Battle of the Brushes

Are you serious about becoming a professional make-up artist? Competing in the IMATS Battle of the Brushes can give your career a huge boost. Competitors’ work is seen not only by industry leaders attending the shows, but also by thousands of social-media users following the show.  Finalists also get a chance for international exposure by having their art featured in IMATS ad campaigns and show graphics. Additionally, the shows give competitors the chance to network in person with the pros doing the hiring. And the cash and prizes from participating exhibitors certainly don’t hurt!

The competition is open to students of recognized make-up schools and to those who have graduated 12 months prior to the competition date.

After a blind judging for each show, the Make-Up Artist magazine staff selects eight finalists in the beauty/fantasy category and eight in the character/prosthetic category, plus a runner-up for each. Finalists and their models receive free passes for both days of IMATS. The staff chooses a theme for each category every year.

Both shows are broadcast on Facebook Live. 


The 2018 character/prosthetic theme is Victorian Emporium

Specific enough to embody an era just beyond the industrial age, yet broad enough to spur imagination.   

We think Victorian Emporium is also symbolic of a Jules Verne/Thomas Edison aesthetic and desire for 1800s facial hair – while conjuring up a sort of cabinet of curiosities, full of magic, mad science, invention and adventure.  

It’s a mixed bag—could be human, human+mechanical hybrid, human+animal hybrid, etc.

It has a steampunk vibe without, of course, mentioning the word steampunk



The 2018 beauty/fantasy category theme is Wildwood Warrior 

Empowerment, independence, sub-cultural earthiness and fantasy have the potential to emerge from this theme title.

Wildwood Warrior is alluring and epic, with a touch of mystical, vibrant playfulness.


Competitors in the three-hour character/prosthetic category are given prosthetics on the morning of the competition, which they must incorporate into their designs. Only prosthetics provided by IMATS are allowed.

Beauty finalists have two hours to complete their looks.

In both categories, finalists may bring a sheet of paper with photos and a two-sentence description of their artistic inspirations to present to the judges. Character competitors should also bring a “before” photo of their models.

On the day of competition, finalists who do not arrive at the venue in time to rehearse for the awards presentation may be replaced by a runner-up.

IMATS/Make-Up Artist magazine will only accept competition entries postmarked by April 2. Finalist results will be announced the week of April 10.

To qualify, you must fill out and send us the entry form, along with 8-10 photos of different looks you have done. Photos don’t have to represent the make-up you plan to enter in the competition. All entries, photos and artwork become the non-returnable property of Key Publishing Group. Please do not email your entry.

IMATS/Make-Up Artist magazine will only accept competition entries postmarked by September 3, 2018. Finalist results will be announced the week of September 10, 2018

Mail entries to:

Make-Up Artist magazine
Attn: Battle of the Brushes
12808 NE 95th St.
Vancouver, WA 98682 USA
Phone: 360-882-3488, ext. 121
Email: [email protected]