Hello painty peeps!  I hope you all have a lovely 4th of July holiday if you’re in the USA, and just a lovely regular 4th if you’re in another country!

Like most U.S. painters, I was out working in the sweltering heat, making that cheddar!

hopefully I looked this adorable while working…

And because it was a holiday, I decided to make up some new designs for my choice board to go along with the stars and stripes theme.

Now, when I’m out at face and body art conventions, I hear a lot of people complain that they just “aren’t creative” and that they have to copy designs from other people.

And I always say, “sure you are! You just don’t know it yet!”  and then they look at me like I’m an idiot and walk away…

Don’t shake your head at me Dean!

Guys, guys, guys!  You CAN DO THIS!  You too can make up your own designs!  It’s fun! It’s a great brain workout! AND it will set you apart from your competition.

“But Ashley, how do I change something up to be mine?”

Easy! Just think of something that you like painting/drawing and add that element to your design and it becomes yours!

Think about it this way.. what makes a Van Gogh recognizable?  It’s the intense painterly brush strokes.  What do you instantly think of when you think of Picasso? Simplified shapes and flattened perspective?  Probably… and it’s the same for face painting!  What do you think of when you think of a Wolfe design? Detailed realism?  or maybe Mark Reid?… Jewel tones and perfectly tapered black line work?  You can easily spot a Mark Reid design, or a Heather Green design, or a Wolfe design because they have figured out what they enjoy painting and have incorporated those ideas into their work.

So, what do you like?
Maybe it’s:
-Bright Colors
-Straight Lines
-High Contrast
-Bold Line Work(a personal favorite)….

You figure out what you love and mix it into your designs.
“Man, I LOVE swirly lines!”
Awesome! So take something that we all do… maybe a Tiger…. and add that element that you love!  In this case, swirls.

I drew this with markers… don’t judge me..lol

As you can see in this example, on the left I drew a typical Tiger Face, on the right I changed the lines to reflect a love of swirls!  It looks VERY different from a typical Tiger Face, but still has all of the same elements that the one on the left has!  So cool!

This idea can work for just about anything…

So, you don’t really like swirls, but you LOVE thin, detailed line work… Okay, let’s give it a try with our Tiger Face.

 Whoa! Now those are different.  For the new one, I thinned out all of the stripes, gave them a little wiggle, and added some tiny touches like dots, a different nose shape, and lip color!  It’s detailed, but not in the realistic sense.. It has become very stylized and unique.

Both the Swirly Tiger and Detailed Tiger are great examples of how to take a normal design and make it your own.  After a while of practicing, you’ll be able to give any design your own spin. 

Here is an example of a butterfly that I painted when I first began:

And here are butterflies that I did this year:

As you can see, they are a similar shape, and both have my favorite bold lines(yay!) but I figured out that I love using hearts for the body of the butterfly, and I love the look of just color and black lines.. no dots needed.   That is now my signature quick-butterfly style.  It may not be recognizable to anyone else but me, but I know that it makes my butterflies mine, and for now at least, it makes me super happy to paint them!  Later, when I’m ready to ‘get creative again’ I’ll challenge myself to change something.. maybe add hearts somewhere else in the design?  Get rid of the black?!  Bring back lots and lots of dots?!!??!? 

Okay.. so it’s not that crazy to change things up.. but sometimes it can feel like it!  haha..

So I challenge you to try it out!  Paint what makes you happy and incorporate it into your gigs.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how fun it is to get out of your same old routine.

Now, I’m not saying it will be an instant success.. there are going to be flubs along the way.  You’ll try and paint Snow White, and instead of being graceful and petite, she’ll look drunk and crazy….but that doesn’t mean you should give up!  It just means that you figured out that the eyes should be rounder, the nose should be smaller, that maybe necks are important….

We all make mistakes…

Check out new styles of drawing! Check out some drawing tutorials on Pinterest and Youtube.. Check out different books on drawing from the library and give them a try.  You can NEVER have too much practice. Even if it isn’t always with a paintbrush, practicing will always help.

I challenge you to add one new detail to your Tiger Face at your next gig!  GET CREATIVE!

Don’t forget to share your ideas and attempts with me!

That’s it for now! Happy painting!


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