Facepaint UK Blog


Mar 15, 2017

The Face Conference is a vehicle for competitions as well as an opportunity for a lot of painters to get together, exchange tips and ideas and generally get on bad!

There are a series of 'fun' contests, some semi-serious like the 2 colour challenge and then there are the ones that are not for the faint hearted!

For the 2 colour challenge (below) participants were directed to use the special 'Fools Gold' Snazaroo paint that had been generously included in our fantastic goody bags, but not everyone had it available.

The Monster Competition, sponsored and judged by Dauphines was the first 'serious' affair, and some very nasty flights of the imagination roamed the room. Lorna Strachan had a well deserved win, with the surprising use of PINK! Here are the ones that we managed to corner.





Keep scrolling for THE BIG ONE!

There was a box for suggestions for the theme of the next competition - the most serious of them all - Face Painter of the Year, this year the entrants were not allowed to contribute at this stage. Nerves were calmed by a good lunch, and those brave enough went downstairs to take their place for the most daunting competition in the UK facepainting calendar.

FPOTY is a live competition with 5 minutes thinking time after the theme is announced, and 20 minutes to paint your inspiration. The contest incorporates 3 separate Awards: Best Design, Best Technical Ability and finally Facepainter of the Year for whoever gets most marks overall. All the painters were in their place – 25 entrants this time, including the leading lights of our world. This is a massive improvement on years gone by and makes it a really valid contest. Models were randomly installed in front of nervous painters and fingernails being bitten to the quick. Finally, the dreaded theme was drawn from a hat...... and it was BUTTERFLIES! Groans all round, everyone was prepared for an off the wall suggestion that would stretch their creativity to the limit, and this was a very different challenge. How to make something stunning from a theme that we all paint to all the time? Old habits die hard, and a lot of fairly pedestrian if very pretty entries came forth. There were also some inspiring twists on the theme, Amanda Williams went off on a tangent with her gruesome goth design, a complete departure from everyone else’s flights of fancy, and Tammy Beeks re-rendered her sad looking butterfly clown design on Kath Monday.

We don’t have photos from this competition yet as the ‘official’ photography and excruciatingly convoluted judging by each and every attendant marking each and every entrant on 6 different counts took hours, and by the time it was over it was only fair to let the models go. However, we do have Bibi's winning photo, and her story of what it was like.

“There were so many people taking part this year that I responded to Caro’s insistence that I ‘go and paint!’. I dragged our good friend Tracy Foster with me, and sat her down next to me, Caro kindly lending her a kit as she hadn’t even got hers from the car! I was in a bit of a panic as I’d left my sponges by the sink at home! We had a box full of my special ‘wedge’ sponges to sell, so it was no problem to raid that, but new sponges just aren’t the same as those that have been ‘run in’. I dashed to the loo to give them a good pounding and hoped for the best. When the models were allocated I was given a bubbly red haired girl who told me her name was Niamh, but she preferred to be called Nora as she was ‘Naughty Nora’. I’d not heard of this character before, and feared the worst. But ‘Nora’ was an absolute delight, a very pretty girl who didn’t stop chatting the whole time I painter her!

When the theme was read out, I’m sure it wasn’t just me who had a sinking heart. I’ve simplified my butterflies to the point that I can whisk a decent one off in a couple of minutes, but this wouldn’t do for such an occasion. How to let go of that safe answer? I looked at Niamh in desperation for inspiration and her hair gleamed back at me in the sunlight. I grabbed my largely neglected Kryolan Interferenz Copper, Bronze and Gold and laid them out on the table. I don’t use these much as despite being fabulous colours, they can be difficult to work with, and getting clean detail over them frustrating as they are a bit oily. They also need some contrast the get the best from them, otherwise they are all shine, and this can also be tricky to photograph. So after carefully sponging a background of Bronze, Copper and Gold where I would want the wings to be, I added some black to the inside to give it some depth. Having heard that it was ‘Butterflies’ I thought I ought to have more than one, so sponged the same colours in place for 2 smaller versions. So far so good, now what about the detail? Wolfe black would come into its own, surely? It did, and I played safe with some swirly lines, not too far off what I might normally do as nerves get to the best of us. I hate doing small butterflies, and still don’t feel I’ve cracked it. I would have been better to not have them face on, but been a bit more subtle with a side view, and when I do the step by step I am going to try to improve the design. It could also benefit from some shadowing, especially of the smaller butterflies, but this really needs to be planned in advance, and I hadn’t! I didn’t want to get caught running out of time, 20 minutes goes incredibly quickly, especially with a chatty model (tell me about that in a minute Niamh) so I focused on highlighting the black lines, and adding bits of detail (including my trademark dots with an S2 brush) and not overloading it with too much fussiness. The overall shape was pleasing, and it could have been lost had I done any more. As I brushed her hair out of the plaits she had arrived with, and sprinkled gold glitter over the whole affair - time was up!

I don’t think anyone who hasn’t taken part can realise just how stressful this competition is. It’s so easy to make a mistake under pressure, and you have to decide whether to waste time correcting it, or just persevere. This has happened to me every time I have taken part, and I look at the photos afterwards and think... if only....

Tracy did a wonderful job on her blue butterfly; she suffered the same problem with her antennae going a bit awry, which was a shame as everything else was just about perfect. She was glad to have taken part, so it was worth the cajoling, and I’m going to have to watch my heels with all these superb new painters snapping at them!”

And here is Bibi a little the worse for wear accepting an armful of shiny glass trophies, her efforts won her Best Design, Best Technical Ability and Face Painter of the Year!

Official pictures from all the Face winners here

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