Archive for October, 2012

Long Lines

Monday, October 15th, 2012

I try to avoid putting myself into situations where I know that I will be facing long lines of people waiting for balloons or face painting. Whenever possible, I will encourage the host to hire one or more of my friends to help keep the lines moving. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. I find there are a few ways to handle long lines.

Although a lot of hosts want the balloons and/or face painting to be free for the guests, one way to decrease the number of people waiting in the lines is to charge a fee. If they are selling tickets for kids to play games, go on rides, or play in the moon bounces, suggest also having them use tickets for the balloons. That way, the kids will have to decide between getting a balloon or playing a game.

I have heard that some event organizers want only the most basic balloon creations. The less they look like a dog or other item the better. They get credit for offering balloons but since the balloons are very basic, some people will decide that it isn’t worth the wait in a long line to get a basic balloon.

The final method is to make fantastic balloons… OK, this won’t make the line shorter, it may actually make the lines longer. But, people will be willing to wait any amount of time to get great balloons that they have never seen before.

For face painting, I have had some event organizers suggest doing only cheek designs. I know some face painters who are really skilled at the cheek designs, but I find them harder since they require more detail to make them easily recognizable. I feel that I can paint a child’s full face like a dog faster than I can draw a tiny dog on their cheek. For me, a faster design just means fewer embelishments.

Face Painting Brushes

Friday, October 12th, 2012

When I first started face painting, it seemed like I was buying brushes every time I went to the craft store. I found a variety with an acrylic handle that I really liked. Anytime I had a coupon or they were on sale, I would buy a few more brushes. Then the local stores stopped selling that particular style of brush.

I have been lucky that my brushes are still in good shape. I am constantly on the look for a new brand/variety of brushes that I like. Two things stop me from buying certain brushes. I avoided brushes with a wooden handle. I have seen too many face painters with wooden brushes that have peeling paint. Unfortunately, very few brushes list what their handles are made from. My policy has been, when in doubt, assume it is wooden. The only way I know it isn’t wooden is if it says so or the handle is clearly, well clear (translucent).

I saw one face painter say that you can buy brushes with wooden handles and then paint the handles with nail polish. I haven’t tried this, but would still think the wood would crack and cause it to peel.

Accepting Compliments and Quality of Work

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

I know that I am not the absolute best face painter or balloon twister, yet I often get parents and hosts tell me how much they or their guests loved my work. I don’t know how many times someone has told me that my work was so much better than the “Guy” they had at their office party or some other event.

While I realize that the correct response is, “Thank you.” I can’t help but think how many people I know who could have done better looking designs. I also know that from time to time, I have found myself working in an assembly line environment where I have to stick to the simple creations.

I have learned that making the child feel special is sometimes more important than the quality of my work. When a child asks for something that I don’t really know how to make, I can either suggest something else or give it a try. Sometimes, the child really would rather get a blob of a balloon they can pretend is what they wanted instead of getting a great looking balloon that isn’t what they really wanted.

I think this fact is lost in the many balloon and face painting competitions at the various conventions. A judge is looking for artistry, difficulty, balance, and other qualities of a design that show the skill of the artist. On the other hand, my customer, the 6 or 7 year old child who just asked for a balloon or their face painted will be using a different set of criteria to judge the results. I have seen judges at competitions score things lower because they didn’t know what the design was (think modern cultural items like Angry Birds) when a kid would instantly recognize the design.

I think it is easiest to impress people with your designs when they don’t have an easy way to compare things side by side with the designs from another entertainer. My goal is to always deliver my best designs and to continue learning and getting better. Some day, people may think of me when they say they know people who are better at making balloons or face painting. Until then, I need to accept the compliments and know that I am doing my job of making people happy.