Blog Post, Series

Special effects makeup…where do I start?

Hi lovelies,

A continuation of my last Halloween post. So now we’ve talked about the different types of paint you can use in your creations, I figured we could take that next step with starting your SFX journey.

Halloween is the time you may generally start looking into effects makeup and generating ideas but how do we put those ideas into practice?

For me, I started the easy way. YouTube. I gained so much knowledge watching 2 youtubers in particular when it can to specials effects makeup: Ellimacs SFX Makeup and Glam&Gore. Both sites are wonderful for application tips and techniques but Ellimacs is great if you prefer to craft your own items. You can also head to MadeYewLook for other tips in body painting, other SFX skills and shading.

I started out trying to paint a lot of things on before delving into prosthetics. I worked on bruises mainly as it helped with my blending and lightness of touch. Plus you can use eyeshadows or creme paints so it’s real easy to practice. You want to stipple the colours onto your skin to create the right effect. Use more purples and blues for fresh bruises and greens and yellows for older ones.

Eye-shadow vs creme paint bruise

TOP TIP: Pinch holes out of your sponge to create some texture. You don’t want uniform colour to your bruises.

Drawing cuts and burns was another starting point for me; doing these helped me practice irritated skin and also playing creating shadows and highlights. Again you can use face paints with eye shadows for extra detail and shading. Lay down a base colour (usually red) before building up your shading both inside the wound and around the edge.

First attempt vs more recent

TOP TIP: Create irritation around the wound as well to make it realistic. This can include pink/red skin, bruising, infection etc. Researching wounds can really help with this part. Also try not to use too much blood. It’ll just cover up your hard work and look fake.

With and without blood first attempt cut

Highlights and shadows can be tricky to get right but mastering this skill will lead to realistic looking effects makeup. When painting on your effects, highlights and shadow are important to add dimension and depth. This includes in the wound but also around it, the same as with the irritation.

With and without blood most recent attempt cut

TOP TIP: Always leave a thin light line around the edge of your wounds, this will highlight it making it seem higher than the space underneath. When paired with shading in the wound can be very effective.

Old and new the shading makes such a difference

You need a good range of shadows to achieve good shading. The shades you need for the shading will depend on what you’re shading. I keep a huge collection of grey eyeshadows just for adding shading to items. For wounds, I recommend pinks, reds, purples as well as a few greys and a black. You want a nice collecton of lighter and darker shades as well as cool and warm shades.

Be careful with the black. You need to use this one strategically. Pop it into the deepest recesses of your wounds and under any flaps of skin. This will make parts seems deeper than others creating that realistic effect.

TOP TIP: When shading always start with your lightest shades and work to deepen them up. Try and use a small amount of shadow to build up the colour rather than tryng to blend out a lot of dark shades.

Sorry for such a long post this time but I hope you’ve found it helpful. There’s still a lot more for me to learn so if you have any extra tips, add them to the comments. Also check out the Youtube accounts above to gain extra knowledge and above all else practice is key.

Thanks for reading. I really hope that you have enjoyed this guide and that you will join me for more in the future. Don’t forget to hit the like button or add a comment, you could even subscribe if you loved it .

Rach xx

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