Why the Makeup & Prosthetic Design in Game of Thrones is so damn Brilliant

game of thrones makeup

All images featured are property of HBO.

Apologies in advance to the percentage of the population who do not watch Game of Thrones. We couldn’t help babbling on about it this week after that killer Season 7 premiere on Sunday. However, fan or not, I think we can all admire and appreciate what the makeup and prosthetic departments have achieved on this show over the past 6 years. This is a mammoth job, with a story of so many complexities and layers for the crew to unfold. It is both dream and nightmare for the makeup designer, but what comes out of that ultimately, is a plethora of character looks that will inspire artists for generations to come.

So what makes the makeup and prosthetics in this show so effing’ good? One word guys. TEXTURE.

Creating a character makeup is always about layers, and the story George R.R. Martin has weaved together allows for the makeup department to really delve deep and experiment with that, plus texture. The design factors throughout Game of Thrones overlap so delicately that it seems effortless. There are no smooth flat surfaces. Every detail is an intricate composition full of density and fullness. This is why the makeups work so well.

“The series is meticulously designed and executed, paying more than worthy homage to Martin’s prodigious world-building, while adding flair and texture all its own. – Richard Lawson

What else do we love?

+ All the character looks are rich in layers, inspired by both modern and medieval details.

+ They are able to convey a character’s journey through well thought out dirt makeups and weathering.

+ The fantasy element is mesmerising yet does not look out of place within the confines of the realism on the show.

+ They treat the smaller characters with just as much love and attention as the prominent ones.

+ The makeup is used to enhance the character’s personality, not mask it with fancy accessories.

+ All elements of the makeups are there for a reason, and no matter how impressive, they don’t take away from the character’s story.


Looking for more inspiration? Check out this behind-the-scenes featurette if you haven’t already: