Apr 11

The need for speed – Part 2: Faster Face Painting Tips

Fast Face Painting Tips

Recently I wrote this blog post about the balance between quality and quantity as a face painter. This post follows on from there, and is aimed at face painters out there who are struggling to maintain that balance.

If you’re a face painter wanting to increase your speed, the great news is you can indeed achieve faster face painting without compromising your quality or hygiene. While an extra pair of arms or the ability to stop time would be ideal, the next best thing I can offer you is this set of face painting tips that will help you to streamline your face painting process.

  1. Know where everything is, and keep it there. A tidy kit means that you’re not wasting 30 seconds here and there trying to find your number 2 round brush, or your body glue.
  2. Set up your kit in a way that improves speed. Keep your most used items closest to your immediate painting space. You can keep your least used items on the other side of your kit.
  3. Know your designs. Looking up references or step-by-steps to get a design right takes minutes out of your painting time. Sure there are some very obscure requests here and there, but if you are on top of what’s popular this will reduce any wasted time on google.
  4. Know your process. The steps you take to complete each design have a certain order. This order is different for each design, and changes depending on the techniques you’re using or even the colours you choose. Knowing the right order for each design limits thinking time, and time spent fixing mistakes. Outlined before laying down the base? Laid down a red base then tried to put white detail over the top? Laid down some beautiful one-strokes then stencilled over it before it was dry, and lifted the whole thing off on the back of your stencil? Yep, you know what I mean. Know your process, and this won’t happen.
  5. Review and optimise your process. Are there any parts of your process where you’re sitting around waiting for things to dry before you can take the next step? Consider changing the order around to minimise wasted time, or take that step out altogether. For example, can you stencil first, then do your one-strokes? Can you apply that body glue earlier in the process so you don’t have to waste time waiting for it to dry? Are white highlights really necessary right now?
  6. Use ready-to-go stick-ons for more impact in less time. We all know that gems, bling and glitter are great for lots of impact. If you stick to bigger gems as your focus instead of fiddling with lots of tiny ones, you’ll save time. How about using stick-on googly eyes on your cartoon design instead of waiting for that dot of white paint to dry before adding the black pupil?
  7. Limit changing brushes or colours. Every time you swap brushes or colours, you have to wash out a brush and reload. This can add 30 seconds per change depending on how much you need to work up the next colour. Try to review your design to see if you can do it with a single load of the same colour on the same brush.
  8. Work up your paints before you start your gig. Some types of face paint and certain colours need to be really heavily worked up before they are ready to use. Take a minute before you begin to work up any stubborn colours, or give your drier brands of paint a light spritz in advance so that they’re easier to work up when you need them.
  9. Work from a reduced list of simple designs on busy jobs. Taking weird requests and heaps of thinking and problem-solving out of the equation speeds things up immensely. Also, using a list instead of a visual board means that you can adjust and simplify your designs depending on the length of the line without getting called out on it by the kids.
  10. Have obvious signage to help kids decide on what they want before they sit in your chair. My sign asks for them to choose a design and pick their favourite colour before reaching the front of the line. Sometimes it still makes no difference and they umm and ahh for a while, but making this simple request explicit early on can reduce minutes per hour.
  11. Forget cheek art! Most parents will ask for something little on their young child’s cheek because they think that it will take less time. They don’t realise that the tiny detail actually takes longer, especially if the child is young and wriggly. Have some fast go-to recommendations like a one stroke rainbow or flower ready to suggest, before they have their heart set on Thomas the Tank Engine!
  12. Set up a mirror to the side of your station. When a child is finished being painted, instead of holding up a mirror for them, direct them to that side mirror to take a look instead. This way they are out of your chair quickly, and can spend as much time as they like admiring themselves off to the side while the next child is already in your chair and ready to go. You also aren’t interrupted constantly by children asking you to hand them your mirror for another look (which is a great way to lose your mirror!).
  13. No photos in the chair. At busy gigs I have signage that asks parents to kindly help their child out of the face painting chair before taking photos of their fabulous face. Waiting for parents to get the perfect photo can waste minutes per child, and is easily fixed with a polite reminder.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but collectively these face painting tips can speed up your work substantially without having to oversimplify the quality of your work.

I have lots more faster face painting tips up my sleeve! For more face painting tips that will help you streamline your processes and make every booking go smoothly, consider booking in for my Going Pro face painting workshop. This is a custom workshop that is aimed at face painters who are ready to take the next step and make money from their art form. It covers advanced product knowledge, kit essentials for professionals, basic requirements to start a face painting business, loads of tips and tricks to make even the busiest booking go smoothly, and advanced techniques through lots of designs that you’re likely to come across on the job. You’ll leave the class with a booklet of notes, and a sense of direction and confidence in what to do to get your face painting business up and running. This workshop is by appointment only for individuals and small groups, so contact me today if you’d like to know more.

Happy Painting!

Juicy Body Art & Face Painting, Melbourne

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