyramid/dot textured AB surface
‘Sugar’ glittery hearts in mixed colours
large ‘crystal’ hearts with the same textured AB surface as the smaller aurora hearts but in mixed colours
Small clear faceted teardops in mixed colours
Medium bling drops in the same surface pattern/ AB as the crystal hearts, mixed colours
Large bling drops in the same surface pattern/ AB as the crystal hearts, mixed colours
I have seen people doing Pay-Per-Face at events charge extra for add-ons such as gems and these will definitely add value to your work.
I’ve already had parents and adult clients commenting on these and of course anything that makes your work stand out and be memorable is good!
Enjoy and do please tag me/ send in any designs you do with them.