Painting a tiger or a snake or a butterfly on a child's face is similar to the child donning a mask. If you've dabbled in Commedia or theatre or even just tried masks on, you'll know there's a certain power in a mask. It's akin to donning a new persona. When I tell stories to kids I use masks, and each one, whether it be a crow or a galah or the mighty sun, brings its own energy and power. Some masks used in Tibetan ceremonies are kept locked away all year, and only brought out for an annual ritual. And such is the power of the mask that the wearers are not permitted to even look at them. We love face painting at Dragonfly Toys, which is the nearest we come to wearing a mask here. We're not advocating that you give your child a mask that no one dare look at, but we do reckon that face painting can fire kids' imaginations in ways you may not expect. If the eyes are the window to the soul, the face is the grand front wall of the house, and the wall tells you a lot about the character of the person inhabiting it.
Childhood is not the time to set limits on your child's imagination. It's the time - if there's ever a time in life - to sweep away the fetters and give your child the world. When kids line up for face painting, we should expect to release their imaginations. If they want a butterfly so be it. If they want to be a tiger or a snake or a demon or a monster for an afternoon, let them be it! For the uninitiated, face painting can be messy, but we have an alternative to paints that even the most hesitant artists can go to town with. Our Lyra Giotto skin colour pencils are a mess-free alternative to face paints. Made in Germany, of course they're non-toxic and completely safe to use. They are a cosmetic rather than an art product, and they come in a range of colours in high colour concentrations. What a great way to explore your child's - and your own - creativity.