How to become a prosthetic makeup artist: Amrita's story

Meet Amrita, 23, from Solihull, to find out more about life as a prosthetic makeup artist. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

Amrita putting make up on a client

Can you explain what you do each day in your job?

My job varies so much. I paint faces and make people look like something they’re not, but in a believable way. I do realistic makeup such as wounds, altering a person’s age or features.

As well as doing makeup, I do a lot of research into characters. If I'm working on a film or TV show, I have to know the character inside out. If you don't do your research, the makeup won't look realistic.

What skills did you learn at school that you use in your job?

I use Art, English Literature and History which are all subjects I loved at school.

My job is really creative: I get to paint, sculpt, and design. I use my literature and history skills because some of the characters I create are part of a script and story that's set in a specific time period.

Communication skills are also really important because when you're on set you're around lots of different people.

Amrita applying makeup to a model.
Amrita uses makeup to transform people into something they’re not.

Was this the job you always wanted to do?

When I was younger I was always drawing and painting. When I was 14, I watched the behind the scenes extras of The Lord of the Rings films and I remember being fascinated that this was a real job.

I loved watching films but at school, I liked Science and decided I wanted to be a dentist. It was when I came to choose my A-levels that I thought about what I really wanted to do, and that was Art.

Top tips

  • If you've already started experimenting with different makeup skills, build your portfolio – this is a record of all of the work you've done and you will use it to get new jobs
  • You spend lots of time on set in this job so it's important to be good at talking to people
  • Do your research. Watching lots of movies is the best kind of homework!

What to expect if you want to be a makeup artist

  • Makeup artist salary: Variable
  • Makeup artist hours: 38 to 40 hours per week
  • Typical entry requirements: There are no set requirements, but you’ll usually be expected to have a qualification in media makeup. You can do these courses at colleges and private training providers. Practical experience can help build a portfolio of work to show employers. You could also get into this job through an apprenticeship.

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Work experience in your area
Find work experience for art and design placements with Workfinder.

Tips and advice
Help with interviews, writing a CV and all things work experience related.

Image representing Arts
Work experience can help you make informed decisions about your future career.
Meet Rose
video
Meet Miles
Top tips on taking the initiative
video