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Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

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Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by Kammy on Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:18 am

Hi all,

So, it's my first small gig on Saturday. Just 2 hours, relaxed atmosphere, raising funds for a little girl who was born with germ cell cancer. I really, really want to do well for her, so I've been practising every single day, several times over, and trying to work out a small set of designs that I can paint acceptably. I'm only being paid a tiny donation towards paint replacement - my time, on this one, is very happily freely given.

To avoid the impression that face painting is a low-value or free service, I've worded my sign as "All proceeds and tips today will be donated to Roma Chooses Life", and "Face painting services provided by Gillybean". I have no intention of devaluing the business for those who make their living from it, and really hope I don't.

My board has about 10 designs on it, but also a bit that says "These photos are just representative. Your face is unique. Your face painting will be, too!" in a hope to avoid It-doesn't-look-like-the-photo syndrome. I also have designs apart from those that I'll happily do as requests, so long as they're not too time-consuming when there's a queue.

What I'm looking for is pointers - things I might not have thought of that I should remember or do for the event. Remember I'm a total newbie who wasn't originally planning to do any gigs. I bought my original set of paints just to play with my wee boy and his friends, so I've sort of been dropped in this a bit when I was asked to help out! I want to do as good a job as I can, though, and raise money for little Roma.

Any hints for set up, pull down and everything in between would be very, very appreciated. Please help a gal here!

Thanks in advance,

Kammy x
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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by dartiegirl on Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:07 am

Good for you kammy, I can tell you have put a lot of thought and practice into your first event. And what a lovely way to start, with a gig close to your heart. Im sure you'll raise heaps.
I have no advice as I'm a newbie too but just wanted to wish you good luck x
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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by Perry Noia on Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:13 am

I think the signs saying that all proceeds benefit... and services provided by... are fine. I wouldn't bother with the images are representative part. They don't read it, you know what to say to the one or two that MIGHT say something along those lines... I hardly ever encounter it actually.

I'm sure you'll do fine. No one needs to know if or how much you are being paid for it all and don't worry about it. I'm sure many of us have one or two things that are close enough to our hearts that we give money or services to. Just don't do it too often or you'll become known as "the freebie painter" that everyone will always be asking.
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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by Kammy on Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:07 am

Perry Noia wrote:I think the signs saying that all proceeds benefit... and services provided by... are fine. I wouldn't bother with the images are representative part. They don't read it, you know what to say to the one or two that MIGHT say something along those lines... I hardly ever encounter it actually.

I'm sure you'll do fine. No one needs to know if or how much you are being paid for it all and don't worry about it. I'm sure many of us have one or two things that are close enough to our hearts that we give money or services to. Just don't do it too often or you'll become known as "the freebie painter" that everyone will always be asking.
Good point. I'll just use that space on the board for "I do pirates too!" then, as it's one of the quickest faces on the planet. ;-)

As for being "the freebie painter"...yeah. Not going to happen. I have very limited energy and a chronic pain condition. Anyone else wants me, they'd have to make it worth it. Laughing
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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by Facepainting by Tina on Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:22 am

As someone coming off of my very first gig, I was terified they would point and say....mine isn't exactly like THAT one! I painted all the pics on my boards, however every time you paint is different....once glitter was applied everyone instantly exclaimed their design looked even better than the boards (because the glitter didn't show up in the photos)...so I agree with Perry there, nobody will notice if it's slightly different. The parents/kids see the design on their cute little faces and they're instantly in love!!
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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by skjfunny on Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:35 am

Practice the way you are going to work...all paints and brushes in place so you can quickly reach them...each time you have to search time is lost and frustration can build. Two waters, one to wash one to wet brush that stays clean. Keep a brush for white and one for black always wet and ready. Pack baby wipes and a liquid that doesn't spill for yourself. Many also pack a hand towel. Don't forget a non breakable mirror. Set up so you can see your line and speak to people with a big smile and pretend you've been doing it for years. Fact is with the thought you have put into it you'll know more about what you are doing than anyone in your line...they see you as the pro so simply act like one. Wear your best smile and ALWAYS double check your area before leaving a gig...leaving a rainbow cake can produce rain clouds in your day. sunny
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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by Kammy on Thu Oct 04, 2012 12:49 pm

Thank you for that, skjfunny - much appreciated advice. Smile I've been thinking about and practising my setup, and I've already packed baby wipes, antibac hand gel, brush sanitiser spray and I'm going to pack large (to go on the table) and small (for me) very dark blue towels in my big wheeled scrapbooking tote. Thankfully I'm already a mad crafter, so I had all these things around!

I picked up a small, light whiteboard and pen today that'll fit in my tote, as I got a great deal on it (it was 1.99, including the pen!) and figured I can write on it anything I realise I forgot to state on the board. :-D

My lovely man brought me two brush tubs home the other day, and they each have two big wells, so that's taken care of. And I grabbed a simple but sensible brush stand today (packs flat in my kit box, clips together in about 10 seconds) for only 99p so that I have my brushes organised and to hand.

Phew. I'm hoping this all goes well. If preparation was all, it'd be the best gig ever. Laughing I don't do things by halves and if I've said I'll do something I'll do it to the best of my ability, but I also don't want to be "one of those" bad face painters who brings the whole art into disrepute. Wink

I'll definitely do the white-and-black-brushes thing!

Thanks again for the advice! Keep it coming....

Kammy x
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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by anniel on Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:10 pm

I wondered if you wanted to have a suggested minimum donation on your whiteboard, (or at least an idea of one) in case you start getting taken advantage of?
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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by Kammy on Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:18 pm

I've emailed the gig organiser about that. I'm hoping we'll have set prices (even if they're on the low side) and of course a tips jar that also goes to the charity. If not, I'll write the suggested minimum donation, or even set prices (if she leaves it up to me) on the terribly useful whiteboard I just got.

Thanks for the ideas!
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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by Kris5115 on Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:16 pm

I highly recommend a sign with something like:
Suggested Donations:
*insert lowest price here* - Simple / one eye designs
*insert medium price here* - Masks
*insert highest price here* - Full face
*insert up-sell price here* extra - Jewels and bling

Without posting a sign like this, I would usually get donations of only $1 but after suggesting the donation size I thought appropriate, I had no problems getting donations of that amount (usually around $5-$10). Huge difference!

Most people don't really know what face painting costs (especially when many will recall the free face painting little cheek art type thing they had done by some teenager using cheap paints) and what is appropriate to donate. You might still end up with someone cheap who only donates a small amount but you also might get some bigger donations too.


Last edited by Kris5115 on Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:17 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : some of the text didn't appear the first time)
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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by lady jynx on Thu Oct 04, 2012 3:34 pm

Good for you Kammy. Only pointer I can offer is remember this is fun!!! Your work is wonderful and they will love it. I spend so much time stressing about each upcoming gig that I am crying on the way there about how awful I will be. Crying or Very sad (It doesn't help that I always have the most amazing magician/balloon artist performing right next to me. I traumatize myself because he really is just that good. But he is always quick to support and encourage me. Embarassed ) However after about my 3rd design everything else is forgotten and I find my whole world in the chair in front of me. bounce Next thing I know I am painting a child for the 4th time and being gently informed that my line is cut off (I always insist at the last person) since my booking was over 20 minutes ago. lol

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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by JJJJJ on Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:28 pm

Kammy - If you are thinking and thinking so much ahead of time, and planning and planning, and visualizing and visualizing, then you are right on track!! Very Happy

You will do just wonderfully, and guess what? Your set-up and everything will evolve over and over, in some big and many little (and really helpful) ways with each new gig. And eventually, you will have something really set up which meshes with your personality and style, and it will all feel a little bit more calm before gigs.

Have lots of fun! That's the ingredient that makes everything else work well, even when things go kerflooey!

Smile Joan

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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by Kammy on Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:33 pm

Kris: I think I'll probably just have two price points, because most of the things I'm offering take me about the same amount of time and concentration - stuff like butterflies, princesses, Spidey masks, pirates, all the usual stuff that kids tend to enjoy. The lower price point will be for wuppies (!), simple rainbows on the arm, etc.

I'm not planning on taking jewels etc. with me despite having lots of them already, because I need to keep things fairly simple and fast at this point, and I don't have any face-safe glue anyway! I do have some glitter gels and a puffer of gorgeous fine rainbow glitter from Face Paint UK, so the kids will still get their bling. Laughing Do you think I should rethink the "no jewels" thing?

Lady Jynx: Thank you so much for your encouragement - I'm stunned that you consider my face painting "wonderful", and that's frankly made my night. Smile I'm a little nervous about the gig, but more about the practicalities. So long as I can make the children smile and raise a little extra money for Roma, I'll be perfectly happy.

You sound much like me in your "crying about how terrible you'll be" thing. I can be very low on confidence sometimes, but at others I'm quite content and easy going. Please don't be hard on yourself, I'm sure you thrill the kids with your work! Smile

I'm so grateful for this forum. I chose a new hobby, got thrown into an art, and now seem to be doing something semi-businessy! I know I'm no professional, but I'm inspired by all of you, and I love the encouragement and banter here. Thank you!

Kammy x
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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by Kammy on Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:35 pm

Joan - thank you! I'm not actually feeling anxious about the event at the moment, just excited, but I do really want to do as well as I possibly can. I also hear so much on FPF about amateurs and volunteers who have no idea what they're doing....and I don't want to be "that" person, y'know? Smile


Last edited by Kammy on Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by JJJJJ on Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:36 pm

You're already not THAT person! Have fun!

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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by Perry Noia on Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:02 pm

you don't need gems, until you are really comfortable with it all, it will just be a distraction and frustration point.... I still can't stand the darn things.
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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by PaintedFaces on Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:36 pm

I wouldn't ever do gems or any kind of prosthetic for a tips or donations event, personally. They're extra time and faff and extra upfront cost and you still might get the people who want the top of the range face for $1, which you are then paying for. Paint and glitter is awesome all by itself.

Save those for the tiered ppfs and birthday parties. Smile

You sound very well prepped and you've got some good advice already. You'll do just fine. If you have some, I'd take bobby pins. Fringes are a pain. Smile I usually just get the $1 shop ones and leave them in the child's hair.
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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by lady jynx on Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:51 pm

Just so you know Kammy once again my youngest is in here trying to get me to paint her. This time she wants your avatar. lol

Oh yeah if this is an out door event make sure you have plenty of water. I went on gig once at a campground in the middle of the woods expecting to be inside as they had us the year before. Nope they decided to put us outside as they had a full carnival going on. I was so thankful I hadn't unpacked the extra water bottles from taking my kids to the park the day before. Saved me a 1/2 mile walk or a $3 bottle every time I changed water.

Keep your comfort level in your work, space , and physical/body.

And again always remember to smile and have fun. I truly did have a horrible time trying to do my first iron man (couldn't for the life of me think of what he looked like) but the kid had so much fun directing and interacting with me to make him "perfect" that even though it came out awful (honestly I think it was the worst thing I had ever painted I just couldn't "picture" it) the parents left me a $5 tip. I found out later from the organizers that the parents had cried just for my having been able to draw out their reclusive son. He was 5 and usually only would say about 5 words. He stayed at my side chatting for 20 minutes. They couldn't believe it.

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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by JJJJJ on Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:16 pm

Lady Jynx - that's a cool story. Face painters provide lots more than a face painting. For some kids, it can be a special one-on-one experience.

And on the subject of Iron Man ... I did my first one copying from a scrap of paper at a festival. I hated it, but the little boy was thrilled, and since I'd been wanting to research it and put one on my board, his mom consented and I snapped his photo. I've always intended to do a better painting/new photo, but haven't gotten to it yet.

So I almost left it off my board for a major festival I did at the end of the summer. At the last minute, I told myself to quit being such a perfectionist and to just take the photo along and stick it on the board (waaaaaaay at the bottom Very Happy ).

And wouldn't you know? A little guy picked it, and I painted him, and after I was done, almost as a afterthought, his dad told me, "The only thing he talked about, all the way to this festival in the car this morning, was, 'I hope that the face painter has an Iron Man.' You have made his day."

And that story made my day!

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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by lady jynx on Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:52 pm

Very cool JJJJJ. Lucky you to have had a something to go off of. I had the passing thought to look it up on my partner's smart phone but he had just turned off the data package. lol It really is more the experience then I think. The art work is the "here is something to remember me by."

In the realm of touching stories, Same gig I had another little boy that jumped in my chair. He was also rather quite and very shyly asked if I would paint his head. When I said yes he jumped out of the chair with a hug for me. He proceeded to chat me up the entire time I did his snake on a staff. Didn't occur to me what I was painting till I was done and saw it was a medical symbol. Afterwards I found out that sure enough he was lost his hair to chemo and once again had another one drawn out of his shell by my partner and myself. In fact my partner had him up on stage during his magic show assisting. cheers

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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by lady jynx on Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:55 pm

It really isn't just the kids that get experiences out of the face painting. I know I have been touched many times over by many that have come to my chair. Each one has a story and it is amazing to the gift we are given.

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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by mslalahoney on Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:53 pm

skjfunny wrote: Wear your best smile and ALWAYS double check your area before leaving a gig...leaving a rainbow cake can produce rain clouds in your day. sunny

I love this... My eyes are tearing up over the thought of loosing a rainbow cake Sad I know that I've put so much thought into every part of the kit I have! I'm so glad for this trend. I'll be paiting for the church this weekend for Oktober fest and I'm taking lots of notes. My best advise is to have fun. I just love painting, it makes me happy and it makes the kids happy, so it is a win all the way around.
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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by Kammy on Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:57 am

You're all so generous with your tips and experience - thank you! I love the stories too, they're so touching. It's wonderful when face painting is even more than just the wonderful art, and turns into a really special interpersonal experience for the child.

I hope I can make them smile as much as you guys obviously do. As for smiling, I doubt I'll be able to stop. I love face painting, and I love children even more.

Talking of which....there's hearsay that Roma herself (the little girl with the nasty cancer) may be able to visit the event for a dance, if she's feeling well enough. She'll be two in less than a month. IF she wants to be painted....obviously I can't paint her face as she's so young, and I wouldn't usually do anything at all on an under-two, but in the circumstances do you think it'd be OK to make an exception and do a small wuppie or something on her arm? Smile
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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by Perry Noia on Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:24 am

I paint babies all the time! As long as they will let me, there's no reason not to. That being said, if she is currently undergoing chemo, her immune system will be compromised and it will not be safe for her.... there is no way to sterilize everything enough for someone with a compromised immune system. I did an "end of chemo" party last summer and they just wanted balloons because there would be a lot of her friends from the hospital there that were still having chemo. (Of course, they did have two bounce houses, a full size carrousel, photo booth, snow cones, cotton candy, ice cream, magician, ballroom dancing demo, clown show, fireworks, 5 valets.... yeah, big party)
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Re: Gig Pointers, Please! *bit long!*

Post by Kammy on Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:04 am

Perry Noia wrote:I paint babies all the time! As long as they will let me, there's no reason not to. That being said, if she is currently undergoing chemo, her immune system will be compromised and it will not be safe for her.... there is no way to sterilize everything enough for someone with a compromised immune system. I did an "end of chemo" party last summer and they just wanted balloons because there would be a lot of her friends from the hospital there that were still having chemo. (Of course, they did have two bounce houses, a full size carrousel, photo booth, snow cones, cotton candy, ice cream, magician, ballroom dancing demo, clown show, fireworks, 5 valets.... yeah, big party)
That's a really good point, Perry - thank you. I'm sure her parents would've known that anyway, but I hadn't thought about it.

That party sounds awesome! Smile
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