Tuesday, October 6, 2009

3rd Degree Burns - Session #1

So October 5th was my very first class at SVA. From our 3 hour block we spent the first half covering materials and techniques. This included a lot of rules with safety regarding allergens to certain chemicals and compounds, especially latex. We each performed a "patch test" on ourselves, applying a small amount of the materials we were to work with onto our forearms. This would indicate if we would have any adverse reactions to materials, i.e. redness, rash, bumps, etc. Better on your arm than on your face!

We discussed various molds and touched on some of the methods of achieving certain effects that we will cover throughout the course. My instructor Carl is a charismatic gent that was able to quickly put the small class of us (there's only 9 of us, including myself) at ease and then show us a simple yet highly effective "construction". A construction is something that is built up, on the spot, versus say a "paint up" which is largely cosmetics. Another is a prosthetic appliance, which is made at another time, usually for a more complex effect.

Here is my very first attempt at a 3rd Degree Burn.

Using my right hand, I applied all materials to my left hand. This made for some interesting self portraits to document the proceedings. Here you can see the first steps of the build up. First I applied a thin coat of ProsAid, which acts as a layer of adhesive. Next I took several Special K cornflakes and pressed them into my skin in a circle. They stuck perfectly in place.

By slightly crushing the cornflakes I was able to add a varied pattern of texture that in turn adds depth. I made sure to add a few crushed crumbs to the center as well. Following this, I gently applied torn strips of Kleenex in a circle, halfway overlapping the cereal circle. These pieces are held in place by "stippling", or repeatedly dabbing, liquid latex until they adhere. This builds a base around the effect and helps blend it into the rest of your hand.

After the liquid latex had dried, I began applying a stage grease paint that is able to paint on top of the rubber. This covers all of the latex and tissue up until the center. The middle part gets a separate treatment. I tried to match my skin tone by stippling a lighter tone first and then applying a darker tone on top of that to blend shadow.

After blending the skin tone I took to adding a dark bloody red to the center to create a sense of deep trauma. I then pigmented a brighter red around the edges for a less coagulated look. By applying small dots of red and blue to the outside of the wound I was able to blend a deep bluish purple to illustrate a sense of bruising. I applied this between the cracks of the cornflakes that lay rested under the latex bonded pieces of tissue.

When I was satisfied with the color of the bruising and the wound I applied a dusting of powder to the entire construction. This helps prevent the makeup from smudging and wiping off. Here I learned just how much powder one little brush can hold! It looks like I punched a crop duster. I learned that a little bit goes a long way.

To complete the look I added a small drizzle of stage blood to the center and some charcoal dust to the perimeter of the wound to add that singed, Bar-B-Que gone wrong look. I think that with the shape of a few of the cornflakes popping through it creates a look of blisters gone wrong. Also a happy accident from this attempt is that by applying the bruising to the inside cracks instead of the outside cracks, it makes the burn seem as if it originated from inside my hand and carried outwards until a point of violent eruption. I also learned that shading is the same as powder when it comes to bruising. I will have to work on doing more with less.

Ultimately for a first attempt I am very very pleased. I am even more eager to get my hands dirty and try this effect again and again. I really enjoyed how simple it is to achieve (who doesn't have cornflakes and toilet paper?) and how realistic it can become. By varying the size and colors, this is a classic effect I will definitely revisit.

With next Monday being Columbus Day, we will not have class. The following week the class will be issued our own make-up kits and we will learn to experiment with latex as we work with sun burns and paint up scars. I feel the excitment of learning again, of actually putting something into my brain that isn't something I need to worry about. It's a great feeling to do something you've always dreamed of and see that you may actually have potential at it.

1 comment:

  1. Very cool post. I'm going to have to try that one out! I'm an amateur EFX makeup artist myself, but I have no formal training. It kind of evolved from a need to get cool gore stuff in my own short films.

    Love the site!