Finally the day came when I was kindly given the opportunity to apply the first prosthetics I made last year of Sharon who I shared the studio with.
http://wp.me/p1CvJl-4y – The Concept
http://wp.me/p1CvJl-56 – The Sculpting Stage
http://wp.me/p1CvJl-5K – The Molds
http://wp.me/p1CvJl-6h – The Foam Latex Appliances
We decided to use them as an experiment really and practice as they’d been stored so long I wasn’t even sure if they would still fit ok. I was keen to try the Pros-Aide Cream Adhesive I’d found which is great for blending edges but more importantly in this case to patch and fill seams. I think the results were really successful despite my lack of practice. There are obvious problems and floors which I’ll describe as I go through the process but all in all I found the whole experience really encouraging and exciting. It’s given me a real taste to get going seriously with my course again and that can only be a really good thing 🙂
First to start the process, I cleaned Sharon’s face with just a basic make up remover (Simple) so any make-up or grease that could prevent the adhesive sticking properly was removed. I then ensured she was comfortable and set up all my equipment close to hand so I could be as efficient as possible with time. I also set up a spot light directly shining on her so everything was clear.
- Foam Latex Appliances
- Mehron Spirit Gum and Remover
- Pros-Aide Cream Adhesive and Remover
- Simple Make-Up Remover
- Mastix Remover and Thinner
- Cotton Wool balls
- Cotton Tips
- Sponge wedges
- Mehron Colourset Powder
- (Bald Cap) !
At this point I should have applied a bald cap but I didn’t have a new one (oops) so we decided to just slick her hair back off her face. This was a mistake as it really got in the way and was really annoying, so I’ll always remember to apply one in the future! …
Application of Prosthetics
Now it was time for the application of the prosthetics. I had 5 pieces to apply in this make-up; nose and upper lip, lower lip and chin/neck, right and left cheeks and forehead. It says in most texts that it’s essential to line up all the pieces on the face to see where they all fit best. This is particularly important as some pieces need to overlap others so you need to work out the order that they need to be applied. I read also that if you lightly powder the edges when they are in place it’s easier to ensure they are correct when you apply them with adhesive.
This is where I encountered my first dilemma because the pieces had shrunk slightly over time and I realised I was just going to have to get them as close as possible and hopefully patch any seams with Pros-Aide. I decided the easiest piece to fit would be the chin and lower lip so I decided to go with the method of applying spirit gum all over the underside of the appliance, leaving the edges free, so I could adjust those once the piece was in position. I found it much easier and more sticky if I waited a little for the gum to go tacky before applying the chin. As I’d sculpted this piece to actually cover the lower lip it wasn’t too tricky to line up correctly. The same applied to the nose piece so I went with that next, making sure there was a lot of spirit gum in the nose tip. Again I left the edges free of adhesive because I wasn’t sure how the cheek pieces would fit best yet …
The next pieces I needed to apply were the cheek pieces which I was a little worried about because I remember when I made the prosthetics I had trouble ensuring there were thin enough edges around each appliance when I separated the face mask out of plastilene into the 5 pieces. I think this is a common issue as you are advised to use the natural creases of the face to follow when you choose where to cut so naturally when there is a heavy jowel or the side of the nose for examples, the line is almost 90 degrees to the level of the skin. I’ll have to look do more research to work out how to get around this problem but in this make-up I knew it would be an issue and decided it was just going to be a good chance to experiment with the patching techniques.
I had the same issue with the right cheek appliance too. This is what the make-up looked like at this stage.
You can see the seam all the way down the side of the chin and neck too but I was hoping I might be able to disguise this as a fold in the skin.
The next stage was to add the forehead piece which again I was a little apprehensive about as the eyes always seem to be quite tricky to blend effectively. Also as the brow had been sculpted to hang over the eyes slightly there was the same problem with the lack of thin edges. I put a very thin layer over the eyebrows at this point to ensure that the prosthetic didn’t stick to them.
I actually had to partially remove the cheek pieces alternatively and stretch them upwards to try to fit them as closely as possible to the brow piece. It required a lot of fiddling around and on the right hand side there was actually still a half cm gap but again as this was essentially for experimentl purposes I thought I’d try to patch this as best as I could with the Pros-Aide.
Blending Edges and Patching Seams
I used cotton buds to apply a thin layer of the adhesive around the edges of the prosthetics first just slowly working my way round ensuring all of them were covered. I then used a foam wedge to dab over the edges when they started to dry a little to blend them into the surrounding skin. It looked better in some parts than others I have to admit but I wasn’t too disappointed for my first attempt. Obviously this will require a lot of practice and it’ll help a huge amount if I sculpt the edges of each piece much thinner in most cases.
Next I concentrated on working my way down the left hand side of the nose which as you might be able to see actually had a noticeable gap where I couldn’t line up the two pieces any better. Again using cotton buds, (you can use a spatula or anything else that works for you), I worked my way down the seam and filled the gaps as best I could with the adhesive. I noticed that it was probably better to do a thin layer and let it dry and then apply over that until you achieve the result you need as it took a long time to dry this way. I also gently used the buds to smooth the adhesive down the creases of the sculp before it dried so the detail wasn’t lost but as you’ll see in the makeup stages, the cream tended to ball up and come away from the prosthetic a bit as I applied the make up so it will probably be better to use it more sparingly and only in the exact areas it’s needed in the future.
Hopefully you can see from these photos, the application of the Pros-Aide really did help to blend the seams. If you look at the side of the nose in the left view of the basic application compared with the photo once the P-A has been applied, there is a definite improvement although I’m the first to admit there is a lot of practice needed yet.
If you look at the front view again from the initial application and once the P-A is applied, you can see the problems with the areas on the joins with her top lip and both cheek pieces. There was an improvement yes, but the seams were still very visible which was annoying. This was a problem with my first makeup also so is something I obviously have to work on this. Also the join on the bridge of her nose and round the eyes were improved but not as much as I would’ve liked.
Another problem was around the upper lids which you can clearly see. I decided to sculpt them a particular way that resulted in it being very hard to blend them as I have mentioned previously. I think the next make up I do I’m going to try and sculpt very delicate lip prosthetics. I was very nervous about applying too much adhesive to the lids as the skin is so delicate but there are obviously ways around this so I need to do more research.
I used a hair drier on a cool setting to dry the Pros-Aide to speed up the process up a little before dusting the areas with setting powder so it was ready for the make-up to be applied.
I’ll cover the make-up application in the next post 🙂