Being a makeup artist - part one

by - February 19, 2017

So you want to be a makeup artist?

I remember when I first announced that this is the job I want to be in. I want to be a Professional Makeup Artist who travels the world doing makeup for celebrities. I wanted this to happen instantly and when it didnt. Boy was I upset.. I had loads of different emotions going through my head, sad that my dreams were not coming true, annoyed that its taking forever to even get one step closer.

I didn't realise how hard it was going to be. I thought it would happen instantly and I would be immediately noticed for my work. I was wrong. I needed to network, assist, travel, do unpaid work, work on my portfolio and resume. It was a lot harder than I ultimately believed.

Don't get me wrong being a makeup artist is a pretty amazing job I cant fault that but you need to work your sock's off to get where you want to be.

I first decided to go to college and do a Level 3 Production Arts Makeup Course which would mean I have a hairstyle element to the course and that we would do special effects. The course was a two year course but was stopped after one, which upset a few people on the course as most of us would have liked to complete the second year. I got my certificate to say I had passed the course and I was ecstatic. I then took the images I had taken and put them into a mini portfolio, I immediately added that to my resume aswell. BUT now the hard work really begins.

I am from a small town in the North East of England and with it being small, there are alot of makeup artists already here. So I decided to branch out into a different part of the makeup industry. Due to everyone here doing night time glam, I wanted to do photo shoots, music videos, theatre/stage and catwalk. So I immediately began to organise photo shoots for my portfolio that were my own idea/creative content. This is how I began to advertise the skills I had, so from there I was hired as special effects artist for halloween or a makeup artist on photo shoots/ music videos. You need to be prepared to work 10-12 hour days as a makeup artist, you need to be focused on the task at hand and have the ability to provide a quick service. You could be on a 10-12 hour photo shoot but have 15 models to create different looks for through out the day.

Your makeup kit needs to be well stocked and prepared. All brushes need to be cleaned after each use. This its self is very time consuming if you don't organise yourself. I have a checklist style note book that I keep in my professional makeup kit, so when I am running low on a product or I need new colours or products for clients who I have not worked with before I can make notes. I also wash my brushes after each use on set using a quick dry solution and I wash them at the end of the day, so they can dry for the day after.

Networking is another major key to you breaking into the industry, be prepared to talk to everyone and anyone in the beauty/fashion industry as anyone can hire you. Photographers, stylists, fashion designers, your next door neighbour, dancers, stage shows directors. Say you were hired by a designer, the photographer could then use you at a shoot of theirs or the model could hire you to do makeup for them. Always have business cards handy, now I don't mean carry a box full but a few for potential new clients.

Unpaid work is the perfect way to build your skills and meet new people. I do understand that its a pain in the bottom to not be paid for the work you do. I was upset about this as well but once I built up enough contacts, I was able to start charging for the work I was doing. It you network and market yourself correctly this shouldnt take you too long but I would always suggest. Unpaid is always a bonus because you build your skills and figure out what to do on set/time scales.

For now I think that this is the perfect amount of information to help you get started in this crazy and competitive industry.

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