Doing makeup is painting

Learning to paint entails judging tonal values of colours as well as the hue itself. Painting or applying makeup from dark to light is a good makeup art exercise for judging degrees of dark and pale. But its also here where you can start to see what it actually does for the shapes of your canvas/face. The usual practice of painting onto a white surface could give a misleading impression of the true tonal value of the colours. Painting onto a black art surface reverses this process and helps give a truer indication of the colours’ tones. Simplifying the setting into four basic tonal areas will enable you to render a more accurate portrayal of tones in doing makeup/painting.

Working from dark to light in doing makeup or plain painting is a useful art exercise for all of you wishing to practice the art of judging tonal values.

Painting from dark to light forces the you to explore degrees of light and dark in a particular composition. This is made possible by working on a dark tone surface as opposed to a pale one.

Painting Dark to Light

The usual practice of painting onto a pale surface such as a light skin could actually mislead the the makeup artist student on the true tonal value of a particular colour when applied. This problem is made worse if working under a bright light, where any colour, regardless of how pale, will appear much darker than it actually is. This could lead to an overly-pale done makeup, this can of course seem quite contradictory since a makeup artist always want a lot of light, thats why we need really good light, bright is okay if the light has good color reproduction.

Simple Technique for Shading

Hopefully you have a teacher that may perform a demonstration on how to execute the makeup. The following tips might help:

  • Half-close the eyes and simplify the area into four basic tonal areas: dark, mid-tones, pales and highlights.
  • Begin with the part where you want the most depth, darkest areas first, which might be deep shadows or black objects. Use loose brush marks to block in shadows and subdued tones. This will force you to differentiate between dark areas and mid-tones.
  • Work progressively paler, blocking in the mid-tones next.
  • Keep working over the area, using ever paler colours, which might represent soft, high areas of light and pale parts and bone.
  • Finish off with the highlights with neat white paint.

Once the painting surface has been covered, you may examine how the outlines of tonal divisions differ; some shadows will have blurred edges, in which case, blending with a soft brush will be necessary. In other areas, tonal divisions will appear more defined, as in the case of where you want the deepest illusion.
… and there will be more 🙂