How to become a theatrical makeup artist: the secrets of the industry

Using makeup, experienced makeup artists can easily change the look of an artist beyond recognition. Many people think that theater makeup is just as common. As a makeup specialist, I’ll talk about the features of theatrical makeup and the possibility of building a career in this area.

Megan Campbell

Why is makeup important in the theatre

The main idea of theatrical makeup, as well as, in fact, of any decorative cosmetics, is the creation of an illusion. But the specificity of this illusion is precisely the main difference between stage makeup and everyday makeup. The images that the stage make-up creates on the stage are very different from what is usually achieved with decorative cosmetics.

Your daily makeup is aimed at correcting skin imperfections and presenting its advantages in the most beneficial light. The main goal of theatrical makeup is to create a dramatic effect, the make-up is more dense and heavy than decorative cosmetics of widespread use.

In the disclosure of the image, theatrical makeup is no less important than the costume in which the actor plays a role. It is with the help of makeup that the actor gets the opportunity to transform into another person and, trying on different images, to fully show all the facets of his talent.

What is greasepaint or theatrical makeup

Many learned historians puzzle over who was the founder of such art as makeup. According to ancient manuscripts, the first mention of theatrical makeup is found in records dating back to the 6th century BC. Then the Greek artists smeared their faces with white paint. At that time, this was considered a very harmful procedure, because ancient greasepaint productions were made from lead, and this material negatively affects human skin.

Since that time, everything has changed a lot. In the 21st century, theatre makeup artists began to use special paints that were developed for filming a movie. Therefore, their faces began to seem not so ridiculous.

Today, there are 2 types of theatrical makeup: graphic and plastic. Using the first type, you can radically change the appearance, emphasizing certain features. A true masterpiece in the field of make-up art is precisely plastic makeup. By using it, you can make a person completely unrecognizable. It is imperative that make-up makes the actor’s face expressive, and its details can be viewed even from the gallery.

What does a makeup designer do in theatre

The make-up artist is a kind of master of transformation. He must be able to disguise a person so that even his own mother would not recognize him. In addition, it is the responsibility of a person in this profession to assist theatre artists in reincarnation.

At its workplace, the make-up artist performs the following functions:

  • at the preparatory stage for filming a movie or a theatrical production, the make-up artist carefully studies the script, thinks out, together with the director and the prop, the visual image of each character;
  • before the start of the performance or the filming process, it applies makeup to the actors, and after the end of work removes it;
  • keeps the inventory in order, cares for it (pulls, washes), in case of failure orders new items;
  • makes the necessary number of pads for plastic makeup, usually by the number of shooting days, as they are mostly disposable.

Depending on the amount of work, the number of characters and the organization of the process, make-up artists can specialize in areas: one is responsible for hairstyles, the other for makeup, the third for plastic parts. In small theatres or television studios, mostly handymen work. This work is tedious, complex makeup can be applied for several hours daily, especially when it comes to movies.

How to get into theatrical makeup industry

The theatrical makeup artist career is best suited to creative individuals for whom this work is not a way to make money, but the meaning of life. Otherwise, they simply will not work out masterpieces, they will not become famous and, therefore, will not be able to realize their dreams.

But, before choosing such a profession for yourself, you need to make sure that you have the following qualities, without which it is simply impossible to create high-quality theatre makeup:

  • creativity and imaginative thinking;
  • resourcefulness and ingenuity;
  • focus and accuracy;
  • patience and perseverance;
  • excellent visual memory;
  • developed fine motor skills of the hands.

It is also necessary to be able to find a language with people with different moods. In addition, elementary knowledge in the field of modern fashion is desirable.

How to become a theatrical makeup artist

There are not so many specialized universities where they teach make-up art. Often, faculties and departments with similar training programs can be found in educational institutions that specialize in graduating specialists in the field of culture.

But in our time, a diploma of higher education is not the main requirement of the employer. The main thing is to take courses, get basic knowledge about your future profession and achieve at least small successes in it. After that, the doors to prestigious theatre venues will be open for you.

But such courses may take some time. There are also short-term courses that last only a few weeks.

How much do theatrical makeup artists earn in UK

The salary of a theatre artist depends on his place of work. If he works in a small provincial institution, then this will be one figure. On average, people in this profession receive from 14 to 30 thousand pounds a year. But it also happens that this amount is several times higher.

What qualifications do you need to be a theatrical makeup artist

In order for you to make a good master of makeup, it is not enough just to get the appropriate certificate of completion of the training courses. It is especially important to constantly improve your skills. In professional language, this is called super-professional skills or soft skills. Focusing on tasks, speed of reaction, attentiveness to trifles and a good memory are extremely important for you to be noticed and offered a very promising job.

I recommend taking specialized courses for professional mastery of theatrical makeup skill.