PRO TIPS: A Self-Taught Makeup Artist's Journey - Finding Inspiration from Danessa Myricks Beauty
Danessa Myricks Beauty has been a staple in our kits and a must have at many photo shoots for years. This summer, the brand grew in popularity beyond the pro scene and on to the radar of many makeup lovers, as well. We spoke with Professional Makeup Artist and Photographer Calvin Brockington, a long time Danessa Myricks fan whose career path resonates with hers, and explore what it means to go Beyond Beauty.
Behind the Brand
In a world full of competition and labels, Danessa Myricks has paved the way for artists and makeup lovers of all ages, genders, and races to explore colors, textures, and finishes with a wide range of high quality products and education.
Her experience as self-taught makeup artist helped Danessa develop unconventional ways to create her iconic looks. This out-of-the box approach set her apart and gained the attention of artists and brands alike. It was only a matter of time before brands like KISS and Benefit Cosmetics worked with Danessa on product development for some of their most successful launches.
However, her passion for creating multi-functional products and desire to develop collections that worked in multiple places on all faces continued to grow. Danessa Myricks Beauty was born. The goal? Develop inclusive products that could work for anybody in an exclusive world that left some feeling, well, left out. She wanted to go Beyond Beauty. Today, her innovative formulas and colorful range of products have gained the attention of artists, celebrities, and makeup enthusiasts alike. Her approach of going Beyond Beauty and smashing the barriers in the industry has inspired artists and makeup enthusiasts alike.
Danessa continues to make waves in the industry both through listening to her audience and creating the products they'd like to see but also through her wealth of educational courses including in person events right here at CRC!
Photos above courtesy of Danessa Myricks Beauty
Finding Inspiration From Danessa Myricks
CRC: What is it about Danessa Myricks herself that has inspired you?
Calvin: So many things. You have to keep in mind she is an African American female in a male dominated arena. So for starters her courage. I also admire that she is completely and utterly self taught. She was never formally trained in makeup or photography. Yet she is world known for both her artistry and images.
Makeup and Photography by Calvin Brockington
Getting Started as a Makeup Artist
CRC: When you started, what was the most challenging thing about being a self-taught artist, and looking back, what advice do you wish you could have given yourself?
Calvin: The challenge was where do I start? As a self-taught person, it’s always that. I taught myself photography with the help of a few professional advisors. So I went into learning makeup with the same attitude. I bought Sam Fine’s book “ Fine Beauty “ and Kevin Aucoin’s book “ Making Faces “ From there I tortured a few friends that would let me and eventually took retail jobs where I learned very fast that you have to know all skin colors, textures and features. If I did it all over again I’d take on the role of assistant. I’d learn from someone who inspired me.
CRC: How did you grow your skillset and confidence? What do you think new artists need to keep in mind?
Calvin: When I first started learning makeup, I lived across from a Walgreens. At the time, the makeup that they sold included brands like Black Opal, Revlon, and Maybelline. I also bought magazines and tried to emulate the makeup I saw in them using what I learned from the books. I was lucky enough to have friend that would sit still long enough, and I would paint their faces. There were some ugly makeup jobs, and there were some that made me say, "Hey, I learned from that". It's all about trial and error!
Photo courtesy of Danessa Myricks Beauty
Education and Inspiration
CRC: What role does continuing education play in your career?
Calvin: Education is paramount! As we know, makeup is ever changing. Trends come and they go. Knowledge is indeed power in an industry that never has only one idea, one skin tone, one eye shape, one hair color or one idea of beauty. To stop learning is to stop being an artist.
CRC: Outside of beauty and photography, what creative outlets do you draw inspiration from?
Calvin: Painting allows me freedom of expression. It gives me the permission to let go. More and more I’m allowing myself the same freedom with the art of makeup.
Painting by Calvin Brockington
CRC: If you could recommend just ONE product, what would it be and why?
Calvin: Of course I'm going to say the ColorFix nudes. With the nudes, you have all you need for shadow, contour, bronzer and cheeks. Perfect for anything from weddings to editorial print. My favorite shade of ColorFix is Primary Red. I use it for lips, eyes and blush.
CRC: You have attended several of her classes. Tell us a bit more about some of the tips and tricks she's taught that you've added to your routine.
Calvin: Danessa is huge on the power of 3. Not only does using 3 things give you range it also adds dimension. Painting with light. Most people only know of contouring because of its popularity, Danessa uses light to shape and define her models.
CRC: If someone looks at your work on Instagram, it becomes pretty apparent that you use a LOT of Danessa Myricks Beauty. We LOVE that you include the products you used in so many of your photos! It's no wonder you have developed a following of Danessa Myricks and makeup artist fans. You told us you also receive a lot of questions about the Danessa Myricks Beauty products you showcase. What question do you get asked the most?
Calvin: I get asked a lot if they can be used everyday. Most people are very intimidated by DM products. I think because they see how beautiful and amazing she uses them. But the products are made for every skill level and every person.
CRC: Tell us more about the community you have built through your artistry and about the importance of networking.
Calvin: I am lucky, blessed. I’ve been in this industry for 20+ years. You meet so many amazing people, but the ones that believe in you are the ones you keep. Having a network around me, in reach is so important. It keeps me driven, motivated and inspired. I learn and grow from my friends. We share and grow one another.
Behind the Scenes
Enjoy this behind the scenes footage of a look Calvin created earlier this year using Danessa Myricks Beauty.
About CALVIN BROCKINGTON
Calvin is a Makeup Artist but mostly published as a Photographer and has worked on everything from movie sets to behind the scenes at fashion week. As a self-taught Makeup Artist and Photographer, Calvin earned his stripes in the industry by pursuing knowledge for the last 20+ years. He's worked in retail environments and as a professional artist, so teaching, instructing, and sharing knowledge with other artists comes naturally to him. To follow and connect with Calvin on Instagram, click here.
About Camera Ready Cosmetics
Camera Ready Cosmetics was founded in 2003 by Makeup Artist Mary Erickson. She dreamed of having a pro makeup showroom where artists could play with professional products without the typical makeup store attitude. Today, our team of beauty industry veterans work together to curate the best quality products on the market.
We partner with brands who respect the industry and formulate products for true working artists. You won’t find CRC in high-end malls, and we don't wear matching brush belts. To learn more about how you can be a contributing writer to our PRO Tips Blog Series or to request a topic for us to cover, click HERE!