Make-up artists are essential members of any TV, film, theatre or fashion crew. It is up to them to make models or actors 'look' the part they are playing. This can be anything from creating a natural everyday look for a newsreader or a scary monster for a fantasy film.
There are generally 3 kinds of make-up artistry for the media. Firstly, fashion make-up is required for models on a magazine shoot or on the catwalk in a fashion show. The make-up will need to be suitable for the clothes that the model is wearing and the image that the designer is trying to portray. Theatrical make-up is required for performers on the stage. Musicals such as Cats and the Lion King require great skill and patience from make-up artists but non-musical productions also need make-up artists as the audience needs to see the expressions and emotions of the actors. Special effects make-up is used for TV dramas such as hospital dramas for those gory injuries or for films where an illusion is created. For example, a film like Planet of the Apes requires prosthetics such as masks to make actors look like apes. However, new technology also has a part to play. High Definition television is accessible to many of us and because of the super-sharp images that are now filmed the make-up needs to be even more flawless and realistic.
Make-up artists work very closely with the lighting technicians, production and costume designers, the camera and lighting crew, the performers and the directors as they have to make the person up in accordance with the light and the production or show they are working on. The role may include researching and designing make-up and hairstyles for a certain period, working to a detailed brief, applying corrective make-up or sculpting a prosthetic face for a specific role.
Example areas of study
Extensive growth in film and television production and video production for the music and fashion sectors has led to a demand for in-depth make-up artistry courses which will provide specialist training. Many of the courses in this field are at HNC/D and Foundation Degree level but there are a handful of degree-level courses. The modules that you may study will vary as the courses concentrate on different areas of media make-up. An idea of the modules that you may study is listed below but it is best to check with the institutions themselves before you submit your application.
- Wig making
- Plaster casting
- Artistic representation
- Film make-up
- Television make-up
- Stage and theatrical make-up
- Cosmetic science
- Cosmetic legislation
- Media make-up
- Body art
- Visual and aesthetic studies
- Historical studies
- Fashion styling
- Live performance make-up
- Skin care
- Character make-up
- Pastiche fitting and styling
- Health and safety
- Product sourcing
- Professional studies
- Anatomy and physiology
- History of art
- Period design
- Cultural studies
- Business and management studies
- Costume making
Some career possibilities
Most people who graduate from these courses go onto work in that area, whether it be fashion make-up and styling, film and television make-up, special effects make up or retail. Most make-up artists are freelance but it may be possible to become part of a team within a film or television company. You will need to build up your contacts list as you train, as work in this area is extremely competitive.
What do I need to get on a course?
The grades and qualifications vary greatly depending on the area of media make-up the course focuses on and the level, but the list below provides a general guide. It is essential to check with the institutions themselves before submitting your application:
- UCAS Tariff: 80-220 points
- A-levels: C-CCD sometimes including a science or art subject
- SQA Highers: CC-CCDD
- Irish Leaving Certificates: DDDDD
- BTEC National Diploma: MMM-DDD in a relevant subject
- HND: in a relevant subject
- NVQ: Level 3 in a relevant subject
- Art Foundation Diploma
- VTCT: Media Make-up or other relevant subject
- Work experience
For your application or interview the following may be useful:
- You will need to put a portfolio together in some instances, before you apply for your course, as some establishments may ask to see it before allowing you onto the course. This will be built on during any work experience and your training.
- Work experience is usually a part of the courses in this area, but there is no harm in getting some experience under your belt before you start your training. This will give you more of an idea about which area you would like to study.
To find out more about the typical subjects you will study, potential career paths and further information useful for your application log-on to Course Discover at www.coursediscoveronline.co.uk*
*NB: Your school or college will need a subscription to Course Discover in order for you to gain access, for further information go to:www.coursediscover.co.uk