Leicester College Blog

From fine art to faces


Leicester College artistic make-up and special effects student, Bethany Simpson, has always had an interest for artistic make-up. Although make-up became a significant part of her life later on, she always enjoyed fine art and anything creative. She realised that make-up “is a great way to express yourself, there are no limits”.

Bethany particularly has a passion for “the fancy side of things of special effects”, adding that it is something that she has been able “to explore a lot in this course”.

Choosing the right college for make-up artist journey

Bethany continues: “I chose the artistic make-up course because I thought about doing it for a long time but wasn’t sure if university was right for me. Eventually I heard from different people, from family members and friends, that there was this course in artistic make-up and special effects in Leicester, so I looked into it and thought okay, that’s perfect for me because it offers a really big range of make-up skills.

“We have a large variety of skills we learn – we do character ageing, latex ageing, bodypainting, editorial make-up, postiche (which is wig making), so we do all kinds of hair and make-up. We have to interact with the public a lot, bring our own models in but a lot of research.”

Valuable skills exclusively at Leicester College

The artistic make-up course at Leicester College “provides you with a lot of skills that I think other courses wouldn’t be able to do,” says Bethany.

“You have a lot more that you can learn – for example, we do postiche, body painting, special effects, like everything combined in one course.

“Another thing that they do that I really liked and got a lot from is that they provide a business aspect to it, so we have to learn about how to market ourselves and it just goes hand in hand with the make-up industry because it’s a skill that you need.

“I didn’t realise the amount of effort and all the different methods that go into it such as creating the prosthetics, life casting and making people’s face casts. There’s so many different methods to do in that and it’s been really interesting learning – I think it’s a skill that they don’t teach in many courses at all.”

Standout moments on the course

Bethany says: “I realised that I actually really like working under pressure, it’s something that I might have avoided before but we’ve done a lot of timed assessments – we call them trade tests. You act as if you are with a client in the business, which you are marked on, and one of the things I really, really love doing is the body painting. I had done a bit of face painting before but never on such a big canvas so that was something that I really took to.”

Future plans

Bethany shares her next steps and says: “I’m looking to continue my studies so I’m going into the business year still at Leicester College, just to really refine those skills and then potentially go onto doing a Masters degree. But in my own time, I’m looking to start running my own business.

“That’s something they want us to do as part of the course and something we are graded on as well. They tell us it’s not really your last year of university, it’s the first year of your own business.”

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