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How do I become a theatrical makeup artist?

Theatrical makeup artists work on film, TV, in the theatre, and in fashion. Most obviously, perhaps, they can be found working on special-effects make-up for movies, or creating stage makeup for theatre – find out how to become a theatrical makeup artist.

Theatrical makeup artist job roles might include doing gory special effects for a horror movie or a look to fit in with a historical drama. However, the career can also be about more subtle make-up and appearances, for example, when trying to create a realistic look for a news-reader in a TV show. Theatrical makeup also has a place in the world of fashion, where models will need making up for photo-shoots or even catwalk shows.

As a theatrical makeup artist you will need to work with actors, actresses, and models, but also with lighting technicians and other experts – especially given advances in high-definition viewing, which means even the most outrageous effects may need to look as ‘natural’ as possible.

Theatrical make-up is a fascinating specialism which might bring you in contact with famous people, but how do you get into it?

The career can include a number of specialisations, from hairstyling to prosthetics, and fashion styling to body art and costume making.  As such, each course may concentrate on a different area so it is best to check exactly what specialisms are available or being taught on your chosen course.

With the increase in film and television production over the years, demand for theatrical make-up artists has increased dramatically. Most of the courses are at a HNC/D and Foundation Degree level, but there are also a few degree-level courses available to study.

Most courses will include work experience, but it might be worth trying to get some experience before you even apply for a course – especially as some institutions will ask for a portfolio of your work before you apply. Work experience will also give you an insight into the different types of theatrical make-up, so you can decide which you would like to apply for.

See here if you’d like to look into more traditional hair, fitness and beauty training

About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

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