So You Wanna Be A Pro Artist 1: Getting Started

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The “So You Wanna Be A Pro Artist” series is original content conceived and written by Tania D. Russell, all Copyrights reserved.


So you’ve decided you want to be a professional makeup artist. Congratulations!

It’s a great profession. Reality, however, is that a lot has changed over the last several years, and there are more people involved with the profession than ever. Does that mean that becoming a professional is Mission Impossible? No. But it does mean that becoming a working makeup artist is increasingly Mission Difficult. However, any profession worth having is worth working for. The issue, however is to work smart.

Steven Covey is the author of the cultural landmark book “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People”. In it one of the principals he discusses (Habit 2) is to “Begin With the End In Mind”. I think this is a key cornerstone that a lot of people miss once they decide they want to do… anything, really. But I see it all the time in this profession. I honestly get inquiries all the time from aspiring artists who – while enthusiastic and well intentioned – have not put one moment of thought into where they want to go in their career. Enthusiasm is a key component of the game, yes, however un-channeled enthusiasm can get you a mish-mash of nothing or worse send you “hustling backwards”, as my friend, NYC makeup artist Kim Weber says, and you actually end up hurting your career before it’s even started. Here are some suggestions for first steps to get the ball rolling:

1) Know Your Industry – Know what the different facets of the industry are a lot and working in one market segment does not necessarily translate to being able to work in another. Example; you can do all the short films you want and that will not get you anywhere closer to doing shows for New York Fashion Week.

2) Know What You Want to Do – Take a moment and think about what you like about makeup and why you’re considering doing it professionally. By this I don’t mean vague answers like “I love being creative” or the like, but really try to get specific about what kinds of work excites you. Start what’s called – for reasons unknown to me – a “Morgue” which is a collection of inspiration/aspirational work you’d like to do, people you’d like to work with, etc.

3) Not All Advice is Good Advice – Find the RIGHT resources that can help you. There is a lot of bad advice to be had on the Internet. Likewise, there are a lot of bad schools. This is where you have to calm your enthusiasm a bit and become discerning. Hint: No one who actually knows the business will tell you it’s easy and anyone can do it and do it fast. That’s just not the truth. Besides, do you really want to do something that anyone can do? Anyone can be a janitor as well. I’d like to think more of the profession of makeup than that.

4) Research, Research, Research – You want to do this? Well, go get it. Researching isn’t just asking people’s advice (although that can be a part of it). There is a wealth of information out there in the world from books to websites to magazines, films, what have you. Seek and ye shall find.

One very important thing to grasp an understanding of is that this is YOUR career, no one elses. You must take responsibility and ownership of it from the jump. The difference between people who want to be makeup artists and those who become successful artists are the ones who work hard and stay active and PROactive (Habit 1 of the “Seven Habits”).

Next installment: Now Why

Previous Installment: Preview

The “So You Wanna Be A Pro Artist” series is original content conceived and written by Tania D. Russell, all Copyrights reserved.

© 2009 – 2016, Tania. All rights reserved.

2 Comments

  1. December 23, 2014 / 10:52 pm

    Hi I’m so interested in all the make up and product I’m a make up artist and would like to know more about make up and learn but I live in Canada 🙁 is there Ny way I can take more classes or be more professional I would love to do make up for models or tv shows 🙂 plz let me know thank u

  2. December 26, 2014 / 1:27 pm

    Hello. There are actually a couple of makeup schools in Canada, which you can just Google and then for pro makeup/supplies check out Blur Makeup Room in Toronto.

    Thanks for reading Makeup to Go. 🙂

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