Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Brush with Destiny!

Welcome to our blog post about the different uses for paint brushes,  and the different brands that we offer at our store.   There is a lot here for beginners and maybe some new bits for the pros. I will start with the basics and get more tricky as the post goes on, so scroll down to see what brush you are curious about.

So many different brands to choose from!

Where do you start?  you will notice that some brushes are more expensive than others.  The quality of the handle and the brush hairs can affect cost, along with the brand name that goes with them.  For example, Global and Paradise have plastic handled brushes which look nicer for longer periods of time than wooden handled brushes, which can chip and peel. When thinking about flats, consider that Protege', Prisma and Bolt flat brushes have shorter bristles for better control with one stroke moves. Look for pointy tips, a strong connection at the ferrule and bristles that are good for watercolor and acrylics. Not everyone likes the same brush.The best thing to do to find the brushes you love without spending a fortune is to head to face paint jams and try out your friends' brushes and write the names down. 

Synthetic versus Natural Hair

I use synthetic hair brushes or brushes that have a blend of real and synthetic hair.  The real hair brushes are very soft when you get them wet, so they are harder to control in my opinion. Brushes designed for acrylic painting, especially decorative painting seem to hold face paint well and offer a lot of control. I have met painters who use the mega fancy natural haired brushes, their claim to fame is that they hold more paint and let it out too! If you are a dare devil, give them a try, I am sure with practice they can be used nicely.
Jest Paint's New Bolt Brushes

The PROtege Brush Set
Global Body Art's New Full Line of Brushes


Besides being the best for outlining, making swirls and twirls and popping out little dots, rounds are also good for having a hey day with tear drops. By dragging the tip and then pressing down, or by doing the reverse, you will get cute little tear drops. They work best if you use a round with a chubby base and a pointy tip. You can also use them for making double loaded flower petals and for filling in spaces with paint. Click here to see the Bolt Liner Brushes make incredible tear drops!
I always have 2 small rounds, two medium rounds  and two nice fat rounds just for black and white. Round # 2 or 3, and  a #4 or #6 and a #10. Why do I subject myself to so many rounds just for two colors?
It is hard to rinse all of the black out of a brush at a gig, so I just keep brushes for black so they don’t contaminate the loveliness of the other colors and so my water doesn’t get so muddy so fast with all the rinsing of a black brush.  Same deal with the white,  I don’t like picking up a brush that was last used with red paint, and then rinsing it and using it for white…and ending up with a whitish pink.  My colors come out looking brighter and my water looks better, and I save more paint if I stick to this policy in my brush department.  You can color code your paint handles with finger nail polish so you  know who is who.
For all the other colors I just use another group of many sized rounds interchangeably .


Flats are another brush that I have more than one of in my kit. I have 1/2″, 3/4″, 1″ and 1 1/4″  flats for all of my one stroke painting needs. ( Yes ,I have a strong need to one stroke!) 

I think the 1/2″ and 3/4″ flats are easier to control if you are doing fancy one stroke moves with a lot of wiggling the brush, and the wider flats are better for more simple strokes.
A Variety Of Flats that we Carry
I also love the 1/4″ flat brush for doing thin to thick line work for tiger stripes and around spider fella’s eyes.  I twist the small flat while I pull it, so it looks like it goes from thin to thick to thin to thick.  You can end with a really sharp line, which always excites me! Click here to see a demo video of the New Flat Bolt Brushes!


Angled brushes are commonly for one stroke painting. You can make roses with an angled brush because it is easy to make a petal stroke that goes from thick to thin, just by lifting the shorter side off the skin as you twist the brush to form the petal. The American Painter 1/2" Angle is our most popular rose brush. The American Painter 1/4" is used a lot for scallop designs in butterfly wings.

American painter 3/4" Angle brush
Done with a 1/2" Flat Brush


Petals are the go to brush for double and triple loaded flowers. They make great petal shapes when you just stamp them down, or stamp and twist them.  The New Bolt Blooming Brush is demoed in this video if you want to see one in action.
Bolt Blooming Brush


 Different sized filberts will open you up to different sized flowers or baby butterflies.The TAG 1/2" Filbert Brush is one of my faves. You can also use them to make large teardrops to trim the edge of a butterfly mask!
Filberts are also good for painting cheek art in general, laying down larger areas of a color, like to fill in a pony heads or other rounded edge designs.  Filberts also rock my socks off when it comes to blending a darker color onto a lighter color…they make a smooth transition between the two colors. Sometimes these shorter filberts are referred to as chisels. Watch this video to see how to make fast filbert hearts!

TAG Filbert

 Rakes/Wisps and other Specialty Brushes

Flat Wisp
I love rake/wisp brushes. They are great for making tons of  fine strokes or tons of tiny dots all at once.  I use the larger sized flats, angles and fans the most.  The fine lines add dramatic fine shading to the outer edges of butterfly wings…if you start at the edge of your wing and then pull in towards the eye.  I also use them for palm trees and grass and horse hair for cheek art designs.  For boy full face designs I use them a lot to add wrinkles on the nose of creepy monsters, or weird textures on the rest of the face, or fur on tigers. 
Dots made with the wisp brush.

My biggest use for the rake/whips brush is for making tiny little dots over black line work or around designs to add that magical fairy dust look.  I load up a pretty good paste of white with 3/4" flat wisp and just stamp the tips all over and every one goes “Ohhh wow!”  I am glad simple things can amaze those who watch you paint.
A regular fan brush is also a popular one in my kit. I use it for butterflies and also for wisping shag.  I like to also press it into the rainbow cakes and stamp it around eye masks.
Check out our Special Brush Category to see brushes that have bristles in interesting shapes!
I love using the Aura Brush when I need some creative inspiration! You can use it for cheetah spots, leaves, chains, butterfly wing spots etc. Another fun brush is the Flora brush! You can make cute pointy tipped petals, monster teeth and cool teardrops with this one! 
Loew Cornell Flora #10
Loew Cornell Aura 1/2"

Other Tools for Face Painting

This chart can help you pick the right tool for the job, beyond brushes!

Taking Care of your Beloved Brushes

Before you go nuts and buy really fancy expensive brushes, make sure you have a system set up so that they stay in good shape for a long time.  I am not the best mother to my face paint brushes, sometimes I even drop them on the floor and leave them at gigs, and who knows what happens to them after that! I store my brushes in a  foldable brush easel that has elastic bands to hold them in place while I work. 
WASHING: You can wash your brushes in  hot water, or in baby shampoo to remove paint and germs. Special brush cleaners will condition your brushes and get that extra bit of paint that hides up in the ferrule out for you too!
DRYING: It is recommended to dry your brushes either hanging upside down or flat so that when they dry, the water doesn’t soak down into the Ferrule  ( the metal tube that holds the bristles onto the handle ) and mis-shape the bristles or the wooden handle .  Once they are dry you can store them standing up.
USE: Another thing that is hard to resist is not to leave your brushes sitting bristle down in your water cup while you are working. This can bend them up.  I have a habit of doing this, and I have to stay really conscious to rinse and put away my brush after each use.  Avoiding rubbing your brushes to death on the bottom or side of your cup will also help them last longer.
Watch how you load your paint as well, making sure that you aren’t hurting your bristles by smooshing them into the hard cakes in unnatural ways.  Usually we get a hang of this pretty quick…well hopefully by the time we turn 8 years old.  My daughter still makes me squirm when she uses my brushes.
REPAIRING: You can snip wild loose hairs off with a nail clipper, and you can try to reshape your brushes by setting them with hair gel or dipping them in microwaved water for a couple of seconds. You can repaint your brush handles with nail polish or any other heavy paint to keep the wooden handles looking nice.
REPURPOSING: If you have some damaged brushes that you can't fix, you can still use them for other things, like applying glitter on your face paint designs or glitter tattoos, or by making them funkier by additional smashing or cutting to see if you can come up with a useful specialty brush! ooh la la !
Once, while making a youtube video,  Oceana chewed the wahoo out of one oh my 1″ flat brushes…she bent the metal ferrule so much that the bristles would no longer be useful for one stroking. I took that dear flat of mine and double loaded the tips, smashing in head first into a rainbow cake, and then stamped the bristles onto my skin and found out it made an amazing feathered petal prints. 

If you have any questions about brushes, please leave them in the comments or e-mail me…or even call me! Let us know what other brushes you would like to see at Jest Paint. Thanks! Happy Painting!

         (This blog post was updated and transferred from Anna's original blog on WordPress.)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

What is the Best Kind of Paint for Me?

   When digging around the internet, reading forums or talking to painters on the phone, I hear so many different opinions about many brands of face paints.  Some love one brand and despise another, while others feel totally the opposite.  All of those opinions can make a new painter go wild! This is a rundown about the different styles of face paint that we sell at Jest Paint. It seems that they all have their pros and cons…and one person’s pro might be a different persons con so take it in with a fleck of glitter. Paints can vary by the batch, it is the nature of the colorful beast
If you are just starting out, just remember that the waxed based paints are very similar. If you like one brand you are likely to like the others. Pick your favorite colors from each brand. The Glycerin paints vary a little more in consistency, so talk with your friends, look at demos online or give us a call. 
  A lot of people keep different styles of paint to use in their kit for different reasons since some brands work best for bases, while others rock out in the line work department. Sometimes you may be dying for a color that is so amazing even though it might be a little more difficult to use. Some brands consistency varies by color too. There is a lot of trial and error when you are a face painter.  
 With more brands and more competition the quality of face paint should keep improving over the years, so keep your eyes out for more amazing products to come!
There are eight types of face paint that we carry. Below are some charts and bits of important info about each style, please leave comments with any of  your own input! :)
                                         CLICK TO ENLARGE AND SAVE THESE CHARTS

Glycerin Based Paints 

Water activated.
Glycerin based paints are generally softer in the container.
They load more quickly and thickly on your sponge or brush.
They dry slower, and because of this they are ideal for dry blending and wet blending with the sponge or brush.
They can make small brush detail work more difficult since they usually load thickly, though most  FAB regular colors seems to work really well for details. With practice you can make it happen with all the brands.
They may rub off easier than wax based paints if you touch them a lot.
You can set them with translucent powder to increase their durability, though you don’t have to.
They work as great bases for adding decorative powders on top, and for holding glitter.
They tend to feel softer and more flexible on the skin than wax based paints.

Done with Global Paints

Wax Based Paints 

The Brands: GlobalDiamond FX – Cameleon – TAG – Wolfe FX - Kryvaline
Water activated
Wax based paints are generally more firm in the cake. Though they vary by color from being like a soft clay to being dry and brittle.
They load quickly, but you get an opaque yet thinner load, more like using watercolors.
You can do fine brushwork details with them easily and also layer the colors with limited bleeding through.
They dry quickly, so you have to blend a little faster, or blend on your sponge or brush before applying to the face.
They are more durable on the face, though like most of the styles listed, they are water based and not sweat resistant.
They work great for split cakes.

 Remove with soap and then soap and water. Coconut oil helps get out any faint stains.

Powder Based Paints

The Brands and how to use them : Ben Nye’s Magicakes (Wet) – Mehron’s Starblends (Wet or dry) – Jest Paint’s Vibrant Powders (Dry) – Kryolan’s Shades (Dry) –Kryolan Viva (Wet and Dry) – Mehron’s Precious Gem  Powders (Wet or Dry) –  Ben Nye Grande Lumiere Colours (Wet or Dry).

Vibrant Powder Silly Monster
You can use them wet or dry depending on the brand.
If using  your paints dry, they show up the strongest when you apply a primer first. A primer can be anything that will make the skin a little bit tacky, from normal face paint to eye shadow primer to glycerin or oil or lotion. Just be sure to apply a super thin layer of primer (if it isn’t paint) so that your applicator doesn’t pick any of it up.
You can use mixing liquid, which will make the powders more durable against sweat and touching, and will make the colors more opaque and water resistant for pool parties.  Mixing liquid is best used with the Ben Nye Magicakes, Precious Gems loose powders or the Lumiere colors. 
If you moisten a powder based cake, it will be hard to use it again dry since the liquid will compact the powder. Kryolan Viva claims that it is interchangeable.
Powders can be used as a base for eye masks or full face designs.
You can blend loose mica powders on top of your matte powder cakes to add more pigment and shine.
They blend smoothly and quickly on primed skin.
They won’t melt in your containers on super hot days…and seem to hold up better to sweat that the other types of paints, but only if you do not touch them a lot.
They are more fragile, so you have to take special care when transporting them and when using them.
You will want to be prepared for fall out. Depending on how much you load your sponge and if you are using a primer, you may want to drape the kids to protect their clothing. You can limit fall out with practice.
They can look streaky on sweaty faces, or if a child has random sun tan lotion applied. The powders will look the darkest where the skin is moist or oily. Either have the child evenly wipe off their face, or apply a primer evenly first.
You can seal the powders with something like Ben Nye Final so that do not rub off.

 Remove with soap and then soap and water. Coconut oil helps get out any faint stains.

Cream Based Paints

The brands: Mehron’s Fantasty FX (Many more that we do not currently carry)
No water needed.
Cream based paints take longer to dry.
Best for base work, not ideal for brush work since they are thick and creamy.
Can be set with a translucent powder for a more durable finish.
You can find them in tubes, pumps and cakes.
Good for use in hospitals since you can squeeze out individual palettes for each patient.

 Remove with soap and then soap and water. Coconut oil helps get out any faint stains.

Grease Based Paints

The brands: Ben Nye Professional Clown Series (Many more that we do not currently carry)
Theater folk and professional clowns are more likely to use grease based paints. They are less common in the face painting industry because they require powdering and doing detailed work is very difficult.
No activation.
Do not dry, so you must set them with powder.
They are waterproof when set with powder.
Stand up well to sweat, but if you are very hot and rub the paint it can still smear.
Great for smooth blended bases.
Hard to use with brushes. Detailed line work is very difficult since it loads rather thickly on a brush and does not flow off of the bristles.
You can use regular face paint on top of cream based paint if the base is set with powder first.

 Remove with soap and then soap and water. Coconut oil helps get out any faint stains. You can also remove them just with oils.

Water Based Liquid Paints

Some liquid water based paints are designed for airbrush use while others are for sponge and brush, and some can be used both ways. 

A lot of painters who started out using liquid craft paint move over to liquid face paint since they are familiar with the consistency and application.

Liquid paints don't need water added to activate, though they can be thinned with pure water.

Depending on the brand, some liquid paints are very soft and flexible on the face, while other have acrylates in them and feel a little heavier on the skin. The heavier they are the better they are from layering. 

Some painters use liquid black and white to activate their black and white make up cakes for more opacity.

You will want to be really careful that your paints don't tip or fall off the table. 

 Remove with soap and then soap and water. Coconut oil helps get out any faint stains.

Hybrid Liquid Paints

The brands: Proaiir and Dips

Hybrid paints can be used with an airbrush or sponge and brush.

Hybrid paints have a mix of alcohol and castor oil in them. They have less castor oil than paints designed to last for up to 7 days, so that they can be washed off with hand soap easily at the end of the day. 

Hybrid paints resist water, aka they won't drip off when they get wet, but they are not fool proof since you still want them to wash off easily, and a persons skin oils will play a part too. 

Apply them to clean, dry and cool skin if you want them to hold up the best. 

They dry very fast so if you are using them with a sponge, I recommend loading multiple colors on the sponge and then blending them into the face all at once, or stippling the second color into the first color. 

Be careful using them around the eyes. The skin might feel a little tingle when the alcohol evaporates.

You will want to be really careful that your paints don't tip or fall off the table. 

 Remove with soap and then soap and water. 

Temporary Tattoo Paints

This style of paint has a base of alcohol and castor oil. The castor oil makes the paint hard to remove, and they can last on the skin for up to 7 days, but I would say that they look their best for the first 2-3 days.

These are great for small airbrush or sponge and brush tattoos, or for full body paintings that needs to last for a long time.

These are not recommended for the face unless the model wants to look wild for a long time. 

You will want to be really careful that your paints don't tip or fall off the table and that you have a remover to clean up any spills. I would drape the clients clothing just in case as well. 

You can remove this with special removers or rubbing alcohol. 99% works the best. 


                               Metallic and Pearl Paints

TAG Pearls are soft and shimmery. They are great for sponging base work since they are lighter than many other shimmery paints. They are not all the best for linework since some colors do not apply very solidly when trying to do swirls or tear drops. TAG Pearl Green and Pearl Blue are sort of silvery.  They have many beautiful colors that you can’t find in any other line, like Pearl Wine, Pearl Teal and Pearl Apricot. One of my favorite blending combos is Pearl Purple and Pearl Teal…totally gorgeous.
Diamond FX Metallics have many similar shades to TAG and Wolfe, though I like their high pigmentation and opacity the most for doing brush work! They have a very bold and bright Pink, Purple, Blue and Green. You might want to tone them down with Metallic White for base work, and use them straight for detailed line work.
Kryolan Interferenz paints vary. Some have a really cool duo-chrome effect and are very shimmery, while others just have a light shimmer. Some are a bit transparent, and are best if applied on top of other colors, or mixed in to other colors. I have not tried all of the Interferenz colors, but my top faves are GB, BR and PV. PB is best for mixing with or applying on top of matte  colors…it is like the inside of an Abalone shell.  I would say that Interferenze colors, in general, are best for smooth bases, and not the greatest for brush work. Some do not fully dry, and have an oily feel to them. 
Kryolan Metallic colors are known as the best metallic out there for bases. They are rich and shiny and scream METAL!! They can clump a little on your sponge unless you load doing a lot of rubbing around to break up the metallic chunks of glory. 
FAB’s Shimmers are similar to other brands of metallic and pearls, but as a bonus some have a really nice iridescent effect. The ones we carry are very shimmery. My top favorites are Ziva Blue Shimmer, Magenta Shimmer, Ocean Shimmer and London Sky Shimmer. Magenta shimmer might leave some stains.
FAB Glitter Paints actually have a fine cosmetic glitter mixed into the shimmery paint for a magical effect! FAB’s shimmers and glitters are much better for base work than line work.
Paradise’s NEW Brilliant Colors are a step above their first line of Metallic colors. They have bright new colors and fantastically metallic Silver and Gold which are great for bases and brushwork.  The Fuchsia is a show stopper, and looks amazing blended in with the Blue Bebe.  The other shades in the line stand out for amazing bases, but they are not ideal for detailed line work. They do not come out solid from the brush.

Global Pearl and Metallic Colors have different consistencies. Some are softer when you open your container, while others have more binders to keep the shimmer on the skin, and feel harder when you start loading your sponge. The payoff is great though, since they stick really well to the skin and are easy to do line work over. I love the Pearl Magenta and Pearl Lime, and Pearl Blue, and well, okay I love them all, except the Pearl Baby Blue isn't like super pigmented like the others. The Pearl Gold is a super bright pretty gold, my favorite from all the brands. 
Whew! I hope that wasn’t information overload!  In case it was, here is a simplified grid! Just click on it to see it all nice and big!