Return of The Champions

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Face Off Season 8 Episode 14: The Fantastic Finale!

Published April 15, 2015 by vfdpixie

The Season 8 finale was a fantastic one!  Right after the final three artists were chosen, McKenzie revealed the first surprise for the “most difficult finale yet”.  They would need help, and it came from the eliminated artists from this season!  After Darla, Logan and Emily picked their teams, they came back to the lab, complete with a red carpet, the following day.  McKenzie had monitors numbered 1 through 3, and a board covered with words.  The artists were puzzled, but were really jazzed when they heard what the finale challenge would involve:  create a team of 4 characters to star in a new film franchise, pick the genre of that film from the numbered monitors, and they would also have one minute to grab words that described that genre from the large board.  The team would then have five minutes to create a title for their film using those words.  There was also another surprise-their reveal stage would be at the Universal Studios Hollywood Theme Park where a live audience would vote on their favourite team of characters on their own incredibly themed set!

Darla picked Rob, Stephanie, Daniel and Anthony to be on her team and chose monitor #1 that revealed the fantasy genre.  They came up with “The Spirits of Eden”.  The characters were elementals that worked to keep evil out of the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve were banished.  Air, or wind, was represented by a faun who also personified a woodwind instrument.  Water was a merman water spirit, Fire would be a beautiful woman with flames around her face, and Earth would be a worm wrapped around a tree.  Coach Laura was not too confident about the worm character.  She thought it wouldn’t be attractive, so she helped Darla hash out a better concept for Earth.  The final design was an Earth goddess with a tree trunk dress and mushrooms incorporated into her body.  Mr. Westmore told her to keep the face soft for the water spirit, bring the mushrooms into the face of the earth spirit, and add some red to the fire spirit’s flames.  Darla was worried about her flame sculpt, but figured it out.  The end result gave me chills!!  I loved her elemental spirits.  The colours were beautiful, and my favourite character was the faun.  She was just beautiful and the chest piece was to die for with all the detail.  Neville thought she nailed the genre with the earth spirit showing a high-resolution detail.  Glenn loved the air element because the horns and chest piece was sculpted to be a wind instrument, and Ve loved the blending of the facial prosthetic pieces.

The Spirits of Eden characters on Team Darla

The Spirits of Eden characters on Team Darla (pictures from Syfy)


Logan’s team included Ben, Greg, Julian and Alan.  He got the sci-fi genre from monitor #3 and their movie title was “The Fortress”.  His characters were inspired by Dr. Moreau, creating intelligent lab animal experiments that fought against lab testing.  He created a lizard commanding solider, an armadillo weapons expert, a mechanic skunk and a hammerhead shark assassin.  Coach Rayce liked his concept and wanted him to make sure his team members were on the same page to make all the characters cohesive.  Mr. Westmore advised them on the anatomy of each character, and the only issue Logan had was keeping Greg on track with the fabrication.  He didn’t want to lose time with unnecessary work, telling Greg there was “no time for hot gun, only enough time for tape”.  His characters looked great!  Ve loved the skunk’s subtle paint job and the colours; Glenn loved the shark’s face and biomechanical elements with each character; and Neville thought actors would be inspired to play the characters Logan and his team created.

Team Logan's characters from The Fortress

Team Logan’s characters from The Fortress (pictures from Syfy)


Emily chose Jamie, Kelly, Regina and Adam to be on her team.  Monitor #2 revealed the post-apocalyptic genre and the name of the film was “Paradise Reckoning”.  Her concept was a Wizard of Oz journey with mutants, and they are brought together when they find a human baby.  Her characters consisted of  a man who was in a car accident and was now covered in broken glass; a man who was in an explosion and made of wood; a former bomb squad member who was now made of metal, and a female assassin fused with leather.  Mr. Westmore told her to pay attention to her paint job for the wood character and for Adam to add some burn elements to the metal character.  Emily created glass out of a silicone material and made sure it stuck even though it took up a lot of her time.  She was in a bit of a frenzy, but took charge when she needed to.  In the end she didn’t get everything painted as she wanted, but her final looks were really cohesive.  The audience made the Wizard of Oz connection, and the judges loved it.  Ve liked the assassin’s  leather bodice and paint jobs; Neville thought it was ambitious and very creative; and Glenn thought it was an intelligent concept and loved the windshield chest piece she took so much time to perfect.

Team Emily's Paradise Reckoning characters (pictures from Syfy)

Team Emily’s Paradise Reckoning characters
(pictures from Syfy)


The audience at Universal had a blast looking at each set of characters, and voted on their favourite.  The judges agreed with their choice, because Darla was the winner of Season 8!  I was ecstatic!  I knew she had the talent, she just had to find it in herself to be confident and do what she does best, which is beautiful, complete makeups!  She wins a V.I.P. trip to one of Kroylan’s 85 international locations, a 2015 Fiat, and $100,000 in cash.  Coach Laura was also a winner, making her a two time champ of the show, which is a Face Off first!  Congrats to Darla, Laura, and all the finalists because they were phenomenal!  See you in July for the next season!

Face Off Season 8 Episode 12: Creepy Dolls!

Published April 2, 2015 by vfdpixie

At the historic Bob Baker Marionette Theater, who’s namesake was a puppeteer with work in films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the last 5 artists got their Spotlight Challenge.  Keeping in mind the setting, McKenzie wanted them to create a character inspired by a classic doll.  They had 7 dolls to choose from, but their characters would have to be inspired by demonic dolls of Hollywood like Poltergeist and The Conjuring.  Their guest judge would be writer, director and producer Don Mancini, creator of the Child’s Play franchise and Chucky, the possessed doll that we all know and love!

Logan picked a voodoo doll.  His concept was a person who is turned into a voodoo doll by sorcery.  He wanted to have an infused burlap look to mimic the doll he picked, and Mr. Westmore told him to work on the edges of his burlap sculpt to make it look real.  Coach Rayce thought sculpting the burlap was not a good idea, but Logan disagreed until he re-thought his approach.  He ended up scrapping his original plan by the end of Day 1 and would have to start fresh the next day.  Rayce was happy because Logan saw that he had to be more deliberate and selective about his choices and work on his forms.  He created giant pin from foam tubing, armature wire and a clown nose to convey the voodoo doll concept.  At one point, Logan and Rayce were not meshing with the direction of the makeup, leaving Logan confused and frustrated.  He was not happy but did his best.  Even though he initially wasn’t proud of the makeup, his voodoo doll came out well.  It did look slightly scarecrow-like, but the pin was a great decision that Glenn loved because it told you what the character was.  The judges liked the overall vibe although Ve wanted a few more magical elements.  Don liked the Chucky-esque look with the stitched skin and Neville liked the colour palette.  He was safe.

Emily picked the rag doll who was ripped apart by the family dog, left in the rain and gets revenge on the family.  She got creative by using ropes of crepe wool to get texture for her chest mold.  Mr. Westmore suggested a loosened, hanging thread look for her button eyes.  The chest mold fell over as she opened it but only suffered a small crack that she could work with.  Her flat mold for a shoulder piece, however, cracked and she had to scrap it.  She created a jute dreadlock wig and Coach Laura’s suggestion to use a sanding machine to make it look matted helped out with time.  Emily used cotton to look like the stuffing was coming out of her doll that replaced the shoulder mold, and it all came together.  The judges loved the featureless but expressive face, and Glenn loved how the hair affected the silhouette and character.  Don thought it was spooky and sad, and Ve loved her crepe wool technique.  She was in top looks.

Adam took on a baby doll.  His concept involved a doll that was a portal for a tentacled, soul sucking demon.  Rayce felt both Adam and Logan should play it close to the challenge to avoid any slip-ups, but Adam wanted to go for it.  Mr. Westmore told him not to overpower the doll aspect and the point of the challenge with the monster concept.  Rayce warned him that the concept was not reading doll-like, but Adam stuck to his guns and wanted to push the boundaries.  His doll was pretty weird-looking.  The judges thought the face wasn’t realistic and the details were off.  The blacked out mesh eye looked like a bad pirate eye patch, and Glenn thought it was too big of a concept and not appropriate for the challenge.  Ve wanted a more rubber look and doll eyes, and Neville thought the concept wasn’t animated properly.  Adam was in the bottom looks.

Darla created a creepy porcelain doll.  The cracks in the porcelain would release evil, and Coach Laura suggested an exaggerated head to sell the creepy factor.  Mr. Westmore told her to branch out the cracks, and Darla ran with that advice by creating an infected look with intricate cracks all over.  She made a wig of messy dirty curls and since her face piece came out perfectly, she was able to apply it  quickly to concentrate on all the painting she needed to do.  She used Pax body paint and thinned-out alcohol paint to bring out the cracked aged look of porcelain, and she really focused on detail.  Her haunted doll with an enchanted mirror was amazing!  The judges loved the porcelain look and the wig, and Don thought it was “so freaking disturbing”.  Glenn noticed the larger head and thought it was thrilling, and Ve thought the sheen on the skin and the paint job was spectacular.  Darla loved her own creation as well, and it got her into top looks.

Julian got a ventriloquist’s doll made from a sacred tree by a witch.  Mr. Westmore advised him on how to make the mouth move like a real dummy’s mouth, and Julian found the task of sculpting wood and hair difficult.  Because the doll came from the 16th century, he had to create an aged paint look by using algenate for cracks, but was not happy with the outcome as it looked muddy to him.  It was creepy but the judges wanted more, especially with the paint job which was too much of the same tone.  Don though it looked like one of the zombie ghosts from The Fog, and they all wanted a better wood sculpt.  He was on the bottom as a result.

The winner was Darla!  I knew she had it in her!  The judges loved that she pulled off such difficult shapes and textures.  The person going home was Adam.  His design didn’t come together, and it was too far from the challenge, but Neville was sure he would be working soon. It’s coming down to the wire, and I am really curious about who will make it to the finale since Darla and Emily were my first picks, but we shall see!

Team Tally:

Team Laura:  Darla, Julian and Emily

Team Rayce:   Logan

Face Off Season 8 Episode 11: Imaginary Friends Come to Life!

Published March 26, 2015 by vfdpixie

As the artists get closer to the finale, their next Spotlight Challenge offered a different approach.  They went to the Brookside Park in Pasedena, where they met on a playground.  They would be working with kids, who tend to have big imaginations, to bring their imaginary friends to life with lots of whimsy.  These six energetic clients would pick the artist they worked with and also be on the reveal stage to see their creations come to life.

Alexandra picked Logan to create her mermaid friend.  Logan hoped for a monster, but instead got a pink tailed, glowing heart-shaped tailed girly character, and he just couldn’t say no to Alexandra’s cuteness.  When Mr. Westmore looked at his face sculpt, he suggested taking some away so that the model’s beauty could be featured.  Rayce also got Logan to scrap his “ugly” mermaid tail due to its bulkiness and he started over with foam and armature wire to make it come together.  In last looks, Logan was still a little unsure of his abilities with beauty makeup, so the model gave him a few tips to get the look finished.  The judges loved his pink and baby blue mermaid, and Alexandra was tickled pink as well.  His shapes and colour choices kept him safe.

Maya worked with Emily.  This little mastermind wanted a bunny called Lulu to be her best friend.  Emily went with this to create a living stuffed animal who inspired creativity.  She was ready for the challenge because she was feeling low being away from her family, and since she had been on the bottom, hungry to make it to the finale.  She wanted to create a flocked look, and tested with a piece of prosthetic and felt for a velvety finish.  She was also going to avoid a big hair this time by incorporating sculpted ears to look like hair and a more subtle wig.  That sad feeling overwhelmed her and she had to step away in tears.  Coach Laura gave her a pep talk to get her back in the game, and despite having a chunk of her mold come off, she carried on.  Strangely, Ve thought a big wig with ears would have worked this time, but Glenn thought her approach with a different shape was commendable.  He also thought it looked like a Saturday Morning TV show character.  Lulu ended up keeping Emily safe this week (Phew!!)

Adam worked with little Lance on a giant alligator with laser eyes, dragon wings, and wanted him to be called Godzilla but settled for the name “Laser”.  Adam decided to create a character that stole toys and went for a ton of fabrication.  He did all the fabrication on day 1, leaving the sculpting and molding until day 2.  The chest piece was made out of a harness with foam padding coated in latex and paper towel to build up texture.  He had a lot to do, and wouldn’t know if the giant head would fit until the last day.  Because he made the chest also the lower jaw of the monster, he had to fiddle with the positioning of the head.  He used coloured hairspray to colour the fun-fur suit, and came up with a big goofy looking monster that Lance loved.  The judges liked all the colour and the amount of work he put in, and his smart direction with the concept; the great teeth and colours made this child-like, “Barney’s nightmare” get to top looks.

Darla’s little designer was Jordyn, who came up with a diamond girl who lived underground.  She wanted her to have a blue diamond-shaped head, curly hair and a sparkly pink dress.  With this tall order, Darla set out to design a kid-worthy friend.  She decided to create button eyes, and Mr. Westmore loved the idea and suggested she go big for whimsy.  She created cool eyes fixed on opera glasses, and a crystal collar layered with cotton and latex to create texture.  Her face piece/cowl had to have clean edges because the model’s face was exposed, and the final makeup was a great imaginary friend for Jordyn.  The judges felt the makeup had Darla’s signature on it which was a gift for simple forms, and they liked the stones and crystals in the collar.  She got the vibe of the challenge, and they loved the glasses, calling them clever.  Her first attempt at fabrication created a “solid and beautiful” character that the judges felt would be great for a children’s film and got her into top looks.

Creature hungry Blayne came up with a 3-headed monster for Ben; one head to have horns and another wings, no legs and the ability to fly.  Ben decided to go big, and Mr. Westmore advised him to concentrate on the creature’s eyes and make sure they were highlighted for animation.  Since he was Coach Anthony’s only artist left, he was glad for the attention and input.  Ben had a lot to do.  Anthony had faith in him because of his sculpting abilities but was worried that the makeup was too large an order.  With his model gluing wings, and Anthony as a human form in the fabricated body, Ben scrambled to get details finished, which he unfortunately couldn’t do.  In the end, Anthony felt like he couldn’t rein Ben’s focus in, and the monster was not up to snuff.  Even thought Blayne loved it, the judges thought the palette was good but the paint job was one-dimensional.  I thought the eyes looked dead, and he bit off way more than he could chew.  With no time for quality, Ben was in the bottom.

Julian created a zombie b-boy for Andrew, who wanted a half-zombie, bloodied and mohawked character with an exposed heart.  Mr, Westmore told him to get a good smile on the face to give it whimsy, and Julian went with a bone mohawk.  He chose his colours carefully to show definition, but the judges didn’t get the character.  While Ve thought it had a good profile, Neville felt it was confused with random shapes.  Glenn thought it fell into design purgatory, and didn’t look like a zombie.  It lacked a child-like quality and because they thought it was basic and rough, it put him in the bottom.

Whittling down the long list of features for these creatures was a tough task, and coach Anthony and Laura spoke up for their bottom artists Ben and Julian about their strengths.  The winner was Adam!  For the judges, he delivered on the challenge.  The person going home was Ben because his sculpt and paint job was unfinished and he needed to streamline his ideas.  That meant Anthony was off the show as well!  Sad to see both of them go, but Neville had complete confidence that Ben will go far.

Team Tally:

Team Laura:  Darla, Julian and Emily

Team Rayce:  Adam and Logan


Face Off Season 8 Episode 10: Superheros in the House!

Published March 20, 2015 by vfdpixie

A Face Off first happened this episode.  This week, the artists gathered at the historic Herald Examiner Building that used to house one of the most highly circulated newspapers.  It is now used as a filming location for movies like The Usual Suspects, among others.  It was here that McKenzie told them about what was probably “the most daunting challenge in Face Off history”.  They had to create a superhero using themselves as the alter-ego and model!   They would also have assistants on application day since applying makeup on themselves would be a bit of a challenge in itself.  Seeing their own lifecasts gave them a good laugh and they were all excited for challenge.  Their guest judge would be the one and only Todd Mcfarlane, creator of Spawn!

Darla described herself as an introvert, and wanted to create a powerful guardian angel superhero that was elegant with a powerful silhouette.  She was inspired by the filigree from the Herald Building and used a trace and transfer technique to get elegant designs on her face sculpt.  Her final concept was really pretty and even though she was a little scared because she could feel her paint cracking in areas, she was safe.

Julian designed an anti-hero for himself.  Calling him “The Reckoning”, this character was a human that made a deal with the devil to take over his duties, but wanted to do good.  Instead of the usual devil horns, Julian came up with a crown shape for the head.  He had a bit a of a time issue, so Coach Laura showed him a “speed sculpting” technique.  Other than that, he had no real issues and his devil anti-hero had some interesting horn details.  The judges liked the nice edges he had for a self-applied makeup and he was safe.

Logan loved dragons and used that for his character.  He created a vigilante called Slayer who was a dragon-human hybrid and an immortal assassin.  He also loved flying and incorporated wings by using foam tubes, latex and cheese cloth to create a believable dragon skin look.  His colour scheme was flesh tone and green paint, and his final look was pretty great.  It reminded me of a character from a video game and looked really menacing.  The judges liked the layered wings, and that Logan was really enjoying playing the character.  They loved his concept and thought the technical work was impressive.  Ve loved the colour palette and the wings, and the face sculpt allowed for expression and movement, while Todd liked the message.  He was in top looks.

Emily went with a nature theme and came up with a Mother Nature healer hero.  Her mom, who is a wig maker and her superhero, taught her about wigs, and so she made a huge one in her honour.  She had to use gelatin instead of latex for her mold due to an allergy, but the gelatin didn’t set right, so she ended up using silicone.  She was concerned because of her lack of experience with silicone, but the edges came out perfectly and she had done a test run of her makeup beforehand, so she was ready for painting with alcohol based colours for a translucent look.  She realized in last looks that she didn’t really look like a superhero, but carried on.  Her paint job was beautiful, but the judges didn’t like the big hair because she had done that before.  They thought it looked like a hedge, or “Marge Simpson as Poison Ivy”, and was not appropriate for the challenge.  Todd thought she looked uncomfortable in her skin. Because she didn’t seem to evolve with challenges, she was in the bottom.

Ben was inspired by his five years working as a Marine Corps helicopter mechanic.  He wanted to make a villain of himself, so he went with a superhero that crashed and was rebuilt into a war machine.  He was the last person on Coach Anthony’s team, so he could get full attention from his coach.  He felt a lot of pressure in this position.  Ben created a cool helmet from vaccuform, a skeletal sculpt for a more villainous look, and a black, leathery looking paint job.  His finished villain was really cool and mean looking complete with a blood gag for the mouth.  His tons of fabrication got him a safe spot this week.

Adam loved this challenge and decided to go the comedy route.  His superhero would have his powers by accident, bumbling into some cannon arms, and destroying a city while trying to save it.  He used buckets and vaccuform for the arm cannons, making them larger than life, and took cues from his bright red hair to create a red suit of armour for his character, the Crimson Wave.  I loved the concept and the judges loved the comedic proportions.  Glenn though he hit the superhero note with his design, and Todd really liked the overall character and thought it was action figure ready.  This was my favourite makeup of the night and he was in top looks.

Stephanie also wanted to do an anti-hero, but was stuck for an idea again.  She came up with a half-demon character that would jump out of the pages of a comic, and would be in black and white, but the face details were still foggy for her.  She decided to do a small brow piece and aim for a flawless makeup for her pretty “Doll Face” demon.  Her paint job ended up looking grey instead of black and white, and she thought it looked more like a vampire.  On the reveal stage, the judges thought she could have sculpted the ears better, and Todd thought the mask she fabricated was underused.  Ve thought it looked like her Lost Boys concept and was boring as well as the old lady paint job, and Glenn thought it was derivative.  She was in the bottom looks.

The artists all thought this was the hardest challenge yet, but I thought they all did well.  Because he created mystery with his character and looked like he stepped out of another century, Logan was the winner!  The person going home was Stephanie.  The judges didn’t feel she was inspired for the challenge.  She was happy she had made it this far, and was proud that she was in the final 7, and left looking like a bad-ass demon!

Team Tally:

Team Anthony:  Ben

Team Laura:  Darla, Julian and Emily

Team Rayce:  Logan and Adam

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