Today I wanted to talk about the art of creating a flawless face chart. What is a face chart you ask? Well, in the makeup world, these can be one of the most important and useful tools for makeup artists today. In our digital age, there are even apps for creating these guides on your ipad or tablet, but I personally prefer the old fashioned way of putting makeup to paper. During my many years working in cosmetics, this was one of my favorite ways to pass the time during our slow moments.
For most working makeup artists today, makeup is an art form, and something for them to be truly passionate about, so it's no wonder that many professional makeup artists consider themselves to be traditional artists as well. Most of us are very visual people who simply love to create! I love taking a blank face chart and transforming it into something else entirely. This can be a very tedious process, for some, more than others. Whenever I am designing a look, I like to start by sketching out the basic features very lightly with a pencil. This way, if I am trying to alter the shape of the eye to mimic someone with more 'bedroom eyes', like the famous Marilyn Monroe, I have a general guide to lay the colors on top of. I also like to create different lip shapes and sizes, so using the pencil first gives me a vision of where I am going to go next. Then, I start by using some type of powder or eyeshadow that is close to a natural skin color and I go through and add some details and contouring, mainly to the nose, eye, and cheek bones.
Like it is with any art form, the way it is applied is different depending on the medium you are using. A painter cannot apply the same way for a water painting as they do for an oil painting or with acrylic paint. It is the same with makeup. I find that creams are usually best applied and blended using sponges and even tissues, or if a finer detail is required, with a small synthetic brush. I prefer the #231 from M.A.C. Cosmetics. This is my brush of choice when doing any detail work on the lips or any smudged eyeliner. I also use the #210 brush to create definition of individual hairs in the brows and sometimes for lashes or details on the lips as well. When it comes to powder products, I like to use a #242 or a #252. These are both flat synthetic brushes sold by M.A.C. and these work amazingly well for allowing you to control how much product is being placed on the paper in any given spot. Also, when working with shadows, blushes, and powders, my number one tip is not to apply them directly to the paper! This is another reason why I like these flat-sided brushes for this. When you are starting off with you shadows, you want to load up the product on one side of the brush, tap off the excess on a tissue or paper towel, and then flip the brush over and apply it to the paper with the clean side of the brush. Trust me, the product and color will still show up, but this will keep you from applying to much color in one area and save you HOURS of time on blending. The same applies when you are applying cream products with a brush, always, always, flip the brush over before you put it to paper!
When it comes to the lips on a face chart, I always like to start with a little bit of an actual lip liner or eye liner at the corners of the mouth. Just a little though, not all the way around, then I take my #231 brush, apply some lip color to the one side, flip it over, and then use this to blend the liner and lip color all over the lip. Always be sure to leave some lighter spaces where you let the paper show through to give the lips some dimension. You can also add these light spots in later by mixing some white eyeshadow up with water, but this is more tedious and time consuming in my opinion. Then after all of the color is applied, I put a little bit of a darker lip liner or eye liner onto the same brush I have been using, turn it on it's side and use the edge to add some detail to the center and corners of the lip.
Now for the eyes, arguably the most important part of your face chart. Remember, when you are working with shadows, to always flip the brush, make your life easier and trust me on this piece of advice! I usually like to apply a base before I am going to do a lot of blending around the eye, same principal here as when it's on an actual person. I prefer M.A.C.'s Fast Eye Response to do the trick, although I know some of my other artist friends prefer M.A.C.'s cream color base in Luna. Either way will work, try them both and see what you prefer. In any case, you don't need much, you don't want to see the base at all. I usually apply a dab of Fast Eye Response to the back of my hand and then use a sponge to blend around the eye area. (**Make sure you do this step Before you apply any pencil or start to blend, otherwise you will move the product you have already laid down with the cream) For the eye brows, I always sketch them out in pencil first to have a guide, same as with the lips and the nose. Then I use a #208 small angle brush to lightly blend the shadow across the area that I've sketched out. After doing this, wet a little shadow and use your smallest detail brush, (I prefer the #210 from M.A.C. for this as well) and sketch in some individual hairs to make the brows more realistic. If you don't have a small enough brush, it also works really well to use disposable eye liner wands or lip wands and cut them to get them as thin as possible.
Next, you'll want to start applying your eye shadows. There is really no magic trick her, except to FLIP THE BRUSH!! (Are you noticing a trend? ;-) When it comes to the eyes, this is where your artistic style will show through more than anywhere else. Apply the makeup the way you would imagine applying it to your clients eye. After all, this is supposed to be a guide for you to apply a makeup to a person someday. :) Once you have finished applying all of the colors to your eye, AND coloring in the actual eye itself, it's time to work on the lashes!! I recommend practicing this next step several times before you actually apply them to your face chart. There is nothing worse than spending hours creating the perfect eye makeup, only to cover it up or ruin it with bad lashes.
For lashes, I always like to use a liquid black liner, usually boot black from M.A.C. OR a very fine-point ball pen. Depending on how thick or wispy you want your lashes to look. This will inevitably cause you the most grief when trying to master the art of face charts, but rest assured that if you keep practicing, you will get it, and it will eventually make sense to you! I normally cut up disposable lip gloss wands or eye liner wands for this step as I want the strokes to be as thin as possible. Make sure you do some test strokes on another piece of paper before you start. I like to work on my face charts on a clip board, so that I can hold the paper and manipulate the angle that I need everything to be at, so for me, it helps to rotate your paper so that you are always drawing at the angle that flows most naturally for you. I am right-handed, so it's easier for me to make a clean line drawing from left to right than from right to left. Because of this, I am constantly flipping my paper upside down and sideways and every which way I can to make it the easiest for me to achieve my desired look. When I am working on bottom lashes for instance, I flip the chart upside down to do the outer corner of lashes, then I flip it over again to do the inner corner. Basically you want little tiny strokes going in an outward direction from the eye, (except for the lashes in the center of the eye, they are slightly less curved and some may even go straight up). And finally, after applying your lashes, you should be finished and ready to place your chart on display, or maybe, use it as your reference for a makeup you are about to execute. In any case, this is just a simple beginners guide to the art of face charts. I hope this has been helpful, and as always, feel free to give me a shout if you have any questions!! :) Happy painting!!!
Here are some examples of the different stages of a face chart, executed into an actual makeup look... This is what you want to be able to achieve from each chart that you create. The idea is to turn them into an actual look on a person. :)
Face Charts are also great for designing theatrical looks around Halloween and other holidays!! :)
Stay tuned for more tips and tricks!!! And be sure to leave me your feedback on this tutorial. Look for more insights and tips from me on instagram... Follow me at @DesignByAlliT