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Thanks for stopping by. This demo is a follow-up to a workshop on prosthetic makeup, which I ran at West Liberty University in 2015. Here, you will find a tutorial on how to apply, color and remove prosthetic gelatin makeup appliances using professional special effects (SFX) materials. There are numerous places on the internet where you can learn how to do this. I would recommend the following books and other resources. Although this list isn’t complete, omission doesn’t imply that I would recommend a resource or not. Use your own judgement. Safety always comes first. Always make sure you have practice using the materials you might be applying to your own skin or to someone else.
These resources have been helpful to me in learning about prosthetic makeup fabrication and application.
Dick Smith’s Do it Yourself Monster Makeup Handbook
Author: Dick Smith
Author: Tom Savini
Special Makeup Effects for Stage and Screen
Author: Todd Debreceni
Section 1: Intro and Materials
First, we're going to apply prosthetic adhesive to the inside of the prosthetic piece. These have been pre-glued with pros-aide and powdered. This is a time-saver so that when you do a makeup on somebody, you can figure out where you want these to go and then apply them to someone's face. Now before you get going on applying a makeup to somebody using this material, you do not want to embark on doing this without making sure you have enough adhesive remover. Nothing takes this stuff off except a decent professional adhesive remover. This stuff works pretty well. It's called Super Solv. The prosthetic will not remove with soap and water. It will not, so don't even try doing a makeup unless you have maybe a couple bottles of this stuff sitting around. Super Solv can be bought at the same place where you might have found this (pros-aide). This is from Alcone, and you can probably get this at Alcone also so just kind of a precaution if you glue this to somebody's face, and you don't have this to remove it, they’re not going to be your friend for very long, so make sure you have this stuff around.
Section 2: Application
The position of the appliance is being adjusted right now. Adhesive is being applied to the skin, and that will be allowed to dry. It'll then be powdered so every surface will be glued and then dried and then powdered.Then the appliance will be put in the position and then activated with alcohol. Everything is glued and powdered. You can place it and remove it and right now I'm just trying to get it into position, and I have some alcohol in the brush, and once that is on the brush, you can spread it between the appliance and your skin. Be careful because you can get it anywhere and you have to be careful around your eyes and right now is you brush on the alcohol, and it will dissolve the dry pros-aide. As the glue dissolves then it sets back into place and then it'll fix the appliance where you wanted it to be glued down. You have to order the 99% isopropyl alcohol usually from the same places you would get the other materials. I did see 99% percent alcohol at the pharmacist one time so you might be able to ask the pharmacist if they carry it, but I've rarely seen it at a retail store. It usually has to be ordered.
Section 3: Blending Seams
Right now I'm blending some gelatin seems with witch-hazel and a Q-tip. Witch-hazel will dissolve the seams of the gelatin appliance. I have a mixed material called Bondo. Bondo is a mixture of cabo-sil and pros-aide prosthetic adhesive. It's like a patch sealer. It's like spackling compound for appliances that you know if you have stubborn seams then you can kind of blend them in with this material and then once it dries and you have a seam that's blended nicely. You can then blend it with the 99% alcohol. The slang name for this material is Bondo. A lot of makeup people call it that. Some people call it cabo-patch. I'm brushing with alcohol to smooth out the patched material and then some seams. If it's your first time using this material, I'd recommend buying the already pre-made Cabo Patch or Bondo material. I wouldn't purchase the stuff that comes as Cabo-Sil (fumed silica) and then mix it with pros-aide yourself because the Cabo-Sil becomes airborne and it’s a respiratory hazard. So if you've never worked with Bondo material before get the pre-made material.
Section 4: Sealing the Makeup
Right now I have a bottle of green marble sealer. Green marble sealer is diluted with 99 percent alcohol. It's going to be sprayed onto the appliances, and some areas are around my face. The makeup absorbs at a different rate on the skin versus the prosthetic. So you want the pigment that's going to be going on to your makeup to absorb at the same rate as that which will be applied to your skin. It's noticeable when you colorize a makeup, so the trick is you have to seal it somehow. Green marble sealer is excellent for this. I was using a cotton ball, so I had to pick some stuff off my face so don't use a cotton ball for any of that.
Section 5: Color and Painting
I'm ready to start in with some color, so I'm using these sta-color palettes. These are alcohol activated makeup palettes. You just dribble 99% percent alcohol into these troughs, and they act like watercolors. They're very versatile, and there's a lot of elegant effects that you can get with them, and you can paint with them relatively quickly. You can even mix in some of the sealer with them, and you can build layers with them so that the next layer of paint doesn't become reactivated by the other layers of paint that you might put on top. So there's a lot of things you can do with the alcohol activated makeup palettes. There are all kinds. Sta-color palettes are reasonably priced. They can be airbrushed. A lot of people do that. The goal here is that you're trying to get the appliance to blend with the rest of your skin and the rest of your face and hopefully if you blended the seems well enough then it'll look like the appliance is a part of the rest your face. The objective now is to try and use what colors you have on your face to end blend them with the appliance so that you can kind of get a character to emerge.
Section 6: Unifying the Design
Now, it becomes sort of a to 2D makeup process. You want to bring a lot of color variation into what you're doing because even if you're making a dead looking character you want there to be some life happening. I wanted to get a cracked lip effect here. So I puckered my lip and dabbed some makeup, so it took on the natural wrinkles that existed in my lower lip there. You can see that the appliances are yellowish and lighter than the rest of the face, so I'm going to try and distract from the difference in color that exists between the appliance and the rest of my face.
Section 7: Balancing the Composition
Some of those areas got a little too dark and right now I'm brushing over some of those areas to soften the effect. The veins that occur on the temple became too high contrast, so I’m diminishing the contrast a little bit. You can do a lot with mixing quite a lot of alcohol into the makeup and allowing it to pool into some of the textured areas of the appliance. You can attain some interesting textures in the makeup. I'm trying to create sort of a sunburn looking effect by mixing some complimentary colors. I’m bringing together a sort of greenish color with a burnt sienna reddish color and mixing varying degrees those to you can get varieties of spotty brownish red and by going back and forth between these colors, you can vary the tonalities.
Section 8: References
You want to try and be observant of the colors that occur in the natural world. If you study people's faces and try to look at what the colors that occur in people's faces look like you'll discover that there's a broad array of different hues and tones that are happening. Even if you look at your face in different lighting like in sunlight or the lighting that occurs at dusk or when you're next to something that's brightly colored you'll see that there many different colors that come out. You want to try and bring those into the mix as well.
Section 9: Accenting and Creating Dominance
I'm trying to darken the eyelid just to make things stand out a little more. I got to a point where there's so much going on in this makeup that I needed to sort of call attention to some dominant features on the on the face. Doing something in the eyes that was a dominant characteristic was helpful to balancing a sense of compositional dynamism that was missing previously. The makeup looks like I have leprosy or some skin disease and maybe I’ve been out in the sun too long. The makeup here was improvised. Therefore, I didn't have a look in mind when I started. So, I'm making things up as I go.
Section 10: Conclusion
I'm showing you how well this stuff sticks to your face. If I were going to go the "whole nine yards," I would have included some color on the neck in the ears, to bring about a more convincing makeup.
Section 11: Removal
So next, I’m going to show you what it's like getting the makeup off, and if you've sealed the appliances and blend off the edges well, then you might have some considerable difficulty finding an edge to start working from. You want to get as much of the piece off as you can and try and get the glue off your skin. It's a little bit tedious, but you'll find that you can do it if you're patient and the Super Solv is the key for that. One came off pretty quickly. If you consume alcohol, this stuff will be much more difficult to remove from your face. That's not just if you drink, but if you have been taking cold medicine or anything like that then remember that the alcohol causes the glue to adhere better to your skin. That's one of the reasons that it's used as an agent in applying the makeup. It will be much more difficult to remove from your skin when you're trying to remove the makeup with the Super Solv. It will take longer than it has to and you'll have much more difficulty cleaning it off. So you want to be very aware of these issues. If you're going to be working with an actor or something like that and it's a good way to practice to start doing this on yourself, so you know how these materials act and behave so that if you do a prosthetic makeup on another person, you have a concept of how the materials act. You’ll know what happens when you remove a makeup and the degree to which somebody's going to have challenges with the makeup.
For more information on how to create prosthetics, here is an article on making "Zombie Goggles". Here also, is a quick post that gets into some of the design aspects and shows you some detail shots of a witch makeup that is in progress.