You’ve studied beauty and cosmetics, but have you ever considered using your skills to work in film and television? What about the theater? Want to know what it would take?
BeautyCE.com recently spoke with Jill Glaser, Freelance Makeup Artist and Founder/Owner of Make Up First ® School of Makeup Artistry in Chicago.
What inspired you to start in the industry?
Makeup artists usually say, “I have always been passionate about makeup.” I honestly don’t know what that really means. For me, when I started in the industry, I just knew that I was “home.” I never thought of makeup as a passion or otherwise. It was merely something that I felt compelled to pursue and I didn’t really know why!
I do know that when I am working, it doesn’t feel like work. As an artist, I am totally focused on what is before me and I think of nothing else. Because I am so focused on the “work,” any other life issues are temporarily shelved and I feel calm, relaxed, and focused. In addition, I have found that there is so much more to makeup than just the application of cosmetics.
Not only is makeup an art form, it is also a simple fix to help others feel good. Makeup is a quick and easy fix for confidence building, from the young to the old, from the avant-garde to the camouflage makeup for severe skin discolorations. In 2006, I opened my school and am now able to share my knowledge and experience and train others so that they, too, can feel “at home.”
Your website calls you an expert in makeup and hair styling for the demands of high definition television, film, video, and print. What is the difference between developing a look for film and television versus everyday makeup?
Everyday beauty makeup, without regard to high definition, serves to best enhance the individual’s features and sense of self and needs, not to be as precise as HD since the human eye does not magnify the features. I have worked and continue to work on many media gigs, all of which are filmed in high definition video or film; even basic bridal makeup now requires knowledge of makeup and hair styling for high definition.
Several of my former students are now working on set on the various television shows and films shot in and around Chicago. From their very first class, the grads have been trained on the different techniques and products that are best suited for the demands of high definition. With respect to television and film, makeup artists must ensure that all exposed skin, including ears, hands, etc., are uniform. Since the HD camera “sees” in layers, the makeup cannot be opaque (such as a cream-based makeup) so that the camera can “see” skin.
Which products are best suited for high definition?
The products best suited for high definition, applied evenly and in sheer layers, include airbrush (water or silicone-based) or silicone or wax-based manual makeup. The use of setting powder is minimal so that there are not too many different textures sitting on the skin. However, any “hot spots” or shine will be greatly magnified on high definition.
Is lighting a consideration?
Lighting is also a consideration for high definition as well as for all other media makeup. The artist needs to determine the direction of where the light will hit the face and also whether the light is hard or soft in order to know how much to blend, as well as how deeply to apply color for accent points (eyes, lips and cheeks).
How does that differ from makeup for stage/theater?
For the stage, the makeup artist must do two things: create or help enhance a character, and also make sure that the character’s face/expressions are visible with respect to the size of the house. Because of these considerations, the makeup is not as blended as it is for either beauty or media makeup; and the contrast between light and dark is heightened to create shapes and to ensure that all audience members will be able to see the character’s features.
While many people believe that theatrical makeup must be heavy, actually the critical issue is that there is sufficient enough contrast in tones to be visible yet realistic as well as to effectively create the character. Once again, as in all makeup applications, the lighting is also a consideration when doing an application for the theater.
For our readers who are interested in doing makeup for Film, TV, etc. what advice would you give them beyond their education? Are there any resources or tools you would recommend they look to for inspiration?
Beyond their formal education, makeup artists should never stop learning. The Internet is, of course, a great source for research. Makeup artists should continue to attend any and all workshops in order to improve their skills. Subscriptions to makeup artist trade magazines such as “Make-Up Artist Magazine” and “On Makeup” are important to keep up with industry news. Shadowing a successful, working makeup artist is also invaluable, as is attending makeup artist trade shows, working on fashion shows, working in retail, networking, and testing with photographers – not only to build relationships and your portfolio, but also to get a better understanding of how light affects the makeup application.
As for inspiration, while knowledge is critical, it is also helpful to go to art museums, study the work of the masters, and learn about their lives. Really look at nature, relax, and even think of childhood memories when that innocent time in life had the artist looking at things from an unbiased view.
Are there any common missteps that are taken by would-be makeup artists trying to get into the business? And what advice you could give them in advance so they’re prepared?
Young makeup artists expect that they will find immediate success. When that does not happen, they become very discouraged. The newly-trained artist must realize that it takes years of work and trial and error in order to build a successful portfolio and clientele. All successful makeup artists, particularly the new artists, must be willing to devote themselves to their chosen career 110% of the time. That includes weekends, holidays, and nights.
When the artist is not employed, they should be working on their portfolio and networking with others in the industry. The new makeup artist should be versatile, not only in their training but also in their mindset so that they are prepared to accept virtually any job that they are offered. The new artist also needs to realize that this is a business, and they need to become well-versed in accounting, marketing, and other business matters.
Finally, the beauty industry is very small. There are no shortcuts to success. The new artist needs to conduct themselves with integrity and respect at all times.