Unlocking Creative Success with Annabel Hoogeveen

Unlocking the Secrets to Creative Success
Kelli Zermeño — 30 May 2018 —


The School is growing! Growing so fast, in fact, that we can no longer meet the high standards we maintain for our School without growing with it! Without further ado, we would absolutely love to introduce your new IntFPS instructor, the brilliantly talented, Annabel Hoogeveen!

Annabel comes to us from the beautiful Netherlands where she is not only working as a talented face painter in her own right but also teaching face painting courses in her own shop. Annabel is an Honor Graduate of the School and has received specialized training from the School founder, Olga Murasev herself, as a certified face painting instructor.

annabel hoogeveen face painting a young girl

The Journey of Annabel

— How did you step into face painting? At what point did you decide to make a career in the face and body art industry?

My first encounter with face painting was about 10 years ago, in 2008. The pre-school playground my son attended, was organizing a summer party and they asked parents to volunteer for different activities. One of the activities was face painting and although I had never done it before, I volunteered. I thought I would be okay because I have always liked drawing and have painted as long as I can remember. But with the party only a few weeks away I became nervous. So I decided to do some research and learn. I found a last-minute face painting course and learned the basics just in time.

Annabel’s first face painting attempts on her sons, 2011.

I liked that experience very much! I volunteered at school activities and the town fair but it was only a few times a year. Watching others post their progress on Facebook, I noticed their growth and it made me sad because I didn’t get any better.

I decided it was time to change, time to learn more. And I did! 😀

Practice makes perfect! Annabel’s skills are absolutely incredible thanks to her love for the art of face and body painting and consistent practice!

I attended a multitude of courses and workshops from many talented people. I naturally started with Dutch artists, but quickly expanded to international face painters. Whenever someone was in Holland to teach, I was there too! And I still am. No matter how much I’ve learned, each and every time I gain something new.

two images of the same boy, one one image hes wearing an iron man face paint and a husky face paint design on the other image

I strongly believe that face painting and teaching is what I was supposed to do in life.

From early childhood on I was drawing and painting, this was my first passion. When I grew older, I found my second passion: teaching. It is the only thing I can do for hours, without getting bored or tired.

Being truly happy with what you do, I think, is the key to success. If you want to make face painting your main job, you really have to love what you do. You have to educate yourself and practice, practice and practice!

Face painting and teaching others how to paint is Annabel’s passion. She is as good at painting super fast and easy designs as she is at painting realistic stuff.

— How would you describe your artistic style in face painting? What are your favorite designs to paint?

That’s a difficult question. I like so many things! But there are a few things that are important to me when on-the-job:

The first is color. I like using one-strokes and bright colors, but… they have to suit the face. So, no harsh black lines or neon colors on a small kid with light skin. When I am working I usually don’t have a board. I like to be able to adapt my designs in color and shape to the child that is in front of me. My on-the-job designs are not very detailed, but by matching the colors of the design with the colors of the clothes the children wear, I can make them really happy, and their parents too!

an image of two children with different butterfly face paint designs

Second, I think a design has to make the person who wears it more beautiful. It has to fit their face, and not cover it entirely.
(Olga shares this idea with Annabel and that was one of the reasons why Annabel fits so well with our School team.)

Two images of Annabel Hoogeveen wearing a blue butterfly face paint on one and a blue kitty face paint on the other

And third, I like designs that are ‘easy’, that don’t take too much time. When planning a new design, I try to come up with ones that are relatively easy to copy, even if you are not the best artist in town.

a boy with a completed spiderman face painting designa boy with a superman face painting around his eyes
Because it’s about the joy of painting, and the joy of getting painted. It’s about making children happy. And the more well-trained face painters there are, the more kids we can make happy.

Many years ago I was lucky to be able to attend a workshop from Brian and Nick Wolfe and they said the most wonderful thing:

We are just face painters, but actually, we are working for the ministry of happiness because we are smile-makers! We’ve got the best job in the world!

Nick and Brian Wolfe

I really enjoy creating realistic designs, or 3D painting. But only when there is time to play with it. These types of designs are mostly created when I am practicing on my own or sometimes with a belly paint.

three pregnant belly paints - one with a baby, one with Nemo and one with Eeyor
Incredible realistic belly painting by Annabel Hoogeveen. Want to paint a pregnant belly but have no idea where to begin? Check out our “Secrets for Perfect Belly Painting” article!

— What has been your most exciting experience in face painting so far?

Without a doubt I can say attending the International Face Painting School was the most exciting experience in face painting so far!

It has taught me much more than face painting alone. I have been challenged by Olga to go beyond my safe boundaries. To be me, and to be confident with my own designs. I actually did, and it, helped me grow exponentially! And although I have graduated, this wonderful face painting journey doesn’t stop here, and I hope it never will.

a boy with a dragon ball z piccolo face paint design and a tiger face paint design

— When you were learning face painting, what did you struggle with most and how did you persevere?

My biggest struggle in the beginning, I think, was to actually paint on real kids. I was always so nervous, afraid of not doing it right. One of my best friends helped with this, without even knowing it. She is a hobby face painter and on occasion, we paint together. Children are always so happy when leaving her chair. Although my techniques are better, she has the ability to make little girls and boys feel like they are the most beautiful princess or the most ferocious tiger on earth. And that is what it’s all about! By realizing that it doesn’t have to be perfect, I became more relaxed and my paintings got so much better!

a boy with two different batman face paint designs
Modifications of a Batman design. Annabel loves playing around in developing the best version of a design she has planned.

— Do you consider connecting with other face painters an important part of your development as an artist?

Yes, I do! There are so many talented face painters all around the world and you can learn so much from each of them. Watching other face painters paint during workshops, conventions, on YouTube or other online classes and trying to copy their designs has definitely helped me improve my skills. There are so many different styles and ways of painting the same design.

You have to find out which way suits you the best. And there is no better way to find out than to try as many designs from other accomplished artists as possible.

So often, I simply look at pictures of designs from various artists, and I ask myself: why do I like this one? Asking myself these questions, really analyzing designs, helps me improve my own work.

In the beginning, I didn’t know about ‘focal points’ and often it took me quite a long time to discover what made a design beautiful. I was so happy to see that Olga shares all this fundamental knowledge in her online Course.

a banner with a woman wearing three different christmas face paint designs with a caption "Three magical Christmas step-by-step"
Check out Annabel’s step-by-steps on these wonderful holiday butterflies in our “Three Magical Christmas Step-by-Steps by Annabel Hoogeveen” blog post.

Although I myself was already teaching face painting, I felt as though I can and should be constantly learning more. So, I make it a point to attend as many workshops from international face painters as possible. I attend EFABE every year and I also maintain a FABATV subscription (since 2012).

I try to follow as many face painting groups on Facebook as I can, and I enrolled in the International Face Painting School. 😀 A very wise decision, I may add. The School community is just like a big, warm family and I have made some beautiful friends since I started.


— How did you begin teaching face painting? How long have you been practicing as a face painting instructor?

Soon after I started to attend workshops and courses to improve my skills, my abilities grew… and people noticed. When I was face painting somewhere in a market or a school fair, people often asked me if I could teach them the things I knew.

In the beginning, I was far too shy. I lacked confidence in my abilities and I didn’t think I was good enough. There was still so much to learn. So I attended more workshops and practiced. And I practiced. And I practiced. Until one day, in 2013, I met a new friend with a mutual love of face painting. With her help and support, I finally gained the courage to found Blije-Snoetjes Kinderschmink, my very own face painting company, and school! I have been teaching face painting ever since.

Annabel’s homework during her time as a student at the International Face Painting School. It was passed from the first attempt as you might have guessed. 😉

Like I said before, teaching is my second passion. I love to see people grow and reach their goals. I enjoy showing them how to improve their skills with proper tools and technique. You don’t have to be Rembrandt van Rijn (a very famous Dutch painter) to paint faces and make children happy. It isn’t about detailed drawing. It is about knowing what to do, how to do it and why.

Proper technique and placement are much more important than being able to draw a perfect replica of a beloved Disney figure.

Also, in order to be an effective instructor, I have to master my skills first. In that way, teaching is forcing me to maintain a consistent practice routine and improve my skills. And I learn from my students too! They come up with the most beautiful color combinations or stencil placements I would never have thought of on my own. It’s a beautiful thing.

a boy with a black panther face paint design
Annabel’s 1st Place winning design for Facepaint.com contest.

— Why did you want to become an instructor for the International Face Paint School?

Before I learned about the International Face Painting School I had been researching additional ways to teach, besides in my own studio. Having my studio is fantastic, but not everyone is able to come to a workshop or course in person. So I began thinking about ways to make achieve my vision, without driving through the country all day. And then I found about the International Face Painting School. This was what I was looking for!

With Olga’s School, it is possible to learn from your own home, in your own time, with personal feedback every step of the way. I really think that this kind of online teaching is the future of our industry. But, it only works with a very thorough program to ensure proper education.

I truly believe the School has proven its effectiveness already. You can see the proof for yourself by checking out the “Achieving Greatness: How the School is paving a pathway to success” blog post.

— What three pieces of advice would you give to someone just getting started in face painting?

Love what you do, educate yourself… and practice, practice, practice! 😁

Speaking of education, Annabel has learned from the BEST artists in our industry! She has taken 61 (!!!) classes/ workshops from the likes of Jenny Saunders, Mark Reid, Pashur, Wiser Oner, Nurit Pilchin, the Wolfe brothers, Svetlana Keller and even our own Olga Murasev. She is a powerhouse of information! We are so lucky to have her for our very own!

This article is proof. Proof that if you absolutely love what you do, that if you dedicate yourself to your passion… true success is right at your fingertips! Are you ready to pave your way to a successful career in the face and body art industry?! We are waiting for you!

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What do you love about the face painting industry? Have you, like us, made the decision to make this business your life-long career? Drop us a comment in the box below👇😍👇

 — Kelli Zermeño

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