Zombie tutorial

Join the undead with these makeup tips

Makeup artist April Jordan is in her element when she makes bloody, gory zombie magic.
Makeup artist April Jordan is in her element when she makes bloody, gory zombie magic.

If a zombie apocalypse is imminent, you might as well have your makeup ready.

One artfully drawn bloody vein could be the difference between you making it among the undead. Or, at least, it will give you serious zombie crawl street cred this Halloween season.

Licensed cosmetologist and tattoo artist April Jordan isn't afraid of getting a little gel blood on her hands. Jordan, who owns Rock n' Ink — a tattoo shop that also offers professional hair, makeup, nail services by licensed artists at 1500 East St., Pittsfield — has been professionally creating zombies and monsters for years as a makeup artist.

"I just love making monsters," said the fiery redhead as she filled The Berkshire Eagle's photo studio with so many cases of makeup, her team of models and supportive zombie-loving friends had to help her pull it all in with a traveling suitcase and extra bags. Jordan said she has worked on sci-fi movie sets and also did the makeup for a horror film ("The Secret Village," in 2013, according to IMDB). For a few years, she said she also did the makeup for 13 Nights at Jiminy.

"I was their makeup artist," she said. "It was crazy, every night I would have to create a dozen or more monsters. It was a fun job."

These days, Jordan keeps busy at her shop doing makeup for weddings, proms and special occasions, but Halloween is her busiest time of year. She books session for Halloween weekend ("People send me pictures of the monster faces they want," she said) and she's already got a few slots booked for those attending the 9th Annual Zombie Pub Crawl in Pittsfield, which will be held from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 20. (For more information about the pub crawl and participating businesses, visit www.facebook.com/ZombieAction.) Her sessions can go for $50 to $100, depending on the creation.

If you're thinking about attending the pub crawl, or just want to up your Halloween game and scare the neighborhood kids this year, Jordan has walked us through, step by step, two different zombie-inspired looks. Don't be intimidated (these look scarily difficult), according to Jordan all you need is some good latex-based makeup and a little imagination. OK, maybe a slightly twisted imagination.

"I learned this all through trial and error," said Jordan, pointing out that there are many tutorials on YouTube if you're looking for more scary ideas.

And when it's all over and the last zombie has crawled home, what's the best way to take the makeup off?

"Take a shower, seriously," she said. Or some makeup wipes will work, she said. And, if you're worried, fake blood does come out of clothes.

Models: Jaime Keefner and Mike Bixby with assistance by Jennifer Ferrer and Krystal Carroll

What you'll need:

• FX (special effects) makeup: including a basic color wheel with shades of red, black and white. White grease or cream makeup.

• Liquid latex

• Cotton balls

• Fake blood (a blood gel works best)

• Your favorite moisturizer

• Concealer, foundation, bronzer, setting powder and your favorite smokey trio of eyeshadow

• Fake eyelashes

• Makeup brushes, sponges

• Makeup removal wipes or baby wipes, paper towels

• Fake monster eye contact lenses (if you're feeling adventurous!)

Most of these items can be purchased online, or at Walmart, Spirit Halloween stores and occasionally Ulta Beauty.

How to make a Half Monster Face

Step 1:

Start with a clean face and cover with a moisturizer. Jordan said this will make it easier to remove the makeup after the fun is over and will protect your skin. Before you start anything else, check and make sure the person you are working with has no latex allergies. Latex-based makeups can cause reactions for some people.

Step 2:

Make your scar. Dip cotton balls into the latex paint and begin to slowly tear the cotton apart, creating a long string. Gently apply the latex-covered string on the face, starting from the forehead and working your way down the face to the throat. This may take two or three cotton balls. You don't want the line to be thin because the thickness will create the 3-D effect of the scar. This line will create the boundary scar for the "good" side and the monster "bad" side. Leave the scar alone to dry.

Step 3:

Start working on the "good" side by applying concealer to even out the skin tone and then foundation. Once you get an even skin tone, apply a bronzer to highlight the cheekbone. Apply an eye primer (if you have some) on the eyelids, so the makeup will stay and hold better. Then create your favorite smokey eye look, using a lighter color right under the eyebrow as a highlighter, and darker shade on each lid. Apply liquid eyeliner.

On the monster side, start pulling down the darker eye makeup under the eye to make the eye look like it's running.

Step 4:

Finish the eyes with fake eyelashes. Pro tip from Jordan: apply mascara to the fake eyelashes to unstick them and to get them to blend in better with your natural lashes. This will help them stay put longer. Using tweezers to apply the lashes will make the task easier, as well.

Step 5:

After the latex scar has dried a little bit, put foundation (gently!) over the scar to match it to the skin tone.

Step 6:

Time to get really creative! Using your zombie wheel of makeup, start applying red around the scar to make it look like veins. There is no right or wrong here, according to Jordan, "just go with the flow." Then take your black makeup and smudge around the red, filling in the gaps to make it look like a more blended look. If you're feeling brave, use the black at the top of the scar to create a bruised look. Don't be afraid to smudge with your fingers to blend the colors together, said Jordan.

Step 7:

Using a white grease or cream makeup, create monster teeth on the lips, stretching across the "bad" side of the face. Use the black to fill in the rest of the mouth, gently smudging the black into the white with your fingertips.

Step 8:

Grab your paper towels, this part gets messy! Using the fake blood gel, apply a layer of "fresh" blood along the scar line. This stuff will drip, so holding a paper towel under the chin can catch some excess. You'll want to let this dry for a minute or so before moving on to the next step.

Step 9:

Put your monster contact lens in the eye of the "bad side" and be prepared to freak out your friends with the blink of an eye.

Step 10:

Step back and make sure there's no blending that needs to be done, or extra fake blood needed. Then there's nothing left but to join the undead for a night of fun.

How to make "Gears in motion"

Step 1:

(Note: this works best on bald heads!) Take strips of paper towel and dip them in the latex liquid. Apply around crown of the head, overlapping the wet strips to create a thick band of latex all the way around.

Step 2:

Once the latex has dried (give it at least 30 minutes to an hour) start cutting from the top of the band to about halfway, creating flaps all around the head.

Step 3:

In this example, Jordan had a cap with gears created to fit her model's head. You, of course, don't have to do that (more power to you, if you do!) Instead, consider purchasing a brain cap online, so the final result looks like your brains popped out from the top of your head. (Sorry to be so graphic, but we're creating zombies here.) Put the cap on top of the head, fitting it snugly into the rest of the latex band around the head.

Step 4:

Take the red makeup from your zombie wheel and start applying it to the latex flaps hanging over. Use black to highlight and fill in spots. Blend with your fingers.

Step 5:

Use foundation to match the latex headband to the face, blending it in so it looks like part of the head. Apply foundation over the whole face.

Step 6:

Use black makeup around the eyes to give a sunken, withdrawn look. Apply more black around the headpiece and blend, in order to give the zombie face and head a more unified look.

Step 7:

Take your red makeup and make veins around the head and on the face. Blend in with your fingers.

Step 8:

Time to get messy again. Use your fake gel blood and drip it down from the "open wound" in the head.


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