Reel Opportunities

Makeup Artist

Also known as: Key Makeup Artist

What is a Makeup Artist?
What does a Makeup Artist do?

A Makeup Artist is responsible for transforming people’s appearance via makeup, paint, and other substances (putty, silicon, fake blood, etc.)

The Makeup Artist usually works with Directors and performers in order to determine the desired appearance of each character. They often examine sketches, photographs, and other references from Concept Artists to get inspiration for the desired look. They read and analyze scripts in order to determine the necessary makeup and changes depending on different scenes and settings.

Some Makeup Artists also specialize in doing Special FX Makeup, which can include everything from putting a prosthetic nose on an actor’s face to creating fake wounds or a ghoulish monster mask.

What's a Makeup Artist good at?
  • Communication

    Be clear with clients regarding specific requirements and concerns.

  • Drawing

    Be able to sketch design ideas.

  • Teamwork

    Make sure all members of the makeup team are on the same page creatively.

  • Visual Perception

    Keep in mind lighting, colors, and the photographic process.

  • Health and Safety

    Maintain an awareness of health and safety guidelines that need to be followed.

  • Research

    You’ll want to stay on top of the latest kits, products, and tools.

  • Time management

    Make sure your work is done on time so that the production can meet deadlines.

Who does a Makeup Artist work with?

The Makeup Artist works closely with the Costume Designer, Production Designer and Director in order to create a look for each actor that best captures the character.

How do I become a Makeup Artist?

Here are some tips:

Take a makeup course: Improving your skills means getting an education. This is where beauty school comes in – there, you’ll learn the skills and techniques necessary to be successful in the beauty industry.

Build your portfolio with makeup photos and other visual effects: Like any artist, your portfolio shows what you’re capable of. Use attractive visual effects to highlight all the things you can do. For a high-quality, professional look, be sure to take the best photos.

Learn new makeup styles and trends: Stay curious and understand the latest trends and technologies, and practice them to enhance your skills.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Professional Organizations Associated With This Role

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Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.