There are lots of good reasons for a face painter to want to speed up their painting process such as being able to service more customers within a job, saving both their time and yours, and potentially increase revenue. This can however be a double edged sword as to gain speed you will end up sacrificing quality and potentially ruin the customer’s experience.
This list is the best collection of tips that I can offer to both increase speed and maintain a level of quality, whilst also engaging with the customer, adult or child, so that they don’t feel discontent with the experience.
I understand that everyone has their own way of working and therefore their own opinions. I offer this as a list of suggestions based on personal experience and hope that you take what you can from this list and apply it to your process.
1. Work out of a photo board or book.
The worst position you can be in is having a child sitting in your chair, unsure of what design they want, and a line full of children behind them, standing in wait. Having the child look through a book full of your designs, and choose one from that selection is beneficial as it will cut down on selection time and also force the child to pick a design that you’re familiar with opposed to on that they have picked out of thin air. I know this can stifle your creativity but once they have picked a design, you can start painting the child almost the moment they sit down. When it comes to speeding up your process, every second counts. Having the child pick one of your designs from a book can save you a few minutes that could be spent painting one more child in line. And if the child that you’re up to in the line hasn’t yet picked a design, sit them down with the book elsewhere whilst you start on the next child. Click Here For Photo Board Ideas
2. Only put designs in your book or board that you can paint in three to five minutes.
Don’t let this stop you from attempting more detailed faces. Use this to ensure that each child will get painted within the allotted time, and if time is on your side, it is entirely your choice to embellish further. Take note that it is often best to embellish on the simpler one to two minute designs rather than ones that you have already spent a little overtime on. If the other children want the same design, then the whole process will run overtime. Sometimes it’s even best to give the best detailed design to the birthday child and use them as your yardstick for quality if you do not have the time to do most of the children in a similar fashion.
3. Less designs in your book or board means more familiarity.
You might have the ability to paint 200 full face designs really well if given the time, but when you’re on the clock, having closer to 30 designs in your book will really cut the fat. Although having many designs will keep it interesting for you, painting the same 30 designs over and over lets you become experts at doing them faster and faster, and better quality.
Limiting your base colors will also help speed up your process – keeping it to three to five base colors maximum means less unnecessary colors, less sponges, and less cleaning up.
4. No Cheek Art
Although cheek art uses less paint than full face designs, they take longer due to the amount of detail and care necessary to achieve higher quality designs.
5. Paint Selection
One type of face paint is the best option when trying to cut down on speed. You will never really need a bright red in cake form, crème form and liquid form. Stick to one type of paint that you’re confident with and it’ll save you time. Click Here To Pick Your Favorite Face Paints!
6. Water Source and Brushes
Washing every brush as you use it is time consuming, paint wasting, and brush damaging. You can do a five hour painting job and still have clear water at the end, which means if a concerned parent comes around to watch your process, they won’t end up thinking you’re washing your brushes in toilet water.
Letting the paint dry onto a brush during a job isn’t necessarily a bad thing. All it takes is a drop of water and working that brush a little back into the original cake for the brush to be refreshed. This saves the paint you would have otherwise lost in the water cup, wear and tear on the brush from being re-cleaned every five minutes and time overall on each child’s design. This will however mean that you will end up purchasing considerably more brushes (and a decent brush holder), but you will end up having those brushes for much longer due to them being used less and being better cared for.
This doesn’t mean you can’t use a red brush with pink paint. You can use the same brush for similar colors – red, pink, purple and lilac can all use the same brush provided that you never overload your brush to begin with, and you mix the original paint thoroughly. Have a brush or two for each color group (reds/pinks/purples, blues/greens, yellow/orange, black/brown etc.) and when possible, paint light colors to dark. It is easier to paint a dark color over a light color and saves cleaning time.
Click Here to See Our Brush Tubs, Holders, Washers & More!
7. Brush Selection
Do not use sponges where you should use a brush and vice versa. The right tool for the right design is paramount in achieving both quality and speed. You might be able to paint a leaf with a fine round brush, but you could do it quicker with a filbert brush. Consider your own painting style and pack your kit accordingly. Using the same brush or sponge for several things can also create varied, quality designs without compromising time. Large flat brushes are great in that respect as it can be used one way in a 3/4” line or another in a 1/16” line. Twisting it anyway in between will give you many more varying brush strokes. Double loading a brush or sponge means that you can create two-tone flower petals or the like without having to use two separate brushes or sponges which would take double the time. Click Here to See Our Range Of Face Painting Brushes!
8. Split-Cakes, 1Strokes, Prismas…
Having your own split-cakes means you can quickly paint rainbows or multiple colors on in one brushstroke or sponging as opposed to painting each color separately, which will save you HEAPS of time! Check out our Split-Cake Range Here Today!
9. Don’t Bring All Your Supplies To Every Gig
Even though its great to have a big range of face paint supplies, you do not necessarily need all of them for every event. This is also something to keep in mind when creating your photo book or board. Make sure all the designs can be done on roughly 18 colors or less. I know this might actually seem a little big – after all, you can mix most colors in a basic 8 or 12 color palette, but having a few extra pre-made paints cuts down on mixing time.
Some people paint sitting. Some paint standing. Some do a combination. However, consider the time you take to move around the child whilst painting and in between jobs. If you can’t get the child up from their seat and the next one in position ready to paint in less than 30 seconds that you are wasting precious time. Having the child sit close to you will also save strain on your lower back.
How you position your supplies is equally important. Convenience is key. One important thing to remember is never having to turn around 180 degrees to load a brush or sponge. Everything should be kept at arm’s length. Having your supplies put out the exact same way at every job will develop your muscle memory to always reach in a particular direction for a particular supply which will cut down on confusion and time loss.
11. Lefty or Righty?
If you paint better on the left side of someone’s face because you are right handed, or vice versa, it might be ideal if you change your designs to have the detail sit on the side you are most comfortable painting. In the case of cheek art, most children won’t care what side it’s on, and if it’s more comfortable one way, you’ll feel more confident doing it, and subsequently get through the design faster and produce it at a higher quality.
12. Working with Kids
I will often steer the child’s head with my hand to get them to move the way I need them to get the design done and make the process faster. It is much more efficient than constantly moving yourself for them although letting them know what you’re doing as you do it adds a level of comfort. Whilst it may seem invasive, most children have had their faces painted before, and are used to the process. Even if they aren’t, they will see their friends handle it well, and respond to it similarly.
Talking through a design and asking the child to move themselves can also be beneficial – you don’t want to move a child yourself in a way they are not comfortable in and it allows them to partially involve themselves in the process. This can help you achieve a more positive attitude from the child when the design is complete.
13. Combine Customers
If four teenagers come up and want to be painted like KISS, it is far less time consuming to do all of their base coats first, and then follow up with design and detail opposed to doing each one separately. Same goes for any group of kids who all want the same designs.
Have a portable mirror close at hand. This is important so that the child can continuously see what you’re creating on their face, and it is also quite rewarding just to see the child’s pleased reaction as it gives you the opportunity properly end your interaction opposed to you hastily turning them out and moving on to the next child. Having a free standing mirror handy nearby can also be helpful if you want to move onto your next child without seeming unkind. As the child is reviewing the design independently, you can begin the next child in the line, and if any changes need to be made, or details added, get them to wait until you’ve applied the next child’s base coat, and as that is drying, you can go back and amend the design.
If you’re working a birthday party and being paid by the hour, then this is not an issue. But if the gig is based on payment per face, it might be best to hire someone else to do the cash handling. If it is a small gig where you have a little time in between, you have to make sure you keep your money organized, and well stocked with change. A fanny pack is often your best choice as it keeps your money close to you, and it’s always best to wait til close before counting and settling up the account with your booth manager.
If only we could stamp the bottom corner of each design with our name and contact details. As time saving as it would be no child would want it, and even if they would allow it, once the child got home, they would wash it off. Your best bet for getting your name and details out at functions is to hand out business cards but that can often be tricky if you don’t specifically have table space to display them, and most of your focus for the gig is on a child’s face. It is best to keep business cards in a clear secure pocket of your photo book with invitations to take one at will. If you have an easel set up with a photo board on it, stacking business cards at the bottom will also work.
17. Question Time
Many people will have questions for you, often relating to the type of paints you use, how to remove them, and what kind of gig you are available for. HavingFAQ signs up stating that (“we only use FDA cosmetic-compliant water-based face paints intended for use on children”, “Our safe face paints can be removed easily with mild soap and water” or “yes we are available for hire for private and corporate events”) along with prices for each design will save you time explaining and give you more time to paint.
If the gig you’re doing is going to last for quite a few hours, make sure you can position everything you need close to you so you don’t have to give up. Having crumb free, non-oily snacks on hand (grapes, nuts etc.) will help you get through the day and is far less time consuming than a 20 minute break.
19. Paint Multiple People At The Same Time
This technique makes face painting unbelievably fast and easy! Check out this post to read more!
20. Time Management
Don’t ever let the fact that you have more kids in line than time left affect your abilities. Quality is just as important and maintaining it throughout a job is key. If all your designs at the beginning are spectacular and the rest are below par, you need to better manage your time. Before agreeing to an event, ensure that you have sufficient time per face. If the person hiring you wants you for only two hours and there are 50 kids present, make sure that they understand that you will not be able to produce 50 high quality designs and that three hours would be a much better suffice if that’s the case. Make it a part of your contract that you cannot paint more than 20 children per hour. Although you want to increase the amount of faces painted, you also do not want to walk away from a job a disheveled mess.
I understand that this is a lot to consider, but in doing so, it will help you squeeze at least a handful or so of extra faces per hour. Managing the time you have is the most important thing to consider as your long term future in this business will come from quality rather than quantity and speed. If you can take the time to allow a little creativity and see that big smile from the child it will bring you more long term reward than painting 50 faces in an hour. If you do end up producing 50 faces an hour (not impossible either) you will find that the job will become a lot more like work, and a lot less rewarding and fun.
Feel free to offer your own suggestions and speed tips if you have them, and Happy Face Painting!