Hello everyone! I really do apologize for my blogging absence, but I promise you I will spend as much dedicated time as I can now on it because I really want it to become a part of what I do.
In my personal and working life there's always one question I get asked, emailed, txt, messaged about ALL the time and although its different for everyone I just keep ending up repeating myself which is why I wanted to write a detailed post to hopefully help all of you asking the same question.
'How did you get be a makeup artist?'
I worked my socks off and went from busting my guts for free to having my work in store windows across the country, but I'm still learning and it's still hard! I really do feel flattered when girls and guys who want to make it in the industry come to me for help and guidance but there is no right or wrong answer, and just because I get good clients and good jobs doesn't mean I've 'made it', this is such a tough industry that I'm still trying to gain a respected name for myself in, and in the grand scheme of things I'm still a very tiny fish in what seems like an infinitely deep pond! However I do have my foot in the door, and that's the biggest thing you need. So I'll share here my story and tips how to do the same.
Should I go to college/makeup school?
This is a good question, many great makeup artists have come from good schools such as aofm/greasepaint/jemma kidd, but these schools are VERY expensive and although good tuition, do not guarantee you success in an already highly competitive industry. Also, some of the best makeup artists are totally self taught! (this is the route I fell into) In fact, my makeup idol Lan Nguyen, even sometimes teaches at AOFM and has had a large part in creating their infamous book 'makeup is art'.
College is an other option. I really feel this worth it only depending on your tutor, if you want to get into fashion and film makeup, research who the tutor is and if they are really going to benefit you. In my eyes qualifications don't speak as loud as your portfolio, and you get the best portfolio by working hard and lots of practice! Which leads me on to my next point.
Be prepared to work hard for FREE for a while!
At college I studied media production. I love everything media, I enjoyed filming videos, photography, music, radio etc, but I always seemed to excel at one thing. The styling and makeup of the photos/videos. Soon after realising I was asked by varies people on the course to provide makeup for their project. This slowly start to build my portfolio. When I decided that this was what I wanted to do, I offered my services to students and local photographers, where I could be creative, show my skills, and in return get images for my portfolio. Getting good images is what's going to sell your work when you start to charge for your service.
Other than practice and hard work this is THE single biggest thing that will get you the career you want. No one is going to hire you if they have no idea who you are. Make sure you post all of your work on social networking sites such as facebook and twitter. If the people you worked with also have an account, make sure they tag you in the work so other people can see its YOUR work, they may want or know someone who wants a makeup artist! In this industry you will get most of your clients from recommendations and recognition, so I can't stress this point enough!
There are also industry specific networking websites to post your work, such as model mayhem, purple port, pure storm, art is the cure and others. On these websites are creative people in the same field as you. There are casting calls to apply for, some collaborative and some paid opportunities. I suggest searching for local models and photographers who want to collaborate, this way you are building up your portfolio AND your contacts.
Make sure you are always up to date on the latest trends, techniques and products. I learnt so much of what I know by watching online tutorials, reading books and going to watch and speak to real makeup artists. Lots of makeup artists in the industry require assistants, find a makeup artist you like, send them an email with some examples of your work and ask if you could come and assist them on a shoot!
Building up a makeup kit
This at first is the most daunting thing. The way I built my kit was working 2 part time jobs whilst at college, the first Thursday of every month I went to the mac pro store in London and bought items from their new collections, the staff there are extremely knowledgeable and usually top artists working on big shoots and runways. Did you know Nic from pixiwoo used to work at the pro store? I met her several years ago and she was happy to share her tips with me! to buildup a makeup kit is very expensive but lots of brands do offer a pro discount to make it a little easier. I will probably so a separate post on building a makeup kit, what to get and kit essentials.
My first proper paid job came from a local studio a couple of years ago when a student hired the venue for a shoot in which I provided makeup. On of the studio photographers liked my work, hired me for a model agency test shoot the next week and it went from there! From that photographers recognition and people seeing my work online, I got contacts from him, and contacts from those contacts and you eventually build web of contacts and that's how people get to know you!
When you start to charge, I suggest doing this part time alongside your other job until you can survive from your freelance earnings, you will need to register as a business but that's as easy as phoning up hrmc and keeping track of your jobs! Keep your rates reasonable, top prices are paid to makeup artists who have been in the trade a long time with the clients to show for it. Look up local makeup artists in your area and charge just below them while you are starting out. The more in demand you are, the more you can charge. Its worth getting a website and business cards to help nework your work. Weddings bring in a decent amount of money! Try popping into some local florists and bridal shops to see if they will stock your business cards. I'd really say driving is essential for this though, i'm currently learning because I'm struggling to work this job on public transport.
I know that was a huge essay but if its helped even just of you, I've done something right.
My website is currently under development and my new commercial client work needs adding however feel free to have a look.
All images in the post are makeup work provided by me, in some cases the hair was also provided by myself.