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Interview with Jody Rife, author of 'Quirgles' book for face painters, part 1

Ohio face painter Jody Rife grew up loving the magic of drawing at her Dad's enormous drafting table. She's been enchanting children and adults with her face painting ever since she fell in love with it herself after her own daughter was face painted. Her latest project "Quirgles" is a book which she published in collaboration with the "Illusion Magazine" team.

Jody came up with her Quirgles on a suggestion from Claire Pick from "Illusion Magazine."
Jody Rife
Jody Rife wears one of her Quirgle creations.
Provided by Jody Rife

Q: How did you first become interested in face painting?

Jody: When my daughter was three or four, we took her to Cedar Point. Her daddy surprised me by taking her for a little stroll and returning her with a beautiful butterfly face painting. I felt like it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen! After doing this again the next year at a zoo, I had the thought that I would like to try this one day myself, but just sat on it for a bit until one day a friend who knew I was an artist asked me to paint for her church event. I bought some cheap-o face paint at a discount store, not having a clue what to buy, and set out to paint. I was hooked after that day.

I started face painting professionally in 2011. I had dabbled just a bit in the fall of 2010, but after a bad experience with a less-than-friendly parent at a school carnival which I was painting at for free, I didn't paint again until the next year. It's like a light went off in my head. I thought, am I seriously going to let one ill-mannered person turn me away from something that could quite possibly be exactly what I am meant to do? I got some tougher skin and dove in feet first and never looked back. Now, when I run into the occasional contrary person, I just smile and keep moving forward.

Q: Most face painters begin by learning designs created by other artists and then developing their own styles. At what point in your career did you begin to experiment with your own designs?

Jody: After a couple months of practicing a few designs from various artists which I found on the internet, I would start doing my own designs, just free form painting on my own face. Sometimes the painting really depicted what mood I was in at the moment. They really weren't paintings of anything in particular, just free form nothings that made me happy.

Q: How did you meet Claire from "Illusion," and what prompted her to ask you to come up with some designs for the magazine?

Jody: I can't remember exactly when I saw my first "Illusion Magazine," but I know I ordered one on a whim while placing a paint order. I was amazed and overwhelmed at the beauty and various styles of the artists. I noticed that they mentioned in the magazine that they accepted photos of artists' work to be considered for the magazine. So I sent some that I had done. They enjoyed the photos, and we began to chat back and forth, and since then I have been a featured artist in two magazines as well as having several step-by-step pieces and gallery pics in various magazines.

Q: When did the Quirgles emerge?

Jody: The Quirgles first came to light in July 2014. I have always doodled little creatures for as long as I can remember, just for fun. One day, Claire Pick from "Illusion Magazine" asked if I could paint a couple of eye designs for an upcoming edition of "Illusion." I wanted to do something different. I figured many people would send in fancy, pretty eye designs, but what could I do that was different? Instantly, I could picture my silly doodles as eye designs. So I painted a couple and heard back very soon from the "Illusion" team that they wanted to set out on an adventure with me and make a book. This wouldn't be just a face painting book, but a book in which these creatures would come to life and each have their own little stories. We tossed around name ideas for the creatures, and my little girl Jessica said, "Call them Quirgles!" And Quirgles were born.

If you'd like to find out more about Jody Rife's face painting or her new book "Quirgles," stop by her website and meet the Quirgle critters and enjoy her galleries, which include face art, belly art (for pregnant women), and body art. Jody also offers classes designed to help face painters hone their skills.

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