Now, I’m a huge reader, and a researchaholic. I love looking for everything from textbooks, to magazines, to in-progress writing that I can edit. Lately I’ve been purchasing books with the intention of making sure that I have a firm grounding in ALL of my makeup technique, not just the ones I use regularly. I found Makeup is Art on amazon, and thought “Even if it’s bad, at least the pictures are pretty! And it DOES advertise itself as showing advanced techniques…” It was pretty highly rated, and not too terribly expensive. I have an easier time following things in print than on a computer, and I can’t focus through Youtube tutorials.
Sadly, it didn’t exceed my low expectations. The photography IS beautiful, but it is definitely NOT a textbook. I felt there were gaping omissions in the “Advanced” areas, though the breakdowns for skincare and variations on basic looks/techniques were nice.
For a book that seems to be targeted at freelance makeup artists, or aspiring professional artists, from the London Academy of Freelance Makeup, including chapters on designing editorial stories, designing looks for runway…. It was very haphazard.
Makeup is Art featured a number of photos of beautiful, advanced techniques(Like macro photography of lips, in dark gloss, with pigment spattered like spray paint), but did not discuss how to get them(Apply lipliner/lipstick, splatter with damp(not wet) pigment, PAT gloss over top to avoid disturbing pigment, using multiple brushes to avoid transferring any pigment that may get on the brush during the patting), what the limitations of the technique are (Instruct the model NOT to move her lips, put them together, lick them, unless instructed–you need to photograph it FAST—pigment spatters will bleed and fade within a matter of minutes. Not a technique for a costume party. If you have an airbrush gun, you can use that to splatter the pigment more realistically, but do NOT attempt to just blow it through a straw. It’s unsanitary. When splattering pigment, use a business card(easier to trim) or sheet of paper to cover other areas of skin that should be clean of splatters…)
The book didn’t cover ANY sanitation, any notes on product usages. There were a number of instances were it advised students to be creative with products and usages, but not ONCE did it explain any of the common misunderstandings, like why non-toxic craft products or glitter are NOT cosmetic safe, why acrylic paint is NOT a good substitute for professional body-paint, why you need to be aware of your products recommended usages, why you need to purchase disposables, when to use lash glue vs. spirit gum vs. prosthetic products to glue items to the body, etc. There was no information to help temper your creativity with good product safety and sanitation.
If you like looking at pretty pictures of makeup, enjoy! If you need a book that covers all of the basics, that can remind you of the importance of using a good lip-liner when you are away from the computer, or encourage you to experiment with lip stain, enjoy!
Honestly, if you have time and attention, you can learn more from watching youtube artists, if you’d just like to refine your techniques for your own face. I feel I should warn you, though—the scope of the book was ALSO fairly limited in the skin tones/ethnicity’s of models presented, and there was no discussion on common skin diseases. So there is comparatively little information on dealing with monolid eye shapes, Middle Eastern undertones, deep African skin, dermatological diseases or conditions(like severe Excema, allergic reactions, rashes, tattoo cover, which forms of Tinea may be contagious, and how to prevent contaminating your supplies if you are working on a model with the condition, or just trying to prevent spreading the discoloration on to other spots on your own face, etc.)
If you want a book that will help you adjust your techniques for the professional arena, or provide a THOROUGH discussion of makeup technique, this is NOT it. It may help with reference(showing photographers examples of different period looks that would suit their concepts, or asking if they want this intensity of smoky eye, or that one.) and it has a lot of great material if you are a hobbyist, or someone who is just widening their cosmetic love beyond the face they put on for work every day. But it does seem to be wrongly marketed a bit. I certainly expected more than 1-3 pages of pictures and info for each discussion.