Shannon Fennell's Blog

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Book Review: 3 Minute Cheek Art by Roberta Mandella

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Snazaroo USA Inc.’s latest book, the third in the series, is 3 Minute Cheek Art by Roberta Mandella.  (The first was Your Face or Mine by yours truly and the second was Facing the Sea by Lisa Smiley… just in case you’re interested! 😉 )

Roberta is a fantastic artist and her work in this book speaks for itself.  Beautifully executed and colourful designs that should be easy to adapt for most people who want to create effective small designs.  Roberta’s work is very detailed and her brush control is phenomenal.

The book contains 26 step-by-step designs and over 150 photos of designs and ideas.  Roberta covers most holidays and occasions as well as commonly requested items.

I really like that there are four pages at the beginning of the book explaining brush strokes with different types of brushes and the graphics used are very clear.

I have to be honest and admit that I really only skimmed the text throughout.  The 26 step-by-step designs are clear in the photos and as a relatively experienced painter I could figure out the rest.  The text was written by Gary Cole to accompany Roberta’s artwork and what I did read was quite detailed and specific.

My favourite pages are the Snakes, Lizards & Dinosaurs (pages 14, 15) and Bugs (pages 30, 31) – great designs!!  Love the ants!  I have never been asked to paint ants but I am going to suggest them to the next child I paint!! 🙂  Even if they ask for Spiderguy! 😉  Oh… I could have some ants caught in the web… I must make a note of that so I don’ t forget!

My only comment is that the only cheek that anything is painted on is in the cover photograph (which is absolutely adorable by the way.)  None of the photos or step-by-steps in the book are actually painted on a face.  While skin is skin and all of these designs appear sized for cheek art, personally, I think seeing them actually placed on a cheek would be helpful.

I don’t do a lot of cheek art but when I do I am always annoyed with myself when I get the image so far over to the side that it is very difficult for the child to see in the mirror!  It would have been helpful to see at least a handful of designs actually painted on the cheeks of children to give an idea of placement, proportion and sizing.

Granted the term “cheek art” is being use collectively to cover any design that is small and self-contained (as in, does not involve painting over or including facial features) and this book delivers on that.  It would, for me, have been nice to see some of the designs painted on a cheek to see the scale/size that it would need to be done in to fit on a child’s face – how SMALL would it need to be to fit?

And, on a technical note for the editor… I found the Pig painting included twice (page 33 and 37.)

This book is worth purchasing.  If you are looking for ideas or are often stumped by requests for “just a small thing on the cheek” the designs in this book should meet your needs.


One thought on “Book Review: 3 Minute Cheek Art by Roberta Mandella

  1. Hi Shannon,

    Thanks for the positive review! I guess Gary and I both completely
    missed the pig being on two pages. Something to be corrected before a
    re-print! lol.

    I wanted to address the point about the paintings not being on an
    actual cheek. I had considered doing it on the cheek at first, but
    soon realized that it wouldn’t matter anyhow because the images would
    be “zoomed in” on (in order to show detail) thus eliminating any
    semblance of a face. lol.

    All of the designs were actually painted on my inner arm near the
    wrist, so they were painted at a smaller scale similar to that which
    would be painted had it been on an actual cheek. Doing it this way
    eliminated the need for models as well!

    I do understand your points about noting placement on the face. As you
    mentioned, these designs are meant for “cheek” painting as well as
    hand, arm, etc. The scale of the design can easily be adjusted
    dependent on which area the design is to be painted thus making it a
    more versatile design.

    Anyway, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to write about your
    thoughts on the book. I am hoping it will become a handy all-in-one
    cheek art reference for the seasoned painter as well as a convenient
    step-by-step guide for those new to the art.

    Wishing all the best!



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