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Sponging exercises?

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Sponging exercises?

Post by JennyNixe on Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:35 am

I am the world's worst sponger. When I sponge color on a face, at least as much gets on my hands as on the face. Also, I can only sponge two shapes -- butterfly wings and center wedge (like on a forehead). Both require fixing with baby wipes. I watch people, especially the Wolfe brothers, sponge these wonderful precise shapes and I'd love to know how. Are there any sponging practice exercises out there? I do my teardrops and swirls every night, and I'd like to work on this.
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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by miss D on Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:57 am

I'll join you as the world's worst sponger lol! I find it very hard to get a nice sharp edge and usually have to fix with a baby wipe. My sponging never looks smooth either, its always either splotchy & wet or too dry. I would love to be able to make precise shapes also
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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by Daphne on Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:57 am

I can't sponge pretty shapes but with the lines you can fix a lot Wink

I have sponges cut in al sorts of shapes and with a lot of practice you'll find which shape fits which design best Wink
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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by fesspenter on Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:56 am

Sponging is a technique. It takes practice to create linework and shading with sponges.
The softer the sponge.... the messier my hand gets.
There is no hard rule that says you must use the flat side of the sponge. Try using the rounded edge. Try pinching it between your thumb and baby finger and press/control with your other fingers. Or, use just the edge to paint with. Play with the paint. Use less water. Use more water. Try misting the sponge and dipping into dry paint. Experiment.
You can press a child's face firmly with a sponge and nobody will lose an eye.

Happy Painting!
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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by l!zzie on Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:59 am

Practise, practise, practise.... Rolling Eyes

And babywipes.

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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by Lady Jayde on Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:26 am

I have to agree...nothing but practicing will get your the mastery of your skillset that you want. Some suggestions.

For general usage: Practice loading your sponge and sponging a body part. In no time you'll get a feel for how much water you need. I don't dip my sponges in water, so I rarely get the too wet sponge problem. Practice doing things with different hand holds. Practice applying pressure at different points (to get that straight line. You may want to reshape your sponges so that one end in rounded and the other is straight to help with creating straight lines and "drawing" with your sponge.

For control (as in to be able to sponge a shape), paint a shape on your arm and practice controling your sponge while you fill it in.

For blending: Double load your sponge. Swipe one side of a designated painting area with one color and the swipe the other color on the opposite side. Bring them together and practice creating a pretty color gradation where they start to meet. Once you got that...then start practing with 3 colors and then 4. Then to compound your frustration, next draw out a shape and practice your gradations within a desired shape.

HTH! Practice and in no time you'll be wondering why you ever had a problem with sponging in the first place!

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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by JennyNixe on Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:10 pm

Thank you, Lady Jayde and Lisa! This is the kind of really practical advice I needed!
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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by Miss Ronnie on Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:28 pm

I have conquered the art of sponging....but my hands are always paint covered it seems. My method is my own...but I can tell you this; I start out with every customer the same way. I use hand sanitizer. Then, I finish the same way every single time(unless by some miracle I didn't get any paint on me) - by wiping all the paint off my hands and fingers with a baby wipe.... I'm probably OCD about that... I HATE paint - or anything else - on my hands - ever!

I know.... I'm cuckoo.
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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by JennyNixe on Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:48 pm

Not at all, Miss Ronnie. I never outgrew that horror of dirty hands that some little girls have. I'm constantly wiping them.
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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by Lady Jayde on Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:04 pm

Miss Ronnie wrote:I have conquered the art of sponging....but my hands are always paint covered it seems. My method is my own...but I can tell you this; I start out with every customer the same way. I use hand sanitizer. Then, I finish the same way every single time(unless by some miracle I didn't get any paint on me) - by wiping all the paint off my hands and fingers with a baby wipe.... I'm probably OCD about that... I HATE paint - or anything else - on my hands - ever!

I know.... I'm cuckoo.

I thought I was the only one obsessive about not getting my hands dirty when painting...
Nice to know there almost enough of us to form a support group!👍
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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by tinkerbell5481 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:06 am

I am horrible at the "base color" sponging. Those hints of color on the face, with the design painted over it. I'm horrible at it. I can't "fade" the color into the skin tone or something, I just get a blob of solid color Sad Sponging for masks, butterflies, and stuff like that which are full coverage I'm pretty good at. Just the base color stuff I need help with.

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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by Denise Cold on Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:30 am

That's why I like those honking Snaz Sponges. Saves me a lot of wipes. I think that's why Kerry Ann Smith likes them even though she doesn't do rainbows. She uses just the tip to paint with and uses the rest of the sponge to grip.
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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by Guest on Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:39 am

I can do a lot with a sponge... I've done whole faces with nothing but sponges (they were cut to sharp points!)

1) sponge needs to be firm - this is where my tack sponges come in really handy - but the FWW green sponges are excellent as well
- firm sponges do not bleed the paint through the sponge to your fingers! Soft squishy sponges soak up too much water and paint and that is why the paint gets on your fingers because when you squeeze them the paint moves through them.
- the edges of firm sponges stay straight as you pull or drag them along to create straight edges or markings.

2) wet your paint NOT your sponge.
- I add water to my cakes a few drops at a time so all colours have a gooey spot - to load I just swipe the gooey spot lightly. The paint transfers easily to the face without soaking into the sponge and I then spread it around (usually in a tapping motion for a smooth finish.)

3) you don't need a lot of water to load a sponge.

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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by JennyNixe on Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:15 am

Thanks, Shannon!
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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by sachafaerie on Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:38 pm

tinkerbell5481 wrote:I am horrible at the "base color" sponging. Those hints of color on the face, with the design painted over it. I'm horrible at it. I can't "fade" the color into the skin tone or something, I just get a blob of solid color Sad Sponging for masks, butterflies, and stuff like that which are full coverage I'm pretty good at. Just the base color stuff I need help with.

Tinkerbell - with this kind of base colour sponging the key is to underload your sponge. You can always build the colour up, and less colour on the sponge makes it much easier to blend into the skin. If you load up with heaps of paint it is too strong to achieve this effect. So next time start with a very small amount of paint on your sponge and try that. You may need to apply a few layers to get it built up to the amount of coverage desired, but that's much easier than trying to cut back on the paint once it's on the face already.


As for general sponging tips...

Always wipe your hands after sponging, especially if they are noticably dirty. This isn't OCD, it's just practical. The last thing you want is to start painting the next face only to find that you have smudged a black fingerprint onto your perfect rainbow background because you didn't clean your hands between designs. It's a good habit to get into, and saves a lot of time in the long run.

Also, in order to get the right ratio of water to paint on the sponge, I find misting water with a spray bottle works well. You can mist either onto the paint, or onto the sponge (I usually do two mists onto the sponge and 2 onto the paint, or there abouts). This means that neither are sopping wet, and that the paint will transfer easily to the sponge, while not getting overloaded. Experiment with this until you find the right amount for your needs - sometimes you wont need so much because you are only doing a little background sponging that needs to blend into the face, and sometimes you need to sponge a rainbow over the whole face, so you need more. You will soon enough learn how many mists you will need for each of these types of sponging.

Also, if you load your sponge and apply it to the face and find that there is too much paint on there, just give it a quick tap onto your towel to remove some of your excess. And if you find that you are not going to have enough paint to do your design, mist a couple more times and reload.

Hope that helps Smile

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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by fesspenter on Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:58 pm

JennyNixe wrote:Not at all, Miss Ronnie. I never outgrew that horror of dirty hands that some little girls have. I'm constantly wiping them.

My daughter Darcy was HORRIFIED to have dirty hands as a child. Eating, she would suddenly notice that her hands were covered in squash and, squealing, hold her hands out looking like little starfish, waiting to have them cleaned up. It was icky as a Mom to try to keep them clean all the time.

One gorgeous morning, a laundry day, it was too beautiful to stay inside to do laundry. I grabbed clothing from the back of the drawers that we never wear, and off we went to Beresford Park. Darcy and I were in the sandbox. Darcy was sitting between my legs while I was cooing to her that flowers grow in dirt, it was okay to have sand on her hands. Two year old Darcy was fussing about her hands. Four year old Madison walked up behind me and announced, "My Mommy hasn't done laundry for a long time." The Moms and Nannys in the sandbox with us snickered. Madison said, "Mommy is wearing the underwear from the back of the drawer that she never wears." Moms and Nannys snickered again. Madison said, "Mommy's underwear is red and it has a string in the back that goes right up her butt." Mommys and Nannys are busting laughing out loud. Yeah, that was the last time I wore the red thong underwear.

Darcy is now over the dirty hand thing.
I couldn't take it if it had lasted into her teens.

xoxox
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mee too

Post by A New Face on Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:59 pm

Miss Ronnie wrote:I have conquered the art of sponging....but my hands are always paint covered it seems. My method is my own...but I can tell you this; I start out with every customer the same way. I use hand sanitizer. Then, I finish the same way every single time(unless by some miracle I didn't get any paint on me) - by wiping all the paint off my hands and fingers with a baby wipe.... I'm probably OCD about that... I HATE paint - or anything else - on my hands - ever!

I know.... I'm cuckoo.
I am far from perfecting any technique... But OCD I have down, I need to buy stock in wipes!!! alien
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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by a face painting mom on Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:17 am

Lisa, you crack me up. Laughing
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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by kingsmeadmama on Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:48 am

fesspenter wrote:
You can press a child's face firmly with a sponge and nobody will lose an eye.


I personally learned this VERY important piece of information from Fesspenter. My sponging was very blotchy because I wasn't pressing hard enough.
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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by elantaura on Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:43 pm

Hmm I don't stick to any particular method of sponging or type so the advice I will give is a little all over the place.

I have a variety of sponges soft and medium density Tag, FWW and wolfe type. Most of my tag ones and a few off mu FWW ones I have done as Lady Jade has done and cut the edge on one side rounded and another flat. As Shannon said the harder ones I get "less" messy on, but I don't mind getting messy too much because like Miss ronnie said I use hand sanitiser each time etc.

When I want to blend to graduate I pick a Tag or FWW because I find it easyier it works for me, may not be for you sponges and brushes are a preferance thing to each painter. When I wan't to draw, or feather I pick up the wolfe type for the same reason.

I use the flat or the rounded side depending on what I am doing, and some times I spray the paint, sometimes the paint and sponge, sometimes I dunk the whole thing and sometimes just the very tip. basically no set rules for me.

I am still learning there are still things I want to do better, but what helped me was. I used to sit while watching TV with hubby and play with a sponge basically manovering it in your hand to get specific shapes and build Dexterity. I guess kind of stress balling it? After that I would add paint and practice on a body part. depending on what I was after. and I also practice with different paint types. As I find they need different amounts of water and work differently.

Another thing I still sometimes do is if I need to shade a bit with black in particular, where I have to shade/feather very lightly with it. Is load it first, then set it aside to dry out a bit. untill I get up to the point where I need it.
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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by A New Face on Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:50 pm

So today I had the opportunity to really get to know my sponges!!! Craft store sponges I I love you you. Tiny red Snaz sponges, as soon as I get more of the chepos, you will be used for eyes and itty bitty faces only. I really like the rounded side best. White large snaz sponges I would love you too if you did not look so grungy... I dont have the nerve to dye you black.
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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by eva on Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:47 am

I really don't use a lot of sponges except for rainbow/blending cake. I mainly use my flat brushes. I recently got one of the green sponges and like the snaz sponges much better. Do not ever bleach them though because they will turn brown ?? I think I am goin to dye mine. I also hate how dirty they look. I also have the hand OCD. I sanitize and use baby wipes constantly. I think I have all kinds of fp OCD. I can't stand for my kit to get messy, I will stop in the middle of a long line to straighten, i do not like to use brushes to pull one color out of my rainbow cakes, I do not like to blend on my cakes, and it all needs to be roygbiv, always! I dissect rainbows out of order (tag) and fix them, I do not like even slightly muddy water, and I really hate for paint brushes to be left in water. I drive myself crazy. Sorry I was ranting again.
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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by A New Face on Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:53 am

eva wrote:I really don't use a lot of sponges except for rainbow/blending cake. I mainly use my flat brushes. I recently got one of the green sponges and like the snaz sponges much better. Do not ever bleach them though because they will turn brown ?? I think I am goin to dye mine. I also hate how dirty they look. I also have the hand OCD. I sanitize and use baby wipes constantly. I think I have all kinds of fp OCD. I can't stand for my kit to get messy, I will stop in the middle of a long line to straighten, i do not like to use brushes to pull one color out of my rainbow cakes, I do not like to blend on my cakes, and it all needs to be roygbiv, always! I dissect rainbows out of order (tag) and fix them, I do not like even slightly muddy water, and I really hate for paint brushes to be left in water. I drive myself crazy. Sorry I was ranting again.

ME too!!!
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Re: Sponging exercises?

Post by Two Monkees Designs on Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:14 am

Shannon Fennell wrote:I can do a lot with a sponge... I've done whole faces with nothing but sponges (they were cut to sharp points!)

1) sponge needs to be firm - this is where my tack sponges come in really handy - but the FWW green sponges are excellent as well
- firm sponges do not bleed the paint through the sponge to your fingers! Soft squishy sponges soak up too much water and paint and that is why the paint gets on your fingers because when you squeeze them the paint moves through them.
- the edges of firm sponges stay straight as you pull or drag them along to create straight edges or markings.

2) wet your paint NOT your sponge.
- I add water to my cakes a few drops at a time so all colours have a gooey spot - to load I just swipe the gooey spot lightly. The paint transfers easily to the face without soaking into the sponge and I then spread it around (usually in a tapping motion for a smooth finish.)

3) you don't need a lot of water to load a sponge.


Thank you so much for this advice. It is super helpful especially considering that I am so young and a beginner.
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