A make-up artist ensures that models, performers and presenters have suitable make-up and hairstyles before they appear in front of cameras or an audience. This may be in a variety of settings, including film, television, theatre, live music and photographic shoots.
Make-up artists interpret the make-up requirements of clients to produce both a creative and technically accurate visual representation. This may involve very basic make-up for a TV presenter through to more complex period make-up or special effects. The work involves creating images and characters through the medium of make-up, hairstyles and prosthetics in accordance with a brief.
Typical work activities
Depending on the nature of the job, make-up artists work alone, as assistants to a more senior colleague or as part of a make-up design team.
Typical work activities include:
communicating with clients to clarify visual requirements;
production study: reading scripts to ascertain the materials and the look required, budget implications and identifying areas where research is required;
producing and sketching design ideas for hairstyles and make-up;
ensuring continuity in hair and make-up and liaising with other members of the design team to ensure the overall look/effect is consistent and coherent;
demonstrating and implementing a practical understanding of lighting, the photographic process, colours and the impact of special effects/make-up processes on the skin;
ensuring that appropriate action is taken to minimise unpleasant side effects from the use of specialist make-up/hairdressing techniques;
maintaining awareness of health and safety issues and legislation;
casting facial and body moulds and sculpting latex foam - known as prosthetics;
fitting and maintaining wigs, hairpieces and prosthetics;
maintaining an up-to-date knowledge of available make-up and beauty products;
sourcing, budgeting and ordering materials and equipment from specialist suppliers;
time management - knowing how long a subject will take to be made-up;
working quickly and accurately in time-pressured conditions;
taking detailed notes and photographs of work, maintaining an up-to-date portfolio of work.
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