The most evanescent of the decorative arts can be a moneymaker, according to this winsome illustrated how-to manual.
Hay, a face painter, considers face painting to be a genre of light entertainment—the bread-and-butter gigs are children’s birthday parties—and urges practitioners to approach it that way by wearing fanciful costumes and spinning an aura of crowd-pleasing showmanship. But she also teaches readers how to make it a successful business. She reprints sample contracts and invoices, gives detailed instructions on how to run filing and paperwork systems, and advises on how to handle mothers who insist that the face painter stay late to gratify still-unadorned youngsters (bill the overtime in 15-minute increments, she recommends.) She provides a handy list of supplies and equipment, from brushes and paint to antibacterial wipes, recommends Yellow Pages listings as the most cost-effective advertising, discusses pricing and offers miscellaneous tips gleaned from battlefield experience. (“Do not blow into children’s faces to move the glitter around.”) Hay allows that natural artistic ability commands higher fees but notes that children are not the most discerning of connoisseurs and that painters can therefore get by without any special talent if they assiduously practice their craft. To that end, she includes an extensive and very helpful beginners’ art tutorial based on her “Hay coloring book method,” which features bold black outlines filled in with bright colors. Hay covers the basics of brush technique and provides a wealth of sample sketches that show step by step how to compose evocative images out of rudimentary shapes: circles and half-moons become a frog; pointed ovals, a flower; dinosaurs and dragons emerge from a few simple, swooping curves. She illustrates the book with a portfolio of her own eye-catching designs—mainly vibrant, whimsical animal and botanical images that are sure to capture kids’ imaginations. Hay’s text could have used a copy edit, but she conveys her experiences and expertise with clear, straightforward information and engaging lessons.
A visually stimulating primer with valuable advice on both the practical and creative aspects of professional face painting.