I have struggled with this decision from day one. I started off with no set list and decide to paint the whim. That was extremely overwhelming as a new face painter and at larger gigs where the line up never ends, I found myself struggling.
From there I decided on a quick little letter sized sheet with just words but that quickly escalated into a much larger poster board that my poor husband slaved over. He is fantastic at graphic design so he made me a beautiful word board with wonderful little graphics for little ones who couldn't read. Since we didn't have a color printer at the time he filled in color wherever he felt it needed it.
I used this board for a few events before realizing that I wanted to add and remove certain designs already. I also hated that the light weight material of the poster board would just fly away whenever it pleased! On top of those two issues there seemed to be an insane amount of confusion with some of the little graphics. Lots of people believed those little graphics were exactly what I was painting! I am not the biggest fan of cheek art so it caused quite a few problems.
Without the use of the poster board I started providing actual photos of my designs and I had a few sheets that were laminated and kids could pass them around to view the designs and choose accordingly. That was good too, it meant they chose those designs that looked great but were not described perfectly. Like the animal print mask doesn't sound great but it's one of my favorites for pre teen girls.
Unfortunately I once again grew tired of certain designs and wanted to switch things On top of my restlessness I really disliked how fixated the children became when they saw a photo. Kids are all made differently. Some have short foreheads, some have big foreheads. Some have lots of room for cheek designs and some don’t. Some can’t stand paint near their eyes and some sit perfectly still. These are all factors that change the design. The final product never looks the same and I found children would be defeated when they saw that their favorite swirl wasn’t perfectly placed by their eye.
Right before one of my big events I decided that I wanted something that was good for both myself and the people I was painting. I begged my husband to make me a chalkboard A-sign and within a few hours I had one. He painstakingly wrote out all the things I wanted to paint with a chalkboard marker (Those are not easy to use!) and voila! I had found what I needed. I carried it along to my next event and loved it. I also found it relieving to be able to erase or add designs in the middle of an event because lets be honest- sometimes painting 20 cheetahs gets tiresome! By the next event I had added and removed so many more designs and I felt more free in my painting. I didn’t hear any backlash “That doesn’t look like the photo” . I also felt that my crowd was happier as the list went on and on that there was a wide selection.
So whether you use photos, word boards or play it by ear. I’ve really learned that you just have to find what works for you. I've included my previous boards in the gallery below!
Thanks for reading the ramblings of a random face painter.