All posts for the month February, 2016

Face Off Season 10 Episode 7: “The Gauntlet II”

Published February 28, 2016 by vfdpixie

It was that time again.  The artists were in for a grueling set of foundation challenges in the second Gauntlet Challenge ever on the show.  This happened last year where the artists had 3 challenges to complete in order to test their skills.  An artist would be eliminated from the competition as usual, but this time, winners of Stage 1 and 2 would enjoy immediate safety, as well as a night out on the town.

The first challenge would have the artists create captain characters inspired by mythical ships:  The Egyptian Manjet Barge, The Viking ship Naglfar made from the bones of the dead, the ghostly Flying Dutchman, and the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  They would also be judged on a certain aspect of the makeup:  a “magnificent”, hand-laid pirate’s beard.

The top two captains were created by Melissa and Walter.  Melissa was ahead of the game, since she’s been making beards for a long time.  She went with the barge and a sun-god, golden character.  The judges liked the great decisions and thought the character was brilliant and told a story.  Walters’s Viking captain worked because he blended the colours of hair and face well, and the beard was clean.  They were both safe.

Pandora’s Box would be the challenge for Stage 2.  In each box, there were three prosthetics.  The artists had to create a cohesive character using these pieces, but not in the way they were intended.  Neville told them to understand the utility of the piece.  They were all pretty creative with their designs, but the standouts were Rob and Robert.  Rob created a ghostly undertaker and used the nose piece as a chin.  The judges liked his smart placement and good colour choices.  Robert’s demon was an interesting combination using the noise piece on the cheeks, the “Spock” ears on her forehead,  The judges liked the great colours and the Kabuki-like look.  Along with Melissa and Walter, they enjoyed a great night out, complete with a limo ride.  They did feel for the remaining four artists though, who would have to endure Stage 3.

The third and final stage would involve the old phrase, ” See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”.  The artists would have to create three makeups on three models to embody the phrase in a horrific way.

Kaleb didn’t have a concept right away, but eventually came up with demons that would tempt their victims to see, hear or speak evil.  The judges weren’t thrilled with his trio because they didn’t really tell what the challenge was.  It seemed as if the characters actually had their senses.  Ve called them 2 hookers with their pimp, and Glenn thought the high fashion look didn’t work. he was in bottom looks.

Yvonne came up with torturers for a king who were attacked and burned with acid by their victims.  She used a bald cap on one model’s mouth to fuse it shut.  She ended up behind, and airbrushed the paint to speed up her time.  She had so much to do she called last looks “fast looks” since she would be doing most makeups in the last hour.  Even though the paint was a touch flat, it worked for her concept.  The judges loved the true harmony with the characters and the costuming that created a perfect ensemble.  She was in top looks.

Anna made a trio of zombies.  They would have mangled features made from tissue and latex for a bumpy, ripped skin look.  In last looks, one of the faces came loose, but she repaired it in time.  The judges felt the paint was too shiny, and she missed an opportunity to powder down the makeup or add dirt.  the prosthetics also didn’t sit flush with the skin.  She was in bottom looks.

Mel’s idea of post-apocalyptic priests who gave up their senses for God had great impact.  She really worked on the exposed skin and muscle striation as the judges were sticklers for anatomy.  Glenn thought they looked very Hellraiser.  The concept was strong with interesting details that were really creepy.  She was also in top looks.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


The winner was Mel.  The judges just loved that concept fulfilled the challenge and that the characters looked like a whole team had worked on them.  The person going home was Kaleb.  His bold concept was better suited for another challenge.  Glenn pointed out he would have a lot to offer in the future, and Kaleb was proud to have made it this far.

Face Off Season 10 Episode 6: Death’s Doorstep and Whimsical Obits!

Published February 18, 2016 by vfdpixie

This week the artists met at a massive printing press where they had newspapers with obituaries waiting for them.  In the same vein as Beetlejuice, their challenge was to reflect the way their character died in a whimsical makeup.  They would pick a number and match it up with the corresponding obituary and description of death in order to get their literal ghost.

Kaleb’s ghost was called Finn Waters.  He died under “fishy circumstances” and would forever be haunted by a giant fish.  Mr. Westmore advised him to add gills to the fish on the character’s head so it wouldn’t look like a hat.  After the mold, he realized the cowl was too heavy, and when he removed some foam, took a chunk out of the appliance.  It turned out ok, but he had to adjust his paint so the model wouldn’t look like a smurf.  The judges thought the character was wearing an elf hat instead of a fish.  They thought it could have been better technically even thought they liked the concept.  He was in bottom looks.

Walter created a clown called Seymour Sharp who was impaled by the very knives he was juggling.  Walter wanted to include a bowling ball as one of the items that fell on the clown, but Mr. Westmore told him to keep it simple and stick to knives.  Melissa’s Suzanne Stitches fell on her pin cushion.  She created pins out of armature wire and had a great paint job.  Robert’s ghost Thomas Watts was electrocuted in the bathtub.  He created a veiny forehead and a cute rubber ducky.  The judges thought the character should have looked a bit more wet to convey the story, but they liked the duck.  Anna’s Rose Mary died in a kitchen explosion covered in pasta. She painted the hair to have a singed look and even thought the character lacked a story and colour, she, along with the others, was safe.

Johnny’s makeup was called Sarah N. Geti, and she was trampled on a safari.  He incorporated porcupine quills and a hoof mark on her face.  He spent so much time on the hoof prosthetic that he had little left to create the face.  He wasn’t happy with the makeup and the judges were less than impressed.  Ve thought it didn’t read from afar, and it was a missed opportunity.  The quills threw them off, and they felt she had no whimsy and didn’t look like a ghost.  He was in the bottom look.

Rob created a ghostly magician’s assistant by the name of Wendy Wand.  He made a brow prosthetic to mimic a 1920’s brow, and did all the paint in grayscale because she was captured from a black and white TV.  He had to modify the slightly big torso piece that looked like she was cut in half.  The judges loved the grayscale and thought it was successful for the challenge.  Although it was a beautiful, clean makeup, the judges thought he could have gone bigger.  He was in the top looks.

Yvonne had Jerry Rig, a guy who got too close to his drill.  She created a twisted face and a yellow skin tone that won over the judges.  With a hole drill bit stuck in his face, they felt she captured a moment and it gave a sense of movement.  Her makeup fit right into the world of Beetljuice and told a story of what happened.  She was in top looks.

Mel’s Sally Slopes died while skiing.  She decided to go big and create a lower twisted half, with a “front-butt” happening.  It took a lot of work and time away from the other details of the makeup, and the judges noticed.  They were disappointed with the paint and the lost time and effort on a prosthetic that was covered.  She was in the bottom looks.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.




The winner was Yvonne for her clean makeup that embraced the challenge.  Johnny went home for his uninspired makeup that didn’t tell a story.  He left, like the others before him, feeling like he had gained so much from being on the show.

Face Off Season 10 Episode 5: Foreign Bodies

Published February 15, 2016 by vfdpixie

What a treat this week!!  The lab was turned into, well, a lab, where beakers and petri dishes galore surrounded the artists.  Their special guest tonight was Lance Henriksen!  Of course, everyone thinks of  him as Bishop in Alien, but I will forever associate him with Pumpkinhead as well as his intense character Frank Black in the TV series Millennium.  Lance was there to help with the next Spotlight Challenge:  create an alien parasite bursting from its host.  The artists would work in teams of two, and Lance advised them to pull from their experiences in order to create scary parasites and use anticipation to build fear.  There was also a surprise Foundation Challenge in the mix.  The teams had to make custom slime for their parasite.  Lance would be judging this challenge and the winning team would gain immunity.  They had fun mixing ingredients to get the best texture of disgusting slime, and when judging came around, everyone had a blast splatting their models to test the consistency.  Lance loved Johnny and Walter’s slime because they “mastered the chunk”, and Mel and Melissa’s because the slime looked sinister or childlike depending on the light.  Ultimately, it was Mel and Melissa who won, walking away with immunity for the both of them!

Robert and Katie teamed up again, despite Katie’s misgivings about butting heads with him.  Their microorganism parasite would be born from food poisoning.  Along with their neon yellow slime, they wanted to make tumors as well as a worm bursting from the model’s head.  This would be the first time Katie would mold a cowl while Robert worked on his worm, who he named Hans.  When it came time to apply the cowl, they realized it was too heavy and created a ridge that looked like a bald cap line on the model’s forehead.  Robert hated the makeup because of the frustrating ridge issue.  This makeup was seen as a missed opportunity by the judges, and they also felt the colours of the cowl and the model’s face were mismatched.  Robert and Katie were in the bottom.

Anna and Yvonne worked on a parasite that burst out the side of the model’s face.  They wanted a scary looking makeup and changed the colour of their slime to a caramel hue.  Mr. Westmore told them to make the parasite look like it was bursting out more, but in the end the parasite looked more like a transformation.  The judges didn’t like that there was a clear line down the center of the face, and Neville felt it was contrived and boring.  They too were in the bottom.

Johnny and Walter’s parasite burst from the model’s chest.  Johnny was set on a moving chest gag, so he used a drill motor to make the parasite rotate.  Their first chest piece mold didn’t work, so they scrambled to make another one, using more polyfoam.  The judges thought it was a great concept, but the cowl looked like a floppy orange beret to Ve, and Neville felt the parasite emerging from the head and chest didn’t work.  They were in the bottom.

Kaleb and Rob’s parasite burst out of the back of the head.  They had an applesauce based slime, but Rob also got overwhelmed by the time it took to sculpt and mold.  He didn’t have too much to worry about though.  The guys applied all the prosthetics and painted the whole makeup at once.  The judges liked the unique way the parasite burst out of the model, and the back was alluring to Neville.  They were in top looks.

Mel and Melissa’s parasite would burst from the person’s mouth, splitting the skin in two.  Mel had trouble with the face sculpt and decided not to go too literal with the design.  They had to adjust the face appliance and painted together on separate parts of the makeup.  Their infected lab tech was a favourite with the judges.  They loved the colours and the human head flap.  There was lots of forms and details going on, and the paint job was great.  They were in top looks and enjoyed their immunity status.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The winning team was Rob and Kaleb.  The judges loved the sense of movement  with the alien.  Rob won again for his amazing sculpting of the alien.

The bottom team was Robert and Katie.  Katie would be going home for the lumpy cowl and bad paint job.  They judges loved Katie for her great attitude and work.  She was proud to have made it to the show, and I’m sure she’ll power on to more makeup gigs.

Face Off Season 10 Episode 4: Secret Agent Time!

Published February 4, 2016 by vfdpixie

After Yvonne’s confidence boosting win, and Walter champing at the bit for his own win, the gang headed back to the lab where it was transformed into Command Central.  McKenzie briefed them on their “mission” disguised as a Focus Challenge.  In honour of a new show called Hunters where agents must hunt supernatural terrorists by wearing undetectable disguises, the artists were assigned their own agents and had to create disguises for them.  Mr. Westmore was their advisor for this one since he worked on robbers, the L.A.P.D. and Michael Jackson alike to keep them incognito.  He stressed that they pay attention to face shape and details like freckles which could make all the difference.  Since this was a Focus Challenge on the face, precision and beautiful edges were key, and guest judge Gale Anne Hurd, producer of Hunters, would be on the reveal stage.  I must say, this was the toughest challenge in some time.  Some of the artists really struggled with the concept of a disguise, as well as skin tones (don’t get me started…).

Njoroge’s agent was a blonde woman and he chose to disguise her as an Asian man.  This was risky, but he went for it.  Mr. Westmore told him to tweak the eyes.  Njoroge was pleased with his work, and lay down hair for a beard and moustache which was way too dense, and looked borderline offensive when he applied it.  He realized his appliance edges weren’t great, but was happy with it anyway.  Gale still saw a girl under the makeup and a racial stereotype, and the judges hated the edges.  the hair was also too stiff, and too many appliances made for too many edges.  He was in the bottom looks.

Anna turned her agent from a clean-shaven man into a chubby hipster.  It was ok, but the judges thought it was bizarre looking and heavy.  Walter took his darker-skinned model and made him a fair-skinned biker.  That worked after he fixed the cartoony jaw, and the judges liked his edges.  Yvonne turned her agent into a heavy metal musician with a full facial appliance.  Johnny created an “African descent” person, which was just terrible, and Mel changed her agent into an elderly old man.  She spent a lot of time sculpting, and did a great paint job.  These artists were safe.

Katie turned her agent into a darker, older man.  Her troubles started with the paint job.  It looked like what she called a spray tan, and got progressively worse as she tried to fix it.  She ended up with shiny, red-toned finish.  The judges thought the eyebrows and moustache were good, but the paint was too plastic looking and too dark.  The whole makeup called attention to the agent instead of disguise him.  She was in bottom looks.

Rob decided to turn his dark-haired agent into a ginger hillbilly type dude.  He used texture stamps to create realistic skin, taking his time.  He applied a seamlessly blended baldcap, and impressed the judges with his nondescript character.  He fulfilled the challenge by creating a person who blended in.  Gale thought it didn’t read as a makeup.  He was in top looks.

Robert turned his female agent into a dorky “Bulgarian electronics man”.  He was the first in the mold room, and used tape to lay hair on backwards so it would look natural.  His makeup looked great, and the judges thought it looked better without glasses.  Ve loved the hair, Gale thought it looked like a guy, and this clean makeup put him in top looks.

Kaleb turned his agent into and East Indian woman, and it did not go well.  He had trouble with the skin tone and the edges of his appliances.  It looked rough.  His edges peeled, the paint was too dark, and the judges were unimpressed with the mild racial stereotyping.  He was bottom looks.

Melissa turned her young female agent into an older one.  She was familiar with disguises since she dresses up as Charlie from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  She used plastic sheets to put texture on the skin, and punched in the eyebrows but they were a little wonky.  The judges liked the neck, but felt the makeup was confusing overall.  She was safe this week.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This winner was Rob for his intelligent approach, smart decisions and ability to change his model’s most prominent features.

Njoroge would be going home.  His makeup was flawed technically and creatively.  He wasn’t discouraged, and vowed to keep working in makeup.

If you can take anything away from this episode, it’s to learn how to mimic skin tone.  It’s so basic and so, so important as a makeup artist.  I’ve ranted about this before, so I’ll spare you, but it is really key to have an eye for matching a person’s natural skin tone, and if you’re changing a skin colour completely, watch the undertone or else you’ll end up with a ruddy mess.


View From the Dark

Reviews and essays on genre film from a WOC perspective

Academic Hoodoo

a research blog on Africana Religions

Cinema Axis

Where All Things Film Converge


burke –verb (used with object), burked, burk·ing. to murder, as by suffocation, so as to sell the corpse to medical science

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

grotesque ground

Promoting the grotesque in cinema and literature.


Movies, thoughts, thoughts about movies.


A ranting woman's mind

The Tyranny of Tradition

Lamentations and Jeremiads 25 Years After The End Of History

What Are You Doing Here?

A Black Woman's Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal

The Blog

The latest news on and the WordPress community.