I've been a successful face painter for many years. I'm also a certified freelance makeup artist for television and special effects.
Thinking about getting into face painting? The first thing you'll need to do is assemble some basic supplies to practice with at home and bring with you on jobs. This article covers only the basic essentials every beginner needs to get started. More paints, brushes, and specialty items can be added to your kit at a later date as your business grows and your range expands.
Face Painting Tools Covered in This Article
- Face Paints
- Additional Face-Painting Necessities
Every artist was once a amateur
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
The paint you use for face painting is very important. Always invest in buying face paints that are specifically designed for face painting. Poor-quality paints will destroy your work, while superior face paints will add professionalism to your designs.
The Two Main Types of Face Paint
- Liquid: Liquid face paint typically comes in smaller jars. I personally like to use Derivan 250ml Tub Std Color Face Paint. Its thicker consistency is easy to use and is perfect for fine details. Liquid paint works best with brushes.
- Compact Color: Compact color face paint is Ideal for larger areas. Its highly pigmented colors are easy to use, and the base color can be intensified by building layers (reapplying as each layer dries). Compacts are normally applied with damp sponges. The Shazoo Mini Starter Kit contains six colors, two high-density sponges, three different brushes, one glitter gel and a step-by-step guide to creating some really cool faces. This is a great kit for beginners
Important Face-Painting Colors
Black and white are the top two essential colors that every face painter needs. Black and white are used the most out of any color in face-painting work. They are perfect for outlines, adding definition, and painting lines, small strokes, flower petals, whiskers, stars and other common face-painting elements. By starting with your basic colors, you can easily mix them to make a multitude of shades. When starting out, be sure you have the following six colors.
When starting off as a face painter, there are two important brushes you will need. Other sizes and brushes can be added as you go.
The Two Main Face-Painting Brushes
- No.4 Round Brush: This brush will be used for the majority of your face-painting work. I find the no. 4 size to be perfect for painting flowers, designs, commas, dots, and fancy line work. You will use this brush as the foundation of most of your work.
- Script Liner Brush: This brush will be used for all your super fine detail work including fine lines and outlines. Script brushes are often used for writing letters and numbers, and they're great for creating whiskers as well.
I prefer the yellow face-painting latex sponges sold at any face-painting supplier and also in most arts-and-crafts stores. I buy them in bulk as round sponges, some of which I cut into shapes and some of which I leave whole. Whole sponges are great for large areas, while wedges are perfect for smaller areas and are also ideal for creating shapes like butterflies.
Additional Face-Painting Necessities
In addition to your paints, brushes, and sponges, there are a few other must-haves you should be sure to acquire before taking your first gig.
Plastic Bottles for Storing and Cleaning Brushes
Always remember to pack two plastic bottles for your brushes. You will need one with clean water to dip your brushes into while painting and one filled with soapy water for cleaning brushes after use.
Portable Table And Chairs
A face painter who advertises their services normally focuses on getting work at children's parties. Aside from your face-painting kit, include in your budget a portable, folding work table and a couple of lightweight stools—one for you and one for your client. When buying your table and chairs, think about how easy they will be to transport and set up when you are working. Always try and think about the easiest way to get yourself and your work tools from point A to point B.
More Items You'll Probably Need
- Hairband or clips for pinning the customer's hair away from their face
- Small hand mirror to show your customer your finished work
- Packet of facial cleansing wipes (handy for mistakes)
- Clean towel for your face painting table
- Glitter for giving your designs that special touch
- Stencils, stickers, and specialty items (optional when first starting out)
Remember my guide of what to include in your basic kit is designed to get you started without too much expense. I found when starting out as a face painter that having too many paints, brushes, and fancy tools often confused me, and most of the time I stuck to the designs I knew how to do well.
Remember that practice is the key to mastering great designs. Until you gain confidence and speed with your work, offer your customers the designs you are good at and have practiced many times at home. I hope this article has given you some great ideas.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Debbie Murray