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 Pro Portable Crafting Workstation 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.
Q: What do you like best about being a face painter?
Lenore: Oh, golly...what's not to like? I mean, really! I get to spend my days being creative, inventing new designs, and I get to work with children, which is perfect for me because I essentially am a big kid myself. I think one of my favorite things about being in this business, though, is the look on a child's face when he finds out what I do.
It's that exact look of blissed-out wonderment that I had on my face as a little girl in the French Quarter of New Orleans every Sunday which I gave the face painter who worked there at that time, while I shrieked, "This is your job? Are you kidding me? You get to face paint? Every day? And you're about to face paint me? And you know how to make me look like whatever I want to be? Oh, my God! You have the best job ever!
When a kid looks at me that way because they see me standing there with a brush in my hand, and I get to see that over-the-moon expression of shock and surprise when I hand him that mirror. It blows my mind to know that I have the power to make people (especially kids, but all people) look that excited and happy. It's as if I finally became the rock star who, when I was growing up, I always wanted to be.
Lenore's kit of choice: The Craft-n-Go Pro Portable Crafting Workstation
First kit: Snazaroo palette in flat, plastic container
Lenore: I started out with a tiny Snazaroo kit from Michael's Craft Store. I kept it in a flat, plastic container that was originally created for storing scrapbooking paper. I used a plastic Mardi Gras cup for my water. (Because you can take the girl out of New Orleans, but you can't take New Orleans out of the girl.)
Q: What makes the Craft-n-Go the right kit for you?
Lenore: I paint often in various location that can't supply me with a table: children's boutiques, places that host parties for children, outdoors in parks or playgrounds, etc. The businesses I frequently paint for only have so many tables at their disposal. Parents were often frustrated that I was occupying one of the few precious tables that they had access to. It was providing them with less space for party food, goodie bags, presents, and birthday cakes. It's like that in a big city like New York. Space is precious, and people need every square inch they can get.
One of the owners of Raising Astoria in the Ditmars area of Astoria Queens, a children's boutique that I absolutely love to paint at, asked me if I could begin providing my own table. I told her that I had been on the fence about purchasing a kit that has its own table built in. I asked her how she would feel, as a business owner that frequently hires me, about me working from a kit like that. I pulled up the Craft-n-Go website on my phone and showed it to her. She was so excited! She told me that it would help out their space and limited table situation.
At that point, I contacted the other clients who also had space and table issues with me and told them that I was seriously considering investing in the kit. They were just as thrilled as Raising Astoria was, and all said it would be easier to have me back more often if I had access to my own table. That was the moment I realized that I needed to get an all-in-one kit like the Craft-n-Go.
Q: How long have you used your present kit?
Lenore: Since March 2014.
Q: Which aspects do you like best about your Craft-n-Go?
Lenore: I love the way the legs fold into the bottom of the kit. I think that's so ingenious. I love how easily I can set up my kit and how quickly I can break down. I adore how simple it is to lower the lid when I need to take a quick break, whether it is to refill my water basin at a nearby sink, or to use the restroom for a moment. Once that lid goes down, it's a friendly way of telling the kids that my kit is off limits to them while I'm away without me even needing to say a word.
I am crazy about that lid. It is sturdy and has never lowered on its own. It's nice and big, so I have plenty of room on the front of it to create my selection board, display my logo, etc. And above all, I love the "oooohs" and "ahhhhhs" I get from parents and children alike when I roll in with my kit and pop it open. Everybody gushes on and on about how I must be a real professional to own a kit like that! It's a definite confidence booster to hear that kind of excitement buzzing around you as you're setting up to begin.
Q: What's your favorite feature?
Lenore: I love those legs. They are so easy to open up and close. They stay put, too. I adore how they tuck into a cavity recessed in the bottom of the kit. That way they are out of my way when I am rolling the kit around and leaning it against things.
Q: What would you change about your kit if you could?
Lenore: I would make it lighter, even if it means making it a bit smaller. I hate having to sacrifice space for my supplies, but let's face it. Sometimes downsizing is a great thing if it means ease of transport. I carry around too many supplies anyway, so if it were easier to carry and take up and down long flights of stairs, I would be golden.
Q: What is your average event size?
Lenore: I have done events of various sizes, but most commonly I am hired to paint at birthday parties which have approximately 12 to 20 children to be painted. When I paint for businesses, such as children's boutiques or local stores, I just paint as many children as I can until the event is over. I never know how many there are going to be, but it usually ends up being anywhere from 20 to 30 children before such an event ends.
Don't miss Lenore's final comments and recommendations concerning her personal Craft-n-Go kit tomorrow. Also, as the new Craft-n-Go face painting consultant, Lenore will share a little about what you can expect to see this fall as the company develops it's new product made especially for the professional face painter.