Tips to save your back when painting
Now I preceed thi blog post by saying I'm not a medical professional or physio expect. But I have painted for a very long time, and I have made mistakes with my postions and posture that has resulted in god awful headaches and back pain.
Here are my top tips for preventing back pain when face painting.
1. Keep your back straight.
This seems obvious but let me explain more. Many painter when they start out will position two chairs face to face. You sit on one and the child on the other. This is a BIG mistake. Your child is smaller on the chair and it means you need to lean forward into their space to paint them. So your entire session you are leaning into uncomfortable positions to reach the childs face.
Instead, either have your child on a taller chair so you can stand. Or you can sit on the chair, and have the child stand between your legs. Either way, you are keeping your back much more straight. You are trying to remove the distance between you and the child, and keep yourself straight. The child may have to lean to you, but thats only a few minutes for them, and all day long for you!
2. Take breaks.
This doesn't have to be a big proper lunch break. A few seconds of stopping what you are doing, and stretching will give your body a small rest. Yes you may have a line of kids in front of you, but a few seconds to stretch wont hurt anyone! And you need it!
3. Position your paints to stop twisting.
If you are right handed, position your paints to the right of you on a right angle. Your child positioned in front of you. Position your paints, brushes and water as close as possible to you. You are trying to reduce the act of twisting so you can reach most of what you need simply and easily. This also helps speed.
4. Height of child
This is a little trickier as accounting for the height of the child involves some special equipment. But if you can stand, and have a stool when the child sits and have it as close as possible to the right height for you to reach their face. If your stool adjusts hieght, then wonderful! If it doesn't, try to find a stool that is as close as possible to a good height. If you are standing in front of the child, and working for many hours, consider a fatigue mat especially if you are standing on concrete.
A note on step ladders.
Some painters like to use a step ladder rather than a stool for the child to sit on. It works as the child can stand on different steps to adjust their height. Personally, I have seen a few children fall backwards off the ladder as the relax for the painting, and I dont like them. But they can work for some.
5. Rest and relaxation
After you have finished a long day of face painting, it's really important to wind down physically. In the same way you cool down after doing anything physical, let your muscles cool down after painting. This could mean stretching, warm bath, or a massage. But be aware that painting uses physical strength and looking after your body is important to be the best painter you can be!