Prosthetics – Week 6 (Semester 2) of Year 2 Makeup Artistry & Special Makeup Effects

The first lesson for my chosen fantasy creature design was held in the media classroom. The two classes (sculpting for creature design and body painting for fantasy creature design) had now been split so that each class could begin their work.

The tutor went through the assignment brief with us, mentioning the transferable skills we will be using, what work needs to be produced (professional and accurate body charts), the kind of look we will be creating (a head on shot or 360°), where body painting would and would not be used in the industry and finally looking at using different medias, for example, using fabrics for both face charts and on the face/body.

For this task, I need to be looking at finding models that would be appropriate for my look or alternatively friends, family or students in departments such as dance and drama. One idea is to combine this project with a student in fashion and get them to use one of their costumes. Alternatively, I could organise a team from different genres especially working with new photographers.

The appropriate paints to be used for this task are very varied from brands such as Snazaroo, Grimis Water Base, Kryolan and Acrylic Paints. Airbrushing can also be used. All of these paints offer different benefits. For instance Snazaroo provides a good coverage but it is hard to get depth likewise Grimis Water Base colours could be much stronger. Primary colours are excellent to have in any kit as there is a good variety from dull to bright shades and in particular I find the Wilkinson’s ready mixed colour bottles fabulous as they come in every colour with the added bonus of retailing at a very cheap price!

This lesson was spent experimenting with different materials, but firstly my tutor gave a demonstration of her skills on a model (student). She started by dipping a soft sponge into water (taking off the excess in tissue) and dabbing it into paint. Then after patting it onto the model’s skin, an intense colour was produced.  If she had not taken off the excess water, the colour would have been less effective. A big powder brush (cheap) can be used to add a second colour and is also ideal for blending in the two shades (showing block colours). Coloured hair and body spray was used from a distance to spray onto the model’s chest area however when applying sprays a shield such as a towel must always be used as colour goes everywhere!!! It is imperative to be health and safety aware when using sprays and especially important to realise that applying them to the face is not recommended. Alex Box actually uses sprays such as these in her work which is inspiring. Sprays can feel tight on the skin therefore it may be ideal to apply them at the end, after your paint and other products have been put on the model. I noticed that the pigment in these spray cans is not very strong, therefore I definitely would not rely on using them alone.

When mixing paints with water, the consistency an artist should try to achieve is a paste like texture which is created by thorough blending. A silvery metallic paint was worked under the collarbone and around the neck to define the model’s features. One tool that I did not think of using was a toothbrush which my tutor introduced to the class. She scrubbed it into an intense paint colour before flicking the brush so that the paint splashed onto the model’s face and body. Using colour theory, my tutor used a neon orange paint, colour clashing with blue on the chest. Latex can also be mixed with the paints to create a plastic effect. My tutor finished off with some stencils and paper/letter shapes to create different shapes and designs around the body. I cannot wait to experiment myself, especially using some of the techniques shown in this lesson. The images below show some of the different styles on the model’s body.

Later on in the day my class got some practical experience. We arranged ourselves into groups of four and laid out two large sheets of paper on the floor, sticking them together. I volunteered to lie down whilst my group peers drew around my body (quite uncomfortable but the result made me look very skinny!!). Our tutor wanted us to create the bottom half of the figure using rainbow colours and the top half with our own design. We began by creating the rainbow colours; two of the group mixed colours (as we were only given primary colours) whilst the other two began painting the sections. Once this was done, we added decoration using shades of glitter to match the paint.

As for the top half of the figure, I decided we should paint it black for two reasons.  Firstly, the rainbow colours could stand out and secondly the designs on top would be very conspicuous. We used both coloured and metallic paints, glitter, hair and body sprays and stencils to try different techniques just like the tutor did including using different kinds of soft brushes for example round, flat, long and thin. My group were very imaginative and in just under the 2 hours provided, I believe we worked very well.  I loved the different ideas we brought together. It was a fun lesson completely different to any other. I loved how relaxing it was to paint, just enjoying creating something so colourful that it brought back wonderful memories of early childhood. Our group decided to call our design ‘the reggae reggae rag doll’ and the images below show us working towards the final result.

Apart from re-emphasising the importance of good team work, I learnt from this lesson that there is so much more to painting than just block colours, especially with regard to blending properly to create different effects. Since the last time I practiced painting (face painting) which was before starting University, I have learnt a lot of makeup techniques that are transferable to painting such as my applications skills.

Body painting would only be used in the following areas:

  • Corporate events for promotion (very popular)
  • Exhibitions
  • Photographic
  • Advertising

However, it is not good in the following industries for continuity reasons and painting simply would not be requested every day:

  • Television
  • Film
  • Theatre
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