QC Special FX student showcase

From the Experts, Student Features

Special FX Student Showcase Critique by Nathan Johnson

Celebrity makeup artist, Nathan Johnson (@nathanwalnut), is QC Makeup Academy’s Executive Makeup Artist and is based in New York City. For Halloween this year, Nathan shares his ideas on QC’s special effects makeup submissions!

In case you haven’t noticed, Halloween is almost here. I’m sure the makeup lovers have already chosen their looks, but for those of you who haven’t, I wanted to share some of the exceptional fantasy work of the QC students to inspire your creativity. If you have not decided on your look, I have a feeling these will point you in the right direction. And if you have, these might inspire you to up your game!

Alexandrea Conklin

QC Special FX student showcase

This makeup is just a delight to look at. From a beauty stand point, the application is absolutely gorgeous. Perfect skin, brows, and lips. With this application, she proves that powerful special effects can be achieved in the simplest of ways. The crack down the face and the second nose may not have the precision of the rest of the look, but the illusion is so powerful that it’s easy to forgive. Great job on this very unique application.

Karmela Kurowski

QC Special FX student showcase

Whatever flesh eating virus she has, I do not want it! Karmela has colored the prosthetic so well that it almost looks like the flesh is rotting away right before our eyes. Because of her strong use of darker shades, this wound has exceptional depth and the subtle shine gives the appearance that it’s weeping. The fastest way to destroy the illusion is with visible seams as the prosthetic joins the skin. With application techniques and a solid use of blood and bruising effects, she has further masked them, making the illusion ever more powerful.

I do want to draw attention to the gaping hole right below the wrist. A prosthetic sits above the skin, so to create an illusion of depth can be very difficult. With color (an interplay of darks and lights, for added depth) and the use of blood, Karmela has created a wound that appears to go deep into the arm. This is disgusting…beautiful job!

Lauren Laughlin-Hoskin

QC Special FX student showcase

The Grinch is a popular look to recreate in the online forums, but Lauren has really grabbed a hold of this and made it her own. I am always one to say don’t copy anything on YouTube unless your version will be both unique and BETTER than the original. In this case, I think she hit the mark! This is a brilliant recreation of the Grinch. With contour and highlight, you have reshaped the face. The brows are magnificent. This is a stunning example of how to create depth and remold the features using only color. Very, very impressive.

QC Special FX Student showcase

Samantha Cook

This look is amazing. Her use of prosthetics and careful coloring have created a character so frost bitten, that she las lost the bottom of her chin, the tip of her nose, and her upper lip. The delicate way she changed the skin tone creates a very impressed and realistic illusion of someone who has frozen to death. This is a masterful demonstration of multiple skills, prosthetic, highlight/shadow, etc., and it combines to create a spectacular look. The use of black in the wounds is spot on and instrumental to selling the realism. Incredible.

Corey Deslage

QC Special FX student showcase

This is exceptional prosthetic application. The edges disappear seamlessly into the skin. The bruising is applied beautifully and the added drops of blood on the needles really drive the effect home. A touch of black inside the wound would have really sold the depth, but the work is so good that it’s really just a micro-adjustment. Great work!

Maggie Crewe

QC Special FX student showcase

This is stunning. For those who have tried, you know it is very hard to get a flawless and uniform lay of color on the skin. This is so perfect, and makes use of highlight so well, that it really looks like a real skin tone. The pattern on the face is symmetrical and well applied. The smoldering eye is a gorgeous touch.

I also really admire how you worked the color right into the hairline. A ring of the models skin tone along the hairline would have destroyed the illusion, so bravo on your commitment to detail. Excellent work.

I hope these inspired looks have given you some food for thought for the holiday. Use your imagination, as the looks above demonstrate – making magic can be as difficult or as easy as you wish. I cannot wait to see what you create!

Inspired to create a gory look this Halloween? Follow this SFX lip tutorial and give your friends a scare!

Nathan Johnson is a film, television, celebrity, and real women’s makeup artist with 18 years experience in the industry. Nathan believes in education and empowerment—his personal mission is to make America more beautiful one woman at a time. He brings product reviews, makeup tips, and personal experience to the QC blog.

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