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New Easter Word Menu Designs!

I’m pleased to announce that we have a new assortment of seasonal word menu designs, now available for your custom word menu orders…Easter designs!

I realized after I posted this that I already did have a design for “ladybug,” but I like them both so kept them both up as options! 😉  With Easter coming next month already, now is the time to order your custom Easter design menus!  Don’t forget to browse our standard design options, as there are many that will fit in with this theme, including Bunny, Flowers, Rainbow, etc.

Remember that we also have a great springtime package deal if you’re looking to add something extra special to your Easter designs!

Also, St Patrick’s day is only a few weeks away, so why not stock up on green and gold goodies as well?! We also have a great package deal for St. Patrick’s day:

Thanks for stopping by, and happy painting!! 🙂

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New Workshop: “Achieving Detail with Speed”

 I am thrilled to announce that my first ever half-day workshop, “Achieving Detail with Speed,” is now open for registration!

For years painters have been asking me how I am able to paint such fine detail so quickly. It took me years of studying myself and my own painting methods in comparison with others to finally pinpoint some teachable techniques to share.  While I am already currently working on this topic for my next book, in the meantime I am offering some artists the opportunity to learn from this material through live, hands-on workshops.

Can you tell the difference in the above rabbits?  The one on the left looks a little better and more vibrant.  It must have taken longer to paint, right?  Wrong! The one on the left took almost half the time to paint vs the one on the right…and it looks BETTER!

But don’t worry…we won’t just spend the entire workshop painting cheek art.  This is just one simple example of how these techniques, when applied, can drastically save time. 

 If you are interested in learning these techniques and live in or around the Twin Cities, I will be offering this half-day workshop in my home in Mound, MN on Monday, March 21st.  We will start promptly at 10:00 AM and end at 2:00.  This workshop is being offered at a discounted rate of $60 for my hometown painty peeps, before I take it on the road to New Jersey this May.  Your registration includes a pizza lunch, a wipe-off technique practice sheet, and a 15% off discount to be used during the workshop if you need to purchase any supplies from the store. Interested in joining us for this class?  Click HERE to register…since I am hosting this in my home, THERE ARE ONLY 6 SPACES AVAILABLE!

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope to meet you at a workshop somewhere this year!!

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Adult Coloring Book Inspired Arm Design!

Last week was the first time I had set foot in a real bookstore in a long time.  Since I moved 5 years ago from living 5 minutes from a Barnes and Noble to 30 minutes away, I just haven’t browsed book stores like I used to.  Nowadays I’m either at the library, or ordering books on Amazon which arrive for free within 2 days.

I have of course seen the adult coloring book craze spread across social and traditional media, but had no idea how huge it has become until I went to a book store.  The amount of shelf space dedicated to adult coloring books was staggering to me!  There was more than one separate rows of them, there were at least 3 stand-alone kiosks full of them, and a huge section of the bargain books was nothing but adult coloring books.  This doesn’t even count the racks and racks of colored pencils and markers!  I have yet to purchase an adult coloring book, but I must admit I was a little tempted.  I bought a new blank sketchbook instead, and decided to paint this arm design, inspired by the current adult coloring book craze!

Here are a couple photos of it in progress, below.  I started with a generous coat of Wolfe white where I knew I wanted the design to be left un-colored.  I then went over the entire arm and hand creating the line art, using Wolfe black and a #1 or #2 round Loew-Cornell brush:

I filled in the design next, using my wide range of other brands and colors.  This was a different process for me, because I always save my outlining for last when painting.  So, it was interesting to create the design in outlines first, and then go in and fill everything in.  It reminded me why I outline last…it makes for much cleaner color separations and speeds things up a LOT. But the point of adult coloring books is not to be fast, but to relax and enjoy the process, right?
I used my Global pearl blue for the background which I think gave it a nice contrast, not only in the color, but in the sheen.  Below you can see my finished hand, next to the original sketch in my new sketchbook!

This was a fun little painting exercise…thanks so much for stopping by, and happy painting!! 🙂

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Now Shipping: “Classic Carnival Cheek Art” Book, Completely Re-designed, PLUS new design menus!

Many years ago I published my first full color, step-by-step book, which featured 32 step by step cheek art designs.  The book was very popular and I have had a hard time keeping it on my shelves!  However, over the years I have published many other books, and during that time improved not only my own painting abilities, but also my ability to design and lay out a book.  As artists you know how it is…as soon as you paint something and take a photo, you start picking it apart and figuring out what you would have done differently! 😉  For years I have been wanting to re-design my cheek art book, and when it most recently sold out again, I decided that my next print run would be of a completely new book. I’ve just picked up the first run of this new re-design and I am excited to now be able to offer this book to you!

This was not just an updated second edition of an old book, but a complete re-design. I started over from scratch with my design files, and re-painted every single design in the book! I not only re-worked each design, but I added 8 more designs than the previous book, bringing this one up to 40 classic designs.

There’s more to this book than just the addition of more designs, however.  In this new book I have started out by giving a little more useful instruction. I still have a spread of the tools and supplies needed to paint faces, but have expanded beyond that.  In the new book I will share some of my tips for loading your brush, getting the right water-to-paint ratio, applying glitter, linework, and other general tips.  I then go on to explain some of the most basic but most essential techniques used in cheek art: teardrops and starbursts.  You’ll also see examples of how these techniques are directly utilized in the designs shown in the book. 

Next, you’ll see my signature “design index” page, which gives you a quick visual overview of every design in the book, along with it’s corresponding page number.  Like the rest of my books, this one is also a handy half-letter size, which makes it easy to take along in your kit for reference.  My favorite coil binding also makes it easy to fold the pages back or lay it flat on the table, freeing up your hands to paint!

I’m very excited to start shipping out this new book! However, I didn’t stop there!!

I’ve also gone ahead and re-designed my cheek art design menu to correspond with this book! The new 8.5″ x 11″ laminated design sheet includes color photos of all 40 designs from the book.  I’ve also created a new item to accompany the design sheets: Cheat sheets!  When you’re just getting started with face painting and haven’t had a chance to memorize your designs, it can be very helpful to have a small sheet for your own reference when painting.  This way the kids can look at the larger design sheet, and you can keep one to use when needed.  The mini cheat sheets have all the same designs, in a nice pocket size, and are also laminated for durability.

If you’re interested in some or all of these items, I also now have two package deals available to save you money!

If you don’t need the book, you can purchase a set that includes the design sheet and corresponding cheat sheet, saving $0.50 cents.

If you’re interested in all three of these new items, you can find them available as a full set in our package deals section, saving you $2.50!

I hope you enjoy this brand new collection of cheek art resources! I do plan on re-designing ALL of my design menus soon as well, including the holiday themed sheets, using photos of actual paintings rather than illustrations.  So, stay tuned for those to come!

If you are brand new to face painting and are looking for more resources to get you started, be sure to check out our extensive collection of FREE learning resources!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and happy painting!! 🙂

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Realistic Rose Paintings: Study tutorials AND real life!!

If you were lucky enough to have received a bouquet of roses for Valentine’s day, take advantage of this opportunity to study a live model!!

We all get so hung up on one stroke roses, and the plethora of tutorials out there on them.  My One Stroke Face Painting book has pages on roses and rosebuds.  However, I am a firm believer that in order to achieve the most realistic painting, one must not spend all of their time studying face painting step-by-steps, but study the real life subject matter itself!  Of course, these tutorials are vital for us to understand how to use our flat brushes, one stroke cakes, and how to twist and turn our brushes in just the right formation to create a realistic rose.  However, understanding the subject matter you are painting just makes everything fall into place.

Last fall I visited our local arboretum with my family, and took the opportunity to take a bunch of reference photos of roses.  The rose garden was gorgeous that day, and even had water drops on many of the petals. I wanted to share some of these photos with you to help you better understand the shape, color variations, and intricate details of roses…

The bud…at the center of EVERY rose.

Bud with some more loose petals

Study ALL angles of the rose!

I finally got around to painting a rose this weekend, referencing one of my photos from the arboretum that day:

My reference photo on my laptop

Finished rose painting

If you’ve read my Realism book, you’ll see that I have many examples of how to study real objects to gain a better understanding of lighting and shadows.  Understanding these underlying shapes and lighting well will help to make it second nature when it comes to figuring out how to position and move your brush for one stroke roses.

So, the moral of the story is….if you’re trying to paint something realistic, study the real thing!  It can only make your realistic paintings that much more believable!

Happy Valentine’s Day, and Happy Painting! 🙂

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Happy National Flannel Day!

Is “National Flannel Day” really a thing? Well, it must be because I got a text this morning from Caribou Coffee offering me $1 off a large drink in honor of this momentous occasion!  So, naturally, in my unnatural mind, the next logical step was to paint my arm with flannel.

 Living in the fabulously frozen northern state of Minnesota, I have always loved flannel.  And not just flannel, but PLAID flannel.  I love flannel not only for it’s warm, fuzzy properties, but because  flannel represents DAD to me.  My dad is a builder. He worked hard to provide for his family, and as a kid there was no place on earth more safe and comforting than inside the arms of one of Dad’s flannel hugs!

Me and Dad!

Here’s a time lapse video of me painting this design:

I love using my flat brushes to “stamp” out uniform lines, which you saw in the video. My current favorites used in this design are Loew Cornell’s 1/4″ 73000C series flat brush, and TAG’s 3/4″ flat one stroke brush.  I’m starting to get into the angled brushes now too, which I had never really used before!  I’ve really been gravitating toward my Cameleon filbert brushes when I need to soften and blend out shadows and highlights.  I never thought that was what I’d use them for so much, but they work great for it…they are super fluffy and thick.  Most of this was done using Paradise Beach Berry and black.  I used a little of Global’s new Deep Merlot and Rose Brown when darkening the red for shadows too.  And, of course, I top EVERY design off with Wolfe black and white for my darkest darks and brightest whites!

Thanks for the inspiration today, Caribou, and of course the yummy in my tummy! Here’s a little free promo art for you, ha ha!

Happy painting! 🙂

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New Time Lapse Video: Knotted Hand

My hands have been a little “tied up” this morning working on this latest design!  Keep scrolling down for a time lapse video of this one being painted…

 This was a fun one…I used Wolfe black for the blackest gaps, and then everything else was done using Paradise paints (black, white and brown).  The majority of everything I paint is done with two round brushes…I really am loving Loew-Cornell’s 7000 series brushes.  They have stood the test of time for me, keeping a nice point longer than previous brushes I’ve tried.


Finished hand with the original sketch

Here’s a video…or click here to see via YouTube and subscribe to my channel!
happy painting! 🙂

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Yes, this IS a “REAL Job!”

If you’ve been a professional face painter for any amount of time, chances are you know what it’s like to tell people what you do, then brace yourself for the most common reactions:

“Oh, so what’s your real job?”  

“So that’s really a thing?!”


[ deer in headlights … crickets … ]

Or maybe someone you know has seen photos of your work, not knowing it’s your job, and exclaimed, “you could get PAID to do this!”  (yes, yes I do, and and very well, thank you!)

I know that all of these comments I hear come from completely well meaning friends and acquaintances.  I try to remind myself that this is just evidence of the fact that I have been SO blessed to be able to turn my passion into my profession, getting paid to do something that people consider too fun to be a “real” job.

However, I thought I’d take this opportunity today to hopefully open some of these people’s eyes to just how big and far reaching the field of face and body art is!

So, here is my ever growing list of things you can do in the face and body art world…

You can entertain at events.
Starting with the obvious, this is the one that most people already know, and many think our profession stops here. I have painted, twisted, and done henna at birthday parties, company picnics, customer appreciation events, weddings, school carnivals, city festivals, county fairs, family reunions, holiday celebrations, senior lock-in’s, baby blessings, baby showers, amusement parks, restaurants, sporting events…the list goes on and on.  But while entertaining at events alone can be plenty good income by itself, the need for our talents does not stop there!

You can create iconic movie characters.
Can you imagine any of these characters without their makeup? Movie makeup and special FX is an entire thriving industry on it’s own.

You can be published in magazines. (or be a publisher!)
Yes, there are entire publications dedicated to the face and body art world!  Some have stopped printing, while other new ones continue to appear.  There are print magazines and electronic magazines.  I’ve had my art, step by step’s and articles published in magazines from across the globe, both in industry magazines and mainstream magazines and newspapers. While I haven’t drawn any paychecks directly from being published, I do put some value on the exposure it gets me.  (Yes, I know, if you’re a professional painter, the word “exposure” may have made you throw up in your mouth just a little bit.  I can promise you that sending in your already created artwork for publication that you’ve already been paid to create is NOT the same as being asked to paint for hours at an event in exchange for exposure!) 😉 If nothing else, it gives me some fun things to share on my press page!

You can do costume makeup and private sessions.
I have done many private sessions for Halloween costume makeup for those attending parties or entering competitions, and theater makeup for those performing in plays and skits.

You can kick start the zombie apocalypse.
A face painter can make pretty good money taking advantage of zombie fan events like zombie pub crawls.

You can paint at mock crime scenes.
Some artists are hired to paint realistic wounds on those acting out crime scenes for police training.

You can be the life of a themed wedding.
Some brides and grooms really go all out with their themed weddings, requesting that their entire wedding party be transformed into characters to fit! I know of at least one wedding in my area that was held around Halloween and the bride, groom and attendants were all painted with sugar skulls. Check out this work done for a Grinch themed wedding around Christmas time, by Melissa Sarieka Almariei!

You can help people live out their cosplay fantasies.
Those who are really serious about their cosplay hire body painters to attend events and win competitions.

Your work can be the focus of a huge, corporate advertising campaign.
AT&T’s ads containing hand paintings were voted “America’s favorite magazine ad” by consumers. Check out all of the incredible ads here.  Who else has used body painting for advertising campaigns?  Try Ford Motor Company, Worldwide Wildlife Federation, Gold’s Gym, Kimberly-Klark Professional, and several more, highlighted here.

You can get (and give) “coverage” in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue.

Yes, some models wear nothing but painted on bikinis, but you can’t argue that this isn’t great “exposure” for the body painting industry! (Yes, the images below are all nothing but paint!)

You can paint your way onto a cruise ship.
Many artists entertain on cruise ships.  For just an hour or two of painting per day on at-sea days only, face painters and balloon twisters can go on a cruise with a guest for only the administrative fee of about $45 per night, per couple.  I’m personally on a list of approved entertainers to do this, but haven’t been able to take advantage of this opportunity yet since having kids!

You can be a reality TV star.
Yes, there are actually reality TV shows about body painters! Check out Skin Wars , Face Off, and  Naked Vegas!

You can enter competitions.
I personally love competitions because they force me to paint things I never would have thought to paint otherwise.  However, if you find the right competitions and do well in them, you can not only get some publicity, but win some nice prizes!

A few of my entries to Illusion Magazine’s contests over the past couple years

So what ELSE can you do beyond the physical PAINTING aspects of this industry??
There are many more ways to make money in this industry beyond being hired hourly for the painting itself!

You can travel the globe teaching at conventions.
Most conventions don’t pay your way to come teach, but some do.  Many artists who teach at conferences also hold workshops before, during or after the conference for extra fees.
East Coast Convention, Connecticut
Face And Body Art International Convention, Florida
Face Painting and Body Art Convention, St Louis, MO
Kapital Kidvention, Washington, DC
BAYFaba, San Francisco, CA
JAMvention, Belgium
Australian Body Art Awards and Convention, Melbourne
UK Face and Body Art Convention
World Bodypainting Festival, Austria 
Festival of Colors, Cologne
BodyCon Dallas

There have been many others around the world that have come and gone, but as far as I know all of these are still an annual event. These are just the face and body art ones that come to mind for me…there are countless others for balloon twisting, henna, and other forms of artistic entertainment!

So many conventions! I’m SO excited to be teaching at JAMVention this fall!

You can publish books.
I’ve self published 6 of my own books, but there are a multitude of amazing books available today on the subject of face and body painting.

A few of my books!

You can run an entertainment agency.
I also work as an agent, sending other local artists to events I can’t attend, or contracting them to work alongside me at events that require multiple artists.

You can become a retailer.
10 years ago I opened up my online store,  Not only do I ship supplies and tools to artists all over the world, but my site also serves as a place for artists to find inspiration, articles, e-newsletters, events, and more.

Some of the hundreds of products I sell

You can create your own products.
With my background in industrial design, I constantly have product ideas running through my head.  So far the ones I have actually developed myself and now sell are print related, as they are easiest for me to have made myself…PainterTemplates practice templates, photo prop boards, custom word menu design, and pocket balloon menu cards are among the products that I’ve created and now sell.  I know other artists who have designed and sell their own stencils, brushes, and more!

word menus, photo prop boards, balloon menus, practice sheets

You can be a business coach.
My wonderful and talented friend Lori Hurley, for example, is incredibly gifted in the business side of entertainment.  (Hopefully she doesn’t mind me tooting her horn!) She travels the country teaching others about the business side of our art at conventions, and selling her books, and last year put together an incredibly valuable business conference in our area that I had the opportunity to teach at. There are SO many artists out there who have their art form down, but struggle with the business side. Who better to advise them than someone who is in the same type of business?

I loved speaking at the MN Family Entertainers & Artists’ Business Conference last year!

And what MORE can you get than MONEY?
Yes, the point of this blog is to educate people that you CAN make a good living in this industry. However, sometimes the biggest and most rewarding things come from the things we do out of the goodness of our hearts!  These are a few of my most favorite ways to use my talent…

You can spread the message of salvation.
I personally have taken my face painting and balloon twisting on a missions trip, as have many other artists I have met.  It’s amazing to see the reaction our art brings to kids in other countries!  There is also a thing called “gospel painting.”

You can help people feel beautiful.
Face and body artists have given the gift of feeling beautiful to so many people fighting cancer and other conditions like alopecia that cause a loss of hair.  I’ve also seen so many amazing paintings people have done on women who have lost their breasts to cancer.  Check out the Turning Heads Art Crown Project, the Breast Cancer Awareness Body Painting Project, and Henna Heals.  (These are not always done for free, but regardless, the beauty and confidence this brings is priceless!)

You can help people grieve.
I once had a little girl ask me to paint a heart with wings on her cheek, because her Mommy had just gone to heaven.  Last summer a little girl had me paint a beagle in memory of her dog who was just put down.  I’ve painted the pregnant bellies of women who have suffered the loss of previous babies.  Many people have henna done to help with their grieving process, as the gradual fading of henna represents their letting go of something or someone. 

You can make children smile.
Seriously, what can be better than having a job that makes children happy?  We all live for that “mirror moment” when a child sees their artwork for the first time! Many artists also volunteer in children’s hospitals, and I hope to do this in the near future as well!

Yes, face painting indeed IS even MORE than a “thing!”

So really, if you are interested in becoming a face painter, the question isn’t whether you can get paid to do this.  The question is, in which of the many different branches of face and body art would you most enjoy getting paid to do this?  How motivated are you to make something of it, and what do you need to do to get there?  If you have a natural talent for art, and an insane amount of self discipline and motivation, chances are you can turn your hobby into a business.

If you are a beginner looking into making face painting a career, here are a few articles you may benefit from: