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Facepainting as a Full Time Job

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Facepainting as a Full Time Job

Post by Johnny5K on Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:53 pm

Hi All,

Ok, I know this is a SUPER generalized question with a thousand variables to consider, but I'm wondering what the "average skilled" full time face painter makes in So-Cal...any ideas?

Looking for a VERY rough general annual revenue range...

I'm not even sure what the hours would be - most weekends, including fairs/festivals.  Do full time FP'ers have gigs on weekdays?

I work full time in an office making a decent wage...I'm guessing facepainting wouldn't be able to duplicate my salary and I have a young child at home that weekend gigs would pull me away from, but I'm very, very curious if full-time facepainting might be within the realm of possibility...maybe down the road?  

It would be a dream to do something creative for a living versus working in an office Smile

Hm, now that I think about it - I hope this question is not too intrusive or inappropriate...I don't mean to offend.

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Re: Facepainting as a Full Time Job

Post by jlirie on Sat Dec 05, 2015 12:07 pm

you might want to check out shannon fennel's blog and website to get info on running a face painting business. it is like starting and running any small business, so think business plan, marketing, financial management and account keeping, purchasing, equipment and supplies, taxes, insurance, travel, customer service, along with developing your skills, training, etc.
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Re: Facepainting as a Full Time Job

Post by Johnny5K on Tue Dec 08, 2015 11:55 am

Ok, I'll start collecting info on how to start up a face painting business. Thank you for the recommendation!

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Re: Facepainting as a Full Time Job

Post by Guest on Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:19 pm

There are some that do it fulltime, but they usually are also agents/retailers/etc.

I've always had a dayjob - right now part-time at 25 hours/week to ensure I can pay the mortgage. And have no intentions of giving it up.

I make more from my self-employment though. But not enough to live on completely.

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Re: Facepainting as a Full Time Job

Post by Mellygee911 on Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:23 pm

Honestly, in the first few years profits are few, because you'll definitely want to sink a lot of money back into marketing, supplies, insurance etc.  I have gotten the feeling on the forum and other mediums that many folks still have a day job.

To put the prospects into perspective, I own an entire entertainment company with about 12 people who work under me.  We do 3-15 events per weekend, so I would be closer to a scenario Shannon is talking about, akin to an agent.

When all expenses are said and done, I made $22,000 last year, and will be closer to $30,000 this year.  Company revenue was much higher, but this is definitely an expense-heavy business!
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Re: Facepainting as a Full Time Job

Post by Johnny5K on Thu Dec 10, 2015 2:09 pm

Thank you both for framing my question in reality…

It sounds like I’d have to commit myself and it’d be a labor of love to wind this up to a full time deal.  Gives me a good idea of what to expect, though.

And talking about expenses: I almost wish I didn’t pick up that $19.99 Snazzaroo starter set at Michael’s a year ago for my daughter’s 3 year old birthday party.  The crappy $19.99 set (working with Snaz AND being a beginner equated to ugly blobs that literally made me angry) that immediately got gifted to my 6 year old niece and replaced with the 10 gram DFX palette.  The palette that was augmented with a dragon split cake, then red, blue and green one strokes.  Then supplemented with multiple brushes (up to about 25 brushes now!) and additional split cakes (fairy floss, Havana, gelato), a peacock one stroke and a split with Tag’s berry wine/pink.  And sponges and glitter and a tackle box, a mirror, table cloths, buckets, and…and…

I’ve done 6 ‘gigs’ my first year of painting (anywhere from 10-30 kids) and all were pro-bono as gifts to my friends.

I’m guessing I’ve spent close to $500 on this hobby so far and I’m reaching a skill level where some of the pieces I do can stun my friends (granted this is relative – as they generally expect that my designs would be subpar at best) and some designs look horrifically ugly.  But I’m at the point where I think I can start painting more good designs than bad.

I’ve seen the word “addiction” thrown out on this forum and I absolutely believe it to be true – I’ve made $0 from facepainting so far, spent $500 and I want to replace about half my brushes, add a couple more filberts of different sizes and an angled shader for roses, replace my sampler palette with a full sized 30 gram palette (with handpicked colors by brand), sub out alternate one-strokes for the color combinations I have that don’t quite work for me, add 5 more split cakes and about 5 more one-strokes…at a *minimum* to continue my hobby. Shocked

Between the desire to purchase every split cake and one-stroke known to mankind, it’s also addicting to see my skill increase – looking back at pictures of my first few attempts a year ago the difference is phenomenal.  The improvement makes me want to continue to improve…it’s like crack!

So yeah.  I’m at a point now where I can probably be hired to deliver a product that’s worth the price and wanted to see what options were out there…so thank you for the responses.

And here’s a shout out to the people on this forum – thank you for your friendliness, extensive knowledge, and constant help.  The majority of my improvement this past year was a direct result of lurking on this website…you guys are awesome!

Sorry for the long blogpost…

Tl;dr:  facepainting is addicting Very Happy

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Re: Facepainting as a Full Time Job

Post by LittleMonsters on Thu Dec 10, 2015 7:07 pm

Johnny5K, it sounds like you need to make what you have now work for you before you invest into anything more at this point. I would suggest using up what you have before you replace anything if you're in the hole $500 at this point. Wants and Needs are two very different things. It sounds like you have what you Need to get things going until your income has paid for what you have and can then start paying for what you Want.
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Re: Facepainting as a Full Time Job

Post by Johnny5K on Sat Dec 12, 2015 1:18 am

Absolutely agree LittleMonsters...I'm constantly slapping myself down when I sense my "need" for additional supplies, lol.

I was approached a couple times during my earlier parties to do other private events, but I immediately turned them down.  Outside of my comfort zone of doing friends' parties with the freedom to screw up as badly I could and my self-critical eye regarding my beginner level designs, there was no way I would've taken a job for pay.

I'm still miles from being near pro-quality, but I think I'm comfortable enough now to maybe begin hiring myself out so my kit can start paying for itself...we'll see how that goes Smile

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Re: Facepainting as a Full Time Job

Post by LittleMonsters on Sat Dec 12, 2015 2:45 am

Feel free to post some photos of your work on the forums for some comments and critique! Smile
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Re: Facepainting as a Full Time Job

Post by Laura-Lou on Sat Dec 12, 2015 9:20 am

I worked full time for a bit but that was for a tourist attraction (top UK zoo) so I was paid a wage but had no overheads and the kit didn't belong to me. It was a great place to practice and really refine your technique but you don't get the perks of working for yourself!

Isn't Disneyland in California Razz (I assume So-Cal means California?) I always wanted to paint at disneyland! Until I went to Disneyland Paris this year and saw some of the worst face painting I've ever seen in my life... but I digress!
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Re: Facepainting as a Full Time Job

Post by Johnny5K on Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:21 pm

That's a good idea LittleMonsters...honest critiquing would be awesome.  I'll try posting some stuff in the next week or so (it's been insanity with the holidays...)

Laura-Lou: I didn't even consider that!  Working at Disneyland would be awesome (and yes, I live about 10 minutes away)  I don't think I'm at that level yet...the designs I do well are great, but unfortunately I only have a handful of those.  I have a hard time improvising and I'm still in the process of getting more designs "downloaded" (especially masks and one-stroke designs which I'm afraid of for some reason).  But once I feel more prepared, that's a great idea to approach Disney for some PT employment Smile

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Re: Facepainting as a Full Time Job

Post by Laura-Lou on Wed Dec 16, 2015 1:05 pm

I'd assume they would give you training, as they have set designs! And really I can't imagine you could do worse than the paints I saw in Paris... unless maybe you finger painted it Laughing ...?
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Re: Facepainting as a Full Time Job

Post by jlirie on Wed Dec 16, 2015 10:45 pm

if you type disney into the forum search box near the top, you will find a couple previous threads with info from people who worked there.

drawbacks -
pay is low, not much above minimum wage
apparently you can not do outside gigs or have your own face painting business on the side
you stand up all day and only get a couple breaks
you have to put up with crowds of people all the time (and i assume, all with a pleasant attitude)

advantages -
it is a steady job
they provide supplies
it is good training and experience in learning to face paint
it gives you a good reputation as a face painter to say you painted at disney
full time people get benefits
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Re: Facepainting as a Full Time Job

Post by Laura-Lou on Thu Dec 17, 2015 4:32 am

Not worked for Disney, but in a very similar set up to it and I agree with all of those points!

Endless faces to practice every little trick you want... but you're restricted to just a few designs!
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