Are You a Winger or a Rocker?

How well prepared do you show up for a job, competition, photo shoot or to teach a class? Do you arrive at a gig or an event ready to wing it or ready to rock it?  If you want to rock the body painting, succeed in business, be recognized as a great teacher or get that perfect image to immortalize your work, remember that it is YOU who creates this moment and that it takes preparation to experience it.

Don't Wing it, Be Prepared

First we must commit to prepare our minds and our skills by learning all we can by observation, studying and practicing our art forms. The amazing truth is that the more prepared we are, the “luckier” we get because preparation gives us confidence. Our success in anything we attempt will depend on how soon and how carefully we prepare.

Want clients to tip you? Arrive self contained and prepared to do your best with a tip jar clearly visible. Want a chance at winning the competition? Start thinking ahead of time about your design, accessories and prepare to win by practicing till you get it right? Want the image of your work to be priceless? Prepare with this in mind. Do not leave it up to the model or the photographer to think on the spot of the best ways to capture your work.  Prepare some ideas of your own.  Is your goal to be in demand as an instructor? Show up to your class prepared with an outline and well rehearsed in what you are going to share. Follow the proud motto of the Scouts and BE PREPARED. Success depends on it.

2011 Face and Body Art International Convention Body Painting Winner Andrea O’Donnell

2011 FABAIC Body Painting Winner Andrea O'Donnell

Article by Marcela Murad

The Business of Body Painting

It took Davinci 4 years to complete the Mona Lisa, which is about 30 inches by 15 inches. An average body painting, which is more than double in size of the Mona Lisa, usually takes 3-5 hours. Body Painting is still relatively new in the US, and knowing what to charge is still a very grey area for most painters. I get a lot of calls about what to charge, what you can expect to charge, and what the artists is supposed to include in their fee.

In my professional opinion, body painting has yet to become a profitable business unless you charge a nominal fee, or you have an endless supply of free paint. I have a very dear friend who is a professional body painter in Costa Rica, and an extraordinary businessman.

Rodrigo Piedra has mastered the art of booking body painting, and he has learned how to price his work and seek out clientele that can afford it. His fee is high, his work is quality, and he doesn’t compromise on the price. When he plans a body painting he includes the design fees, costs of materials, pre and post production, his team, and professional results. Because his fees are higher than average, he does less volume than some artists body painting at nightclubs and festivals. His approach to body painting is realistic and should be considered if you want to enter the body painting industry.
Body Painting by Rodrigo Piedra

Cost Vs. Time:
It takes about 3 oz to cover a full body with airbrush make up and 3 oz of paint ranges from $15-$35 depending on the brand. If you add nipple and bottom covers, adhesive, gems, other embellishments, and time to paint the actual design you could easily spend over $100 in just materials. If it takes you 3 -4 hours to paint the model, then you would need to charge over $500 to just cover your materials and time. Not many companies or agents have the budget to pay over $500 per model.

There are other ways to offer affordable body painting. Our great friend Nix Herrera, who was just recently on the Syfy channel series Face Off, is an amazing body painter and is regularly booked at nightclubs, resorts, and private functions. He is comfortable with his designs, incorporates his airbrush for faster base work, and in many cases does not cover the entire body. This speeds up his work, and allows his the time to be more detailed on other areas. Nix has also built up a closet of paint that he can expense over several jobs. If you have to purchase specific paint per job, this is where the costly part comes into consideration.

Body Art by Nix Herrera

The best way to start gauging your body painting earning potential is to make a list of designs you are comfortable with offering, how long it takes you to create that design, and doing an inventory on your face and body art supplies. Then you can lay out a plan of what you are selling and the cost associated. Otherwise you will be spinning your wheels and stressing over spilled paint and empty pockets!

Take classes from the professionals themselves! Rodrigo Piedra and Nix Herrera are on Face and Body Art Television! Visit Rodrigo’s profile page or Nix’s profile page and learn body art from the professionals!

Picture Perfect – Selling Your Canvas

I once had an argument with a fellow body painter about painting overweight models.  He felt overweight models ruined the image and that it was impossible to capture a great body painting on an over-sized canvas. I argued that art was subjective and that anything can be transformed into a work of art. That argument was sensitive to me because I have always been conscious of my body,  not that I want to be a body painting model, but I was bothered by the idea that the model makes the image.

Fast forward 6 years later. I am eating my words. I still don’t believe that body painting is only reserved for the super skinny, but I am a believer that a good model will ultimately sell your art for top value. I am still a little shaky and nervous when I body paint. The only thing that usually calms my nerves is when I paint a model I know. They set me at ease and let me be creative without being impatient or judgmental. Their attitude helps me be creative and that’s when I feel I produce my best work. I remember doing a job where the models were in a rush, they were antsy, and didn’t want paint on their faces. That was hands down one of my worst gigs, and the worst part was that several pics were taken that day so my name was attached to half ass work. Needless to say that didn’t help me garner new jobs.

Picture Perfect Group ShotNow on the flip side, when you have a model that is fun, patient, and can bring your art to life, that is a winning combination. I work with two models that always know how to bring out the best in my work. Many of you have witnessed little Lia grow through my youtube face painting videos and tutorials, her smile and charismatic personality makes my artwork that much better!  My other model of choice is Lia’s mom and my best friend for over 20 years, Glori. I have painted her 20 + times. She is a great model because she is photogenic, fun and her smile lights up the camera. A good body painting can take up to 8 hours and sometimes longer, so capturing a fantastic image is crucial.
Lia's RosesHeather painting Glori
Picture Perfect KidsWhether you are creating a portfolio or need images for your website, don’t go for just any model. Go for the model that will sell your services with a bang! Choose a canvas that will make your artwork stand out and make it come alive. Finding a great model is like finding a needle in haystack, but it can be done. Otherwise you are doing yourself a disservice.

Happy Painting! -Silly Heather


Below I have embedded my YouTube channel for easy viewing. Hope you check out my face painting videos and subscribe! Enjoy!


Business Building on a Budget

As the saying goes it takes money to make money and nothing could be more true. In order to create and grow a business you need funds to invest in business cards, licenses, a website and so on. But building and bettering your business doesn’t have to put you in the poor house. The Internet is an endless abyss of information, deals, and resources.

Budgeting your Business

Creating a professional image is important because it’s a reflection of your company. DIY ( do it yourself ) sites have pre set templates that let you plug and paste your logo, pictures, create a website without hiring a webmaster. The website hosting service Go Daddy has hundreds of templates that are easy and functional for even the least web savvy person.

My favorite find of the month is a website called Fiverr, where there are hundreds of people offering their services for $5. Many of the services are graphics related, so if you are looking for a new logo, pictures Photoshopped, or website help, you can hire someone for only $5!

Other great resources for creating business cards, and professional promotional materials is Vista Print. They offer free business cards and very inexpensive flyers, brochures and magnets. Remember you want to put your information in as many hands as possible, and vista print helps you do that without breaking your wallet.

So just when you get discourage about needing a new logo or needing funds to upgrade your image, just start googling and get your $5 ready. Your biggest investment should be your time you are using to research, write content, and improve your business.

Happy painting! -Silly Heather

Spotlight Artist: Thinking outside the Box

One of the best parts of my career (notice I used the word career because I LOVE what I do, and have built a life from it), is that I get to travel the world and meet so many amazingly talented people. About 5-6 years ago I met Magic McDreamy. For those of you that watch Greys Anatomy you understand the term McDreamy.

Michael Dardant

Michael Dardant aka “Magic McDreamy  Mike” graced the FABAIC and was unafraid to be a body painting model.  I vividly remember someone painting him in doctor scrubs. From that moment I could never forget such a guy. I am a self proclaimed super shy person, and I would describe Mike as the antithesis of me. He loves to entertain, he loves to draw in the crowds and he is one of the best magicians I have ever met.


I just received an article on Mike and I wanted to share some of the pics and shine a spotlight on him because he can be an inspiration for us all. Michael Dardant started off as a Magician, and because of his drive and determination he took his passion for mesmerizing people to a new level.

Michael Dardant Michael just finished hosting the Sugar Bowl BCS Pre game rally in addition to touring the world with his cabaret show. Thinking outside of the box and his willingness to try new things, has paid off generously. Mike  continues to grow as an artist and he refuses to let the economy slow him down.

Mike resides in New Orleans, LA, which was devastated after Hurricane Katrina. Michael used his Cajun charm to tap into other areas of the market and explore more than magic. Michael also stars in the pilot series, Below Sea Level, a comedy about New Orleans five months after Hurricane Katrina.


Let McDreamy serve as an inspiration to you. Try something new, add a new service to your resume, network, and set your sights HIGH. You never know where this magical world of art might take you.

Take a look at Michael’s website.

Happy Feet | Taking Care of Your Feet

When I first began face painting I would sit and paint the kids. They would either sit on another chair in front of me or stand. Sitting not only hurt my buns but I also started getting a hunch back from hovering over the kids. Then one day someone introduced me to the director’s chair. It was heaven, I no longer painted as Quasimodo and I felt better on the job. Soon after training myself to paint standing up, I realized my back wasn’t hurting as much but my feet started to scream for HELP!

So I invested in 2 crucial items; a pair of crocs and a gel mat. I had been on the “I hate crocs” bandwagon for a long time but after receiving them as a gift, wearing them, and LOVING them for long jobs I invested in another pair.[clear]Crocs

Crocs come in several styles, and really bright colors. Crocs are excellent for face painters. [clear]Anti Fatigue Mat

The other thing I invested in is a gel mat. Gel mats are used in barbershops, kitchens, and they are also known as anti fatigue mats. Sometimes it can be a pain to bring with me, but when I am doing a long gig, I will haul it. The gel mat creates a cushion beneath my crocs and it really adds support on my back.[clear]

I love my director’s chair, but I find that parents expect me to lift their children into my chair. The lifting of the kids along with the long hours of standing can really hurt your back, so having a gel mat and good shoes can be a life saver.

Black Sequin Shoes

On a final note, if you are not the crocs type of person, I found some really super cool, sequin sneakers that not only look professional with my bedazzled Face Artist shirts, but they are comfortable too. I added a gel insert from Dr Scholls and now I can paint all day and feel good after the job ends. [clear]

Happy Painting!

-Silly Heather

Chin Up | Syfy’s Face Off Premiere

Last night Season 2 of the SyFy show Face Off premiered. It was extremely awesome because two of our talented friends were featured. I have had the pleasure of working with Nix Herrera and Athena Zhe over the past 10 years, at the Face and Body Art International Convention and other industry events. I have witnessed Athena and Nix blossom into creative forces to be reckoned with. Kudos to both of them for having the courage to enter the competition, and to be open to criticism of their hard work.

Many of us avoid being judged by all means possible. We avoid the scale because of fear of seeing what we don’t want to see, we avoid posting pictures of our artwork out of fear that someone might say something we don’t like. Nix and Athena took that plunge and from that, we can all learn a lot.

Athena Zhe - Face Off ContestantNicholas 'Nix' Herrera - Face Off Contestant

If you are experiencing a slow month on bookings, pick up the phone and fight the fear of hearing no. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Call your local library and ask to speak to the activities director, offer discounted or free face painting so that you can pass out your business cards. Contact other painters in your area and organize a jam, make new friends and network with other outlets that might be able to bring you business. Join the chamber of commerce and get involved in the community.

All of these are great ways to drive in sales and get your name out there. You might hear a few no’s before a yes comes your way, but just as Athena and Nix bite their nails each challenge, they don’t give up. They push on with their chins up and know that giving up is not an option.


Catch new episodes of Face Off on the Syfy Network, Wednesdays at 10/9c.

New Year, New You? | Business Card Basics

Your business card is your traveling billboard. Even though we are in the middle of a cyber society, having a physical card is still as important as ever. Whether I am mid-flight heading to visit family, or visiting the grocery store, you never know where potential business might be blossoming.  When I travel I try to speak to as many people as possible. I always ask for business cards because I like to get to know the person. Whether you know it or not, a business card can say a lot about a person. A blank white card with just a name can relay the message that you are plain person, someone that is on the surface and this is what I do and how to reach me. A card with more colors and photos than you can make sense of, screams that you might be a colorful person that lacks focus. Creating a powerful card that can stimulate your business and send the message that you are open for business and know your stuff. Most of all, business cards make you seem more professional.

After running through my last batch of business cards, I wanted to try something new. So I bought a package of reflection paper from Michaels crafts and cut pieces about 1.5 inches by 2 inches and I glued them to the back of my business card. So when people turn it over they see their reflection and it says, ““A smile is a curve that sets everything straight” Hope to see you at your next party or event!”

The responses I’ve received are priceless. I honestly feel people like my card more and are less likely to throw it away. Some people might even keep it to check to see if there is food in their teeth. How ever you decide set up your business card, make sure to include your name (real name or contact name of the person who books events), No one wants to ask for Pickles the Clown. Include your phone number, website, and email. Keep it simple and effective. One great picture goes further than a collage of 100 images that they can’t see.

Here’s some business card examples.

Business card examples

Hide your Baby Wipes | Using Materials Wisely

If you are like me then you can’t do a job without baby wipes. Baby wipes are an essential part of my kit because they let me clean my hands, clean my paints, and wipe down a child if they have cotton candy and cheetos stuck on their face.

Baby Wipes

Wasting Money
After spending about $60 in baby wipes one month I realized I was doing something wrong. I have always left my baby wipes on my face painting table so they were easily accessible to me. BIG mistake! I started noticing that parents and kids help themselves to my baby wipes to clean their hands, their faces, eat pizza, and wipe down their strollers.  I never mind helping someone if they need a wipe and they don’t have anything else, but when I become the baby wipe dispenser and I noticed the difference in my wallet, I realized I needed to create a better set up.

That weekend I decided to revamp my set up, to not include my baby wipes on the table, and create a space that was conducive, inviting, professional and practical. I invested in a large bottle of hand sanitizer, bedazzled my mirror, and combined a few colors in my kit to make my space more presentable. The results were amazing.

My new space consists of my face painting kit, my business card holder, my large bottle of hand sanitizer and my brush bin with brushes. I made a pretty sign that I taped to the front of my hand sanitizer that says Clean is Cool! Help yourself to hand sanitizer and spread the words not the germs. I believe that when parents see the hand sanitizer they feel comfortable with me because they know that practicing good hygiene is a priority and that I care about the health of others. And I am also saving lots of money on my baby wipes supply. Win win! Happy Painting.

-Silly Heather

Color Sells Smiles for Miles

When I arrive at a face painting gig, I open my kit and the kids usually go crazy. I have a mile long line before I even open my chair. I immediately hear the chatter about wanting “that” on their face. The “that” they are referring to are my Silly Farm Rainbow Cakes. Face painting has been around for a LONG time. Kids have seen your typical face painting kit and although they are still excited to get painted, you’d be surprised how the sight of rainbow cakes can draw in a crowd. Especially when the colors are intense, brilliant, and funky.
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By adding one rainbow cake to your kit,  you are almost guaranteed to elevate your business and wow the crowd. Rainbow cakes are a face painter’s best friend because they take the headache and stress out of laying down and blending multiple colors. With one swipe of your sponge you can create a remarkable fantasy face that will blow away your customers. You will not only look like you can create magic with your sponge, you also will have parents asking how did you do that! The reason you want parents involved in your face painting is because they are the ones that pay the bill and can give you the residual business.

Rainbow cakes are a great investment because you can create fast impressive faces, adds loads of color to your kit, and impress the pants off your clients without having to spend a fortune. Rainbow cakes range in price from $10-$20 and currently there are over 150 different color combinations to choose from. Try one and you can thank me later.

[button type=”ambitious_button” url=”″ target=”on” ]Browse Rainbow Cakes[/button]


Enthusiasm | The Soul-Force


The word enthusiasm derives from the Greek term meaning, “to be inspired”.
When we are enthusiastic about anything, we become like a great magnet attracting a powerful force in all directions and influencing those around us. This is why it is said that enthusiasm is “soul-power”.

How does enthusiasm apply to face and body painting or any of the performing arts? For many years, one of my all time favorite quotes has been “Love what you do with all your heart and do it with enthusiasm. This is the key to success.”

When starting to paint, know that you are being guided by a subconscious force that is going to help you produce the best results. Whether it is face-painting, body painting, performing or working on a project, if we do it with enthusiasm, the results will be the best. Each time that we repeat the task in the same manner the results will be even better. When selling our services or our products, remember that enthusiasm is contagious. The more we are able to touch others with our high level of enthusiasm, the more they will want from us. We cannot sell much of anything if we don’t believe in it or ourselves 100%.
Mama Clown
Enthusiasm keeps us from being discouraged by helping us to cultivate a state of mind that doesn’t allow thoughts of failure to enter. Regardless of the economy, present circumstances in our lives, the weather, or the array of other things we find to complain about, if we approach a solution with enthusiasm, we will succeed.

Today is the day to paint your best design, to insure the most bookings, to start your dream project, to put order in your life. All you need to do is take the first step and do it with enthusiasm, because this is the key to success.

-Marcela Murad
Co-Producer of The Face and Body Art International Convention

Make Believe and Dress Up

A new year brings hopes and wishes for better things to come. This is the time where most of us stop to take inventory of our lives and careers, writing down a series of New Year resolutions.  Most of us want to increase our bookings and prosper in our businesses.

A great idea is to create a likable character to add to your line of services. Based on your personality and skills, a good character can bring in more business and more bookings. This can be a pirate, an explorer, a fairy, a princess or storyteller to name a few. Your new character can offer added entertainment (meaning $$ in your pocket) by telling stories, doing a sing along, a treasure hunt or making balloons. Even if you just face paint, dressing up and playing the part is a good excuse to raise your fees.

These are some of the characters that I have created throughout the years that have helped me stay one foot in front of the competition.  They add fun to my life, profits to my business and best of all people of all ages love to be entertained by them.


Mrs Claus
Mrs Claus

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Merci Me the Pirate
Merci Me the Pirate

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Marci Poppins Magical Storyteller
Marci Poppins the Magical Storyteller

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Mama Elf
Mama Elf

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Mama Clown
Mama Clown

Remember, It’s all about having fun!
-Marcela Murad

New Year, New You? | The Power of Presentation

January is typically the slowest month for face painters besides the incredibly hot summer months. This is the best time to re-invent yourself and re-vamp your overall presentation.
When you buy a new dress or shirt, you feel brand new when you step out in it. The same principals apply to your business.
My favorite face painting table recently bit the dust after 12 years. I have searched long and hard for a table just like it but the manufacturer no longer makes them. The perfect table can make or break your face painting set up.

As I was browsing the local camping store I found an awesome replacement table from Bass Pro. It is light weight, compact, sturdy, and affordable.

Bass Pro Medium Folding Camp Table

My old table cover didn’t fit my new table so I decided to revamp my set up and invest in a new table cloth to complete my overall new look. So I went to Joanne fabrics and bought 2 yards of sparkly fabric and a piece of black vinyl and had a friend sew me a new table cloth. The total investment with the table, fabric and friends sewing fee was $98.

As I broke open my new table on January 1, I felt like a new me! As silly as it sounds, adding something new can re-energize you and give you a fresh start. Investing in your business should be a top priority, the more you put in the more you get out. Laws to live by.

The folding table can be purchased at Bass Pro Shop, via:

The folding face painters chair can be purchased at Silly Farm, via: