Frontline Artist Interview: Terri Tomlinson

We recently caught up with our friend Terri Tomlinson. She's a veteran makeup artist, educator, and owner of the Makeup Training Academy in Dallas, TX. We said "Will you do a quick interview with us for the blog, pretty please?" and she said yes...SCORE!

Frontline: How long have you been a professional hair / makeup artist?
Terri: 27 beautiful years! I started out in retail while studying history in college and worked for lines like Lancome, Bobbi Brown, and Prescriptives. In '99 I sent myself to L.A. to study makeup for Television and later hairstyling for set. I had to start over, but moved into production and print work which I have been doing for the last 17 years. Back then if you could do makeup for Television you could "do anything". The TV cameras at the time (before HD) were very difficult to do makeup in.

Frontline: What is your specialty?
Terri: I think I am most known for clean beauty work and creating no-makeup "real people" for camera.

Frontline: What sets you apart from other artists?
Terri: I think I see color very differently.  might not be a typical artist because I'm more passionate about the technical aspects of artistry than the creative. For example, I'm not driven to do elaborate makeups or body art, although I greatly admire and respect those that can. I'm more fascinated by how to draw hairs in HD, or color correcting a five-o'clock shadow in a 4K camera that looks real. That is the stuff that pumps me up as an artist.

Frontline: What advice would you give an up and coming artist looking to build a career?
Terri: Be patient as it takes time. Young people think that they will take one class and be working on a movie and they just don't understand how long it takes to develop true skill and experience as an artist. Think about how long it takes you to get a college degree and then work into a field. That is the same with makeup.

Frontline: There are a lot of people making a name for themselves on social media, in makeup. What's your take?
Terri: This is a soapbox subject for me. I cannot take seriously anyone who only does makeup on themselves in their own homes. A whole industry of copy-cat hobby artists has emerged with social media. They all use the same product, use the same technique, and produce the same makeup regardless of the face it is on. The makeup style that I see the most on SM is so processed! Everyone looks the same, like an anime doll. Why would anyone want to look like everyone?

Frontline: Who are some of your industry idols?
Terri: I'm old school and love my history. Maurice Stein whom I first met in '99 when in L.A. for the first time is a big influence on me along with Leonard Engleman. I love Ve Neil's work, and James Vincent is one of my favorite artists in the business right now. I have the great pleasure of working with James as he and I have created a series of classes together called "The Art+Architecture of Makeup" where we explore different areas of makeup from both the creative and the technical sides.

Frontline: If you weren’t a hair / makeup artist, what would you be doing?
Terri: I'm thinking puppy wrangler would be good. Or an ornithologist as I'm fascinated with birds. Or a librarian! I love books.

Frontline: What’s the most important beauty advice you could give?
Terri: A full coverage "drag" makeup might look great in a ring light and on a phone screen, but in real life nothing is more attractive, modern, and youthful than pretty SKIN.

Frontline: What was the craziest experience you've had on a job?
Terri: I don't kiss and tell.....however there was this one art director who refused to call me by name and referred to me as "that makeup girl". She would follow me around saying, "I think that makeup girl is trying to leave early...where is that makeup girl.....??"

Frontline: What are some must-have products you need in your kit?
Terri: I use Lait Creme by Embryolisse in almost every makeup I do. Make Up For Ever 2C and 3C are great on camera basics. Also, you have to be able to adjust color. I have a color theory palette in my line that I use on every job. It is called Rescue Palette and it is manufactured for me at Maqpro. So I would say some kind of color theory creme palette is a must.

Frontline: What are some products every woman needs to keep in her purse?
Terri: A good lip gloss. I love glosses that are warm and rosy. And the Artist's Secret stick from Embryolisse.