Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, art, travel, make-up, cooking and the occasional rant!


Book Review: The Face Painting Book of Eye Designs for Boys

The Face Painting Book of Eye Designs for Boys is the fifth book in Snazaroo USA Inc.’s series of face painting books.

A book devoted to boy designs is a great idea – we all can manage fast girl designs, but boys are a bit of a challenge.  This book really does deliver a large selection of designs that will actually work for painters in real life face painting situations.

This one features the work of Kristi Darby of Pigment Pie Face and Body Art from Kansas City, MO (  Kristi is an excellent artist and all the designs in this book are really do-able and eye-catching.

Kristi did all the painting and provided the photos but the accompanying text was written by Snazaroo USA Inc. (Matthew Cole, Gary Cole, et al)  I found the written instructions overly detailed and not necessarily matching the photos I was looking at.  They also tend to be repetitive regarding adding highlights, etc. on each design.  If you have some experience painting you could just skim them and follow the photos instead.

For example, the Black Eye (page 10) instructions detailed using black, green and yellow as well as the blue and maroon, but the photos of the black eye Kristi painted show no evidence of those colours actually being used to create the very nice black eye.  The use of the green and yellow make an aged bruise, but Kristi’s is a fairly fresh one.  And using black, I would not recommend that myself as it would overpower the rest of the colours and is NOT part of a real bruise.

The layout of the book is easy to follow – two pages per design, one with step-by-step photos and instructions and the facing page has the final photo and more instructions for finishing the design (fairly standard for most step-by-step books.)  This example is my personal favourite – the Alien.  I can see this one being a huge hit with the boys (and girls too!)

Another very effective design is the Zombie Eye – something easy and fast for those squirming boys who want to be a zombie but can’t sit still for the whole full face treatment!

The book doesn’t provide any specifics or visual aids on techniques or brushes.  It goes straight into the step-by-steps which is great as you get more designs, but it may leave beginner painters hanging a bit on exactly how to get going (if they are complete newbies – tip: buy my book too if this is the case!)

There are 25 designs in total and all are worth trying out .  Most designs would be within the reach of newer painters with a little trial and error as none are technically difficult.  Most designs have a total of four photos, but several have three and there is one with five.

I definitely would recommend the book as we all need more boy designs!

Links to purchase:  Snazaroo USA  where it is at an introductory price of $12 USD, or at your usual face paint retailers (suggested retail price is $15 USD.)

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Random bits and news

Thought I would share some photos of my wildflower bed.  We just randomly scattered about a dozen packages of mystery seeds we had lying around.

It has turned out quite well given I haven’t been too diligent about watering…

I was surprised by the poppies and love them!  I am hoping they self seed and they are hardy enough to survive the winter.

I face paint at Grizfest in Tumbler Ridge, BC every August long weekend and I always buy one of their t-shirts as they have the coolest logo designs – here is a sample of my collection.

The last one, the pink one, is this year’s.

AND FOR MY NEWS:  I have been hired by The Art Gallery of Grande Prairie to do demonstration face and body painting at their Grand Opening on September 29th.  I will be painting live for an audience from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  I will be doing a variety of painting on anywhere from 6 to 12 models from fantasy face painting to full prosthetic character creation to partial body painting.  I am very excited about this great opportunity!  I will also have two of my crew face painting for the public at the event while I am doing the demonstrations.

If you are in the Grande Prairie area be sure to stop by!  The finished models will be roaming and available for photos.

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Not a lot of motivation lately

August has been flying by and I haven’t been all that inspired to sit down and blog.

We face painted at Grizfest in Tumbler Ridge on the long weekend.  HOT HOT HOT… usually we experience all four seasons over the weekend but this year there was no rain, and it was scorching hot.  And for the first time ever… NO MOSQUITOS!  We were prepared with four methods of repelling them but didn’t need them – I had the OFF lanterns (the candle type), the OFF clip-on fan repellers, Deep Woods OFF wipes, and Muskol spray pump repellant.

We leave home Saturday morning for the three-hour drive there, stay two nights and drive home Monday morning.  On Friday around dinner time mom’s aide (who was scheduled to work – meaning she was to come with us to take care of mom’s needs while I was working) called to say she couldn’t come. Ack!  So I asked mom if she wanted me to call our casual aide to see if she could come with us on short notice – mom said no, we could manage.  It was a little more “stressful” but mom held it right through the six-hour shifts of painting and then until we could get to a proper handicapped washroom, NOT the porta-potties.  Have you EVER used a porta-potty after it has been sitting there for three days at around 30C??? No?  Well… if you ever get a chance… DON’T!!

This year I was being sponsored by Capital Power (I am part of the “kids area” officially but generally not within the physical area – Capital Power was sponsoring the Kids area I believe) so painting is free for kids under 12 years.  Saturday we were slammed as usual – Fred Penner was on the schedule this year.  Saturday is the family friendly day and it always the busiest for us.  Sunday is steady busy but the lines don’t get as long.

The music line-up usually includes several “old” groups that I remember from MY youth or younger days – like Loverboy, Trooper, Chilliwack, Harlequin… The Stampeders were there this year.  We only recognized one song the whole weekend (we only stay until we finish up so we don’t usually hear the headliners…) which was Big City Woman.

The Stampeders were a lot older than I thought – I didn’t realize they’d been together since the 1960’s.  They left their breakfast table in the hotel a complete mess… disgusting…. BOTH mornings (we are put up in the same hotel) food just dropped all over the table, the floor, crumbs everywhere… dropped empty creamers and stir sticks  all over the counters instead of in the trash pail, so we had to try to get our food and coffee around their mess.   I asked the desk clerk, who was doing double duty trying to keep the breakfast area stocked and clean, and deal with the desk and check-outs, if they trashed their rooms too…. he laughed but didn’t actually answer me.

Carly Rae Jepson was there Saturday night and by all reports disappointed pretty much everyone.  Apparently she was late, only did a 30 minute set, did NOT do the booth for autographs and photos which all the performers do and generally wasn’t all that impressive.  One person commented that maybe she shouldn’t tour until she learns a few more songs.  The tweenies were so excited about her on Saturday but on Sunday were pretty down on her.  There were some prize winners that got to go back stage to “hang” with her – she didn’t even sign things for them in person… apparently pre-signed t-shirts that were given to them.  This is a small festival and making nice with the fans is how you build a loyal fan base – maybe her management should look into that.

This Sunday I’m painting out at the Hythe & District Agricultural Fair which is one of my regular annual gigs.  I’ll be painting from 11:30 till 3:30.  It usually a pretty busy event – steady line but the event wraps up on a timely manner and the line naturally ends itself.

I got a call last night from someone from a town the opposite direction who needed someone for their fair THIS Saturday – apparently they had someone booked who, she told me, had double booked themselves so they were now scrambling to find someone.  I’ve already got a session booked so wasn’t available – I’m not generally available on less than two-weeks notice for anything due to having to make arrangements for care for mom and the fact that I book well in advance as a general rule.  She said she’d keep my number for next year (she had it from when I did a gala out there last November.)

Brushstrokes Magazine is posting a new issue as we speak – I’ve got two step-by-steps in this issue.  I’m one of the editors now so will be providing material for each issue. Here’s a teaser…

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Business Tips for Face Painters, Body Artists and Make-Up Artists #8 – Hourly vs. Pay Per Face

August 1st means it is time for the eighth excerpt from my e-book The Business of Face Painting.  Of course, if you would like to get all the information included in my book right now you can find out how here.

The Business of Face Painting was published in September of 2009 and I am working on the final stages of the companion book The Art of Face Painting which we hope to have out sometime this year.

When you decide to work as a professional face painter you generally have two options for getting paid for your services – charging a set hourly rate or charging each person you paint which is referred to as “pay per face”.

The following is an excerpt from Chapter Two of  The Business of Face Painting.


Hourly versus Pay-Per-Face

The previous section used an hourly rate for illustration purposes as it is easier to show, but as a face painter you can choose to work on a pay-per-face basis instead.

For face painters who are working at large fairs or high volume events as vendors charging for each face painted is the norm.  Typically they will set-up a booth offering face painting to anyone who wants to pay for the design they choose.  In situations like this, where you set-up a booth at a fair, you would most likely have to pay the organizers of the event for the right to do this.

Events typically sell the right to set-up as a vendor.  Vendors’ fees vary widely from a small percentage of your takings to large lump sums.  For large established events such as state fairs, trade shows, etc. you can ask for attendance numbers from previous years to calculate the potential for income.   You need to be able to cover the costs you’ve incurred to set-up your booth as well as all expenses you usually have.  You also need to be able to physically be able to paint enough faces to make as much money as you possibly can at the event.  Additional painters may be required to maximize that earning potential.

What to charge per face is something you need to decide.  You need to cover your actual costs per face of course, but will you charge a flat fee no matter what the design is or will you have a scale based on the size or complexity of the design?  You will have to assess what others in your area are charging and whether the public in your market area is willing to pay those rates.  I’ve seen full face designs range from $5 to $25 depending on the location of the event.

You don’t need to panic if you decide on a rate and then discover it is too high or too low at a particular event as you can simply change your sign.  Take along some signs with higher or lower rates and use a system where you can simply change what you have on display.

There are opportunities to set-up without paying vendors’ fees as well at smaller events or community based activities.

The big concern with working pay-per-face is that there is the problem of having no faces to paint.  This could be for a variety of reasons such as bad weather, badly organized or advertised event, poor location, lack of children in attendance, etc.  These are things beyond your control and it can be a gamble.

On the flip side it can also be extremely profitable if the event is hugely busy, you paint super fast, people are willing to pay for the higher priced designs, etc.  I know of painters who can net $1,500 per day at festivals.  But expect to work hard for extremely long hours without proper breaks and be ready for stress and exhaustion.

Pay-per-face is not for everyone.  It isn’t for me. I work by the hour only so when I work at a festival it is because I have been hired by the organizers themselves or by a vendor or sponsor.

© Shannon Fennell, 2009

with material from “Designs and Templates Volume 1” © November 2007

and “Designs and Templates Volume 2” © March 2008