I get requests for budget friendly parties and we can usually work something out. Lately people have been asking us to disrupt the space/time continuum. Sorry but like most artists, I flunked physics. Case in point: Budget was $100 and they needed 200+ kids to be painted. "We love your work and want your standard 5 minute designs, nothing fancy." Even if I could get every kid in and out of the chair in 3 minutes, one artist would need 10 hours to paint 200 faces. I explained to her that she needs several artists to handle this kind of traffic. She wasn't getting the math that her budget wasn't realistic. I'm reminded of word problems in high school (If a face painter leaves a gig at 2:30 but realizes she forgot her sponges after driving 12 miles,...). I wished her well and said my standard: Please make sure whoever you hire is using cosmetic face paint and not acrylic."
I offer a free theme painting for every booking. A Mom calls and says her daughter LOVES ladybugs. Her room is ladybugs. Her clothes are ladybugs, draws ladybugs, etc. AWESOME! So the Mom sends me this plate that she is using at the daughter's birthday party. So cute! I am excited to come up with a cute design based on this plate. I told the Mom that I always bring my regular menu of the "favorite" designs to every party unless I am asked not to. She says that's great. I show up and the birthday girl gets in my chair. I say, "Happy birthday and where do you want this cute ladybug painted?" She says, "I want a skull." Ummm. Mom? Mom looks shocked... tries for like 3 tedious minutes to convince this girl to get a ladybug, but she wasn't having it. She saw the skull on my menu and that's what she wanted. Trust me, this is going to be hilarious in the family photo album or on Facebook. I have to say it bothers me when parents try to cajole kids into the designs they like to see. I can understand some subtle suggestions... or no face painting at all if there is a family photo taken the next day. I get that. The gender thing is wrong also. Let the boy get a Frozen design - boys love that movie too. A boy may just have come back from the butterfly museum and he's excited to get a butterfly, but the Dads won't let them. Who is this for? Face painting is for the child, right? Anyway, the ladybug theme Mom backed down and her darling girl got a skull despite her ladybug dress, plates, napkins, cake and banners. LOL! The only person at the entire event that got a ladybug was Mom. So don't focus on theme too much, Moms! :D
Pictures last a lifetime.
It's price -vs- value. When people call to get price quotes, I wish I could explain what they're actually getting for their money. It might seem like you could just ask the price per hour and go with the cheapest. First of all, what is the point of paying $50 per hour for someone who can only paint 6 wobbly nightmares per hour? We can paint 12-16 kids per hour, guaranteed. And not little balloons - most of the stuff in my gallery is 5 minutes or less. FRUSTRATING! Wow, some of the stuff I have seen around town is shockingly bad. Like, even simple paintings that look like an 8 year old did them. Don't let this happen to you! :-(
Mileage may vary
I bring a hand painted menu to my events that does not depict the design on a face. I did the menu this way for several reasons. First of all, if a client has a bunch of extra siblings show up to the party, I can modify the designs to make them quicker. Maybe they are only on one eye, or just less detail. If you show up with a menu of faces painted, kids expect to see that when they look in the mirror. The other reason is that multiple artists work off my menu. Our work will NEVER look the same.
Meanwhile you're afraid of gluten?
RED ALERT - Acrylic paint spotted again. In my never ending crusade to rid the face painting world of acrylic paint, I ask you to educate yourself. PLEASE make sure your kids are being painted with face paint or makeup. If you see those bottles of craft paint from Michaels - RUN. Acrylic paint is not approved for use on skin. What if they got some in their mouth - is it toxic or what? Acrylics are specifically formulated to be color fast for a century of exposure to UV rays in case a painting is hanging next to a sunny window!!!!! I saw a lady camped out in front of Front Range BBQ with craft paint recently. It made me really upset. She is doing harm to my industry as well as kids. I just know sooner or later one of these poor kids faces will swell up or burn. So being the shy retiring person I am, I asked her if I could GIVE her some face paint and if she would pretty please stop using acrylic. She declined. At least I tried.
And while we're talking about acrylics, lets talk about buzz words. Some are labeled "Non-Toxic". Parents have somehow decided that this means it's ok to slather it on their children's faces. The other buzz word I that makes me want to get stabby is "natural". Sweetheart, arsenic and asbestos are natural and they will both kill you. You're afraid of gluten and corn syrup, but you're putting acrylic paint and imported henna on your skin? Weird.