The Make Up Artist Profession
by A. Davey
The Make Up Artist Profession
Makeup artists apply makeup to fashion and photographic models, actors and other performers involved in stage, film and television productions, brides and other clients for special occasions.
The professional makeup fashion artist’s job is to interpret the makeup requirements of clients and to produce both a creative and technically accurate visual representation. This may in some cases involve very basic makeup for a TV presenter through to more complex period make up or special effects.
Depending on the nature of the job, a professional makeup artist, can work alone, as an assistant to a more senior colleague or as part of a makeup design team.
They may work in a variety of settings: film; television; theatre; live shows; or photographic shoots.
Makeup artists often must research the hair, make up, and clothing styles of specific time periods. Then they draw sketches or collect photos to show the designs they have in mind. Sometimes they make prosthetic devices. These items are used to change the appearance of performers. For example, artists might create a beard for an actor, or fleshy face parts to make him look older. Makeup artists also consult with directors and technicians about their ideas and designs at various stages of the process.
Before a performance or filming, the makeup artist’s job is to apply foundations and makeup to create the effect they want. They style hair and attach wigs and prostheses. Some make up artists do special effects, such as wounds or deformities for horror or action movies.
Sometimes the application of makeup can take several hours for one performer alone. Large productions usually have many makeup artist jobs.
During a performance or filming, makeup artists remain backstage to monitor the production. They maintain actors’ makeup throughout the show or filming, doing touchups if needed. They also help actors remove the make up at the end of the show or workday.
A professional makeup artist job may involve performing the following tasks:
Prepare the skin for makeup application and remove makeup as required
Demonstrate cosmetic products to clients
Instruct clients about makeup fashion application
Apply a wide variety of professional make up products
Design wigs, beards, masks and ‘prosthetics’ (artificial body parts) and apply them to achieve an appropriate character appearance
Use makeup to produce effects such as aging, illness, scars and bruising
Alter or maintain makeup during productions to ensure the continuity of a performer’s appearance
Advise hairdressers on the hairstyle required for character parts.
Communicate with clients to clarify what look is required;
Read scripts to ascertain materials/look required/budget implications, known as production study, which may require further research;
Produce and sketching design ideas;
Work with other members of the design team to ensure the overall look/effect is consistent and coherent;
Build a rapport with makeup subjects;
Demonstrate and implement a practical understanding of lighting, the photographic process, colors and the impact of special effects/makeup processes on the skin and ensure that appropriate action is taken to minimize or eliminate any unpleasant side effects from the use of specialist make up/hairdressing techniques;
Ensure continuity in hair and makeup, taking detailed notes and photographs of work
Cast facial and body molds, sculpting latex foam – known as prosthetics;
Manipulate/apply wigs, hairpieces and prosthetics;
Maintain wigs, hairpieces, prosthetics and other specialist materials and equipment;
Hairdressing, which is an essential part of the work;
Plan, budget and order equipment and materials from specialist suppliers;
Work quickly and accurately in time-pressured conditions.
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