4 Great Learning Resources for Makeup FX Artists

Learning Resources for Makeup FX Artists

When in pursuit of mastering a craft, learning should never stop and that hunger should never go away. People will often tell you that you learn best through experience on a job, however, there are still ways to keep accumulating knowledge when you’re new to the industry and haven’t quite had a chance to get your foot in the door. Below we have compiled a list of industry standard resources which you can be using to further your knowledge (if you haven’t stumbled across them already) of special makeup effects.

Always refer to the original FX bibles, owned and loved by many.

For those wanting to go about learning back in a time without internet, information was hard to find. Thankfully though, as time passed, many well known peeps in the industry wrote and published their techniques. Aspiring artists poured over any books and magazines they could find on the subject and many of these books are ABSOLUTELY still relevant. Even if some of the techniques are outdated, it is essential that you understand and have a knowledge of the history of makeup effects.

Some of our favourites include:

+ Special Makeup Effects for Stage and Screen: Making and Applying Prosthetics // Todd Debreceni

+ Grande Illusions: The Art and Technique of Special Makeup Effects // Tom Savini

+ Monstrous Makeup Manual // Mike Spatola

+ The Makeup Artist Handbook // Gretchen Davis & Mindy Hall


If you really must go to Youtube, let us guide you to the right people

As amazing as youtube is, it can also a dangerous place to go for the correct education. The youtube world is rife with halloween makeup tutorials using incorrect materials and dangerous methods. What you want to learn isn’t for a halloween makeup though. It is for a career in the film industry and you must learn the correct techniques as used by industry artists. Some professionals, however, do have their own channels, and these are some of our go-tos:

+ Adam Savage’s Tested – videos of many interests, ranging from science breakthroughs, tales of exploration and discoveries in nature to emerging technologies and new consumer products that change our everyday lives.

+ Brick in the Yard – a resource library of sorts for those late nights when you have a crazy casting problem that needs an answer

+ Stuart Bray – a myriad of how-to videos by industry pro Stuart Bray, including some of the best you can find on sculpting skin texture

+ Egg Head FX – a special make-up effects instructional channel producing in-depth instructional videos on proper techniques for casting and mold making

In addition, here are some more suggestions thanks to Marc Clancy of Powdah:

+ Studio ADI

+ PAM London

+ PPI Premiere Products

+ Make-up Designory


Learning Resources for Makeup FX Artists

When you want the mothership of them all: The Stan Winston School Webcourses

Oh, how lucky we are to live in this time. To preserve Stan Winston’s legacy, his son Matt Winston started The Stan Winston School of Character Arts, which has arguably become the best online destination for learning the art and technology of character creation. The site offers over 500 hours of instruction by some of the industry’s best and offers courses which cannot often be found in schools. The library is so varied and diverse that it caters to almost every niche in the field and students can choose to purchase individual courses or subscribe to gain access to the full library.

When the eyes need a break, try some industry Podcasts

When pursuing a craft, it’s true what they say. Immersing yourself completely in the subject at hand will improve your knowledge tenfold. When we’re not in the mood for a learning sessions, the next best thing is to listen to CreatureGeek, a podcast where its’ hosts Frank & Len chat to different industry professionals each week. It feels casual, but is still packed to the brim with interesting facts, history and career advice. There are a few podcasts out there like this but the world needs more! Perhaps these can tide you over in the meantime:

+ CreatureGeek

+ Battles with Bits of Rubber

+ The Picking Brains