Gary Cockerill has joined Professional Beauty as the Warpaint Make-up Competition Creative Director

The incredibly talented Gary Cockerill has come on board as Warpaint competition director and will be leading a team of judges at the competitions at Professional Beauty 2013 at Excel, London on February 24 to 25, 2013.

We quizzed him on his advice for make-up artists starting out in the industry and why competitions play a vital role

What advice would you give to new make-up artists starting out?

Keep striving until you get what you want. People tell me it's so hard to get a break, or there are just no opportunities or they are struggling to get an agent. I keep telling them, stick with it and with determination, talent and a bit of luck you will get there.

I see a lot of new make-up artists follow textbook styles, and stick to the basic techniques they learned in college. If you really want to get ahead, take what you have learned but put your own stamp on it, start creating a signature look from early on. Don’t lose confidence if a new style doesn't work the first time you try it, keep practising. When I started I kept going over and over different looks on mannequins. Keep evolving, researching products and don’t get stale in your style. Don’t be scared to experiment.

What are your tips for creating an on-trend AW12 make-up look?

Red is a staple for autumn and winter, it's perfect to add drama to winter fashion styles. As we get into the colder months people want to get out their make-up safety blanket colours. But there are also a lot of nudes coming through on the catwalk and as an industry we tend to be led by fashion mags, so we'll see a lot of that translate onto the looks we create. But again, it's so important to interpret what's on the catwalk and create your own strong and bold looks from it, not copy them - that's what it takes to become a leader in this industry.

What celebs have you worked on and who was your favourite to make-up?

I worked with David Beckham for the Olympics, which was incredible. I also loved working on Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith, Isla Fisher, Rachel Hunter, Kelly Brook, Cat Deeley, Barbara Windsor, I've been so lucky. Before I started out I worked in a coal mine and I can’t believe it when think about what I've achieved and the projects I've worked on since then.

What has been the highlight of your career?

It's amazing working with all these celebrities but my favourite moments are not with the high profile clients, they are working with the people where my work has meant the most. Women who are getting married or makeovers –transforming them. It gives me goosebumps when I see how happy they are.

Why should make-up artists enter competitions?

We're all constantly learning, you'll learn from your lecturers and fellow students in your college but competitions are a great way to see what students in other colleges are doing and take inspiration. You'll also get fantastic advice from judges with a range of different backgrounds.

Even professionals need to keep learning. As soon as you think you know everything it's time to stop. You need to push your boundaries to see what you can really achieve otherwise you'll get bored and your looks will becoming boring.

Other than the Professional Beauty make-up competition, what will you be focusing on in 2013?

I have Gary Cockerill Beauty's Pro Lashes and Pro brushes now and my new make-up range is coming out next year. I've got Masterclasses coming up, which have a real one-to-one bespoke approach. I'm also working on the Blue Water Christmas campaign. I've got the best job in the world and if I can help and inspire someone else then that's all I've ever wanted.

View the Warpaint competition details at