Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The Making of a Cyborg

From start to finish, a detailed makeup doesn't just happen, as much as I would like to pretend that I can pull something like this out of thin air. So I decided to post here how my concept of a cyborg came about. The first step was to choose inspiration. I wanted to create a sci-fi character, so I looked back to some of my favorite science fiction films. After going back through my top choices in films, I settled on the 1984 film The Terminator. I loved the idea of creating my own version of a cyborg based on the designs from this film.

After choosing my inspiration came sketching out my own version of what I wanted my character to look like. Most of the time we can use pre-made face charts in order to sketch a design out. However, I really like working on my character from start to finish based on the model's appearance. I was lucky in that I had worked with my model before and already had a feel for her appearance and how I would make it work for my vision.

After creating my sketch, I did a breakdown of how I would approach this look. As I have not yet had any experience with prosthetic appliances, I knew I would have to paint the whole look on. But I did get to use a little bit of wax build up to really "sell" the look.

1 - Do a brow block. I blocked out one eyebrow using wax so that no hairs would show through the paint.
2 - I drew the design on my model's face with a white eyeliner, to see where my placements would be. I really worked with her particular face shape, making sure to emphasize the high and low points on the face.
3 - Wax build-up around the edges, to give it dimension. To really make the cyborg half of her face look as though it was beneath the actual skin.
4 - Painting. I used the Make Up Forever Silver Aqua Color for the metallic sheen, as well as Ben Nye cosmetic paints, and Kryolan cream makeup.
5 - Adding a little bit of Ben Nye "Thick Blood" around the wax edges to show what would be between the skin and metal.

It was really important to do a practice run of my makeup first, so I had the opportunity to practice on a fellow classmate!

The great thing about doing a character makeup is that I get to create a story to go with it. I decided to create the following story about my cyborg:

Sam 56 is one of 100 identical cyborgs created in a secret military base specializing in robotics and cybernetics. On an off-base mission, one of the cyborgs loses control, so Sam 56 is forced to take her out by removing important circuits and wires.

In the final photo you notice that I made sure to show some metal showing through on the knuckles to show that she had sustained slight damage there as well, and she is holding silver wires that she ripped out during the battle.

The final product I am really proud of! I can't wait to create more character makeups that allow me to really alter the face of my models!

Jordan Jeffrey is a Canadian makeup artist who believes everything that can be conceived of can be created. She can be contacted at or

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