Miss Havisham/Baby Jane theme make-up project for Dick Smith Advanced Make-Up Course

I was incredibly proud and happy to be able to pass the Basic Make-Up Course with the make-up I did on my brother so the next step was to apply for the Advanced Course which I did as soon aswas possible funds wise :S


Please check out the pages above to see the full extent of the course because it’s unbelievable how many subjects are covered within it. I was so excited when I received the three massive texts packed full of just pure gold as far as information goes if you’re even vaguely interested in anything to do with the practical effects industry. It is a little bit daunting too to be honest but only because I’m so impatient to be able to do everything and there’s obviously an enormous amount to learn.

In order to pass the course I have to provide 3 make-ups to a high standard that are assessed by a professional Hollywood make-up artist via the internet who also is available for advice should I need it (which I obviously will). They suggest that two of the make-ups are old age transformations as these are the hardest to do convincingly and another of some sort of humanoid character rather than a monster or gore. The course actually includes animatronics and radio controlled elements which is simply amazing to me. Haven’t a clue how I’ll manage that but can’t wait to try!

With the old age figure in mind I had a good think about what kind of character I’d like to try first. Obviously this doesn’t have to be included in the final entry but if it turns out ok it might be possible so would be useful. Instead of just general ageing prosthetics I wanted to base my character on a more gothic, interesting figure so I decided upon the terrifying Miss Havisham from Dickens’ Great Expectations who was jilted on her wedding day and remains as an embittered recluse in her decaying mansion still wearing her wedding gown with the uneaten cake beside her. She was only supposed to be in her mid fifties but the lack of sunlight had aged her and she was described as a cross between a waxwork and a skeleton with moving eyes. Perfect!! I loved the idea of her sitting with cobwebs draped over her and pasty skin. She gave me a lot of scope to work with and was also quite interesting from a costume point of view with an old Victorian wedding dress and jewellery.

For the make-up itself I was quite keen to use Bette Davis’s character in Whatever Happened To Baby Jane (which is fantastic film if you haven’t seen it btw) as an influence as she is an unhinged, elderly character who paints her face in thick make up to try to retain her youth as a child star but in fact looks horrendous.

Hope you can see where I’m coming from with these influences. I really liked the idea of being able to kind of exaggerate the prosthetics and make up, being such a horror fan. It appealed to me lot more than attempting to just age a figure. Whether I could actually pull it off remains to be seen …



15 thoughts on “Miss Havisham/Baby Jane theme make-up project for Dick Smith Advanced Make-Up Course

    1. Hey! I found you blog while doing research about this course and was just wondering how much make-up training/experience and sculpting experience you had before starting. I’m interested in doing it but unsure about whether I need training first!
      Thanks in advance.


  1. Hey Chloe, thanks for subscribing to my blog! 🙂 You should definitely have a go. I literally had no experience of make up or sculpting at all before I started. I’m not saying it’s easy, I had to just wing it most of the time and make stuff up as I went along but it’s such a rewarding and exciting thing to do, I’m loving every second. Just takes patience and practice. It’s quite expensive but you can get most of the stuff a bit cheaper if you do some shopping around. You can always get in touch whenever you need and I’ll help wherever I can. Hope this helps. I’ll look forward to hearing from ya 🙂


    1. Hi Aki, thanks for checking out my blog! I think the best way to describe my progress so far is slowly but surely … I’m loving every minute, it’s pretty tricky and time consuming which is fine but I’m trying to juggle my other art alongside which I’m finding hard at the minute. I don’t have any experience so every technique takes time to get the hang of and all the materials are quite costly so that has to be taken into consideration too … BUT if you have a love for the art of practical special effects make-up and are willing to throw yourself into it then you’ve got to have a go. It’s a fanastic artform and very satisfying when your work starts to come together. If you have no previous experience I would advise the Basic Course first because it introduces all the basic techniques and gives you an idea whether it’s going to be the kind of thing you want to do. For everything you need to know about both courses and all the techniques they cover check out Dick Smith’s site.


      I hope this helps? Let me know how you get on 🙂


      1. Hello, Thank you so much for responding. As of right now, I am registered to the 3D course already. I loved it so far and I saved so much money because the way Dick explains alternate and affordable ways.

        I’m creating a witch for my character. If i finished the basic 3d course, is it easier to take the advanced course?

        Its pretty challenging from all the details, but I loved it. If I have any more questions, may I ask you with this website? my email is akihamasaki@yahoo.com. Thanks.


      2. Aw that’s great! I’m really glad you’re enjoying it. It is complex though and the advanced is just the same but ten times amounts of information but you do use a lot of the skills you learn from the Basic so it’s definitely worth doing. To gain the Advanced certificate you have to create 3 make-ups which they judge photos of and decide if they are high enough quality. It’s good though because you can re-enter your work as often as is necessary to make up the 3 make-ups 🙂

        A witch is a great idea I’d love to see how you’re getting on. Of course you can get in touch whenever you want and I’ll help as much as I can. My email is zohumphries@hotmail.com Send me some witch pics! 🙂


      3. Hi there

        Love your work. I just want to give you am update that I finished the basic course. I want to send you the pics.

        Also how’s the advanced program so far and how we’re you graded? Did dick reviewed your works or did a professional artist saw your work?


    1. That’s fantastic news, I’m really glad to hear you’re giving the course a try!! Exciting stuff! I really hope the blog helps a bit and please get in touch with me if you have any questions. I’d love to chat to ya about how you’re getting on and see if I can help at all if you run into any problems. Thanks for reading my blog and getting in touch i’ll look forward to chatting with ya. 🙂


      1. Thanks so much! I bought the book you recommended as well – Special Make-up Effects for Stage & Screen: Making and Applying Prosthetics by Todd Debreceni. What a great resource!! 🙂


      2. That’s brilliant!! So glad I could help a bit, it’s an awesome book isn’t it. Always the one I refer to if I’m unsure about something 🙂
        Keep me up to date with your progress I’m looking forward to seeing how you get on. 🙂


  2. I’m also doing the Dick Smith basic course and wondered if anyone knew of any UK stockists of gel foamed cubex? In the past I’ve bought it from Guru – but they’ve stopped stocking it now 😦


    1. Hey Ruth,
      I actually got mine from Burman Industries in the US at great expense because i was completely unsure where else to find the gelatine but have since discovered this product from Nimba Creations … http://www.nimbacreations.com/special-effects-supplies/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=4&Itemid=63

      I haven’t used it yet but I would definitely buy the gelatine from here when i need it. I’d love to hear your findings so please let me know how you get on. Hope this helps 🙂


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