351 Makeup for Theatre

THR 351    3 Credits    Spring
Makeup for Theatre (1+4) h
Theatrical makeup for actors, teachers, directors, and other theatre workers; makeup materials and use, age and character makeup, injuries and horror, Kabuki, cross-gender, animal, illusory and plastic relief, crepe hair beards, and influence of lighting. Student will spend approximately $85 for materials and book for this class.

THR 351: Makeup for the Theatre

Time: Monday 2:15-5:15         Location: Women’s Dressing Room FAC 105A        Credit Hours: 3

Instructor: Bethany Marx, Asst. Professor        Office: FAC 109B               Office phone: 474-5365

Email: bmarx2@alaska.edu      Office Hours: Mon 12:00-1:00, Wed 1:00-3:00 or by appointment


  • Theatrical Makeup Kit (Mehron All-Pro, BenNye Student Kit, Kryolan Aquacolor or equivalent)
  • Mascara
  • Fabric headband, hair tie or bandana (means for keeping hair out of face)
  • Camera (You may bring a personal camera each week, or buy a disposable for this class)


  • Binder or portfolio
  • Clear, 3-hole sheet protectors
  • Tracing paper
  • Colored pencils, including skin tones
  • Additional class supplies and specialty makeup including sponges, Q-tips and applicators, “actor photos,” hand towel s, facewash, cold cream, baby wipes and lotion will be provided.
  • You may also choose to purchase a tackle box or makeup case to store your supplies.
  • Recommended Text:  Stage Makeup by Richard Corson
  • You are not required to purchase a textbook for this class; however, this is the text I recommend if you are interested in further study.

Expectations/Course Goals

This course teaches the basics of makeup application for the theatre through a series of exercises, beginning with basic corrective makeup and working through old age, injuries, animal designs and fantasy makeup. Students will research and create their own makeup designs each week, culminating in a final design project at the end of the semester. The course is organized to allow students to learn how to apply makeup on themselves as well as others.

Preparation for Class

Students are expected to arrive to class prepared to apply makeup. Men should be clean shaven and women should wash off any street makeup prior to the start of class. Hair should be pulled back out of the face, including bangs and fly-aways.

Bring all of your makeup to class every day. You never know what you might need. Supplies must be taken home at the end of each class. There is no way to lock the classroom. The Student Drama Association rents lockers in the hall outside of the women’s dressing room if you wish to keep your makeup at the theatre.

You will be given two photos of yourself to use for makeup designs. Please bring these to class every day. Certain assignments will require you to design makeup for a partner and you will need to exchange photos to do this.


Each week, students will complete an in-class makeup exercise, beginning with simple techniques and building up to more difficult projects. Most weeks there will be a preparatory research and/or design assignment pertaining to the next week’s exercise. Because the class only meets once a week and all makeup application will occur during class, it is imperative that all students be PREPARED, PRESENT AND ON TIME TO EVERY CLASS.

Students may be excused at the discretion of the instructor for illness, family emergency or life event ONLY if the absence is cleared IN ADVANCE.[*] I will not back down on this. If I do not have a phone call or email from you by 2:00 on Monday, you are “shit outta luck.” Documented proof, such as a doctor’s note, hospital bill or obituary may be required to obtain an excused absence. Students who miss class unexcused will not earn attendance or preparation points for that class AND WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO MAKE UP THE ASSIGNMENT FOR THAT DAY. So basically, you may choose to miss a class if you feel you can afford to lose the points. Students who have obtained an excuse will still lose the attendance points for that day, but will have the opportunity to make up class exercises. Students who are consistently late will be penalized at the discretion of the professor.

In-Class Assignments  Most classes will begin with approximately 30-45 minutes of lecture/demonstration. Students will then have 1 ½ to 2 hours to experiment with techniques and complete the assignment. Students will photograph the final application before washing their face. The final 30 minutes of class are for cleanup and explanation of next week’s project/homework.  Some classes will not run the entire three hours, however students are encouraged to stay, practice and experiment with makeup techniques until excused by the instructor.

Makeup Portfolio  Weekly designs, research and exercises will be documented and NEATLY compiled into a makeup portfolio.  This should be aesthetically consistent, neat and attractive. (That means you use the same paper, same labeling technique, layout etc throughout.) The portfolio will be turned in once at mid-semester for a preliminary grade and again at the end of the semester for a final grade. I recommend you prepare the portfolio ahead of time so you can simply insert pages each week. If you do not have a good photo printer at home, remember you can upload photos to Walmart.com and pick up your prints at the store.

Final Project  At the end of the semester, students will research, design and prepare a final project to be executed during the final exam period. This project will be graded in two parts: your preparation, research and design, and your execution on exam day. The project may include hairstyles, accessories or costume pieces which can be completed in advance, but actual application of makeup must be done during the exam. You will have a class period beforehand in which to practice any new techniques.


When researching for your makeup assignments, it is important to use only primary research. In other words, pictures of actual elderly people, black eyes, tigers, etc. Pictures of other people’s makeup, including images from plays/movies, are not appropriate research in most cases (clowns being one exception).

Cheating=Bad. Learning=Good.

Because most of the work for this class will be completed in my presence, I am not too concerned about you not doing your own work, but just in case…Don’t copy, don’t cheat. Don’t have someone draw or research for you. Don’t steal a design concept from some production you saw before I moved up here. Remember, cheating=bad, learning=good. Plus, if I catch you cheating, or your work doesn’t look like yours, you’ll lose all the points for the assignment. If I catch you cheating a second time, you’ll fail my class. And who wants that? Nobody.

Also, please treat your instructor, the dressing room, the equipment, supplies and your fellow students with respect. While I may allow conversation during class from time to time, please stick to suitable subjects and limit the use of inappropriate language.

(Please refer to the UAF Catalog Academics and Regulations under Student Code of Conduct for more information on the University’s policies regarding student behavior. I am very serious about this. Please do your own work.)


Attendance-14 classes                                                   5 points                each                     70 points, 15%

Preparation-14 classes                                                   5 points                each                     70 points, 15%

Preliminary Portfolio Grade                                                                                         20 points, 5%

Makeup Portfolio*

Overall portfolio layout, neatness, etc.                                                          20 points, 5%

Research-10 assignments                                     5 points each                     50 points, 11%

Designs-10 assignments                                        5 points each                     50 points, 11%

Applications-12 assignments                               10 points each                   120 points, 27%

Final Exam                                                                                                                          50 points, 11%

Total:     450

*If a student fails to complete a research/design assignment, they may not be allowed to complete the class application for that week. Absent students who have not been excused will not be allowed to make up the application missed, but can still earn the points for design/research assignments for that week.

Both final projects for this class are due at the very end of the semester, though I will provide a mid-semester progress grade to everyone who turns in a preliminary portfolio. It may be difficult for you, and even me, to ascertain your final grade in the class prior to you turning in your portfolio and final exam. I will do my best to keep you informed if it is obvious to me that you may be failing or falling behind, but ultimately it is your responsibility to attend class and complete your assignments every week.

A+ 97-100%        B+ 87-89%           C+ 77-79%           D+ 65-70%

A 93-96%             B 83-86%              C 73-76%              D 60-64%    Failing is below 58 percent

A-90-92%             B- 80-82%            C- 70-72%            D- 58-59%


I will be glad to work with the Office of Disabilities Services (203 WHIT, 474-7043) to provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities. It is the responsibility of the student to contact the office and provide a letter of accommodation within three weeks of the start of class. Letters of accommodation will be accepted at any time, but will not be applied retroactively after three weeks.


All information included on this syllabus, detailed assignment instructions and up-to-date grades will be available on Blackboard at classes.uaf.edu within the first few weeks of the semester.

Tentative Schedule/Class topics

1/23 Go over syllabus. Take class photos. Lecture on light, bone structure, makeup tools and application demonstration.

Assignment: Have makeup kit  and above-the-line supplies for next class

1/30 Basic Corrective Makeup

Assignment: Have below-the-line supplies for next class

2/6 Designing Makeup/Modeling with Highlights and Shadows

Assignment: Old age research and design

2/13 Old Age makeup on face and hands with stippling

Assignment: Bruising and black eye research/design

2/20 Superficial injuries-Black eyes and Bruises, Split Lips, Bloody noses

Assignment: Design your face with a different nose and eyebrows. Nose must include a profile view.

Freshman Progress Reports-Grades will be based on attendance and participation only.

2/27 Modeling wax-blocking out eyebrows and reshaping noses

Assignment: Research burns and deep cuts/design

3/5 Simple Prosthetic Injuries-Deep cut and Severe burn techniques, Stitches

Assignment: Research scars, design scarring for your face or arm


Should include first four exercises and first two designs: Basic corrective, Modeling, Old Age and Bruises. Due by Friday at 5:00 pm. May be turned in during class.

3/12 Spring Break-No class

3/19 Making liquid latex/tissue scar prosthetics

Assignment: Research and design your own concept for Death using only makeup (no prosthetics)

3/26 Death Makeup

Assignment: Research Kabuki, Chinese Opera or clown makeup, design for a partner.

4/2 Chinese theatre or clown makeup on another person

Assignment: Furry animal research and design with gender specification

4/9 Animal face

Assignment: Research dragons, gargoyles, lizards. Design reptilian makeup with prosthetic element

4/16 Reptile face

Assignment: Design a series of 3 fairies, nymphs, butterflies or other “light” or “good” fantasy characters, one for a partner, two using your own face. Does not need to be a full face design.

4/23 Fantasy makeup on another person and yourself

4/30 Practice Day for Final Exam. Makeup Portfolio due.

Final Exam Monday May 7, 3:15-5:15 p.m.

[*]Exceptions will be made for exceptional circumstances, but damn it, you better be bleeding, unconscious or actively administering CPR, I kid not!