Costume Makeup – Adding Highlight

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 20,627
    Makeup artist Emily Bodak demonstrates how to add highlights to cat makeup.

    Emily Bodak

    Hi, I'm Emily! Costume and character makeup are awesome, you can become your most favourite things! Don't hold back, imagination is where it's at!

    Hi, I am Emily at Masters Costumes here in Arlington, Virginia, and we are teaching you how to make a very effective cat face, any feline really. What I have done is I have applied a cat nose and muzzle prosthetic to Heather here, and then we have applied a base all over.

    I opted for right now to stick to something kind of close to her skin tone, so that it would blend very effectively. Obviously, you want to go with whatever is consistent to your costumes. So, if youre going to do a black cat, you would start with -- I would start with kind of a grayish base, and then do black on top of it. We will do a demo for that, for right now we are just going to give you a brief introduction on how to manipulate the face using highlight and shadow, so that she looks a little bit more like a cat, and a little bit less like a person. The main thing about cat faces is they do have the muzzle which elongates the cheekbones and it also creates a much more broad bridge of the nose that most people have. So, we are going to go ahead and create an optical illusion using a highlight. Any type of highlight, you want it to be lighter than the base. You want to light this part on the face. Right now we are going to work with the cream base makeup, which is going to need to be powdered in order to set, it will not dry, it needs to be set with the powder. This gives us the ultimate amount of blending ability. Its also going to stay on the longest. It would be a lot easier to wear for a long period of time without sweating off or coming off on your costume, or when you touch it.

    So, basically, we have the major parts of a cats face; the bridge of the nose, the muzzle, the cheeks, and the broad expanse of the forehead and brow. So, we are going to achieve that by applying highlight to those places.

    Now, the bridge of the nose is going to be very important. The way that you make this look like its wider than it is, and this is going to be especially important to utilize this step if you are not using a prosthetic that automatically widens the nose.

    You are just going to basically take the line from either end, where the nose ends, and draw straight up. Its actually not even going to come very far from the inner corner of your eye, so thats a really good place to start.

    I am using a flat tip brush, which is great for a broad stroke, or also if you need fine detail work, its really good for all around effects. Also, feel free to use your fingers, its going to be way easier to blend with that if you are able to utilize that technique.

    So, we are taking a highlight, and we are just pulling that bridge of that nose all the way out. The inner corner of the eyebrow is probably a really good place to use as a reference point.

    Once you are done on both sides, now the brows, right above the eyebrow you are going to want to apply highlight, and we will blend all this together in a second. Right now we are being really sharp in contrast, we can blend later, its going to be a lot easier using the cream makeup than using a water base makeup.

    The muzzle as well, the highest point can use some highlight. Then we are going to follow the highest point of the cheeks as though we were superimposing that cats bone structure onto Heathers face.

    If you are not really able to visualize the cats bone structure and you cant make your cat sit there for 45 minutes while you paint, its good to go online and try to get a real good close up of whatever kind of cat you are trying to look like, and just copy it. Copy it onto your own face as best as possible. Any place where there is a highlight there has to be a shadow. So, we are going to take a deeper color than our gold, and we are actually going to trace along the edge of that highlight with shadow, and thats really going to make that gold color pop. So, I have got a couple of different shades of bronze and browns that we can use. In this case we are doing kind of a sparkly fantasy cat, and none of these colors are very far from the base. So, right now, we havent blended, we have a very sharp line where the highlight and the base are.

    So, we are going to trace that line with the shadow, and just kind of feather that down a little bit. Feel free to go on over onto the prosthetic, you want a continuos line on the prosthetic and on the face.

    Right along that line that goes down the bridge of the nose, where that dip would in theory start on a cat, bring that shadow down, and then the brow, follow that line, usually from the outer corner of the eyebrow, kind of circling around, past the temple.

    If you have got an earpiece or a wig thats going to cover the forehead, then thats not going to be as important. We are going to show you now.

    Follow the ridge of the cheek, you can even kind of suck your cheeks in. So, Heather, can you suck your cheeks in, a little bit more. A lot of this is working with the natural contours of your face, that is whats going to make it the most realistic for you.

    It also helps if you already kind of look like a cat. We cant all be Debby hairy. Just kind of dab that until you have a nice soft line, you dont want to pull that line out too much. You do want to pull it into the base, any place where you see a sharp contrast. You can just dab over the whole thing, just to kind of obliterate those sharp lines, and make it consistently flow as though her face were actually shaped this way, what we are doing is creating an optical illusion.

    The only thing that makes the surface look like its raised or pronounced is because the light hits it first, and highlight especially something with a shimmer in it, like what I am using here with the gold is going to catch the light immediately, draw your eye to it, and really create an optical illusion, and make you think that she has got the bone structure of a cat.

    So, we are going to keep blending here. Next, I am going to show you how to do hair and spot and stripe techniques for whatever kind of feline face you are trying to achieve.