I sculpted a makeup prosthetic for a mascot character that I created for a website I run. And though I didn’t do the makeup application, I’m still fairly proud of that one. I’m finishing up a human skull sculpture that is likely the best thing I’ve done so far. It’s a drastic improvement on the one I did four or so years ago. In a few years, I’ll probably hate it.

I did a really simple effect for a short film called "The Retreat" that turned out pretty well. It called for a guy playing a soldier to have his helmet removed, which allowed a chunk of the back of a guy's head slide off, revealing a grevious wound. I only had, like, a week to do it. And I have a day job, so that's only a few evenings. So I ended up with something simple. It consisted of a sculpted and cast latex piece that attached to the back of the actor's head. It had exposed brain, broken bone and skin flaps. And I also make a piece of skull with hair on it to fit over that. At the shoot, I covered the piece on his head with crushed banana bits and fake blood, put the outside chunk on that, and the helmet over that.

When they removed the helmet, it worked great. The outside piece slowly slid off and it actually looked like his brains were exposed. For what it was, it worked better than I expected.

Q. Have you ever worked with a makeup artist to learn your craft?

I met St. Paul makeup artist Crist Ballas about four years ago, and he’s made a gigantic impact on what I’m capable of. He’s worked on numerous films, and is a fantastic artist. He and another local makeup artist, Nate Courteau, have been very generous and supportive. If it wasn’t for those two, I probably would have given up on this stuff years ago. I’ve
also met, and gotten tips and advise, from a bunch of people from the Monster Lab special fx forum. Again, a great, talented and generous
bunch of people who I owe a lot of my progress to.

Q. What books have you found helpful in special effects/makeup work?

There are a few good books on makeup out there. While still in High School, I discovered Lee Baygan’s "Techniques of Three Dimensional Makeup" at the library, and it kind of knocked me out. I was so excited that you could actually do this stuff, without complicated machinery and whatnot. In essence, it’s mostly mold making and sculpture. There are a bunch of books out there that are worth checking out if your into makeup fx. "Stage Makeup" by Ricard Corsen is a good textbook introduction to the basics. Tom Savini has a couple of books out "Grand Illusions 1 & 2" Which covers his career and includes some valuable tips and technical stuff like lifecasting and hair punching. Otherwise, anatomy reference books are very important. That’s the only way to learn the human form is to just study every anatomy