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First birthday party doubts...

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First birthday party doubts...

Post by Coral3 on Wed May 16, 2012 3:24 am

So I decided to just jump in boots and all and went and ordered some business cards for my face painting. I did my first birthday party today. I didn't charge as it was for a friend's daughter & I was happy to do it free as a 'trial run' -just as well because I would have been embarrassed had she actually paid me! Now I'm nearly regretting having handed cards out...I can't believe how long it took me to get through everyone...and there were not a whole lot there, I only painted 12! I know I just need to paint a whole lot faster, but the other problem seemed to be wasted time - the kids are playing & doing other stuff while they're not being painted, so a couple minutes waiting here, few minutes waiting there between 'customers' & before you know it I've spent 2.5 hours painting 12 kids. Embarassed pale

So I've come away from it thinking that this (doing parties/events) is really not for me, hoping nobody actually RINGS me for another booking (as unlikely as that seems at this point), and wishing I hadn't gone and ordered those 500 business cards!!


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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by elantaura on Wed May 16, 2012 7:28 am

sigh... you have just had a bad expierience that is all.

Look at it as the lessons learned aspect. I am surprised I ever painted again after my first party.
I had loose pots and toddlers running of with the paints - lesson needed a palette.
it had 30 kids as opposed to 18 which I was told - lesson simplify designs (that was hard for me at the time)
I couldn't paint fast sitting - lesson I am a standing painter
my back hurt from bending to stand and paint- lesson need a high chair
kids running every where- quick lesson figured out then and there give each a number and call it out.

It is very hard that first party mabye get another party with a friend (for free practice) try numbering the kids and bring someone with you who you trust to say "let it go its good enough" (my hubby did that for me that day when he seen me stuggling) let the kids play and try calling out the numbers, see if that works better. You have fallen of your horse don't let it win.

and of course (((hugs))) and have some chocolate it makes everything better.
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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by Perry Noia on Wed May 16, 2012 7:54 am

You can't look at all the books and contests and think that everything you paint at a party is going to look like that... it won't. I won't wait long between kids, "who's next? anyone? have I painted everyone?" ... more than 2 minutes without another face in front of me and I'm putting my paints away. Most of my faces take 3 minutes, a couple of them take 5. A couple events with a nice long line and it'll speed up. Pick 10 or so designs that you are very comfortable with (including a butterfly, tiger, puppy and Spider-Man because they are necessary). Learn those 10 faces really well and if a particular thing is slowing you down, find a way to leave it out. Nothing should take you longer than 10 minutes even starting out and most should be under 8.
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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by leapinglizards on Wed May 16, 2012 8:29 am

Why throw in the towell? I mean, you wanted it enough at SOME point to order business cards.... So, why not identify what slowed you down, what needs to happen to move faster, and give it another shot. If you're needing more confidence, offer to do another birthday gig- or maybe one at cost for a small charity, and consciously try to shorten your time. Also, try a stop watch around your neck and start /stop it when you start / stop a painting- At the end, compare your paint time to total time you were there... If there's a huge difference, you need to work more on line management than painting speed and so on.

Look at the ergonomics of your set-up- Are you reaching too far for things you need all the time. Can you get to everything without walking.

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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by Denise Cold on Wed May 16, 2012 9:57 am

Yup, you just have to keep painting to get faster so the first dozen or so jobs are going to be painful. Don't charge by the hour. I just changed that this year so I could do full faces at a party and not spaz about it. You might warn the mom that you need more time than the average painter because you want to do nice faces so you will be charging by the party not the hour. I say this because I've had many mom's say they are trying to fit me between the cake and the pinata and only want an hour and they have 12 kids coming...see what I mean?

I also started giving up a lot of detail work that will have to wait until I've got my speed up. Liquid bling, gems, lots of white dots & stars, stencils, etc. all have to be sacrificed until you are down to 5 minutes per face.

Perry is right. Learn about 10 standard faces and have them down. Try to do them as FAST as you can. It will surprise you how fast you can do a tiger and a butterfly when you don't have to think about it anymore.

Good luck and as the book says "Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway!"
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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by PerfectlyPaintedFaces on Wed May 16, 2012 10:15 am

It's totally natural to feel discouraged after your first few gigs.

Especially if you spend a lot of time on the forum with these amazing quick face painters, and watch Youtube videos of people cranking out beautiful designs at the speed of lightning!

Everyone starts at the same level. It's those years of practice that make you fast and talented. Once you've done a butterfly 100 times, it becomes muscle memory and you can create it perfectly every time!

I agree with pairing down your designs to the simplest to start out with. Once you've mastered those, move on.
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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by Miss Ronnie on Wed May 16, 2012 11:38 am

Even after you get better, you'll still have days when you feel like your hand must be made of cement and you brain doesn't seem to be sending any intelligent or artistic messages at all to your face painting appendages.
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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by leapinglizards on Wed May 16, 2012 12:52 pm

I've said this before... but it can be repeated. I Love you all.... This is the most creative, honest, sharing, creative group of people I know!

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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by Coral3 on Wed May 16, 2012 1:46 pm

leapinglizards wrote:I've said this before... but it can be repeated. I Love you all.... This is the most creative, honest, sharing, creative group of people I know!

^ Ditto that!!! - You guys are all SO helpful & generous with your knowledge I love you

Part of me wants to hide at home just painting myself & family now...BUT the other part of me wants to master this & do it well (plus *sigh* I've still got those business cards now to get rid of!). So I'm taking all your advice on board & will have another crack at it.

I admit I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I want everything I paint to be the best I can do - but I can see now I need to just stick to pared-down/basic versions of things and perfect doing those faster. And I need to be less passive, and more assertive with moving along to the next kid.

THANK YOU ALL for taking the time to offer a newbie some advice, I really do appreciate it.
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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by Miss Ronnie on Wed May 16, 2012 2:26 pm

leapinglizards wrote:I've said this before... but it can be repeated. I Love you all.... This is the most creative, honest, sharing, creative group of people I know!

You took the words right out of my mouth... I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you
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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by artyfacesbyluz on Wed May 16, 2012 4:03 pm

I really think you have to feel like "I can't believe I getting paid to be here"
" I don't care about time"
"I am having a great time watching kids at the bounce house and not getting painted" to get thru the hard times and still in the game, did you really hate it?
There should be something about face painting that you love.
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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by Coral3 on Wed May 16, 2012 6:02 pm

I didn't hate it, and the kids & parents all loved what I painted - it's just that it took so long that I honestly wonder if I could ever be quick enough to make it worthwhile.
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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by Stacia on Wed May 16, 2012 6:18 pm

Oh dear sweet Coral...I took just as long at my first party. And I cringe when I see pictures of it now too. You WILL get there. It's practice practice practice. I didn't get down to 5 minutes a face till I threw myself into a PPF situation and had to sink or swim. not even a year later I'm starting to realize after painting the 10 kids I claim I can paint in an hour, I'm done in 45 minutes instead.

Hang in there, it gets easier.
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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by Guest on Wed May 16, 2012 8:14 pm

This is my opinion on this. If you can paint a decent face in 5-7 minutes then you are fast enough to charge (presuming the painting actually resembles what you intended it to!)

If however, it takes you 10 minute or MORE to actually paint one face, practise practise PRACTISE to get at least 8 basic designs down that you are able to finish in 5-7 minutes. Limit the choices to those you KNOW you can get done.

Add more choice as your speed and comfort level increases.

If your speed per face is adequate and the delays were related to the party activities it isn't a reflection on you or your ability.

You didn't charge them, so there isn't any reason to bummed by your perception of not being up to snuff. If they were pleased, then it was a learning experience.

If this one gig really turned you off this much... maybe it isn't for you? This is a job that you really need to enjoy, even with the crappy bits it is FUN. I may gripe about 45,678 butteflies in a row, but I still have fun painting them.

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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by Dex on Wed May 16, 2012 10:40 pm

Coral my first party was also for a friend and it seemed to take forever even thought I mostly did butterflies.
The problems were this, I didnt have enough space to put my stuff and I was too close to the food table so people were forever bumping into me.
So now I take my own table and chair and set up in the yard if I can. if you are right handed your paints should be on your right side, if you are left handed put them on your left.
The host also needs to tell everyone what time you will be packing up as some tend to leave it til the last minute, so make sure they know you will be leaving at 1pm or what evertime.

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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by Coral3 on Wed May 16, 2012 11:03 pm

Okay, so I spent the morning timing myself on quite a few of the designs I did yesterday. They're taking between 4 and 6 minutes (on myself, that is, which is not the same thing I know, but I have nobody else to paint at the moment).

I'm wondering if I'm losing too much time cleaning brushes between colours & people (I have two of each brush, one dedicated to white, the other for black/colour), and perhaps I also waste time picking up the brush I'm after ('oops that's the black brush, I need the white' & where's the size I want...etc. - even though they're all close at hand). I think I can perhaps take a smaller range of sizes for basic round brushes, which might cut that down. And that I need to train myself to place brushes down in a set order so I know exactly where each is all the time.

It's not that I don't enjoy the actual painting - I love that, I just feel appalled at the time it took me!

(...and being an impatient perfectionist I want to be good at it and good at it NOW Laughing )
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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by Guest on Wed May 16, 2012 11:43 pm

4-6 minutes is perfect. That's my average for full faces and I've been at this a LONG time. AND I have to clean my brushes between people, use clean sponges and brushes on each person.

If you can paint at that speed you should be able to do 10-15 per hour. Work on the time between kids and getting the next butt in the chair. Don't be afraid to make a point of being done at the end of the booked time - if they don't come, they don't get painted.

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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by JJJJJ on Thu May 17, 2012 8:00 am

Coral, it's so good that you're thinking it all out, too. There's so much value in pre-thinking the set-up, the situation, the way you'll lay it all out, what you bring, etc. The first public thing I did, I spent the night before envisioning the way I'd physically move through the entire thing, from set-up to painting to the end. Sort of like what sports players do before games and while practicing. It sets up a sense memory in your brain and helps a LOT in the actual situation, even though the actual situation never unfolds exactly as planned (where would be the fun in that?). It will get better and better for you because you're sticking with it. All "disasters" have the seeds of greatness in them, as long as you stick it out and keep moving forward.

Wait - there's a quote like that on my refrigerator. I don't know who wrote it. It says, "When life kicks you, let it kick you forward." (I've had a lot of practice with that, as have we all, and of course, not just in the face painting world!) Surprised)

Best of luck to you! Surprised)

Joan

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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by Misha on Thu May 17, 2012 11:14 am

I only have a few jobs under my belt, less than a dozen. I can tell you this- every single one is a learning experience. My last one was the first I felt went smoothly!
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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by Jenlarouge on Fri May 18, 2012 9:53 am

Gotta add in my "Don't Give Up"! Not only are you clearly able to do this, your avatar is super super cute, but you are in a good position to need to do this. You have already invested in yourself with supplies and advertising and time to learn. We all have a different reason for wanting this gig, whether it is because we love to color or we need to be able to work weekends so we can pick up our kids after school, but it really is an awesome gig and not everyone will get to do it. You got the goods! Organization is key, and when you figure out what works you will share it here for some other person and maybe provide their "ah, ha!" moment. Very Happy
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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by artyfacesbyluz on Fri May 18, 2012 4:19 pm

I use to be a part of an Artist Association, doing a lot of show, galleries, expos and festivals with oil paintings, they start looking down at me when I started doing face painting it was like "prostitution of the art" for them, I lot a lot of gigs from that club and when I left I asked them (50 great visual artists) who wanted to replace me, none of them wanted, they can sell a painting for 1.000 dollars, I need to paint so may faces to make that money, some of them don't like kids, and others think is too much work, so you need to find a passion for it some times is that perfect moment when you hold the mirror, or when the birthday kid waits for you at the door or when you see the pictures of your work and want to go back and do it again..
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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by bemusedart on Fri May 18, 2012 4:24 pm

If you have kids, volunteer to paint at a school event. You will get very good at going fast.
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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by Coral3 on Fri May 18, 2012 6:52 pm

bemusedart wrote:If you have kids, volunteer to paint at a school event. You will get very good at going fast.

I have a son who is 5, which is one of the things that pushed me to start doing b'day parties now, rather than put it off as a 'maybe one day...'. I figure that now, while I have a whole network of Mums with young children around from my son's school, is the best time to start if I want to do this (I'm thinking of word of mouth referrals as parents chat amongst themselves while waiting to pick their kids up). No good waiting until he's in high school - of course I could still do it then, but would be marketing myself to a group of parents I'm not part of.

One of the Mums on the Parent Committee has mentioned the school fair needing a face painter to me, so that could be a possibility. Although I do know that in the past at school events they've had face painting by volunteers (ie. any parents who want to have a crack at it!)...with predictable results!! I wouldn't want to be lumped in with a group of volunteers like that - wouldn't want people thinking I did the rubbish painting! No
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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by Perry Noia on Fri May 18, 2012 7:21 pm

if you do it for the school (I do it for my kids' school every year), charge $5 for any size face and the school gets a percentage. For my own kids' school, I give back 50%, but usually events like that get 30%... I keep the 50% option only for events that I feel close to. At that price, your line will be manageable and unless the school is enormous, you may not even need another painter. The only time I did a school event where I couldn't keep up was where I realized that the 2 tickets they were giving me for face painting were only a dollar a piece!! OMG, no wonder the line is out the door and no, I can't paint any faster!
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Re: First birthday party doubts...

Post by Dex on Fri May 18, 2012 7:42 pm

I met another painter through a school fair, just when we were both starting out. I was in the line with my kids waiting, She had a line a mile long, they were only charging $3 per face!. However, all the volunteers that were working with her were not sticking with it and wandering off after a few faces to get a drink or eats and using her paint and brushes ect and things were just everywhere, which meant she was going slower because she could never find anything when she needed it. Needless to say her paints were a little worse for wear after it.
Do what Perry said, but I would also ask to be the only one in that situation, just simplify your designs and offer eye art like monster eyes, angry birds and rainbows.
But yes even now I feel a little hesitant turning up to a birthday gig, but I'm always happy with the result when it's time to leave!

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