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Makeup Design - Level 1

In this level, you will have the opportunity to explore the role of makeup designers in theatre and also how to express character through makeup design. The final challenge will be to complete a face template with your own unique makeup design for a character.

On your journey to tackle the Final Challenge and complete the Level, you will need to earn 2 Power Ups and gain 2 Experience Points along the way.



In this level, you will:

  • Power Up by learning more about the role of makeup designers in theatre
  • Power Up by watching tutorials for how to apply basic stage makeup
  • Gain Experience by practicing applying basic stage makeup to a face template
  • Gain Experience by creating a mood/inspiration board for your character design
  • Take on the Final Challenge by designing makeup for a character from Little Red Riding Hood

This Level Up Challenge is based on a unit designed and developed by student Thespians.

POWER UP: The Role of the Makeup Designer


Actors for hundreds of years have used stage makeup in the theatre. It is the job of the makeup designer to create designs for the cast that help show their character.

TO POWER UP:  Watch the following two videos to hear from professional makeup designers and to learn more about the role that makeup designers play in the production of theatre.

Pay particular attention to how the makeup designers help tell the story and show the character, as well as the tools they use to be successful and the challenges they may face in their job.

POWER UP: Basic Stage Makeup Tutorial


In addition to helping to show character, stage makeup also plays the important role of highlighting certain features of an actor's face so that their expressions can be seen by an audience member, no matter how far away they are.

To start your makeup design journey, it is important to understand how to apply basic stage makeup in order to highlight certain features on an actor's face.

TO POWER UP:  Watch this basic stage makeup tutorial (source: Carin Jacobs). Pay particular attention to where they apply highlight and contour on the face.

GAIN EXPERIENCE: Practice Basic Stage Makeup


Using what you learned from the tutorial in the previous Power Up, it's time to practice applying basic stage makeup (foundation, blush, lipstick, contour, eyeshadow, and eyeliner).

You can practice on a paper face template, similar to the ones that designers may give to actors to help them remember how to recreate their makeup look themselves. This gives you the option to use makeup, or if you don't have access to makeup you can also use other art materials to color in the template and convey the makeup look.

TO GAIN EXPERIENCE: Print out a paper face template, and practice applying basic stage makeup to it. Make sure you practice contouring and highlighting based on the tips provided in the tutorial in the last Power Up. Revisit the video and follow along if needed.

GAIN EXPERIENCE: Create an Inspiration Board

Inspiration board made by a student creator.

For your final challenge, you will be designing a makeup look for one of the characters from the story Little Red Riding Hood by the Brothers Grimm.

In this activity you will listen to a recording of Little Red Riding hood. As you listen, create a mood/inspiration board to pull ideas for how a character of your choice from the story acts, appears, and would look like once you have designed their makeup! Remember, inspiration boards are supposed to capture a character's vibe and act as inspiration for their characteristics and features.

TO GAIN EXPERIENCE:  Listen to a reading of Little Red Riding Hood (source: Greatest AudioBooks). Pick a character from the story that you would like to design a makeup look for. Create a mood/inspiration board (a physical board or a digital slideshow/collection of images) for this character to help guide your final makeup design.

FINAL CHALLENGE: Makeup Design for a Character


During this journey, you powered up by learning more about the role of makeup designers, how makeup designs convey character, and watching some basic stage makeup tutorials. You also gained experience by practicing basic stage makeup on a paper template and creating an inspiration board for the character you are creating a makeup design for. Now, using the power ups and experience points you gained along the way, you are ready take on the final challenge: creating a makeup design for a character from Little Red Riding Hood.

TO COMPLETE THE FINAL CHALLENGE: Use your mood/inspiration board in tandem with your blank face template and apply stage makeup with flair (adding your own twist to their makeup design). If you want to, you can also draw on hair to the template to round out your design.