Makeup artistry course student work

From the Experts, Makeup Tips and Tricks

Nathan’s QC Makeup Academy Student Showcase Critique

Celebrity makeup artist, Nathan Johnson (@nathanwalnut), is QC Makeup Academy’s Executive Makeup Artist and is based in New York City. This month, Nathan shares his thoughts on a few of his favorite student showcase submissions from our talented students!

A beautiful makeup requires a balance of thoughtfulness, precision, symmetry, a mastery of skills, and a strong understanding of application techniques. At QC Makeup Academy, we know when great education is combined with a hardworking student that amazing things can happen. That’s why we push our students to master their techniques through practice. Practice leads to mastery and from that, a master makeup artist is born.

Great makeup should always be celebrated, and today we recognize some of our amazing students!

Amber Hellings

QC Makeup Academy Student Assignment
In her broken face image, Amber demonstrates some wonderful makeup techniques. The highlight and contour work she utilized cause a beautiful recession into the skin. The unbroken part of the face is flawless and makes for a perfect counterbalance to the deeper shadowed area. The lip application is precise and beautiful, the eye application is balanced and well applied. One minor note, if too much shadow circles the outer lower corner of the eye it can pull the features down.

Eyes that drag down are not flattering, so be sure to always balance that.

I would also recommend slightly lightening the eyebrow. When a brow is too dark and defined, it has the appearance of being drawn on with a sharpie. A super intense application makes the brows a major focal point. With a strong lip, a rich eye, and a special effect on one half of the face, the addition of an overly strong, blocked brow might be one detail too many. Remember the famous advice of Chanel and take one thing off.

This is really a beautiful and fascinating application – well done. Now, because I had some criticisms, I think it’s important that I also point out this beautiful application by Amber. I have one thing to say…PERFECTION.

Great work Amber. Please keep sharing your magic and perfecting your craft.

Karmela Kurowski

I think Karmela has a very playful voice in her makeup artistry. Her take on the ventriloquist dummy is fascinating. It has the fun of pop art in her use of color, dot, and line. If you take a long look at her work, the details will begin to dazzle you. Check out the perfect contouring of the nose – that one tiny detail makes the entire face look like it is carved. The painted detail work on the face is extraordinary. The blackened mouth perfectly hides the lips and reshapes the lower jaw.

The work on the mask of the face is extraordinary and detailed, and the brows are perfection. Because this look takes on the feel of a painting, the beautiful eyes staring from it are almost jarring (in the best way). The work here is symmetrical and gorgeous.

Karmela’s second look is equally delightful due to her artistic use of highlight and shading. She paints the illusion of a mask of skin being pulled over the face. A stunning beauty makeup sits atop a bright and crisp foundation, which makes the mask of the face leap out. The graphic touches of highlight and shadow along the edges are a beautiful representation of how easily one can create dramatic illusions of depth with a few well used techniques.

Makeup Artistry Student Work
Creative makeup artistry techniques

My one recommendation is to lighten the brows. Dense overly colored brows are more of a distraction than they are a beautiful makeup. As I said in my previous critique, you have to consider how many points of focus you want when composing your look. Brows are already a naturally defining feature, so overdoing them with darkness and definition draws focus from the rest of the makeup magic.

I always ask this…do you want the eyes to be the focus or the eyebrows? I don’t recall anyone ever saying the eyebrows are the window to the soul. Great work on both!

Queenella Gibson

This is a stunning beauty application. The highlight and contour is light-handed and draws a beautiful focus to the eyes. The foundation and concealer are applied with a perfect combination of precision and light-handedness that makes the skin looks naturally flawless.

The eyes are beautifully balanced and have near perfect symmetry (the outer corner of photo left is a touch darker…but it is a minor adjustment). I want to direct attention to the perfect eyeliner application. When liner is precise and starts at the inner corner of the eye, it opens and defines the whole eye, making lashes look like they go all the way in (added bonus). This is really gorgeous. Congratulations on an amazing application!
QC Makeup Academy Student Submission

If you want your work to be celebrated, take a moment to put it up in the Online Student Center. You’re an artist, never be afraid to share your work!

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Looking for more makeup artistry tips? Find out the top mistakes you can make when becoming an MUA!

Nathan Johnson is a film, television, celebrity, and real women’s makeup artist with 18 years experience in the industry. Nathan believes in education and empowerment—his personal mission is to make America more beautiful one woman at a time. He brings product reviews, makeup tips, and personal experience to the QC blog.

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