How to Become a Special Effects Makeup Artist

WRITTEN BY: Elizabeth On 07/25/2012 • Makeup

How to Become a Special Effects Makeup Artist

If you are interested in a competitive field with potential, then you just might want to consider becoming a special effects makeup artist. The field allows you to be creative, imaginative, and in some instances, allows you to take traditional makeup application skills far beyond the next level. Although it can be challenging to break into the special effects makeup artistry business, it is definitely a worthwhile field to pursue if doing prosthetic makeup for aged characters, scary monsters and other dramatic character transformations for theater and film sounds like a dream job to you.

Submitted by Elizabeth on 07/25/2012 - 14:30
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The first step to launch career is to see if there is makeup artist training for special effects and prosthetic makeup in your area. This is a very niche, specialized field so those schools may be few and far between - but worth it to seek out! Certain areas like New York City and Los Angeles are known to be bustling with opportunities for special effects makeup artists because of their close ties to theater, entertainment and film. To have a truly successful career in prosthetic and special effects makeup, it might be in your best interest to relocate to these large metropolitan areas where the most potential lies, but many people have also made successful prosthetic makeup careers in other parts of the country and just travel to the sets where their skills are needed the most. But when it comes to prosthetic makeup as a career, large cities tend to have the most opportunities both for education purposes and for jobs.

Either you can start your career by honing your craft on your own, or you could opt to attend a formal makeup artist training program which can give you the foundation education and extra skills that you need to set yourself apart from the competition. If you choose to learn on your own, you will likely find a lot of special effects makeup training resources online, in books and on DVD. Some of the most predominant names in the industry were self-taught. However, if you decide to attend school, the first step is to find a makeup school in your area. This may require you to move to a different area or travel for the duration of the training, but when you find your true passion in life, it may be just what you need to take that leap. Having a formalized makeup artist education to bolster your resume and portfolio can make you more competitive when vying for the available makeup artist jobs. Take a look into courses, workshops and certifications that can help you advance your career in the right direction - talk to schools about how they can get you closer to your goal.

Regardless of your training, though, the bottom line is that your work needs to be top quality to get the best SFX makeup artist jobs you want. A prospective employer will be looking to make sure that your work is skilled, detail-oriented, realistic or believable and of the highest quality. So make sure you focus on quality rather than the quantity of credentials. After you gain the necessary experience, it is time to look for work. Special effects makeup artists are often freelancers, and begin building their careers by lending their skills to fashion shows and hair competitions, local theatre and school theater, or doing standard makeup artistry. It may take up a while to build the quantity and caliber of clientele you really want to have in your portfolio, but don't let the journey discourage you from what you really want to do with your life. Document your work closely and display your portfolio online in an easily accessible place so people can find your work. Continue to reach out to potential employers and market yourself to build the dream SFX makeup career you always wanted.