(Frequently Asked Questions)

updated 3/14/2009

How much notice do you need?

As much as possible, though sometimes I can do last-minute events as well. If your party happens during a peak time, like around Halloween or June/July, it's best to schedule ahead of time.

What kind of paint do you use?

I use water-based make-up by Snazaroo. Their face paints are an industry standard because they are FDA approved (not just non-toxic), and they wash off with soap and water. I also use dry glitter and occasionally lustrous powder.

How long does it last?

Til you wash it off, or rub it off. I've worn this stuff for a three-hour stage show, and the only part that got messed up was where my wig was rubbing my forehead. I don't recommend getting painted on Friday night for the big game on Sunday, but keep your hands off the art and it will stick with you.

I smudged this. Can you fix it?

Sure. Hold still.

Can I get another one?

Everybody gets one before anyone gets two. After everyone has a painting, you can get back in line.

Can you donate your time to our charity event?

We do a number of charity events per year...usually for big national charities like American Heart Association, Make-A-Wish, and others that have personal significance. We will consider all not-for-profit events for either donated time or a discount, but there is some extra paperwork involved for tax purposes. It is simply not possible to accept every charity request we get, especially for events on weekends during peak seasons.

We can't pay you, but we don't want you to charge people or accept tips. Will you paint for us?

See above answer re: charity.

Do you do airbrush?

No. The compressors are noisy and hard to set up and harder still to clean. Some airbrushers use pre-cut stencils so they have a very limited range of designs, though I've also worked with airbrush artists who create their own stencils or work without them entirely. I prefer my brushes because I can paint anything you can think of. There are some airbrush geniuses out there who do amazing full-body painting. I can do full body, just not as fast as those particular airbrush people. I'd be happy to refer you to some awesome airbrush painters.

Will you come all the way out to [insert distant location here]?

Yes, within reason. I live on the northwest side of Chicago. The longer the event, the farther I'm willing to drive. For example, I'm more likely to do four hours in Joliet than one hour in Naperville. I have distance fees based on lengths of drives of more than 45 minutes. Yes, minutes, not miles, because we all know it can take half an hour to go two miles in Chicago! If you're not within reasonable driving distance, you can always fly me in. My per diem is quite reasonable.

I'm having a really big party. Can you paint for four hours straight?

My record is nine hours.

What's the weirdest thing anyone has ever asked you to paint?

A little boy at a July 4th picnic once asked me to paint an egg. A fried egg? No, an egg. An easter egg? No, just an egg. Some of my other favorite requests have been the Pieta, Christ on the cross, The Scream (the painting, not the horror movie guy), a detail from Van Gogh's Starry Night, and a dinosaur with a dog head and spider legs. Go ahead, challenge me.

How come the same kinds of paintings keep showing up in your gallery?

Once I paint something new that I like, I put it in my sample book and other people request it so I get a few variations of it.

How come the same people showing up in your gallery?

I have a few regular clients who bring me in to paint at their parties every year. They also tend to be a little more willing to let me paint something different, and that's what ends up in the gallery.

Did you study art?

Not officially. I took a drawing class in college, and some kind of class on appreciating paintings. I was raised in a very artistic household. Both parents are potters. My dad is also a photographer, and my mother is also a painter and collage artist. My brother is a potter in dad's studio. Growing up we always had plenty of paint and paper and crayons and markers. Of course my mom still thinks I should get a day job! Actually, I do work as a freelance graphic designer, but that's computer stuff, and you can't do that on a face.

How did you learn do paint faces?

Just practice. I started out like most face painters, doing flowers and rainbows and smiley faces, and they weren't very good. But my clown partner, Jingles, helped me learn and gave me a set of her paints. We did a lot of charity events and I kept painting until I felt confident enough to actually request money for my work. Practice also makes a lot of paintings go faster. When you've painted about a thousand dolphins on little moving targets, you'll be able to do them pretty fast too!

How many kids can you paint in an hour?

Going flat out, I can paint about 25-30 kids an hour, but that's just doing cheek art and nothing spectacular. It depends on what kind of paintings the kids want, how old they are, how good they are at holding still. A good pace is about 15-20 people per hour. Remember that sometimes parents want to get painted too, so make sure you plan the time accordingly.

Can I get sparklies?

Yes, if we're indoors. I avoid using glitter at outdoor events because wind + ultrafine glitter = uncontrolled flying particles everywhere.

Are you a clown?

Depends what you mean by "clown." Do I dress up in big shoes and a wig and whiteface? No, not anymore. I'm of the opinion that most kids love clowns...from a distance. They're fun when they're onstage or in the circus ring, but most people don't enjoy them as much one-on-one. And you can't get much more one-on-one than face painting. So I don't dress up like that to paint faces. But most clowns will tell you that clowning is something that comes from within, not from a jar of make-up, and I do my best to keep a clowny spirit of child-like fun and play.

Okay, but do you dress up?

Sure! I have a ton of costumes and looks...princess, pirate, Mrs. Claus, holiday elf, Velma (from Scooby Doo), Roaring 20s, Victorian age, hippie, Mardi Gras, Halloween, and more. I also have about 15 different Hawaiian shirts and berets in 12 colors to match any outfit (or logo, if it's a corporate event). I always wear my beret so you know I'm an arteest! I can be all kinds of cute without dressing up as a clown. One thing I don't do is full-body costume characters. It's kind of hard to paint when you're wearing paws.

Do you have Dora the Explorer/Spiderman/SpongeBob/Elmo/Barney/[insert favorite tv character or specific Disney princess or pirate here]?

No. Partly because some of those are full-body costumes (see above). But mostly because those are licensed characters so legal costumes are either impossible to find or ridiculously expensive. If I ever get sued for playing Velma without permission from Hanna-Barbera, that will be my problem...I like Velma. But we prefer not to risk copyright infringement.

What would you look like as a character on South Park?

Something like this...

I'm going to a wild party. Will you come over to my place and paint me all over?

Yeah, but I reserve the right to bring a buddy. My basic rule is I'll paint on any part of you that you're willing to show the world. So show me what you want painted and let's go for it.

I'm going to a game tonight. Will you come over to my place and paint my face with my team colors?

Yeah, but the rate is the same whether there's one of you or twenty of you. If you are going to the game, consider inviting some friends over beforehand and I can paint you all.

Do you do this all by yourself? Do you need more face painters?

Not at this time. Whenever I'm booked up, I have my associates Emily Dugan and Aaron Marshall to take up the slack. I also have help from Beth McBride and a few other folks. However, if you are a really fabulous and fast painter and get along great with kids and would like to see if I can get you a gig or two, email me some samples of your work.

My daughter/son would prefer a girl/boy face painter...can you make sure we get one?

If you have a preference, we have at least one of each so we'll try to get the one you want. However, sometimes only a one painter is available and he or she may not be the right gender for you. If that's going to be a major issue, please let us know ahead of time.

I'd like to see you in action before I hire you. Where can I do that?

Well, I can't exactly invite you to Kayla's birthday party next week, but I have a link to my upcoming public events on the front page of this site.

Are you insured for this kind of thing?

Yes, I carry full liability insurance.

Do you take credit cards?

No, but we accept payment via PayPal with a 5% fee.

Got more questions?
Email me
or call 773-463-0788 and I'll do my best to answer them!


Back to the Main Page!