The Makeup Artist Handbook: Techniques for Film, Television, Photography, and Theatre

The Makeup Artist Handbook: Techniques for Film, Television, Photography, and Theatre

by Gretchen Davis, Mindy Hall

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Learn first-rate techniques and tips from some of the best makeup artists in the business in the new edition of The Makeup Artist Handbook. Renown makeup pros Gretchen Davis and Mindy Hall bring an impressive set of experience in all areas to the book, including work on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Steve Jobs, The Wolf of Wall Street, Blue Jasmine, Star Trek, Pearl Harbor, HBO’s Looking and many other films and TV shows. This full-color, comprehensive new edition offers brand new photographs and on-the-job examples to demonstrate makeup techniques and fundamentals on topics such as beauty, time periods, black and white photography and up-to-date information on cutting-edge techniques like computer-generated characters, makeup effects, mold-making, air brushing, and plenty of information on how to work effectively on set.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781315514154
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 06/26/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 326
File size: 12 MB
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About the Author


GRETCHEN DAVIS is a freelance Makeup Artist and writer. A 2012 Primetime Emmy Nominee for Makeup on Hemingway and Gelhourn, HBO, her long and vast experience in film, television, photography, and digital media also includes the creation of the makeup course at The Academy of Art, San Francisco. She is highly sought out after to work with high profile clients that include Paramount, Disney, DreamWorks, Universal, HBO, Pixar, and ILM. Visit her at

MINDY HALL is an award winning Makeup Artist and Consultant whose career spans more than 30 years in film, television, print, theatre, and designs for Broadway. She is a 2010 Academy Award winner for Best Makeup and the 2010 Saturn Award for Best Makeup for Star Trek, Paramount Pictures, a 2011 Primetime Emmy Nominee for HBO’s Cinema Verite and a winner of 2004 Hollywood’s Makeup Artist and Hairstylist Guild Award for the Broadway show Wicked. Visit her at



Read an Excerpt


Techniques for Film, Television, Photography, and Theatre
By Gretchen Davis Mindy Hall

Focal Press

Copyright © 2012 Gretchen Davis and Mindy Hall
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-240-81912-9

Chapter One


Proportions of the Face and Body in Art

Makeup Artists are masters at illusion. We manipulate the shapes and features of the face and body with our artistry. We cannot achieve this without understanding how to correctly determine proportions, shapes, and the anatomical structure of the body.

In studying anatomy drawing, you learn, for example, individual skeletal or muscular size, shapes, and functions. The functions and proportions are key in creating realism. There are fundamental drawing skills that teach you value, form, light, and shadows, as well as how these elements fall onto the surface of the face and body. For example, if you do not understand the shape and function of a muscle, your placement of highlight and shadow, a tattoo, body paint, or prosthetic will be off and therefore unsuccessful.

Painting, drawing, and understanding the body will give you the skills and ability to understand how to change facial features and alter an individual's features to look like something or someone else. Your artistry will move with the subject, making it look more authentic. This is a very important lesson used in all areas of makeup artistry. "Anatomy is an applied science which underpins fine art, the study of structure is essential for artistic representation. The skeleton, joints and muscular system of a creature determine its proportions and the movement of the body." (Fehér 7)

Value, Shadow, and Light

by Dan Gheno

The study of values is a complicated subject. When trying to draw in a tonal manner, it helps your ability to see value changes on the model if you learn the terminology of the subject.

Values: Each object, whether simple like a sphere or complex like the human figure, is composed of millions of tonal "value" changes. These range from the brightest bright (where the object most directly faces the light) to the darkest dark (where the object is turned away from the light source).

Halftones: A generic term that refers to all of the value variations within the light side of the model. The halftones are brightest where the form turns most directly toward the light source, and are darkest just before the form falls into complete shadow.

Dark and Light Halftones: To keep things simple, artists should class their halftones into two different categories: "light halftones" and "dark halftones." Things can go wrong if these two types aren't kept separate. Some artists make all of their halftones equally dark, creating muddy-looking drawings, while others insist on making their halftones equally bright, creating washed-out drawings. Note in the Watcher picture (Figure 1.1) that the halftone shapes are distinctly lighter on the side of the forehead most directly facing the light source, while they are dramatically darker near the shadow shapes on the forehead. Try squinting to test the validity of the value renditions. When you squint, the light halftones should fade away and disappear into the overall light shape, while the dark halftones should visually melt into the adjacent, general shadow shapes.

Shadow: As the form of the model turns completely away from the light source, the dark halftone shapes get darker and darker, until the light completely terminates and the big shadow shape begins. Literally called the "terminator" by those who deal with light as a science, this shadow edge can look abrupt and contrast at times, or soft and fused at other times. It all depends on the amount of reflected light bouncing into the shadow side of the model.

Reflected Light: Shadows are simply the absence of light. The only reason anything can be seen within the shadow shape is because of reflected light. The light source illuminates not just the model, but also the surrounding environment. The light bounces off the walls, floor, and ceiling, ricocheting into the shadows, and lighting (or filling) the dark side of the model. Indeed, even various body parts reflect light onto the other shadowed parts of the model. One very important rule to know: no reflected light in the shadow shape can be as bright as the direct light hitting the model.

Core Shadow: When the dark side of the face turns away from any source of reflected light, the shadow gradually darkens until the darkest part of the shadow, called the "core shadow," is reached. This term refers to an area of the form that gets no direct light and very little reflected light. Even when drawn subtly or in a barely visible manner, the core shadow creates a cornering effect that helps to magnify the plane changes of the model.

Movement of the Head: To determine the correct proportions of facial features when the head has moved in different angles, use the vertical and horizontal axes (Figure 1.2). The centerline is the vertical axis. This line determines the movements made by the face from side to side. The horizontal axis defines the brow line.

If the human head is turned in any direction, the main vertical and horizontal axes become elliptical curves (Figure 1.3).

If the head turns in any direction, the parallel horizontal lines become parallel elliptical curves (Figure 1.4).

Body and face measurements help the artist correctly achieve the right proportions. Artist Leonardo da Vinci calculated the parts of the body that could be used as units, and was the first to adapt the head for units of measurement. He used the length of the face, but not the length of the whole head. His methods are still in use today.

Proportions for the Face and Body

by Don Jusko

The skull is the basic division of the human body (Figure 1.5). To draw the head, start with an oval (3 × 4). Divide the head into three parts:

1. Top of the skull.

2. Pupils are the middle.

3. Bottom of the nose to the bottom of the chin.

Add the lips a third of the way down, below the nose. Add the chin crease below the nose.

Profile View: The height of the side head is one head length. The width equals one head length. The top of the ears are in line with the eyebrows. The ear hole is in line with the bottom of the nose and the occipital bone (the hindmost bone of the skull, which forms the back of the skull above the nape). The bottom of the earlobe always varies with each individual.

The face triangle (Figure 1.6) is from the center of each pupil, through the nostrils, to the point between the top front teeth. This is an important trait, as every person's triangle is different.

A smiling mouth lines up under the pupils. The two irises usually equal the maximum smiling width of the mouth. The space between the eyes is an average of 2-½ inches. One eye width equals the space between the eyes (Figure 1.7).

The Body: A perfect body is eight heads high. The neck is a quarter of one head length, starting under the chin with the top of the head. The second head starts at the neck mark.

The shoulder-line mark is a quarter of one head down. This leaves space for the chest above the clavicle and for the neck-support muscles.

The Torso Triangle: The shoulder line is two head lengths (not widths) wide, and is the top line of the torso triangle that extends down to the space between the legs. The chin-to-shoulder line is a half of one head length. The nipple line equals one head length, the top of the third head trunk. The belly button to the space between the legs is one head, the bottom of the third trunk head (Figure 1.8).

The leg space is four and a quarter heads down from the top, including the quarter neck space. The center head overlaps by a quarter of a head. The width of the waist at the belly button is one head length. From the top line of the hip or trunk triangle to the space between the legs is three-quarters of one head high, and is two head widths wide. You get the idea!

The center of the body is the bend line, and can also be measured as four heads up from the base (Figure 1.9).

Bodies in Motion

In art and anatomy, the center of gravity is the point of the body that dictates where the weight is distributed. An imaginary axis used by artists determines where the weight of the body changes. When sitting, the upper body trunk and head rest on the pelvis. When someone is standing, the body is supported by the feet. In movement, such as walking, the center of gravity is pushed forward by the foot and then supported once again. Walking has several movements. Up-and-down movement of the body takes place with each step. Swinging is caused by the center of gravity being shifted from one leg to another. Twisting movements are caused by the shoulders and hips. When a person walks downhill, his or her center of gravity descends with each step. Makeup Artists interpret these movements on paper, sculpting, or through other artistic media.

Drawing the Body in Motion

by Dan Gheno

Begin to draw with a scribble-like gesture, moving randomly back and forth across the page, rapidly drawing the model from head to toe and from one side of the figure to the other side. Once you have a feeling for where the figure drawing is headed, start to toss in lines of action, sweeping angles that crisscross through the figure. Begin to gauge the positive and negative shapes (Figures 1.11 and 1.12).

Angles: Continue to let your hand amble, drawing seemingly random, angled lines throughout the figure, trying to find the forms that line up with or contrast with each other. In this case, for instance, note how the line of the model's right inner ankle lines up with the outside of her right hip. Observe how the complex angles of the right side of the torso contrast with the figure's simpler, flatter left side. Don't limit your use of angles to the inside of the figure. Let them broadly enwrap the outside of the figure. Collectively, the outside angles are called the envelope. Use them to judge the negative space between the limbs and the torso, as well as the general relationship of the ground plane.

Positive and Negative Space: Utilize negative and positive space to help you analyze the forms of the figure (Figure 1.13). Look at the so-called empty space, or negative space, between the legs, as well as between the left arm and the head. Also look at the space between the right arm and the body. Ask yourself: How big or small are these shapes? Are they long and narrow or short and broad? Do the same for the positive shapes or body forms. For example, how wide are the model's calves compared to her ankles? To keep the relative sizes of your positive shapes under control, gauge each body part against some other basic unit of measurement (see the section "Proportions for the Face and Body" by Don Jusko). For instance, how many head units does a leg measure?

The Line of Action: Look for the internal, directional movement of the forms that you are drawing. You can set them up with lines of action such as the ones drawn in the diagram. Don't be surprised if your initial sketch looks like a stick figure. Sculptors block in their figures in a similar fashion by using what is called an armature, a framework of metallic rods that will govern the thrust of their sculpted clay forms. Whether you are drawing or sculpting, you can use these very simple lines of thrust as a foundation for the outside curves and to orient the overall gesture of the figure (Figure 1.14).

1. On the paper, put a mark where you want to place the top, midpoint, and bottom of the figure. Try to stay within these boundaries when sketching the figure. Observe the center of gravity, which is represented by this vertical line that falls downward from the pit of the neck. Also observe all of the contrasting, shifting subforms of the figure. The head, neck, chest, hips, and legs are balanced back and forth over this line, one on top of the other.

2. You will usually find the midpoint of the standing figure at the hip bone.

3. The hip usually tips upward above the supporting, weight-bearing leg. Note that the shoulders usually slant in the opposite direction of the hips.

4. Where is the crescendo, or peak, of the curve? It is almost never in the middle of the curve.

5. It is important to find the ground plane of the floor under the feet.

In conclusion, there are as many ways to start a drawing of the human figure from life as there are artists. The brief outline above is a personal approach to illustrations. It was prepared for students, and has been adapted from an article in American Artist magazine (Gheno).

Understanding the portions of the face and body will lead you to the art of makeup. Mastering the proportions of the face will enable you to create and design any look.


Excerpted from THE MAKEUP ARTIST HANDBOOK by Gretchen Davis Mindy Hall Copyright © 2012 by Gretchen Davis and Mindy Hall. Excerpted by permission of Focal Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents




Chapter 1 Shapes

Chapter 2 The Body

Chapter 3 Color

Chapter 4 Lighting

Chapter 5 Technology

Chapter 6 Foundations

Chapter 7 Basics

Chapter 8 Beauty

Chapter 9 Design

Chapter 10 Hair

Chapter 11 Airbrush

Chapter 12 Effects

Chapter 13 How to Be a Pro

Cosmetics, Tools, Labs, and Effects

The Crew


Professional Library

The Pros



Customer Reviews