I get asked this question a lot. Like A LOT! So I decided to spend some time really honing in on what it takes in this day and age to get work when you’re fresh out of college, or if you’ve been doing makeup a while yourself, and you’ve decided it’s the time to take it all a bit more seriously.
The world of makeup artistry is a tough one. It’s generally oversaturated. It’s competitive. In recent times, it’s been somewhat glamorized, publicized, and definitely being given a higher profile than ever before.
Because of these things, it can feel even tougher in the beginning.
I know how it feels, you get opportunity after opportunity that comes your way, but it just feels like freebie after freebie. And you just wanna be the American Idol winner, not the one who got the boot in the first round of auditions, right?
It’s a tough cookie to swallow, and I truly get it. I understand because that was my story too. I think we all have a story similar. Ask any working makeup artist, and I bet you’ll get a story that mentions X amount of years it took to “make it” (whatever that means), or at least, make money.
It took me about 4 1/2 years to get a proper full-time job where I finally felt like I was standing on my own two feet and had made the leap to really owning being able to say, “Hey, I’m Kerrin. I’m a makeup artist.”
The thing is, what I didn’t know during those five years or care to appreciate is that that time was invaluable. I was only 17 when that time began, after all.
I had to grow up first!!
But in terms of the craft and skills or makeup, I still didn’t really know where I wanted to go within makeup. As I was always stymied by the Australian industry that requires a makeup artist to be a hairdresser as well; and to be one in the same person.
I did try and still utilize all the skills I learned in the six or so months I was at hair college. But I use these skills in very different ways now. And those are future posts and lessons to be digested at another time!
But I digress.
The point I’m trying to make to you here is that it may seem like it’s going to last forever, but if you stick with it. It won’t.
And in the meantime, you can improve.
Get better, and gain focus on what specifically you want to do and where you want to work within the wide umbrella that houses all things in makeup artistry.
So here are a few techniques and approaches you can take to shake things up a bit and get your makeup career moving.
Follow Your Idols
In this day and age, you have more access to your makeup artist idols than ever before. Seek them out. Find their social media pages and follow them. Keep informed about what they are doing and also what they have created in the past. It will do your observational skills wonders.
Watching movies is one of the simplest (and most fun) ways to improve your discerning eye as a makeup artist.
It can help you develop an eye for color, shapes, and styles and also guide you in your broader makeup knowledge. And while it’s not a literal step toward gainful employment, it is vital to your awareness and education of who does what and how. And when!
Don’t discount older movies as well. Classic movies are so much fun to watch today – especially on our unforgiving televisions. While the makeup may look drastically different to how it did in context of the medium of film when the movie was released, it is really interesting to view classic movies today. Take a look at black and white as well as color films.
Beauty and industry mags are full of brilliant information, product reviews, and interviews to help inform and educate you. They may even include ads for work availabilities too.
Read Makeup Blogs
Easy-access blogs (like this one!) can be read anywhere you have your smartphone with you.
They can serve as great resources and also open you up to a wider community of other makeup artists and expose you to aspects of the craft that perhaps aren’t your forte or your particular area of interest. Sometimes it’s really interesting to step outside your comfort zone a little and branch out with your reading.
And even better, when this happens, that you learn something that you can apply to a situation yourself.
Join Closed Facebook Groups
Facebook groups – closed groups that is (you can be assured that only sincere makeup artists and really interested folks are members) are a great way to be exposed and expose yourself to a larger group of like-minded artists.
You might even make some new friends or hear about upcoming jobs in these groups. Plus, if they are particularly active, they can be great ways to learn about other artists’ struggles and wins and also give you a sense of community outside of your own local one.
Go to Conventions
Cons are a super fun way to get out among it all. You can meet your idols, fave cosplayers, friends, and other makeup artists – beginners and pros alike! You also never know who else is attending too, and might do some star spotting as well.
I always try to remember that helping costs nothing. But pays hugely to the person you help.
And if you have a great attitude and are willing to help someone else – whether it be on social – if they are asking advice – or on a job, it will come back to you. Might take a long time, but it is so easy to help out when you can.
Plus, it feels really good, too.
Assist At Makeup Colleges
Sometimes makeup schools will require assistance or extra hands for bigger classes, or particularly hands-on classes. Things such as life-casting or body painting are a bit more demanding than the everyday makeup we might do more frequently.
There is no harm in calling up once in a while if you have a local makeup college nearby and offering to come in a help assist the instructor. And it’s a good way to observe a professional working (and teaching) at the same time.
Volunteer To Model At Makeup Schools
And similarly, you can offer to be a model if a school or even a makeup effects house might require models for upcoming test makeups, or demonstrations.
Not only is this beneficial for you to get to witness a makeup demonstration, whether in a teaching environment or in a professional test makeup situation. But you also get to experience what it’s like on the “other side” – having makeup applied to you.
It’s incredibly important to know what it feels like, something that will benefit you throughout your career. So, having a first-hand understanding and appreciation for sitting in the chair is invaluable. Jump at the chance if it happens to come your way.
Want More Ways To Get Work?
Would you like to hear a lot more invaluable and perhaps less well-known ways you can help to get a start with your makeup career?
Why not check out my brand new private podcast all about the topic?
I’m super excited, like beyond thrilled to offer you access to sign up for my super-exclusive, for a very short time only, 3-part podcast. So click here to access “Kickstart Your Makeup Career” now.
Photo Courtesy of my good friends at Odd Studio.