1. Ask the person being painted what design they want. It’s crucial to get a sense of what your customer wants before you begin. Clear communication about his or her needs is key for the success of your work.
- Have a board that shows what you can offer. This can help people make a decision and will save time as well as show off your skills.
- If you’re working with children, you should be ready to provide the child with ideas in case he or she is indecisive.
- If you’re working with a big group, you should make sure that the person who is next in line also knows what he or she wants to avoid delays.
2. Have a finished product in mind. Once your subject makes a decision, it’s important to have an idea of what the finalized face will look like.
- If you plan on using any glitter, special effects, or tattoos, make a note of this, so you don’t end up adding them too late in the process.
- Think fast. Kids are impatient and may change their minds if you take too long.
3. Prepare your canvas (the person’s face). Be sure to clean the skin of any existing makeup or product.
- Never paint someone with open cuts or sores on their face because this can cause them harm and may spread infection to your other customers. Opt to paint their arm instead.
- Tie hair back and secure flyaway that might interfere with application.
- Watch out for long earrings or any other jewelry that may interfere with your process.
- Have your subject practice sitting still as you clean his or her face. If it’s a child, putting a hand on the back of his or head can be helpful.
4. Work from light to dark. It is much easier to paint over lighter colors than dark colors.
- This will make it easier for you to add darker colors as you move forward, and to avoid having to start over.
5. Work from broad to detailed. You should apply a solid base of color before you move into the finer details of the face.
- Use a sponge to cover a face in a certain color before you begin the details.
- Thick brushes work for large swathes of color.
- Thin brushes work best for fine details.
6. If necessary, add bumps and warts. Don’t forget to add these special effects early on so you can paint over them.
7. Wait for your paint to dry after every coat. Having patience will keep you from blending or smudging the paint you have worked so hard to apply.
Let the first color dry before you apply a second. If you don’t wait, then the two colors may mix together and you will have to begin again.
Fill in the colors slowly after you wait, making sure not to mix them, so you avoid smudging.
Instead of one thick coat of color, apply several thin coats of color to avoid cracking.
8. Apply extras when necessary. If you planned to use glitter or stamps, make sure you’ve worked them into your painting plan.
- Glitter can be mixed with paint and applied any time.
- If you’re using stamps or tattoos, make sure to leave room on the face for them.
9. When you’re done, give the face time to dry. All the time you’ve spent on creating the perfect look will be ruined if you don’t give it enough time to settle.
- Instruct the person you’ve painted not touch their face for about 5 minutes to allow it dry
- Alternatively, use a hand held fan to dry the paint more quickly.
10. Hold up a mirror to show your customer the result. He or she will be impressed by your efforts and will be ready to show off his or her new look.
- Take a photo of your subject to show future customers.
- Have your subject show off his look for your customers, or potential customers. This will help you gain credibility as a face painter, whether you’re trying to make a living or just looking for more potential subjects for the fun of it.
- Always practice a new design before painting it on someone to be sure you can do it quickly and neatly.
- Experiment with different painting utensils such as q-tips, cotton balls to achieve different effects.
- Mixing the paint with a little bit of water on a saucer makes it flow better.
- Look at another face painter’s art online and sketch a simplified version with a pencil.
- Use cosmetic face paints with anti-microbial properties to prevent spreading germs from one person to another.
- Ensure that the paint is not contaminated with food or debris between clients–especially allergens such as peanut butter. Faces should be clean and dry before painting.
- If you plan to do face painting professionally, it would be advisable to get Public Liability Insurance.