Here in NZ, it’s just about time for school holidays, and holidays are usually a busy time for face painters and other children’s entertainers. If you’re thinking about hiring a face painter for your child’s birthday party, private celebration or even a corporate event, read on for some tips to help you get what you’re looking for. If you’re a charity, then you’ll also want to read my upcoming post especially for charities looking to hire a face painter for their events.
Let’s talk $$$
People often don’t take face painting seriously as a profession. We’re asked to work for free, ‘for exposure’ (how did you find us in the first place?!), or they’re surprised that it costs ‘that much’ for ‘a bit of paint’.
Truth is, not only is face painting sometimes a significant part of our living income, but professional artists sink time and money into developing our skills and becoming experts at what we do. Attending workshops, practicing, purchasing high quality cosmetic skin-friendly paints and all the accessories and gear we need to create a great experience. Factor in admin, marketing, insurance costs, travel time and cost and the fact that we often work on the weekends at other people’s celebrations instead of spending time with our own friends and families, and as you can see, face painting is not really much different from other types of businesses. Booking ‘free’ events also mean we miss out on potential paid opportunities in the same time slot.
Watch out if you’ve been able to find someone willing to paint for free. While we all had to start somewhere, if someone is very new to the business or just ‘doing it for fun’, as whenever money is an issue, you get what you pay for.
Ask for what you want
Do you want Justin Timberlake or Adam Sandler to provide the music at your event? There are face painters of all skill levels and even styles. Ask to see examples of your potential face painter’s work. It should be their own work – a confident, professional painter will not be passing off stock photography or other artists’ work as their own, and you want an artist who will deliver on their promises.
Most experienced face painters can paint between 10 – 12 full face, detailed designs per hour. This is 5 minutes per child, to get them into the seat, help them choose a design, prepare the material, paint, show the child their reflection and work through all the fidgeting in between. Pretty fast when you think about it! However, there are other options, such as providing a limited selection of less detailed designs to choose from, which can help increase the number of face painters painted in an hour.
Tell your prospective painter what your expectations are, and a good company/artist will be able to offer you their best solution for your requirements.
At the event
Don’t forget to factor your face painting – entertainment – into your event proceedings. At corporate and public events there’s nothing that wastes more time than shoving your face painter into a congested kiddies area where they’ll spend more time managing chaos than actually painting. The other extreme is placing them so far from the action that they have to hawk their service to attract people.
I’ve also been at private birthday parties where everyone disappears off wholesale to other activities or to eat cake, and I’m left twiddling my thumbs. Apart from chasing your guests with a brush – not recommended! – there’s not much I can do, and if you think about it, 15 minutes wasted on an hour booking is you losing a quarter of what you’ve already paid for.
Talk to your face painter about the layout of the event and what your plan of action is. They’ll be able to suggest good ideas to make sure you get the most out of your booking on the big day. Really, we love painting, so it’s a win-win situation!
If you’re in the Auckland area and looking for a face painter for your event, I’d love to be involved. Message me or send me a tweet. You can see some of my face painting work on Instagram.
I also work for a company that provides fantastic face painters, balloon artists, glitter tattoos and more in a few cities across NZ, so if you’re outside Auckland or looking for supplies for yourself, message me and I’ll get you in touch.