Makeup Design for Film + Television Curriculum

Term 1 Course Descriptions

This course prepares students for post-graduation life by introducing them to the many different fields within makeup artistry. They also develop the research skills needed in order to be a working makeup artist and explore the history of makeup within the performing arts.

This course lays the groundwork for all future makeups. Students are introduced to the fundamentals of corrective application and product and equipment choices, while also developing their “eye” or ability to discern the needs of each particular performer. The basics of facial anatomy, in terms of bones and muscles specifically, help students build a better understanding of the system that supports the canvas on which they work – in this case, the skin.

Students learn the basics of Photoshop and develop their own design skills. From image manipulation to creating layers and utilizing assorted tools (such as burn, dodge, and clone stamp), this course provides a solid foundation for the digital makeup design work that students must perform later in the program.

Through practical application, students learn to use makeup to create characters or communicate ideas. They develop common glamour techniques, including false lash application and “smoky” blending.

It's critical for any new makeup artist to understand the language of a film set. This course allows students to explore the broad scope of the makeup artist’s job on set, including the concept and importance of continuity. Instructors integrate students with people from other departments and introduce them to the basic workings of a film set. The result is a heightened awareness of time management skills and product knowledge.

In its most basic sense, Visual Art exposes students to art theory and technique in mediums outside of makeup application so that their understanding of makeup can be supported by this wider scope. Instructors cover subjects, such as colour theory, life drawing, photography, chart design, oil painting, and airbrush technique.

Term 2 Course Descriptions

This course builds on the knowledge developed in Digital Media & Design 1, further finessing students' skills and supporting the digital makeup design work that they must do later in the program, including creating pages for their portfolio.

Students are introduced to the evolution of makeup styles throughout the 20th century via practical application, in addition to further refining their understanding of creating character. There are also more advanced fashion-based classes that allow them to creatively explore beauty.

This course introduces students to basic concepts of hairstyling and gives them their first opportunity to be hands-on with hair. They learn the theories and techniques behind hairstyling and wig application, including hair prep and cleaning.

This expansive and detailed course challenges students to build their understanding of creating characters with makeup, and also how products can be manipulated to achieve certain effects. It gives students opportunities to explore and apply a wide range of out-of-kit effects—makeup effects created from scratch on set, as opposed to prosthetics pieces that are pre-made in a shop. Out-of-kit effects lessons include blood products and their many uses, bruising techniques, scrapes and cuts, and three-dimensional effects, such as burns or broken noses. Students are introduced to proven theory and techniques relating to the realistic recreation of bullet wounds, their effects, and both two-dimensional and three-dimensional applications to the performer. Various materials and challenges are presented when creating a character's teeth effects, and students are familiarized with the materials used to replicate tears for scenes in which performers need to cry on command. There is also an overview of artificial snow and ice effects along with frostbite and hypothermia.

Term 3 Course Descriptions

Students finesse portfolio development skills and are equipped with the ability to source materials and create budgets, résumés, and cover letters. They are familiarized with the many different types of contracts that they may come across during their career. This course resumes in Terms 4 through 6.

This course educates students through practical application of the proper techniques in applying bald caps and “stretch and stipple” aging makeups. Students also refine their painting and design skills through a series of makeup exercises, such as airbrushing, putting their research abilities to the test while allowing them some creative exploration. Hair-laying and wax construction techniques are also introduced.

Building on students' knowledge from previous courses, they collaborate with a model and a photographer to create a finished makeup and hairstyle for a beauty shoot. Students experience the details of union day calling and break down a script from a makeup artist's perspective. They also create individual character breakdowns and work on a film project where they must create a believable character makeup supported by design charts and continuity photos and notes.

Lifecasting (making an impression of a living being using alginate and plaster) is the first step in the creation of a sculpted prosthetics effect. This course educates students in best practices through both lectures and practical applications. They learn face casting, full head casting, mouth casting, and body casting, while also exploring different types of clay in the creation of a small “maquette” sculpture. Instructors guide students through sculpting on lifecasts that may range from human ears and noses to full head casts. This is followed by a practical application class, wherein they learn how to make moulds of their sculpts and fill those moulds with liquid gelatin to make realistic prosthetics appliances.

Term 4 Course Descriptions

This course gives the student a wider understanding of the proper techniques for creating realistic false facial hair. Mostly through practical application, they are introduced to proven theory and techniques relating to the adhering, painting, and removing gelatin prosthetic appliances.

Students create individual character breakdowns and work on a film project where they must produce a believable character makeup supported by design charts and continuity photos and notes.

Term 5 Course Descriptions

Designed to give students an appreciation of the proper techniques for adhering, painting, and removing of prosthetic appliances, they discover foam latex and its uses through practical application and lectures. This course challenges them to make sculpts, create moulds of those sculpts, and then fill those moulds with foam latex in order to make realistic prosthetics appliances.

Many artists use “slip” or dwell-molded latex masks to create detailed, inexpensive versions of animatronics masks or foam latex appliance makeups. Through lectures and practical applications, this course teaches students all the steps necessary to create a full-head latex mask. Students then develop their sculpting, mould-making, painting skills, and other techniques, such as hair punching.

This hair course is specifically intended to further develop students’ abilities to prep, apply, and style wigs. They become familiar with the care and application needs of film-quality wigs. Like lace-front wigs, pre-made false moustaches and other hair pieces are hand-tied to film-grade lace. Students learn the proper techniques for measuring the face to ensure a custom fit, knotting the hair onto the lace (called ventilating), blocking, trimming, dressing, and applying and removing the wig or hairpiece.

Term 6 Course Descriptions

Students learn proper techniques for mouth casting, veneer creation, and bondo transfers.

This course introduces students to the third, and final, material used to make prosthetic appliances – silicone. The students further hone and refine their sculpting, painting, and hair punching skills.  

In this final term, students focus on the completion of their portfolio (which is a year-long project) and on their portfolio project, in which they select one of several options and spend approximately 40-80 hours developing the design. Students are allowed a greater degree of creative and logistical autonomy in order to realize final makeup projects, both within and outside the school environment.