I've been an online freelance writer for over nine years. My articles often focus on makeup, art, and design.
Straight Makeup for Stage and Film
Stage and studio lighting tend to be stronger than natural light and comes from several angles. This tends to erase the natural shadows and flatten out the face. With make up, facial highlights and shadows are re-created so that lighting cannot erase them. The size of the theater and how far the actor is from the audience determines how strong these highlights/shadows need to be. The makeup in this tutorial is sufficient for film or a smaller theater.
Before You Begin
Make sure the actor's face is clean and shaven. I used Ben Nye cream makeup for this. You need a foundation that is a shade or two darker that the actors skin color because the lighting will usually make the face appear lighter. The highlights need to be a shade or two lighter than the foundation and the shadows need to be a shade or two darker. Make sure the highlight and shadows you use are equidistant from the shade of the foundation.
Start by applying foundation with a makeup sponge to the entire face and on the neck. Be sure to get the eyes and the lips. The foundation is important because the highlights and shadows need something to blend into and it won't blend into your skin alone.
Highlights and Shadows
Start by blocking in the highlights and shadows. First we'll highlight all the high points of the face where natural light hits. Paint a line of the highlight across the top of the forehead starting from the center and move outward. These should be one stroke each. Paint a line on the temple bone on either side of the forehead, and another right above the eyebrows starting from the outside and brush inwards. Add another line on the nose starting from the top of the tip and brush upwards. Feel for your cheekbones and paint a line along the top of them starting from the hairline and brush inwards. Then paint a line along the jawbone.
Next grab your shadow color and paint lines on the outside of the temple highlights, the nose highlight and right below the jawline. Add a shadow on the bottom of each cheekbone as well.
Now you need to blend the highlights and shadows into the foundation. I find it easier using my fingers. Blend the highlight along the hairline downwards on the forehead and the ones above the eyebrows blend upwards. The temple highlights get blended inwards. The cheekbone highlights blend upwards as well as the jawbone highlight. The nose highlight blends upward and the shadows blend outward. The temple shadows blend downwards as do the cheek shadows and the jaw shadows.
Eyes and Lips
The eyes get shadowed right below the eyebrows on the inside and get blended outward. The eyelids get highlighted in the center. With a dark brown eyeliner or small brush, line the eyes lightly on the bottom and a little on top. Next paint the lips with a color as close to the natural lip hue but a shade or two darker.
Once finished, powder over the entire face and neck to keep from smearing. Now apply powdered rouge or blush lightly on the cheeks between the highlight and shadow to put color back into the face.
Melanie from Midwest, USA on August 31, 2011:
Oh wow! This is really cool! I like the end result! Great hub!