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October 2012

The Makeup Call
With Spring here and Easter fast approaching make-up students around the country  on various courses and in different institutions are busy preparing for their final term with exams ,projects, and portfolios .Many of these students will be hoping at the end of their studies to enter their chosen profession perhaps in  film ,television, theatre ,or fashion . As exciting as these areas are they are tough industries to get into and even harder to sustain continual employment, as it invariably means working on a freelance basis so the old adage “ you are only as good as your last job "still holds true.
As someone who was lucky enough to have enjoyed a very successful career over a 20 year period  as a make-up artist
 when there were very few training facilities, and consequently far fewer make-up artists I want to take a hard look at some of the issues that affect make-up students today. 

Product versus Creativity .- Do we have the  balance right?

With fast changing technologies and so many new products coming to market it is of course right that all students get a broad understanding of what is available and also a chance to learn how to use these new products. But make-up is more than just reading instructions on a pack and following them religiously  It is also more than just  following pre-prescribed points to get from A – C .
The real art of make-up , the creative element is getting lost . I see students unable to decide what brush to use unless it is marked for eyes or  lips etc. or unable to grasp the very basics of colour mixing .Worse still they are too afraid to try or to experiment perhaps because they have not had an opportunity to do so.
The first questions always  seems to be how to use this rather than what can I do with this.  Make-up as any practising make-up artist will tell you is often about problem solving ,experimenting, and using ones artistic and creative eye or head.
Having been a visiting lecturer and external examiner over many years I see this as an area that still needs more attention .
Tutors are confronted with curriculums that are full of items that have to be ticked off .Often this means learning certain skills or working with certain products that are no longer relevant to today’s make-up industry. In other cases students are sometimes propelled forward to learn advanced techniques using highly technical products when they have not yet mastered more modest tasks such as colour matching or understanding how to use highlighting and shading . Many colleges teaching media make-up studies have totally inappropriate budgets for make-up kits and so many are reduced to using poor quality products and students are seduced into thinking that as long as they have a lot of colours or brushes it is good value . The truth is that with a few really good brushes and a developed ability to experiment improvise and be creative much can be achieved. Market forces are always at work and quantity over quality seems to be coming to the fore time and again
 We want to be giving young make-up artists the confidence to face challenging situations in their field and know that they can think on their own , be resourceful and  are not afraid to experiment and perhaps even develop new ideas  or techniques without just resorting to a new product .

Beryl Lerman

The Makeup Call
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