Artist Review

“I want to thank Brad for creating these amazing Zazzo® Template designs. I have used them on makeup applications from old-age to beauty and effects related to prosthetic work. The versatility of the shapes and designs make the Makeup FX™ an essential tool in my makeup kit!”

—Allan A. Apone


Creating Simple Makeup Wound Effects

by Bradley M. Look

As a makeup artist working in the entertainment field, I've found that scripts will routinely list a character to have bruises and facial scrapes. This is especially true with action dramas such as 24, JAG, and the CSI franchise. Such simple makeup effects are usually referred to as out-of-the-kit makeup effects. The idea is that these "effects" can be created using standard products that all makeup artists should always have on hand when the script or director asks for it. These products include: bruise colors, stage blood in both thick and thin consistencies, and KY Jelly. Using the airbrush can certainly speed up the process. Let me take you through the steps so that you can create your own out-of-the-kit bruises and scrapes.


For this demonstration, actor/fitness model Matt Cable sat for me. Here is Matt's before photo. To begin the process, lightly spray a yellow ochre temporary tattoo color on the face where needed. In this case, I applied color around Matt's left eye area. During this whole process Matt kept his eyes closed. When spraying the bruise colors, keep in mind that the colors should not be sprayed on evenly as a circle.circles Some areas should be heavier, while others more lightly misted. You want an irregular look to the bruise so that it appears more natural.

A deep red is next applied very sporadically with some overlapping of colors. A small amount of blue is added to the red to create a purplish color that is sprayed over portions of the first two colors.


Using Iwata's new Hi-line HP-CH airbrush for both these makeups gave me great control. Dialing down the air adjustment valve, I spattered some of the deep red on portions of the bruise to give the effect of broken capillaries.

To complete the illusion, lightly pat a little KY Jelly over the bruise to create a shiner. KY Jelly is commonly used to impart a shine or wet look to makeups. Don't use petroleum-based products (such as Vaseline), as they will break down the makeup. Only water-based products like KY Jelly should be used.


The next makeup effect is a scrape. Before starting this makeup either cut or burn a stencil like the example shown here. You can make several stencils of different sizes to keep in your kit so that you're always ready. Using a highlight color, I sprayed some breakup sporadically on the right side of Matt's forehead.

Then using a bruise red that I added a couple of drops of an olive green to (the complementary color), I sprayed through the stencil; after which the look was accentuated with some random spraying to further break-up the stencil work.


Using a pointed sable makeup brush, I dabbed some dark spots inside the scrapes to add further depth.

To add the finishing touches, use a palette knife to apply some stage blood to each of the scrapes. For this demonstration I used Cinema Secret's Blood Gel, which gives a wonderful realistic look to any wound. Though I didn't do it here, KY Jelly could also be lightly patted over top of the scrapes.


And there you have it--two simple makeup effects that you can re-create anytime the need arises!







»back to articles