Makeup Artistry: Special Effects: Get the Look, the Fundamentals.
Think quickly! Would you rather be Johnny Depp or Bruce Lee? Jason Voorhees or Freddy Kruger? Tinker Bell or the Little Mermaid? What if I told you that you could be it all? Maybe not at once, of course. Not to say you would want to be a fairy Bruce Lee with a mermaid tail that has a never ending movie series where he hunts high school kids in a goalie mask, but of course if you want to, then I can’t be one to judge. With the power of makeup, prosthetics and a little (or a lot) of fake blood, the transformation into anyone but yourself can be simple. With the right contour, colour application, and faux scarification, you can be an absolute doppelgänger to the real deal.
Feel them, Be them. (Not really)
The process to recreate a look is very time consuming with the high attention to close detail, maximum p
atience, multiple build up steps and the need for the right products. In order to resemble someone (or something,) not only studying the bodily and facial aesthetics of the creature is a must, as well as their clothing, but their storyline in the films they play including their personalities and tendencies should be most accurately portrayed also. I’m saying just as you’re hoping; to watch all of their films, shows, read their books, even research the background information and such. By getting a tight grip of a person or character’s nature, you can better create different looks and play out their features and expressions exceptionally better through costume and makeup. Not only will you be able to effectively create a look almost, if not actually, identical to the character at hand, but with your vast background knowledge you are able to muster up variations of the look.
Take the myth of Jack The Ripper, for instance. You can create exact looks based on images you’ve seen of him on the internet, also by reading the multiple stories on blog sites, that’s a given. But, by doing your research farther into his background, you can use fathoms of his past, or even quirks you realize, to take his look and manipulate it. This is often done with clown makeup. Yes clowns are very much similar looking to each other, all scary as hell, but their application can differ in the style of ‘smile’ they want or the shape of their eyebrows- all based on the emotions or personality they are trying to portray. See what I’m getting at?
Step By Step, Who’s Behind You?
Great, you have in mind what you want to morph into. Your mind is knowledgeable, maybe a bit disturbed, you have a reference at hand, you’re ready! ..psych!
Sure, you know your character inside and out, but you can’t just go and build a creature just because you know when it’s birthday was. I mean, yeah sure, I guess you can… but don’t! Step by step plan out how the next couple hours are going to go, first. Here is a step by step procedure of a step by step procedure:
- Create a plan as to how to achieve this look. Will you first apply prosthetics then add a white wash base for makeup, or prep the face with primer then use liquid latex to build the foundation for your wounds? Notice what steps are necessary in order to flawlessly apply this look by studying once again a reference to see the aspects of the face in comparison to yours. What does it have that you don’t? And vice versa. Write them down in order.
- Lay out your tools and correspond the proper products and applicators you have with the ones you need that are mentioned in your plan. Once you have determined what products you’ll be using to aid you in reaching your goal, match colours and applicator types to the descriptions. Now you have a complete list of how you will follow through with the look, and what will get you there. Feel free to test products in order to validate that they will be most effective in your look. Don’t forget to test products on small patches of skin on your forearm before applying elsewhere to make sure there are no negative reactions.
- This step is not even a step, it’s a validation. After completion of number two, you will begin to follow your own step by step procedure, the one you’ve just made. Obviously I can’t list to you those steps, because your desired look will look nothing like it should.
There we have it, ta da! Your look is completed. Perhaps you have found flaws that you will learn to conceal for next time, or have discovered alternative ways to achieve a latex wound that looks much better (or worse, in a good way) than the one you used with a spirit gum. This, after all, is a practice!
Feel free to take pictures, video tape it, add it to your portfolio, and scare children and the elderly in your neighbourhood. Anything!
I’m Melting, Melting!
But, unless you want a date, you’ll want to remove your costume makeup before coming into crucial contact with people.
Makeup remover: Liquid and/or wipes.
Spirit Gum Remover
The list is fairly short. In order to take off prosthetics, latex and such, warm soap and water should be applied and soaked onto the used spots. Gently peel off the SFX pieces. Heavy hair growth areas such as hairline and eyebrows are very sensitive, so adding more soap and water can ease the pain when pulling glue from the fibers. This step can be skipped if you have liquid bottled removers specially made for these products. In that case, do the same steps but with the remover. After all the pieces have been removed, washing your face with soap and water will definitely rid you of your mismatched face. Follow with your regular skincare regiment.
Hello, Beautiful! Who knew you had another side to you. Now that your face is fresh and bare, the only thing left is to properly clean your products. Unsanitary or improperly cleaned products can contaminate your face causing breakouts or irregular sensitivity- possibly even worse.
Once again, taking soap and water to your latex pieces are important to rid them of any leftover glue or makeup thus also preventing staining. Peeling the glue off of the band of fake eyelashes will ensure easy re-use of the same pair. Be sure to toss them out after the third of fourth use to keep up with hygiene. Cleanse your makeup applicators, too. Brushes and sponges should be thoroughly clean from the back bristles, out, to ensure no contamination. Reshape the hairs and let them air dry on their sides or upside down, never standing up or else the water will drip back down inside the brush, thus weakening the glue that will ruin the fibers and break your professional brushes. (Unless you need an excuse for new ones)
Good luck and happy creations!
Article by Alexandrea Fiorante, make-up artist