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NEW Products Just Added!

We’ve added several new products this week! Check them out…

Global pearl yellow and neon white
Collapsible 17-hole balloon sizer, $35.00

Polka dot 260’s! $17.99 for 50 assorted colors.

Star Wars faces, $17.99 for 100 5″ rounds

Blue Snowflakes-a-Round, $19.99 for 100 5″ balloons

Clear Snowflakes-a-Round, $19.99 for 100 5″ balloons

Anna and Elsa Hearts, $19.99 for 100 6″ balloons

Quick Cutter, 2-Pack for $24.00
Qualatex mini balloon kit, $20 for mini pump, book, and 48 balloons!
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Paintertainment’s Glossary of Terms for Face Painters

Every career path brings with it a unique set of industry terminology, even face painting! For the benefit of new artists, I’ve created this face painter’s glossary of terms. Please feel free to contact me if you know of any terms that you think I’m missing, or if you’ve heard one somewhere that you aren’t familiar with…this is a working document!

Acrylic – Artist’s paint that you should NEVER use on skin. Here’s why.
Agent – Someone who does all the crummy, boring parts of booking gigs and hires you to do the fun part: painting! 😉
Arty Cake – Silly Farm’s brand of one stroke cakes.

BAM – Acronym for a stencil brand name, “Bad Ass Mini
BAS – Acronym for a stencil brand name “Bad Ass Stencils
Base Blender – TAG’s name for their large split cakes.
Blacklight – A type of light that some paints fluoresce when exposed to. Click here for more info.
Bling – Glitter, Rhinestones, and all things sparkly!
Booking Fee – A sum of money required by artists in order to book an event on their calendar. Usually applied to the final total due.
Brush Tub – A brush rinse water holder made by Loew-Cornell with ridges in the bottom.

Chapstick Sushi – A sushi cake made in a chapstick holder. Click here for how-to.
Cheek Art – Designs created to fit on one cheek. (Check out the Facebook group) Click here for an article with suggestions for achieving small details quickly!
Coffee Water – A term for dirty brush rinse water.
Contract – Something all professionals should use or aim to create in the future. Click for more.
Corporate Gig – A job done for a large company.
Cosmetic Glitter – Glitter that is approved for cosmetic use.
Craft-n-Go – A brand of case that can be used to hold supplies.

Dagger Brush – A brush with a long, pointed angle, great for painting whiskers!
Dauber – A round sponge attached to a stick/handle (aka Pouncer)
Deposit – A sum of money required by artists in order to book an event on their calendar. Usually applied to the final total due.
Detailz – A brand of detailed painting tool by Mehron.
DFX – A face paint product brand name, aka Diamond FX
DJ Hero Case – A video game accessory case often converted into a paint kit.
Double-Dip – A technique used to create two-toned shapes like flower petals.
Dotting Wand – A sponge tipped brush for creating dots.
Director’s Chair – A tall chair preferred by artists who like to stand while painting. 

Exposure – A useless “incentive” painters are often presented with in leu of payment. Also, something you can easily die from, especially here in Minnesota in winter.
Eye Design – A design created to go on or around the eye area.
Eyelash Adhesive – An adhesive often used to attach rhinestones and other things to skin.

FABATV – Subscription based online learning resource
FABAIC – Acronym for Face And Body Art International Convention.
FDA – Food and Drug Administration (USA) – may approve certain ingredients for use in cosmetics. Click here for more information about the FDA and neon makeup with uapproved pigments.
Fixer / Fixing Spray – A product sprayed on a painted face to help it last longer. There are also fixing/setting powders.
Filbert – A brush shape: flat with a rounded cut.
Finger Dauber – A dauber with a base that can slip over your fingertip.
Full Face – A design that covers the majority of the face.
FunStroke – A brand name of Global’s one stroke cakes.

Gig – A face painting job/event.
Gigmasters – A website that connects clients looking for entertainment with artists.
GigSalad – A website that connects clients looking for entertainment with artists.
Glitter Dust – A super fine glitter powder. Fine enough to dispense with a glitter brush.
Global – A face paint product brand name.
Glycerine Based – Makeup that is more transparent and good for blending and shading. Examples: Mehron’s Paradise, Kryolan’s Aquacolors, FAB and Snazaroo are glycerine based.
Grease Paint – Makeup that is not water based; requires a makeup remover to take off.
Guitar Case – A case formerly for a guitar, often converted into a paint kit.

HAS – Acronym for a stencil brand name “Half Ass Stencils
Hourly Gig – A job you are being paid hourly for.
Hypoallergenic – A marketing buzz term that you should be wary of, because there is no science or regulation behind it.

INtense Pro – A brand of powders created by Mehron.
Independent Contractor – An artist who is hired out by agents but is responsible for their own taxes, etc.
Invisible Glove – A product designed to keep your hands from getting stained from paint.

Jam – When artists get together to practice and share with each other. Also good on toast.
Jewelry Trays – Plastic, sectioned trays often used by face painters to store and organize paints.

Kabuki – A big, fluffy brush.
Kit – A face painter’s tool box.  Also a constantly evolving obsession of many artists! 
Kryolan – A face paint product brand name.

Laptop Case – A plastic case for paints that is about the same shape/size as a laptop.
Linework – Term for the fine outlines done on a design. Wax based paints like Wolfe are great for linework.
Line Manager – Person in charge of keeping the line of kids in order and ending it on time.
Liquid Bling – Amerikan Body Art’s brand of glitter gel.
Load – The act of picking up paint with your brush.
Lollipop Blender – A foam pad on a stick, often used to apply powders.

Mehron – A face paint product brand name.
Menu – A board or book that shows what designs a painter can do.

Neon – Term used to describe fluorescent makeup. Click here for more info.
Newbie – Someone who consider themselves new to face painting.

One Stroke – A technique of loading one brush or sponge with multiple colors and applying them in one stroke of the brush/sponge. Click here for a book on this topic.
One Stroke Cake – A cake with multiple colors, sized to be loaded with a 3/4″-1″ wide flat brush.

PainterTemplate – Wipe-off face painting practice boards by Paintertainment
Paradise – A face paint product brand name.
Paypal –  A payment processing site that many artists use to collect payment. 
Pay-Per-Face Gig –  An event where you charge each customer for their individual face.
Petal Brush – A brush with a unique shape designed to create petal shapes.
Petal Pot –  Small paint pots designed for double dip petals. Click here for a how-to.
Petal Sponge –  A sponge cut into a petal or teardrop shape.
Poofer Bottle –  Small, plastic bottle with a nozzle, often used to “poof” glitter on the face.
Pouncer – A round sponge attached to a stick/handle (aka “Dauber”)
PPF – Acronym for “Pay-Per-Face”
Practice –  makes perfect!
Practice Head – A mannequin head used for practicing designs.
Professional – Someone who is paid to face paint.  Click here for a more in depth article.

Rainbow Cake – Another name for a split cake.
Rake Brush – A brush with gaps between bristles to create multiple lines at once.
Realism – The practice of painting realistic images.  Also, a book you can find here.
Retail Rate – The hourly rate that you charge the public when you book gigs on your own.
Ruby Red – A face paint product brand name.

SBS – Acronym for “step-by-step”
Script Brush – A long, narrow brush used for creating thin lines and scrolls.
SFX – Acronym for “Special Effects,” often refers to adding fake skin, blood, etc for realistic gore.
Smoothie Blender – A foam “brush”, often used for powders, with a handle like a brush.
Snazaroo – A face paint product brand name.
Speed Painting – Grueling conditions in which some painters may work (for an extra fee).
Special Request – A design requested by a client that is not on the menu.
Spirit Gum – A latex-free adhesive used to attach gems, google eyes, etc. to skin.
Split Cake – A cake of paint with multiple colors in it.
Square – A brand of credit card reader that some artists use to accept payment.
Starblend – A makeup made by Mehron that can be applied wet or as a powder.
Stipple Sponge – A coarse sponge often used to add texture.
Sushi Cake – A round split cake. Click here for instructions to make one.

TAG – A face paint product brand name.
TAP  – A brand name of stencils.
Teardrops – A shape that is used in many designs and practiced by professionals.
Tempera – Craft paint that you should NEVER use on skin. Here’s why.
Thick-to-Thin – Process of painting a teardrop shape starting on the thick end and ending on the thin end.
Thin-to-Thick – Process of painting a teardrop shape starting on the thin end and ending on the thick end. 
Thumbtack – A website that connects clients looking for entertainment with artists.
Travel – The fees charged for travel to/from a job. 

Undercut – Purposely charging much less than the going rate to win jobs from other artists.
UV – Ultraviolet – Term used to describe fluorescent makeup. Click here for more info.

Water Based – Makeup that is activated by and cleaned up with water.
Wax Based – Makeup that is more opaque and good for linework. Wolfe, TAG, Cameleon and Diamond FX are examples of wax based makeup.
Wholesale Rate – The reduced hourly rate that you are willing to work at for an agent.
Wolfe – A face paint product brand name.
Wolfe White/Black – An elusive product sought out by many and often sold out by many
Word Menu – A menu of designs displayed as words instead of pictures. Design one here.

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When can I call myself a “PROFESSIONAL” face painter?

Our industry is a unique one, in that in the US at least, there really are no required certifications or regulations to bestow upon us the title of “professional.”  Most “legitimate” professions require some sort of experience, certification, degree or exam to give you that mark of a professional. When you walk into a hospital, you can pretty much assume that you will only see actual doctors and nurses who are qualified to do their job.  Not so with face painters. While this makes it a challenge for the general public to understand the difference in pricing among face painters and who to hire, it also poses a common question to those starting out in face painting that I hear often:

“When can I consider myself a PROFESSIONAL face painter?”

The short answer to this question is that if people are paying you for your time and talent, you are a professional. 

However, there are a lot of things that you may want to consider if you are looking to move from a hobbyist to a pro. Here are my top 10:

1. You are a talented artist, or at least a determined student. 
Having a natural talent for art is an obvious one when you are looking to be a professional artist.  There are, however, exceptions to this rule…I do know of some artists who were not naturally artistic and are still amazing face painters.  It just takes a LOT of work and practice to perfect the techniques of clean linework, teardrops, one strokes, etc.  If you are not a natural artist, you’ll find yourself focusing greatly on technique and the delicate science of structure and layout of your designs.  You will benefit greatly from conferences, workshops, and step-by-step’s. While this may make or break your decision to go pro, don’t get frustrated too early on…just know that you have a long road ahead. If you have enough passion, you’ll get through.  I liken this to myself with the piano. I knew kids who played flawlessly by ear when I was growing up, and who couldn’t read a note of sheet music.  I went to weekly lessons for 10 years and can play some songs really well, but only after months and months of practice on every song. I am NOT a natural musician.  But if you heard me play one song I know well, you might THINK I was and that’s all that the client sees when you’re hired.

2. You invest in quality supplies. 
Some painters start as volunteers, being provided craft paints.  Many painters start out with actual face painting kits from their local craft store…then the first time they try out a more professional set, they are floored by the quality and never turn back.  Even the most talented, seasoned professional will struggle to create beautiful art with crummy supplies.  Whatever paints you use, it is of utmost importance that you ONLY use makeups made with ingredients that are FDA compliant for cosmetic use, including your glitters, for the safety of your customers.  Click here for an in-depth article on the importance of using safe products.  Your brush quality is also very important for achieving clean linework.  Good, quality brushes do what YOU want them to do, not what THEY want to do. My kit contains around $1,500.00 worth of paint and tools at an average event, and that doesn’t include all the specialty tools I may leave at home for other specific events.  You don’t need THAT much paint to start out, but you do need quality. It’s better to start with a small amount of quality tools than a big box of cheap supplies.  Click here for a special package deal on the basics that I recommend for those who are serious about going pro.

3. You paint people you don’t know.
When you are just starting out, chances are you will start by painting people you know…your own kids for Halloween, your niece or nephew’s birthday party, or volunteering at your church or kids’ school events.  Once you realize all of the time and expense that goes into good face painting and decide your skill level is enough to start charging, it’s time to seek out actual clients.  Many artists feel like they’ve “arrived” once they book a party of someone they don’t know.  There’s something validating about having a total stranger willing to pay you to do something, knowing they aren’t just hiring you because you are related and they want to help you out.

4. You have an online presence.
This is not something that has to cost you a lot of money to start.  Start with a Facebook business page or a blog for free.  These days a professional MUST have some sort of address in cyberspace where clients can find their contact information, samples of their work, FAQ’s and client testimonials.  Spend $10 on Vistaprint to get yourself a set of business cards to hand out to potential clients.  You can’t reach point #3 without having some way for those strangers to get ahold of you!

5. You do your research.
If you are serious about becoming a professional face painter, you will do your research on the profession.  (and yes, it is an actual full time profession for many!) You will seek out more knowledge and skills by joining face painting related Facebook groups (don’t be alarmed by the VAST NUMBER of face painting groups!), you might purchase books to learn new skills and designs, you might attend local face painting workshops and jams.  You will invest in a practice head, wipe-off practice sheets, or chase down every child in sight and get to the point of bribing your kids to let you paint them AGAIN.  You might go as far as to attend one of the many national and international face and body painting conventions, or subscribe to FABATV to continue your learning.  Or, you may simply scour Youtube or our learning page for free tips and tricks.  However you choose to learn and grow, professional face painters never stop doing this. We are always striving to learn the latest techniques, whether we decide to adopt them into our methods or not. It is a true sign of someone who is passionate about what they do.

6. You are insured.
Most “professional” face painters have liability insurance.  If you don’t have it yet, as long as you are growing your client list, sooner or later it will be required of you.  Most fairs and festivals require that you have at least several million dollars of coverage (and will require an insurance certificate with them listed as “additional insured), and that is what gave me the nudge to get insured.  18 years ago when I did my first county fair, I needed insurance.  Many corporate clients will only hire insured artists as well.

7. You have an established business name.
I’ve been going by the name Paintertainment for most of my 20 years in the business, and have owned for 18 years.  However, I did at one point have to actually register my business name with my secretary of state in order to keep one of my long time clients (a government gig).  They would not issue a paycheck to me otherwise. It cost me about $250 in the end to register my name.  (About $30 for the actual registration…the rest was the cost to be published in a legal newspaper for 2 consecutive weeks which is required to make your registration valid).  That sucked up most of my profit on that year’s gig, but has enabled me to keep getting that annual job and also protect my business name.

8. You charge the going rate.
Many-a-full time face painter have been hurt by people who paint “just for fun” or “on the side” at insultingly low rates.  Of course it IS good practice to charge less when you are just starting out and trying to gain experience…as long as you let your clients know that and aim to raise your rates. (for example, let customers know this is an introductory rate that is only good for so many months, then your rate will be going up. Or run a promotion where if you book 1 hour, you get one free, for a limited time.)  Undercutting hurts us all because it brings down our perceived value and worth with the community…something that professional painters work very hard to uphold. For an in-depth article on what to consider when figuring out your rates, click here.

9. You use contracts.
If you have any plans to continue face painting for income, it’s not a matter of IF but a matter of WHEN you will absolutely need a written contract.  It is smart to start using one as soon as possible, before you feel you need one, because the situation that forces you to realize it is a must will most likely not be a pleasant one.  Contracts are not only important to protect you, but your client as well.  Managing your clients’ expectations can prevent 90% of the things that go wrong in our business, and nothing helps manage expectations like putting things in writing!  Click here for some suggestions as to what to put in your contract.

10. You know your worth.
Don’t expect clients to see and understand your worth and value if you don’t yourself.  Having confidence in your pricing and your own booking processes can take some time to build up when you’re new, but you don’t have to let your clients know this. When asked for their price, a professional gives it with confidence,  and is willing to walk away from clients who are not willing to compensate them for their time, investment and abilities. Professionals don’t cave under the client’s pressure to paint for a reduced rate or a crowd they can’t handle…they recognize that clients contact them because THEY are the face painting experts, and they educate their clients as to what is needed for their events to be successful…not the other way around. 

Not ALL of these things are required to call yourself a professional.  (Although I’d be willing to argue that #1-5 are required!) It took me a few years to realize I needed insurance.  I didn’t use contracts for years.  Over time I learned these lessons the hard way.  But in my opinion, and it’s only my opinion, as long as you at least are aware of all of these things and have them all as goals in your near future, you are a professional.  You take your business seriously for what it is…a business that deserves your time, attention, and respect in order to thrive.

I hope this article was helpful for those of you wondering where you stand in the face painting community!  Got more suggestions? Feel free to post comments! In the near future I will write again about what things you may need to turn face painting from a side job to a full time career.  Happy painting! 🙂

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New Paintertainment “PainterTemplates” Face Painting Templates!

I’m excited to announce a new product that has been in my head and in the works for years…now that my boys are in school I’ve been able to follow it through to completion!

Introducing our new…

PainterTemplates by Paintertainment!

All 6 sides of our 3 new practice templates, with a few sample paintings!

For years I’ve been wondering why so may painters have been using practice sheets with stoic, mannequin-like illustrations or creepy 3D computer-modeled hairless heads, when they are such a far cry from the actual, happy customers we paint in real life?  This prompted me to create PainterTemplates

the two sides of the “Woman” sheet

Our practice templates are printed on letter sized paper and protected with a heavy 5 mil laminate, perfect for painting, wiping off, and painting again!

the two sides of the “Girl” sheet

But what makes our templates different than others?

  • Printed on light gray paper, so you can still see your white paint!
  • The people are actually happy!
  • The illustrations are full scale, meaning you don’t need to downsize your one stroke brushes and cakes to do real-life-sized practice designs.
  • Each comes with 2 faces: a front view on one side and a side view on the other.
the two sides of the “Boy” sheet

You can find these two-sided sheets here for just $6 each! Choose boy, girl, or woman. We will have more coming in the future so stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by, and happy painting! 🙂