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.


Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Practical Makeup FX by David White Ph: David White ©Marvel 2014/©David White

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
practical make-up effects by David White; photo courtesy of David White, © Marvel 2014/© David White


The 2017 character/prosthetic theme is Guardians of the Galaxy. Make-ups must be original characters inspired by the movies and should not reflect actual characters.


Make-up by Valente Frazier

Make-up by Valente Frazier, photo by Peter Chin


The 2017 beauty/fantasy category theme is International Beauty, inspired by fashion looks with a range of ethnicities.

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 received by 8:30 a.m. PST on Dec. 5, 2016. Finalist results will be announced the afternoon of Dec. 5, 2016.

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.

Mail entries to:

Make-Up Artist magazine
12808 NE 95th St.
Vancouver, WA 98682 USA
Phone: 360-882-3488, ext. 106
Email: [email protected]

"It definitely helped my career tremendously. It's very much like the real world, working in a trailer and trying to get someone on set." – Patrick Magee, IMATS Los Angeles 2000 first-place winner for both categories; he has since worked on 'Men in Black 3,' 'AVP: Alien vs. Predator' and 'Spider-Man'

Battle of the Brushes Sponsors

Character/prosthetic competition:


Character competition contributing product sponsor:


Beauty/fantasy competition:


Character competition prosthetics provided by:

Rubber Wear by Sticks and Stones


Media Sponsor: