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Sample from my latest gig...

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Sample from my latest gig...

Post by jonwhunt on Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:19 am

Hey gang, this took me about 3 minutes the other day at a gig.  I'm not happy with it but the customers were, and the vendor that hired me already wants to book two more days.  None of my stuff looks fluid enough.  Like I mentioned in my other post, I've never doodled, so whimsical lines don't seem to flow from my brush like what I see in some of yall's pics  =(   Any tips (keep in mind I only have the basic 12 color palette and 6 color shimmer palette, no split cakes yet)?  How did you all finally decide "Yep... this is it... this is how I'm going to do butterflies"?  I see so many designs online and so far I just want to attempt photocopy versions of them all lol.


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Re: Sample from my latest gig...

Post by Denise Cold on Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:02 pm

I have a thick line problem too. I had to use a #2 or #3 for a long time so my lines wouldn't be so thick. They don't make great teardrops so I switched brushes, but for outlines and swirls I needed the smaller brush.

The way I'm getting better at swirls and curls is having patterns. You must practice. When you get to the face you don't want to think or your brain will make your hand do things you don't want it to...it's like when you are driving and you see something by the side and start drifting toward it. Your hand will follow where you are looking and thinking and make your hand drift.

Another analogy...if you had to think every time you wrote a sentence...about each letter you were making, each stroke, how to spell the word...it would take forever and we'd probably mis-spell half the words and each letter might look different like a first grader.

Practicing those swirls, on top of swirls and teardrop patterns and wing shapes and those tiger stripes and dagger strokes over and over mean that you can start to compose a design on the face because you aren't thinking about the individual strokes anymore...you are thinking of the design.

I also like to have set designs that I learn so that I can make sure that I place the lines on the face where they belong and they are pointing toward the focal points and are flattering. I change them up every once in awhile (like my butterfly is more swirly now because parents go crazy for swirls) but I'll do that design for months because it's perfected...I have to because I'm not a swirls expert.

Oh, and as if this answer wasn't long enough...make sure when you practice you do it right. Take your time and make sure it's sharp, smooth, thick, thin, etc. because that's part of the muscle memory....if you keep practicing crap, you will get crap.


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Re: Sample from my latest gig...

Post by EerinArts on Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:46 am

Denise Cold wrote:(like my butterfly is more swirly now because parents go crazy for swirls)

Lol, so true, if you get the swirls right, people will love you Razz

Anyway, what came to mind when I was reading your post was that through time I learned that for me, its best to not sit while I paint. But allow myself to move around the child. Some lines are easier when you stand to the side of the child, some are easier when you are in front. It sounds weird, but it has to do with creating spots where you can let your pinky finger rest on the cheek, forehead etc. Usually when I have a place to rest my hand slightly, I get better lines.
Do not lean your hand on the face though, that is too heavy. Its more for.. lets say.. feeling how far/close your hand is from the skin. You get a better sense of how to let the brush flow.

I found an image on the internet of what I am trying to say. (not my own images)

She is letting her pinky rest on the head, and gets a better flow that way.
Here another person doing the pinky thing:


Not everybody likes doing that, some have other ways. But for me it helped big time when I figured it out.
Be carefull with the other hand by the way, the one that you see in the second picture. During a facepainting course the teacher told us that the arm of an adult weighs a couple of kilo`s. Kids get a tired/sore neck that way and loose patience quickly because it is not comfortable. They will move around more.

(edit: lol, the hand on the head of the kid on the second picture looks exactly like my hand when I have been painting for a while. Covered in stripes and lines :PI usually make a mess of my testing hand)
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Re: Sample from my latest gig...

Post by jonwhunt on Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:03 pm

I need to order a practice head... all my friends are too lazy to bring their kids by for me to practice on, or schedule a time for me to come to them... and I have the arms of Robin Williams so practicing on them is out of the question lol. I try to use my pinky, but like you guys said, its all about muscle memory, which I'm still working on =)

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Re: Sample from my latest gig...

Post by nikkili26 on Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:38 am

practice on YOUR ARM...

when you practice, hold out your pinky and prop your arm straight up-hand in the sky, elbow resting straight in front of you.

this will give you the vertical twitching balance you will get from a kid or adult sitting still.

this will let you see when you have too much water in your paint as it pools up and drips down your arm.


also, when you PRACTICE, make sure you are varying your strokes.try it fast. try it slow. try it with MORE paint.try it with LESS paint. try mirroring the design in the opposite direction.

practice is not simply doing the same thing over and over...

I watch people "practice" and all they do is go through the motions...this isn't going to help you get better, especially if you aren't liking the result....example-a tear drop...if you keep making the same tear drop over and over, yeah, you are "practicing", but all you really are doing is training your habit of making that same shape of tear drop.


try making it fast 3 times.then do it slowly 3 times.then try slowly laying the brush and quickly pulling the tear. then try QUICKLY laying the brush and SLOWLY pulling the tear.
try making super long tear drops, and also super small ones, and then vary the speed.


also, get some paper and practice drawing tear drops with a pen...obviously you can't apply pressure for the shape, but work on the lines-get to the point where when you put your pen to paper, the lines end up EXACTLY where you intended....work on symmetry, work on equalizing the spaces between them, and work on the speed.


you don't need a practice head-I was considering one myself, but I have found that once I have tried out all different combinations of speed and pressure on my upright arm with my pinky out, I have been able to duplicate this action no matter whether I did it again on paper or on a face.


same with cheek art.if you can draw it, you can paint it.and if you can paint it, you can draw it.with PRACTICE.but you need to PRACTICE correctly.
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Re: Sample from my latest gig...

Post by nikkili26 on Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:43 am

sorry I got off on a tangent, but my point is valid!!lol, just try it!

anyways, to answer your question, the way I decided on my butterfly was to google real butterflies, and study their real wings and bodies...

I found that some of them have a ridgy large top wing that I liked, and some of them have a veiny bottom wing I like...some have large spots and others have stripes and some are speckled...

I chose my favourite aspects of them all and combined in different ways until I discovered the combination that to ME embodies MY idea of a perfect universal butterfly.

and I havn't seen others paint butterflies quite like mine.i'll upload a picture when my camera finishes charging, if the kids let me paint them-no parties this weekend for me Sad
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Re: Sample from my latest gig...

Post by Tineke on Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:25 pm

i used to practice my linework with both hands on my legs/thighs, while sitting in my couch with my feet on the coffeetable.... since I'm no size 2, I have PLENTY of practice sheet on my upper legs Smile
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Re: Sample from my latest gig...

Post by jonwhunt on Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:06 pm

That would be perfect... if I was a woman. I'm a living carpet though, hair on knuckles, hair on back, hair on forearms, hair on shoulders lol. Just a big hairy dude. I just got a 10% off coupon from SillyFarm so might invest in some split cakes and practice head =)

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Re: Sample from my latest gig...

Post by PrairiePainter on Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:56 pm

Try craft foam too. You can buy it in 8.5 X 11 sheets in craft stores and its has a nice texture for practicing.
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Re: Sample from my latest gig...

Post by jenn1pepper on Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:11 pm

jonwhunt wrote:That would be perfect... if I was a woman.  I'm a living carpet though, hair on knuckles, hair on back, hair on forearms, hair on shoulders lol.  Just a big hairy dude.  I just got a 10% off coupon from SillyFarm so might invest in some split cakes and practice head =)

I wouldn't invest in a practice head, I have one that also came with asecond skin. I used it maybe a dozen times and it stained badly. I would much rather practice on my arm or hand, I found it to be a waste of money. The kids paint on it with some of my old paints I first bought at a craft store before I got serious.

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Re: Sample from my latest gig...

Post by nikkili26 on Sat Jul 27, 2013 3:28 am

HEY, great new product, perfect for you!!!

it is called a budda board!

buddah board?

it's a little art easel that you use water to paint with.


toss out the little bamboo brush they give you-I switched mine for my favourite leow cornell 7000 #6 round...

PERFECT for practicing vertical linework, since the easel stands straight up, you can stick out your lil pinky as your paint.

best part is the work drys up clear so you can do it over and over non stop. And it is no bigger than a CD case.

it is "pricey" at $11...but I purchased it right after getting a deposit for a party, so it was relatively cheap.and totally pays for itself after all the practice WITHOUT wasting paint.
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Re: Sample from my latest gig...

Post by eva on Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:49 am

I went to the sign section of Lowes and picked up a plastic ish neon pink sign, it's blank and the type you would write on yourself. It has just a slight texture. Hard to explain. The texture i find is similar to painting on skin than my smooth practice face. But its pretty big and I can get lots of practice on front and back before I have to wash it. It helps a ton with my line work. Like I have said before though, if you keep practicing wrong techniques they will never come out correct, you need to know the right way first. Faba tv has a one day free trial right now, I would advise watching a couple mark Reid videos.
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Re: Sample from my latest gig...

Post by amylady222 on Fri Aug 02, 2013 11:31 am

just so it doesnt stain i would wash the drsigns off the board after getting a good picture of it
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Re: Sample from my latest gig...

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