Saturday, 6 August 2016

Studying Make-up Artistry - My Experience

For those of you who don't know I have a qualification in make-up. The exact qualification I have is called: VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Theatrical, Special Effects and Hair and Media Make-Up (QCF) which is quite a mouthful and never fits in any of the qualification boxes online so I just called it Make-up Artistry for short. The course I took was a year long and I studied it at Sussex Coast College in Hastings. I believe the course was only running for 3 years there before they shut it down so I'm not quite sure where they run this course anymore but I'm sure there are lots similar!

For my experience and low down on the course, what I learnt etc. then please keep reading.

For any aspiring make-up artist I would always recommend taking a course. Although you can self teach yourself many things with in make-up, here are some reasons why I think it is important to take a course:
  • Theory: When you take a makeup course, theory will be a part of your lessons. Now I was taught a lot of things which I didn't really need to use daily like the layers of the skin and the bones in the body but there are some extremely vital things you'll learn. One was about recognising when to not go ahead with a service! We were taught to identify impetigo and ringworm which is very important to spot before using your kit on a client. They are all things you definitely do not want to touch or have your kit touch.
  • Sanitation: It is important that you learn about sanitation and what the right method of using products and cleaning equipment is when dealing with a client. If you don't learn this or incorporate this into your routine when dealing with customers it will come back to bite you in the but some day. 
  • Work experience: Usually from your course you will get your first lot of work experience through your educator. This will enable to you to get contacts and get a real feel for the kind of jobs you will be getting once qualified and putting yourself out there.
  • Practise: When studying you can get a whole lot of practise in on people without being judged for being perfect yet! You will usually have other class mates and family and friends to practise your looks on and really perfect your skills before charging the public. 
How the course is set up is that you are given lots of mini assessments to complete as in your marking book you will have criteria to meet in order to qualify as a trained make-up artist. Some of these areas I covered were airbrush make-up, camouflage make-up, applying prosthetic pieces etc. To help with our creativity our tutor gave us a theme to work on to include with in our work. For example for one of our body art assessment we were asked to draw up a series of tattoo designs that revolved around the theme of animals. After we had done our research on animal tattoo's and created mood boards we then started to draw up our own ideas. Before going for an assessment we would usually practise our designs on a friend in the class or on our own hand and when you felt confident and proud of your work you were ready to go for an assessment! In your assessment you would present your ideas on your mood board and then you will be overlooked by your tutor as you complete work. If competent then you will pass your assessment. 

So that is basically the low down on how assessments work and how you achieve them. One thing I would say about studying make-up and probably any subject in general is that you get out of it what you put in. Although we were shown demonstrations from our tutors on how to apply make-up and special effects my tutors were not experts or some of the best make-up artists around but they knew how to teach the technique. What I'm saying is in order for you to get better and improve is to take the basic training and then practise practise practise! Practise is the only thing that is going to make your work better and through practise you will develop your own techniques and improve your skill set. To a degree every make-up artist is self taught because it is the work you put in yourself with experimenting with make-up which improves your skills. 

If you like reading there are a lot of useful books that you can read if you are thinking of getting into make-up artistry. These don't have to be limited to just make-up theory books though I have dabbled in a lot of photography and portrait books to see how photographic make-up has changed through out the years.

Photo credit:
There are a lot of things to consider when doing another persons make-up such as all the different face shapes and eye shapes you will come across! You will also need to brush up on colour theory too as that will help you massively when trying to start out as a make-up artist. 

My experience when studying
For me studying make-up  my course wasn't a very well run. Unfortunately my teacher seemed to be off for just under 2 months of it and because of this we were playing catch up a lot of the time. Even though we did have teachers come and cover our lessons myself and the other people on my course just felt the unsettled feeling which didn't make us eager to practise or progress as we almost felt deserted by our tutor. The other tutors who covered our lessons were not qualified make-up artists either so although trying to be useful a lot of the time they weren't able to help with our work. Had I chosen to do make-up now I would have researched into where I went a lot more. My course I started was a second year course and with that it is always worrying as their are no years of feedback behind it to judge on. There are plenty of London based courses which I would suggest looking in to as you should be able to get good contacts from there! 

I thought I would finish off with a few pictures of my work back from when I was studying! It is quite funny to see how far I have come with in regards to my make-up application. 

Special Occasion Make-up: First picture showing the difference in eyebrows. Middle picture is nearly done with make-up and Last photo is complete look!
Special Effects make-up. First photo is client previous to treatment. Middle photo is a theatrical aging transformation and Last photo is a casualty special effects make-up. 
I hope you enjoyed reading this post! 

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