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Face painting kit series: the Craft-n-Go, part 1

When Lenore first opens her kit, everything is in place and ready for her to use, making her set-up time less than five minutes.
When Lenore first opens her kit, everything is in place and ready for her to use, making her set-up time less than five minutes.
Photo courtesy Lenore Koppelman, used with permission

Face painting kits are as varied as the artists who use them. In this series, face painters will learn the pros and cons of different kits, helping them make an educated decision as they create their own unique kits. Lenore Koppelman, the Cheeky Chipmunk, is currently using the Craft-n-Go as her kit of choice and has recently been hired by the Craft-n-Go company as a face painting consultant as they create a new kit for use specifically by face painters. The new kit is scheduled to be available in the fall.

The Spiderman girlie version is one of the vibrant and unique designs Lenore offers which was inspired by artist Katurah Hall.
Photo courtesy of Lenore Koppelman, used with permission

Artist spotlight: Lenore Koppelman, the Cheeky Chipmunk
Location: Astoria Queens, New York
Kit of choice: The Craft-n-Go Pro Portable Crafting Workstation

Q: How did you begin face painting?

Lenore: I grew up in New Orleans. When I was a little girl growing up, my parents would take me with them to brunch in the French Quarter every Sunday morning, without fail. It was our family tradition. During breakfast, a topic of conversation would always be what I planned to get painted on my cheeks that day. There was a face painter in Jackson Square who I would go to with my parents after we had eaten, and I would indulge getting painted every week.

The face painter who worked there had a very simple kit. This was way before one-strokes, rainbow cakes, poofer bottles, or any of the cool new gadgets and gizmos we all use now. Back then, she only had a small kit and a single paintbrush. She wore a really enormous sun hat with fake flowers glued all over it, and she would sit me in her director's chair and fill my cheeks with designs from her board. Her designs delighted me back in the 1980's, but are considered comically simply by today's standards. A heart. A star. A fleur de lis.

Over brunch, I would go on and on in a gush of excited indecisiveness about which design I would get that day. I'd try to coerce my parents into buying me multiple designs by pointing out that my cheeks were large enough to hold many. That was when Mom and Dad playfully nicknamed me their "cheeky little chipmunk."

Riding the streetcar on the way home, I would frequently tell them that I wanted to be a face painter when I grew up. They would look at each other, grin, and think to themselves, "That's so cute." Little did we all know...

Lenore's kit of choice: The Craft-n-Go Pro Portable Crafting Workstation

Weight empty: Approximately 33 pounds

Weight loaded: Approximately 40 pounds

Lenore: It depends on how much you pack into it. Mine has quite a bit inside, so I am going to guess weighs approximately 40 pounds. I approached my personal trainer Brian when I was first thinking of possibly buying this kit in December of last year. I said, "Brian, I cannot believe I'm about to ask you to do this, but I need you to torture me with my upper body workout today. I need me some Michelle Obama arms!"

Brian laughed and asked why. I pulled up the Craft-n-Go website and showed him the kit. I told him, "This is the kit of my dreams. I want it. I need it. I have to have it. And if I lived in the burbs and owned a car so I could drive it around everywhere, it would be easy peasy. But..." and I pointed to my chubby weakling arms.

Brian looked at me and said, "Say no more. I'm on it!" He immediately created a regimen to strengthen my upper body so I could carry this kit up and down stairs. That, to me, is the hardest part. Wheeling it around is easy. But the stairs? I won't lie. For me, it's tough. I needed Brian to help me prepare for it. He was true to his word. Now that Cynthia from Craft-n-Go and I are working on creating a new, lighter, more compact kit, I would like to think that Brian is going to finally ease up on me a bit. But knowing way. Fat chance. (And I love him for that!)

Type of stand: Built-in legs

Lenore: The Craft-n-Go has built-in legs. I love these legs! They fold in and recess in the kit! The legs are very easy to open and close. The legs on my kit are one of my favorite features.

Wheels or no wheels: Wheels

Set up time: Approximately five minutes

Lenore: It takes me approximately one minute to set up the Craft-n-Go kit itself. I spend the other three to four minutes getting my water into my water basin, unpacking and setting up my make-up chair, and taping up my posters with notices and rules for the kids waiting to be painted. Then I'm ready to go!

Break down time: Approximately five minutes

Lenore: First I dump out my water and place my empty water bin into my backpack. Then I take my posters down and put them into my kit. I lock my kit shut and fold up and pack away my make-up chair. It slides into a sleeve that has a strap on it that I can toss over my shoulder when I'm ready to go. I put my mesh bags of sponges into my backpack to be washed, fold the legs of my kit into the recess underneath it, and I'm off!

Don't miss part two as Lenore gives her kit evaluation, including where she started as a face painter and what made her decide that the Craft-n-Go was the right kit for her. She'll also go over her average event size, the advantages and disadvantages of her kit, and her favorite features.

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