At the International Makeup Artist Trade Show (IMATS) Los Angeles this past weekend, legendary makeup artist, painter, and Make Up For Ever creator Dany Sanz talked to eager students about finding inspiration and creativity in your work. "It's easy to teach technique and the more technical aspects of makeup," said Dany. "But it's hard to teach art, because art is inside of you." Dany began her career as a fine artist, specializing in still life and sculpting. She then transitioned to body painting and fell in love with the idea of painting on a moving canvas. "A person dances with your art, they sing. It's an interactive experience that changes with every living canvas you work on," she elaborated.
During the hour-long seminar, we watched as Dany free-handed an incredible makeup design, transforming her model into an interstellar creature. "You must find the inspiration inside—then, pair it with color and form." As she worked, we captured more of Dany's tips on how to hone your creative skills in the makeup industry.
Build a story.
"As you work, create a story around your big idea. Who is this person or creature? What is their personality? Once you understand your concept, your design will become more meaningful."
"Makeup artists are not necessarily chemists (nor do they have to be), but it's important to have a general working knowledge of formulation and consistency. Know whether a product is water or oil-based and basic ingredients to see how it will act on the skin."
Use color to your advantage.
"The colors you choose dictate the feeling of your work. Freestyle designs are nice, but you should understand the fundamentals of color theory. When working with stage makeup, use black to create definition with distance. Pair your dark lines with a bright white for vivid contrast."
Creative a special moment.
"There is an incredible emotive moment when you feel the creative direction of your work. Real makeup artists feel this sense—trust your instincts."
Experiment and mix products.
"Play with your makeup! Mix colors, mix formulations, and see what happens. Develop your own textures and effects. As any fine artist does, develop an intimate relationship with your tools."
Don't deny your skills.
"My students always come to me and say they can't draw. To them, I say: Paint! You will deepen your skills and personal style if you understand that art isn't precise and perfect—art is abstract."
Don't forget your canvas.
"Your model becomes just as important as the makeup itself. With different facial features, skin tone, and coloring, It's impossible to do a creative makeup twice. Put your inspiration on the model, but make them look their best—adapt your creativity to your canvas."