The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

July 19, 2012

Face painting at the Clinton County fair

By Natalie Conrad
Herald Staff Writer

CAMANCHE — From tigers and Spiderman to unicorns and princesses, one Camanche face-painter is leaving her mark throughout the Gateway area.

Clinton County fairgoers will get the chance to be a canvas for a work of art with the help of this year’s featured face painter Kristal Shaff.

What started out as a crafty hobby, has led to a small business.

“I saw the face painting that was being done at events and thought I could do better than that,” Shaff said. “It’s a great creative outlet.”

After playing around with the paints and getting her feet wet in the face-painting world, she started her business, the Painted Dragon. After being up and running as a professional business for three years, Shaff is always looking for ways to learn new things. She has gone to Chicago several times for training and workshops, but is still stumped by the occasional request.

“One time a kid asked me to draw a tornado on his face and that one surprised me a bit,” Shaff said. “Whenever that happens I always practice it so I’m prepared if it ever comes up again.”

Her artwork can be seen at a wide variety of events throughout Clinton, Camanche, Fulton, Ill., and the Quad-Cities area. Corporate parties and birthday parties keep Shaff busy throughout the summer. Recently, she did the makeup for the fairies in the Camanche High School production of a “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” During Halloween, she opens her home for appointments.

Writing fantasy books is another passion, but not nearly as rewarding, Shaff says.

“With writing it takes a long time to get positive feedback,” Shaff said. “When I’m face painting I get positive feedback every time with a smile.”

Shaff will paint faces from 7 to 9 p.m. today at Party in the Park at Central Park and Camanche. She will paint faces at the fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  and from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information on the Painted Dragon visit or check out the Painted Dragon Facebook page.