The topic today is “what I wish makeup artists knew when starting their professional careers.” This is a HUGE topic and I think the best way to cover this is to simply look back 20 years (zoinks, has it been that long?) and focus on two points that might have made my career blossom faster. Like life, makeup is a journey. You should always take the steps that are right for you, but the thoughts below might just give you a new perspective.
It’s Easier Than You Think
When we are training and learning, there is a magic haze that falls over us. It makes us feel like anything is possible, and all the dreams that drew us to take the makeup training program at QC will soon be realized. That is not a false feeling if you follow the advice I give, repeatedly, and practice, practice, practice. You will have a level of makeup mastery that is well beyond people who have been working in the industry for years. With knowledge like this comes confidence, and with that confidence doors will fly open for you. When I was first starting out, I lived and breathed makeup. I bought everything imaginable (every brush, every product, every book, etc). I do not recommend that you do this, as much of mine went unopened and found the trash can when it expired. I just want to make clear the passion and excitement I had. It coursed so strongly through my veins, that I was practicing in school for 8 hours a day and then coming home to practice further and/or read the theory books by the great makeup masters.
As long winded as this may be, that practice gave me an incredible confidence, and in no time I was working with huge celebrities, almost immediately. If celebrities are your goal, refine your skills and get yourself to where the celebrities are. Your passion will make you a connection. If you want to do brides, practice. Your confidence and knowledge will get you bookings in no time. You will never reach your goal if you watch these videos, submit your units and then sit back down on the couch. You need to practice and above all, believe in yourself.
You Don’t Have to Start at the Bottom
There is a common misconception that you need to start at the bottom and work your way up. There is one layer of truth to that, and that is your education. A proper, classic makeup education and a tremendous amount of practice is the bottom of the ladder. Education and practice combined with passion can have you working at a high level very quickly. The place to start is the place that you feel you need to start. That means that you need to be able to fairly assess your own skills (and this can be hard for many people). Is your work comparable to the work of the people doing bridal in your community? If so, then you don’t need to apprentice, you need to make yourself available for brides. Is your work as beautiful as the work you see in the magazines and on the red carpet? If so, you need to put together a portfolio and get yourself an agent. If your work is not at that level, practice more and get more education.
There are two more points I want to cover in this category. The advantages to starting at the bottom, and the people who absolutely need to start at the bottom.
If you start at the bottom, get a great education, then master your skills through practice, you will be well on your way. If you choose to climb the ladder slowly, you can build an even stronger base. By apprenticing, you will have the opportunity to learn from people whose work you respect and this will make you a better, more well-rounded artist. It will open doors to you that might otherwise not open and it will introduce you to people of influence faster than you would meet them on your own. If you choose to start at the bottom because you are a knowledge sponge, then I applaud you.
Starting at the bottom
Now there are those who have to start at the bottom. And, shockingly, they are usually the ones who think they are ready to start at the top. Here are 5 of the many examples of people who need to start at the very, very bottom:
- If you learned all you know from YouTube
- If you watched the QC’s instructional videos one time, did the makeup on yourself and submitted it the first time with no further practice
- If you do all of the units as soon as you receive the course, not waiting for the feedback before diving into your next unit
- You have only ever done great makeup on yourself and rarely work on others
- If all your makeup looks the same, or have the same elements (i.e. always have a very smoked drop shadow, always have water-line liner, etc.)
I want to leave you with these thoughts today, because they really are a lot to digest. I think the main thing I want to make clear is the value of education and determination. If you understand that practice and education are the keys to mastery, then you will be able to achieve your goals faster than you might think possible. If I could start over, I would reminded myself not to be afraid. This is a competitive industry, but there is always room for anyone with passion, determination, and a lot of heart!