I get asked A LOT about how to get into this business. What school did I go to? Where did I Learn? What products do I like?
This is often a much more complicated question than the asker realizes. It seems that the newer generations are so force fed the fallacy that you need to go to school to do anything, which people forget that many of the people we look up to- didn’t.
I went to a trade school for a little over a year for industrial design. Right out of high school, I skipped the idea of summer break, and started imediatly. I wanted to draw cars. I learned a lot about basic aerodynamic theory, some typography (which I have grown to LOVE), and how to some various kinds of drafting and sketching.
Lets rewind a bit… When I was young, I fell in love with monsters. My Dad and I would watch Sci-Fi and Monster movies all the time. Around the age of 10, I saw the “Making of Thriller” on HBO, and recorded it on a VHS tape. I wanted to MAKE MONSTERS. I scoured my neighbor’s Fangoria and Gorezone magazines, and came across an ad for Burman Industries. They are a special effects supply place, and had a catalog! I sent away for the catalog, and read it about a million times. I settled in on a VHS how-to video to make a mask, and begged my parents to get it for me. After watching this tape a million times, I looked in the Cleveland phone book (remember this is all wayyyy-before the internet) and saw a supply place about 30 minutes away called Monster Makers that has clay and plaster for making masks! I had hit the Jackpot. My grandfather drove me to the west side of Cleveland and we picked up some materials.
A friend and I sculpted an alien mask in my basement for the next few weeks, and then molded it and cast it out of latex, and painted it. BOOM. All before the internet, all without school or a class. Just a worn out VHS tape and some determination.
THAT is how you do this stuff. DETERMINATION. You have to want it so bad that every waking moment and every spare dollar is put towards your goal. If you keep practicing, keep learning, keep reading, keep researching, keep failing, keep trying, and keep succeeding, you will reach your goal.
After that first mask, I was hooked. I made another (see the picture of the troll below). And got more books, and bought more makeup, and made more messes in the basement. I figured it out. I made a lot of mistakes, made a lot of mediocre creations….but kept at it.
Luckily, I also met some other wonderfully helpful makeup artists in Cleveland that helped me along the way. Carl Taliaferro, Scott Gamble, and Arnold Goldman. They showed me where I was wrong, gave me opportunities to learn, and are the foundation of where I am now.
So, to wrap it up, Books, Videos, YouTube, Internet, Makeup Artist Magazine, Blogs, Friends, Trade shows, StanWinstonSchool.com - It’s all out there. So much more than I started with. Don’t wait for a school or someone to hold your hand. Go get some clay, some makeup, some plaster….and build things.