Stage makeup is a part of many makeup artists life. It is of course something done mostly by hired stage makeup artists at theatres, but many in their start-up career as a freelancer will find themselves participating in the application of stage makeup. It may be as an assistant on a larger scale show on Broadway or even as key stage makeup artist at a local or student play. Either way, the artist should have gone through extensive training in stage makeup, but as many makeup schools only focuses on beauty makeup, here are the most important factors about completing stage makeup (no special effects involved).
This is the number one most important part about any sort of stage makeup. As the audience can be very far away and there is no way to zoom in as in the movies, one must make sure that all the mimics of the face is thoroughly enhanced in order for the audience to see if the person is angry, sad, happy or distraught.
One does this by playing with high and low techniques, making the brows darker and often larger- and/or exaggerate the mood of the character. If it is a generally angry one, make the brows close set and angled downwards in the beginning. Make sure all bone structure is well places by using dark tones where it naturally goes in (such as under the cheeks) and light tone where it goes up or out.
For stage makeup one doesn’t necessarily use special effects all the time (such as masks, different nose etc.), but more often than not does one manipulate the features of the actor. It may be to make the actor look younger or older, with an illness or specific trade.
Anatomy training comes in handy here and it is important that the stage makeup artist knows all the bone structures of a human face and as well have done research on how a face appears in all stages of life and emotions. To make a character appear older one often makes the sunken-in parts even more sunken-in, as this is what happens with age as one loses collagen. To add wrinkles, one can use a white powder, force the wrinkles to appear by smiling or frowning and apply the powder. It will then only set on the high points of the skin and the wrinkles will appear grander. To exaggerate them eve further one can use a darker foundation or supracolor between the white lines. Normal areas for this are around the eyes, sides of the nose and mouth, between the eyebrows and over the forehead.
KEEP IT ALL COMPLETELY MATT
For stage makeup one rarely use any highlight or shiny effects as it won’t have the desired effect when the audience is so far away- the character will just look sweaty. So if this is not the desired effect one should always work with matt colors, super covering foundation (sticks are often used) and dry powders without illuminating particles. Remember to also apply makeup to any bald heads and make sure it is extra matt as the light will often be stronger from above.