All posts for the month August, 2015

Face Off Season 9 Episode 5: Gateways and Gatekeepers

Published August 27, 2015 by vfdpixie

This episode we finally got a Foundation Challenge and immunity prize.  Using Rorschach tests as a springboard, the artists had to create their own characters from what they saw in each ink blot.  Their guest judge was Eryn Kreuger Mekash, the multiple nominated, Emmy award-winning makeup artist.  Her advice was to use their creativity and originality, and to look at the shapes and shadows of each ink blot test in order to do a creative makeup.

They all did some great makeups, and most of them saw demons in the ink blots.  The winner was Meg who created a “dirty river mermaid”.  Eryn loved the use of a sea sponge on the model and the paint job.  Meg would be safe this week.

Meg's immunity-winning makeup

Meg’s immunity-winning makeup


The Spotlight Challenge was pretty cool.  They were presented with six gateways to alternate realities.  In teams of two once again, they would have to create two characters:  The gatekeeper and whatever they had to keep behind the gates.  They picked their teammates by randomly selecting keys to the gateways and matching them up with each other.

Ben and Jordan went for fawn-like characters.  The gatekeeper held the soul of a soldier of the underworld in her staff.  They worked together on the very first challenge of the season and really meshed, so it was pretty much smooth sailing.  Jordan worked on the male soldier creature and fabricated the helmet and chest piece out of L200, while Ben worked on the female gatekeeper’s headdress.  Ben added antlers on it to make it look more regal.  They really outdid themselves.  I loved the female gatekeeper and the soldier’s paint job was amazing.  The judges liked the female’s nose sculpt, the balanced helmets on both characters, perfect palette and detailed sculpt.  Their duo told a story and put them in top looks.

Jordan and Ben's regal duo

Jordan and Ben’s regal duo


Meg and Libby had a medieval looking gate.  They came up with a gatekeeper that kept a boar/hyena creature out of the kingdom.  Libby was concerned from the beginning about her knowledge of animal anatomy.  She also dropped her cowl, and had to repair a dent in the head.  Mr. Westmore told her what to correct in the sculpt, and that left her uncertain and eventually scrapped the boar nose to make it more human.  Meg felt it would make the characters more cohesive.  In last looks, Libby had to scrap the tusks because they  weren’t going on properly, and the design suffered from that.  Their characters were not well received.  The judges saw the errors in anatomy with Libby’s creature, and Meg’s gatekeeper had some arbitrary forms that Neville didn’t get.  They were in the bottom looks.

Meg and Libby's duo

Meg and Libby’s duo


Kevon and Scott went for a demon and heroine duo, and Mr. Westmore told them to avoid cartoony details.  They also did a nice job on their creatures, and I loved the work Kevon did on the horns.  Stevie and Evan created a mind controlling alien and her prisoner.  Mr. Westmore told her to adjust the pixie nose, and Stevie blended white and red for the gatekeeper’s skin tone and added a vibrant purple as well.  They had blue lights in their foreheads and were a cohesive set.  Both teams were safe this week.

Scott and Kevon's creations

Scott and Kevon’s creations


Evan and Stevie's gatekeeper and her prisioner

Evan and Stevie’s gatekeeper and her prisoner


Jason and Ricky decided on a Mayan inspired duo, with a serpent shaman bringing a goat statue to life.  Ricky had sculpting issues and scrapped the large head to be more cohesive with Jason’s work.  His sculpt was taking a long time to finish and he was getting frustrated.  He used UltraCal which Nora pointed out is a natural plaster product, and it took a long time to set, putting them back again with time.  The guys had to run the molds in polyfoam which would limit mobility.  In last looks, Jason had to complete a full makeup in one hour due to many mishaps.  He scrambled with the polyfoam, tearing out the bulk, and uses the headdress to cover mistakes.  The judges weren’t impressed with the snake and felt it looked like it was from The Land of the Lost (I had to agree).  They also felt they makeups looked like masks.  They too were in the bottom.


Jason and Ricky’s shaman and statue


Jasmine and Nora did aliens as well.  The gatekeeper dominated the lower form male.  These two also worked well together, and had a lot of their molds done early.  With some coaching from Jasmine, Nora finished her paint job on the male and was really happy with the look.  They came up with some cool characters!  I loved Jasmine’s alien.  She was just beautiful!  The judges loved the colours, the gorgeous beauty makeup, and the slug-like male alien with an interesting head sculpt.  They were in the top.

Nora and Jasmine's gatekeeper and creature

Nora and Jasmine’s gatekeeper and creature


The winning team was Ben and Jordan for their head-to-toe complete characters and cohesiveness.  The winner was Jordan for all the work he did on the male character.  Unfortunately, Libby was going home.  She needed to work on her anatomy knowledge, but she was happy to be overly ambitious and be judged by the pro panel.  She has a great personality and can only grow from being on the show.


Face Off Season 9 Episode 4: Classic Books and Horror Mashups!

Published August 19, 2015 by vfdpixie

So the last episode left us hanging as to who was going home after the whimsical wedding challenge.  Meg and Nora were in the bottom because their characters didn’t work together, and Missy and Jason got there because of the paint job.  The person going home was Missy because she was behind the bad paint job and shoulder sculpt that looked like paralysis.  I was sad to see her go, but I’m sure she will soldier on in the makeup world.

The next challenge would be something different, and yet another first on the show.  There would be no Foundation or Spotlight Challenge, instead, a new challenge was introduced.  With this new Focus Challenge, the artists had to focus on only the face and they would have just 2 days to complete it.  There would also be more stringent judging and the artists had to have clean makeups, great edges and great painting.  There was no room for error here!  As an added treat, award-winning artist and Face Off guest judge Lois Burwell was back.

Like Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the subject matter this time was mash-ups.  The gang had to create their own mash-up protagonist using classic literature and horror.  McKenzie reminded them to mind their edges and pay attention to the faces.  The selected books were:  King Arthur and his Undead Knights, The Scarlet Letter:  Puritan Poltergeist, Gulliver’s Travels in the Underworld, Don Quixote: Monster of La Mancha, The Exorcist of Monte Cristo, Great Expectations of a Serial Killer, and Sherlock Holmes:  Bloodsucker.

Stevie picked Don Quixote and designed a dragon knight who defeats monsters.  She decided to sculpt scales on his face.  She felt a little out of her element since it was the first time she would do a brown paint wash and was unsure about the outcome, but she actually did a great job.  The sculpted scales looked amazing and the judges applauded her on all the detail she did in such a short time.  They liked the character, paint and well blended makeup, and felt she needed to be more confident because she can do the work. She was in the top looks.

Stevie and her makeup

Stevie and her makeup


Jordan worked on Gulliver’s Travels.  He wanted to make a cowl and face piece, but Mr. Westmore told him to scrap it if he was losing out on time.  He needed to focus on the face.  He ended up doing just that, and his demonic character came out really well.  Kevon worked on an undead Merlin, and he used a female model for her smaller face to create a sunken look.  It was weird-looking.  Libby’s possessed Count of Monte Cristo came out with a natural looking makeup, and Ricky, who had the same book to work on, used his angry face pictures to create his own version of the same possessed character.  Evan’s vampire from Sherlock Holmes impressed the judges with the forms and maniacal finish. Nora’s demonic guide for Gulliver and his travels came out nice and clean, and Ben’s goal to have a great sculpt worked on his undead knight of King Arthur.  All of these artists were safe for next week’s challenge.

Scott created a monster of La Mancha, Sancho Panza, as a Frankenstein monster in the Don Quixote mash-up.  He wanted to add layers of decay and different skin tones.  Mr. Westmore really loved the direction he was going in and suggested adding staples to the character’s face.  He was the first in the mold room, and used grease paint to get all the colours of skin.  His makeup was great.  The judges loved the skillful sculpting, and Glenn thought it was the best they had seen from him so far.  Neville said it was subtle and well done with a strong understanding of anatomy.  He was in top looks.

Scott and his Monster of La Mancha

Scott and his Monster of La Mancha


Meg worked on a vengeful Hester from the Scarlet Letter.  Mr. Westmore told her to change the direction of the wrinkles for her character.  She spent a lot of time sculpting, and since she only had 2 days for the challenge, was a little panicked.  She had too much texture on the face piece, and the paint turned out too purple.  It was a rough-looking makeup and she knew it.  The judges didn’t have anything nice to say, and felt she had come off the tracks this challenge.  She was in the bottom.

Meg and her makeup

Meg and the vengeful Hester


Jason chose Gulliver’s Travels and had a lot of trouble with a concept.  He had to walk away and regroup, and once he did, started to like his sculpt.  It was more weird-looking than demonic, and the judges felt the same.  They thought the linear forms were bizarre and looked more alien, or like a weird vegetable to Ve.  He was in the bottom as well.

Jason and his creation

Jason and his creation


Jasmine chose Sherlock Holmes and created his vampire daughter.  She wanted to fuse horror and beauty with this character.  Mr. Westmore told her to stay away from wrinkles to convey youth, and she shaped Styrofoam tubes to create bat-like ears that were covered by hair.  This was my favourite makeup.  It was clean and beautiful.  The judges loved the forms, colour choices, the graphic design and thought it fulfilled the challenge.  She was in the top.

Jasmine and her vampire daughter

Jasmine and Sherlock’s vampire daughter


Britt came up with a serial killer Mrs. Havisham from Great Expectations.  She was burned in a fire, so that meant a burn and old age makeup.  Mr. Westmore didn’t like the sculpt and called it high school.  He felt it needed much more detail.  Nora helped her a bit, but Britt was struggling.  She wasn’t happy with the sculpt or the finishes.  The judges felt the burned skin looked like stucco and it went downhill from there.  She had way too many technical problems this time and was in the bottom.

Brittany and her makeup

Brittany and her makeup


The winner of this challenge was Scott.  It was his well thought out concept and skill as a designer, along with his restraint in his sculpt that got him the win.  The person going home was Britt.  They felt the paint job was dreadful and her makeup was just too big and difficult for the challenge.  She was grateful to be on the show, and happy to have learned so much.

I think we are starting to see who the consistent artists are, and my vote goes to Jasmine, who has so far come up with some great concepts and makeups.  And is Stevie our dark horse?  We shall see in the upcoming weeks…

Face Off Season 9 Episode 3: Whimiscal and Macabre Weddings for the 100th Episode

Published August 13, 2015 by vfdpixie

I can’t believe Face Off has been on for nine seasons!  And this episode was the 100th!  As the show opened, we got some fun facts:  there has been 120 artists on the show and a staggering 1157 makeups done to date.  I’m so glad this show exists because it opens up a whole world of creativity that some may take for granted.  Congrats to all involved for bringing this innovative and exciting competition to viewers everywhere!

To celebrate this milestone, the gang headed to the Pasedena Mausoleum, an historic resting place in Southern California.  There, McKenzie had a table set up with portraits of seven engaged couples.  The Spotlight Challenge called for a whimsical and macabre makeup for each couple, using films like the Corpse Bride, Beetlejuice and the couple’s personality for inspiration so they could get married in costume.  And the officiant would be none other than our lovely host McKenzie Westmore, who is an ordained minister!  It would be a sweet challenge, but the contestants felt the pressure since they would be creating looks for a very memorable day.  They worked once again in teams of 2, but this time the artists paired themselves up.

Jordan and Ricky picked Serge and Charlotte.  This couple shared a love of video games, so the concept involved the couple falling into a pool while playing games, getting electrocuted and coming back from the dead.  Mr. Westmore told the guys to concentrate on whimsy instead of realism, and Ricky decided to really push himself with a beating heart gag in the chest piece.  Jordan created wrinkled skin by using latex and plastic wrap on the bride, and although Ricky had to revamp his heart gag, the couple looked great!  I loved the colour palette, and the judges loved the depth to the sculpt.  Ve called them pop art zombies and felt the artists captured whimsy.  All of the judges loved the forms of the bride, and Glenn also loved the heart gag and felt they pushed themselves and added humour.  They were in the top.

Ricky and Jordan's couple

Ricky and Jordan’s zapped couple


Ben and Jasmine worked with Tom and Lisa, two major cat lovers (yay!).  This team decided to go for Beauty and the Beast with a feline slant, and used yarn as their key detail.  Jasmine had the task of wrapping the bride’s head-piece and the groom’s horns with yarn which took forever, and she also layered paint to get a good opaque finish on the bride.  It was a really fun makeup, and Glenn loved the stellar forms and colour.  Ve loved the bride’s paint job, and Neville thought the details and storytelling stood out.  They were in the top looks.

Ben and Jasmine's couple

Ben and Jasmine’s purrrrfect couple


Scott and Stevie transformed Lia and Andrew, who got engaged at Christmas, into frozen carolers.  Mr. Westmore advised them to create the face appliances in silicone because of the thin sculpt.  Scott decided to do a run of silicone and foam just in case.  The foam came out great (luckily!) and the makeups were really cool (no pun intended!).  Neville liked the subtle icicles and this team was safe.

Scott and Stevie's frozen couple

Scott and Stevie’s frozen couple


Libby and Brittany created a fantastical woodsy wedding look for Rudy and Kelly.  They went with Mr. Westmore’s suggestion to make a crown-like forehead for the bride’s makeup, and save for some stuck molds, had a happy couple and a successful makeup.  They judges felt it looked better up close, and Glenn thought the bride’s forehead could have been blended better, but they too were safe.

Brittany and Libby's couple

Brittany and Libby’swoodsy couple


Also in the safe zone was Kevon and Evan, who went for an angel and demon makeup for Jamie and Chris to illustrate their positive and negative personalities.  Their inspirations were the moon for the angel bride and the couple’s pug for the demon groom.  Evan created large wings out of worbla (a pliable sheet plastic) and dental dam, and although Kevon ripped his face piece and the repair was noticed by the judges, their couple was happy with their looks.

Kevon and Evan's couple

Kevon and Evan’s opposites attract couple


Jason and Missy helped Cassandra and Matthew become a ghoulish couple that jumped off the bridge they got engaged on in the Grand Canyon.  The plan was to have the bride grab her husband’s head atop his broken neck for a kiss.  Glenn didn’t like that the highlights were shadowed and the sculpt was obscured.  Ve thought the paint job killed the makeup, and Neville noted that the broken neck looked more like paralysis.  This team was in the bottom.

Jason and Missy's couple

Jason and Missy’s lover’s leap couple


Nora and Meg worked on Michael and Devon’s wedding look.  Since Michael was artistic, they decided on a drag queen artist who falls in love with her drawing.  Mr. Westmore suggested that Nora push the cartoony aspect, but she felt out of her element.  She sculpted brush strokes onto Devon’s face, but the paint job was not going well.  They both were aware of the issues with their makeups, and the judges thought the story was lame.  Neville thought the concept of a living painting was too subtle, and the drag makeup was not good.  Ve didn’t think it was whimsical, and the sculpted paint strokes were not visible from afar.  They were in the bottom.

Meg and Nora's couple

Meg and Nora’s illustrated love couple


McKenzie performed a nice little ceremony for the done up couples, who had their family and friends in attendance on the reveal stage.  Definitely a first for the show!

The top team was Ben and Jasmine since they combined both whimsy and the macabre really well, along with working the couple’s personalities into the look.  Jasmine was the winner for her beautiful paint job on the bride.  The elimination, however, will be announced in the next episode, since the show wanted to celebrate the newly wed models…there was cake to be had, after all!  I’m dying to know who leaves the show, but unfortunately we’ll have to wait until next week…

Face Off Season 9 Episode 2: Deadly Sea Sirens

Published August 5, 2015 by vfdpixie

As the bottom artists reeled from the decision to keep them on the show, they met McKenzie on the USCGC George Cobb, a US Coast Guard vessel that protects American maritime interest.  To mark the USCG’s 225th anniversary, McKenzie took them out on a thrilling boat ride to reveal the next Spotlight Challenge.  Once again in teams of two, they were to create a deadly and beautiful sea siren, in the tradition of ancient Greek and Roman mythology.  Their inspiration would come from a choice of beautiful and deadly sea creatures.

Sidney and Omar picked the Portuguese Man o’ War.  They aimed to create a warrior princess.  Omar worked on the cowl and realized that it started to look like a dinosaur head instead of a beautiful siren, so he had to redo it on day 2.  He faded some fins onto the back of the head and got rid of some bulk as well.  Sidney made tentacles from latex, and Omar made a staff from foam corroded with acetone.  They ran into some trouble with the seams on their cowl, and in the end, Omar thought they didn’t have enough to show with only a cowl and a staff compared to the others.  The judges thought the forms were random, and Ve thought the wardrobe was the best part.  She pointed out how helmety the cowl was; and the paint wasn’t natural and didn’t represent the actual sea creature inspiration.  The “Cabbage Patch fish” was not appealing and put them in the bottom.

Omar and Sidney's siren

Omar and Sidney’s siren

Brittany and Nora chose the Flabellina Nudibranch, which is a sea slug.  They planned on a face and chest piece, and Mr. Westmore told them to be careful that the chest piece wasn’t too subtle.  The girls were happy that both their face and chest matched, and hoped the fine tips of the sculpt would come out in the mold.  They didn’t, so Nora created them out of thinly cut makeup sponges, which showed their fast thinking and ingenuity.  Brittany cleverly fixed some e-wire into a bright orange wig to make the siren glow.  This was my favourite makeup.  The colours were vibrant and I loved the forehead piece.  The judges liked the forms, and Glenn thought they used wise restraint with their decisions.  Ve thought the hair brought in the colour of the creature and Neville liked the tendrils.  Their siren put them in the top looks.

Nora and Brittany's vibrant Siren

Nora and Brittany’s vibrant Siren

Ricky and Ben got the Blue Sea Slug.  They wanted to create a bustier type chest with ridges and some flamboyant feathers Ricky made.  Their siren came out scary with great colour and they were safe.  Scott and Stevie had a Blue Ringed Octopus.  They made an octopus cowl with tentacles but wanted to keep it beautiful.  Stevie made a mold for silicone suckers and their colourful makeup also kept them safe.  Jordan and Jasmine used the Yellow Boxfish for inspiration and wanted their siren to have a bondage look with a poisonous touch.  Mr. Westmore warned them about the head looking too cap-like, and they heeded the warning to create a bright and beautiful siren.  Even thought the judges thought the shapes fought the anatomy, they too were safe.

Jason and Evan took on the Peacock Mantis Shrimp.  They came up with an assassin geisha, and wanted to make a really beautiful cowl.  They had some mold trouble and ended up having to break it open, but didn’t have too much patching to do.  The end result looked a bit like drag makeup.  The judges thought the application was sloppy and Glenn thought the siren was hit with paint ball pellets.  Despite the criticism, they were safe.

Kevon and Meg chose the Textured Cone Snail.  They came up with a siren that played an instrument and released pheromones from her fingertips.  Mr. Westmore had to tell them straight up that the face looked like it had an accident.  Meg used his critique to create a more beautiful shape, using a fluted shape on the forehead.  Kevon used polyfoam on the large head-piece he was making and almost ruined a piece Ben was working on as the foam erupted everywhere.  Meg did the beauty makeup and their siren was interesting.  She had scary teeth and a large shell head.  I wasn’t thrilled with the colours, but the judges loved the gorgeous blending and Glenn thought they focused on the right details.  Ve thought it was creepy and beautiful, and Neville thought there was the right amount of beauty or else would be bland.  They were in the top.

Kevon and Meg's scary Siren

Kevon and Meg’s scary Siren

Missy and Libby got the Sturgeon Fish.  Mr. Westmore told them to mimic the cowl on the chest.  Libby used feather spines to create fish bones, but the trouble came when they girls started painting.  They envisioned different things, and in last looks, Missy thought they had strayed from the inspiration.  The siren was scary but too dark.  The judges noted the confused forms and textures that disappeared with the paint.  They liked the profile but the transition didn’t work.  Ve thought it wasn’t alluring and although the sculpting was good, it didn’t speak to the challenge.  They were in the bottom.

Libby and Missy's creation

Libby and Missy’s creation

The top team was Kevon and Meg.  The judges liked the character and adventurous chest piece.  Meg won since her makeup was a balance of beautiful and deadly.

There were two artists going home this time.  Sidney for his minimal contribution and Omar for the cabbage cowl.  They weren’t discouraged and planned to carry on.  They should be proud that they made on the show!  Onward and upward, boys!

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