Theatrical makeup artists have a very exciting job. One day, they may be using rubber prostheses to turn an actor into a terrifying zombie, while the next day, they may be applying makeup to transform a group of actors and actresses into Victorian-era society members.
Theatrical makeup artists may work on television, film, theater and other performance settings, applying makeup to actors and actresses on set. Many specialize in one or two areas of the field, whether it be special effects makeup, high definition makeup or airbrushing. Others base their specialty on performance settings. Those who apply makeup on Broadway, for example, must know how to accurately determine the makeup needs of the actors based on the lighting, distance from the audience to the stage and script.
Preparing for a Theatrical Makeup Career
Learning how to do this type of makeup well takes much more than a steady hand and creative eye; it takes an education at theatrical makeup school. In theatrical makeup school, students learn all about skin care, makeup application techniques, sanitation, blending and highlighting tricks and color selection through a combination of classroom study and hands-on instruction.
When looking for a theatrical makeup school, make sure you select a location that spends extensive time working with students in hands-on settings — such as a school like Jolie Academy. In addition to classroom training, advanced makeup students get experience preparing for theatrical makeup careers by working in the student clinic and by taking advantage of occasional opportunities to volunteer their skills locally by doing makeup for area performers. This experience is a great way to improve your skills and determine if theater makeup really is for you.