Clean-up Time!

"Clean up! Clean up! Everybody, everywhere! Clean up! Clean up! Everybody do their shaaaare!". My little boy learned this song in Pre-K, and still sings it in Kindergarten today. It's a great little ditty, and a good reminder that cleaning up can be fun! 

Too often I see face painters who don't offer any tips to parents about how to clean up their kid's faces after an event. And don't get me wrong! These can be really super talented painters, and I am in no way implying that the painters who don't do this are being unprofessional. Some of the most famous top professional painters in the world don't hand out clean-up cards to the parents of the kids they paint. And that's okay. But I do. Want to know why? (Sure, you do.) ;) 

I do it because *I* am a parent. So I know what it's like to be a parent of a little kid, and how awesomely chaotic it can be. As a parent, we have enough on our plates. We are constantly trying to juggle our schedules, find our kid's socks, trying to get them to finish their homework, driving them to soccer or karate or ballet, trying to make them eat their peas...  We have so much to think about and do as it is! So when somebody hands us a call to action like a nice little card with instructions on it... really clear step-by-step instructions to ensure that we don't have to worry about messing this up... we as parents are really freaking GRATEFUL. 

When I put myself in the shoes of the parents of my tiniest clientele, I realized that they would appreciate such instructions just as much as I would. We need all the help we can get. It really does take a village... am I right? (In this case, of course I am). 

So I created these nifty little clean-up cards. On the front I have instructions on how to remove the make-up. The instructions are quite simple, but helpful. There is even a graphic that I created (quite proud of myself for that one, I must say!) that demonstrates just how easy it is to do. I even included a QR code that, when scanned with any smartphone, will take that parent directly to the clean-up page on my website. There, they will find the same graphic and instructions, but in more detail. Should they want or need it. And of course, my website gives them information on how to contact me should any questions or concerns ever arise. (Such as, "will my child look this green forever?" To which the answer is... no. No he will not. I promise). ;) 

On the back of this card, I have a little thank-you note for my customers to read. I want them to know that I am sincerely grateful for having had the tremendous honor to get to paint their face that day! And I let them know that I am looking forward to getting to paint them again sometime soon. Because I really truly am. I love my job so much, you wouldn't even believe me if you knew just HOW much. (Unless you are another face painter. In which case, you already know. Because you love your job too.) ;) 

Putting yourself in the shoes of the parents (and children) that you work with is always a great idea. It's SO important. As the mother of a child with special needs (our little boy has autism), I even went so far as to create a set of social stories for children on the spectrum to read about the face painting process, as well as the clean-up process that happens at home later on. As Ralph's parents, Steve and I know first hand how difficult it can be to get him to feel comfortable with any situation that is new. So I put myself in the shoes of other parents whose kids I paint, recognizing that many of them are in a similar situation. Even if their child does not have autism like ours does, there are still many other reasons why a social story could be extremely helpful for certain children! Such as a child who is nervous about being painted for the very first time. I know first hand what it's like to watch a child struggle with taking their face paint off at the end of the day, and how upset it can make them. That's when the social story comes in. Once a parent and child reads it together before clean-up time occurs, it can really help to ease the transition from princess or dinosaur or superhero, back to a clean-faced kid again. 

My point is, we are all human. We all have struggles. The parents... the kids... we all have things that we go through and have to endure. It can be something serious, or something as simple as having to wash off that awesome face paint at the end of a long and exciting day. The more that we, as professional face painters connect with our clientele, and become members of their village... the village that it takes to raise their child? The more good we are doing on this earth. It is the difference between being a business that is merely ordinary... vs. a business that is EXTRAordinary. All it takes is that little "extra". ;) 

Happy Painting! 

PS: Fellow face painters! Feel free to check out my clean-up page HERE
Please remember that while I encourage you to feel free to make clean-up pages and cards and QR codes of your own, I would reeeeally appreciate it if you didn't copy mine word for word. We are all very creative types, n'es pas? ;) I know you can do it in your own words! I have faith in you. And please don't steal my awesome graphic! It took me a long time to do. But please feel inspired to create your own! And feel free to share it with me! I cannot WAIT to see it! YOU ROCK! 

Art in the Park with Lenore Koppelman!

Come join me tomorrow at Astoria Heights Playground for a free art lesson for the kiddos! Bring a few pencils and an eraser with you. I will provide the paper. Tomorrow we will be learning how to draw Spiderman, Hello Kitty, and possibly more if time allows. 

This class is sponsored by Connection NYC and Friends of Astoria Heights Park. We look forward to seeing you there! 

PS: The first 10 students to arrive will receive a coupon for their next event with The Cheeky Chipmunk! 

Lenore Koppelman
Lead artist at The Cheeky Chipmunk 

Soufflage Tutorial

I'm a sucker for colorful art. The juicier the colors, the better. I'm always looking for new ways to be inspired to use color, whether it be in bursts, swooshes, swirls, or drips.  I remember being a little girl growing up in New Orleans, taking art classes every summer at The New Orleans Museum of Art. There is a basement at NOMA where children would gather in order to learn how to draw, to sculpt, to paint... and one of my favorite memories was learning about the art of soufflage. We would lean over art tables and blow through plastic straws onto sheets of paper, while droplets of watercolor would run wild across the page. The word soufflage is a French word, and it represents the art of blowing air or wind. My sheet of paper would almost resemble a rainbow rorschach test,  and I couldn't get enough of this amazing technique. I would blow through that straw so hard and so often, completely hypnotized by the way the colors danced and melded into each other, until I grew lightheaded and needed to put my head down on the table and rest. When it was time for my parents to pick me up from art class, I was woozy and exhausted, and thoroughly blissed out. I would carry out multiple large wavy sheets of paper in my arms,  kinked up from all of the wetness caused by the water and the paint. My parents would swoon with encouragement, and the moment we got home, they would proudly display my work of the day on the fridge. 

And now I find myself a whopping 30-something years later (how in the world did that happen?!?!?), and a face and body painter who is constantly looking for new techniques... or at least, new ways to use old techniques. My nostalgia for my childhood in New Orleans brought me back to that classroom in the belly of the museum, blowing through straws. Excited to try this with face and body paint, I jumped up from where I was sitting and ran into the kitchen to grab some straws. My first experiments looked wonderful, and I was delighted with them. But I felt even more lightheaded and woozy than I did as a child. My head was throbbing! If I was going to cover any vast area of space on the body, I was going to either have to build myself a time machine so I could reclaim the lungs I had when I was 10... or I was going to have to form a new plan. That's when the idea to try my Giotto on the wet paint popped into my head. EUREKA!!!! I pulled it out of my kit and gave it a go. IT WORKED! I was excited beyond measure. Try it and enjoy!

My (Almost) 2 Year Anniversary

Well, it's almost my 2 year anniversary of being in business as The Cheeky Chipmunk! 
It's so amazing to think of how quickly the time has gone by in some ways, and how, in other ways, it feels as if I have been in this industry forever. I've come a long long way from where I first started from. My anniversary present to myself is to launch this new and updated website. I sincerely hope you like it! Feel free to poke around and explore, and have some fun while you're here. 

If you are an aspiring face or body painter, or just a fellow creative, you won't want to miss out on the goodies to come. Here I will be reviewing my favorite products, showing tutorials and video reviews, sharing paint swatches, inspiring you with brand new designs, and so much more. 

So stay tuned for the fun! 

Cheekily Yours,