Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kit Day - Paint-On Scars, Bruises, and Burns

So for our 3rd class we received our start make-up effects kits! This was to happen last week, but was postponed with a lesson in life casting since a model became available for the lesson. But for our 3rd class we jumped right into making paint on effects directly from our kits. These effects are great for spur of the moment looks called for on set in the heat of the moment.

Here's all the goodies ready to be divied out like Trick 'R Treat.

This is mine, all MINE! Included is 3 packs of Alcone sponges, a bottle of ProsAid, Ben Nye's BOND OFF!, and a powder brush.

These are the brushes we received. One wide, two medium, two long tips, and one fine tip. Now don't go thinking you can pinch a penny by buying regular paint brushes from your local art store. Most of the animal hair that is used to make paint brushes is preserved with formaldehyde to retard deterioration. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and with prolonged exposure comes an increased risk of health risks when exposed to your skin. So Scrooge McDuck, spend a little extra for quality AND safety.

Each student received a "Rainbow" wheel (all the primary colors), a "Death" wheel (including green, grey, yellow, brown), a "Concealer" wheel (natural skin tones) and a flat White/Creme all from Ben Nye, who specializes in theater and film make-up. From these wheels you can blend a multitude of colors for whatever look you're designing. They usually retail for between $12-15 each, depending on size and colors. When I refer to paint throughout this post, please remember I mean make-up & cosmetic products.

Carl began by showing us the basics of a paint-on scar. Everything seen is strictly make-up blended on skin to create a simple and quick illusion of an open & bruised wound. He also had an assistant do a build up of her own to demonstrate the different techniques for varying skin tones and body structures.

The key is blending color and playing with shadow. The finesse comes from knowing when to STOP. Over blending drowns out the color and kills the believability.

We start with a fine point brush and paint a line on our hand. Taper off the edges to blend to the skin. Take caution in this as overextending may make your wound longer and larger than intended. Leave roughly a centimeter or two on each side of this line, and don't touch it with any paint. This clear area will create the appearance of raised tissue with proper blending later on. Random patterns of Red and Blue dots, stippled along the red line drawn on your build the base for your bruising. Stippling is light dabbing with your medium sized brush. Stipple with one and blend with the other. Don't mix up the two brushes as one will be more concentrated with your make-up.

Using the other medium brush you did NOT stipple with, begin to blend the red and blue into patches of bruised purple. Make sure to blend AWAY from the red line you drew on your hand. Remember dark recedes, light comes forward. Do this on both sides and blend as far as you feel comfortable. Note the curvature of your knuckles and veins and utilize their shape to your advantage.

Blend in the random patterns you created. Remember to stipple and turn your brush. If one area isn't dark enough, add more color. If one area becomes too dark, smudge some of it off with a paper towel and reapply.

Here you can see the faint lines of blue added and feathered out along the hand to resemble veins. Subdued, but very effective.

By adding and blending a bit of yellow at the farthest ends of the bruising, it creates a sense of healing and believability. By again taking your fine point brush and cleaning off the red, a cross hatch of black lines creates the illusion of stitches. A touch of powder takes down any shine and Viola!
Now my turn...

Here I start with my red line across the back of my hand. Softly trace a darker red or a bit of black along one side of that line to add an element of depth you won't find with just one color. You can somewhat see some of the red I've begun to stipple on for bruising.

After the red, I stipple on blue, in about as random pattern as I can pick. I really wanted to go understated with this and try using less. I learned a valuable lesson in shading with our 3rd degree burns.

I begin to blend one side, feathering out away from the wound. I'm trying to concentrate on one side at a time to see what works and apply that same method to match the other side of my hand.

Here both sides are starting to match up nicely and generate a look of trauma. Very understated, but more can always be added alot more easily than taken away.

I decided to beef up a few spots by adding more red and a touch of purple. Great tip: Mix colors on your fingernails. They're like tiny pallettes you can instantly clean with a wipe of a paper towel.

The results are almost immediate. I made sure to work in the indentation between my knuckles, a place of natural bruising with an injury like this.

Please with this I added a touch of yellow. With my skin tone it began to come out a bit more like jaundice than a wound on the mend. I simply blended it a bit heavier and wiped off the undesired excess.

This is slightly better looking, especially around the wrist in my opinion. But it's lacking a key trait; VEINS.

With my fine point brush I paint and twist small root like patterns subtlety on my hand. With my skin tone I have to smudge them to feather them out and look a bit more believable. You don't want to take the blue on top of your bruising because the color with alter your pattern. Instead bring it up to it and feather out further into yellow paint terrain.

With my stitches I experimented with a half zig-zag. Not the greatest, but I'll be consulting a physician's handbook from now on to see the proper way it should look. Note that bare area around the scar and how it looks as if it's raised. All make-up, my friends, and knowing where NOT to put it.

Our latex burns are the simplest effect on the planet. First, please make sure you're not applying this to yourself or anyone else that has a latex allergy.

Think back to elementary school, when you would take the Elmer's glue and slather it on your skin to dry and peel it off like you were a snake. This is the same technique.

Apply 2-3 coats of liquid latex by stippling with a torn sponge. By tearing your sponge you're creating random patterns of texture that will blend to the skin. More coats equal stronger pull and more experimentation. The latex dries in less than 2 minutes so you have time to go for it.

You can scratch at it, tug with the back of your paint brush, whatever, but the level of agitation determines the severity of the effect. This can go from a simply sun burn to a bit more gruesome with a touch of magic and paint.

Here I applied 3 coats to the back of my recently cleaned hand. I cleaned my hand from the scar paint up in less than 30 seconds with a baby wipe or wet paper towel.

The latex will dry clear and will no longer be tacky to the touch. Don't use the same sponge to reapply another layer as the dried latex on your sponge will ball up and leave unwanted bits of material on your effect. The more you stretch and hold your skin as it dries with the liquid latex, the more wrinkles it will created once that tension is released. This is important to know when using liquid latex for old age make-up.

A tug here, a scratch here and it looks like I was scalded by boiling water. But I can't stop there...

I busted out some of my red and orange and my neutral tones to create the "I think the microwave is broken" hand. I tugged at the bubbles in the latex and stretched them out. By adding more layers it allowed for the give to actually use the tips of my bruises to lift up from the inside of my hand.

I stippled a red, and orange and a tiny tiny speck of blue in the larger holes and blended with my other brush. I used the neutral tones to take down the sheer flaky whiteness that is the residual effects of dried, peeled latex, but I could've easily left it as is.

Carl then had time to show us a quick build up mold using platinum cured silicone. Applied directly to his assistant's arms the build is created by mixing the chemical compound together and oxygen does the rest of the work as it air cures.

Here he began to use a small putty knife to spread the material and smooth it to the arm. He attempted to create a knife/slash wound and a bullet hole.

The great thing with the material is it dries clear, though it can be mixed with pigment and bought in a variety of flesh tones. The tricky part is, who's flesh tone is it? When working with a model you want to start and finish and not spend the majority of your time trying to match their ethnicity. Usually this product cures in 30 minutes, but there's always varying factors for sooner or later. Here the cool body temperature of our model wouldn't permit the material to kick within the allotted time. You'll know it's not ready because it's still tacky and gel like.

Carl did add a splash of color to show how once the material is dry, can be painted and dressed like any silicone appliance.

Now with the exception of the latex for the burn, almost all this applications are safe for yourself and others. The key is to not be afraid to make a mistake; this stuff washes off. Experiment with colors and blending. Study shadow and structure. These fundamental techniques I feel will greatly serve the work I already have brewing inside my noggin. I'm learning that exerimentation is fun and the more you faulter, the more you can learn from your mistakes.


  1. haha I totally just learned a few things I didn't know before. Thanks :) loving the detailed run throughs!