Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Art of Makeup...

is something I don't actually know a whole lot about.

Let's face it. I'm an engineer. While I might be an expert with mathematics and logic, I tend to fail pretty hard in the arts department. And no small part of that is because I don't practice.

Anyways, on the last Larpcast, we talked about the importance of makeup, even though both Mickey and I are rather unskilled with actual makeup. And there are two very interesting points that I've taken away from that podcast.

1. Airbrushes FTW

I don't really have any experience with them, but there was no shortage of praises sung for them in the comments. None of the chapters in this area (that I'm aware of) use them, and that's actually kind of surprising, now that I think of it.

Sure, it is kind of expensive. And yes, it's going to require some training for NPCs so that it can be used properly. But the speed and quality at which makeup can be applied is unparalleled. As such, I highly suggest any make up heavy games invest in an airbrush for NPCs. And make sure people are trained in it.

Which brings me to my second point...

2. We Need to Have a Theater Makeup Class

This is something Jenn had come up with back in the day, as something that WAR was thinking of hosting for plot teams, but never actually came to fruition. This is definitely one of the hardest things to do well as an NPC. Great makeup is far more immersive than good makeup, and nothing breaks immersion like bad makeup.

There's over 9000 colleges in the state of Ohio (see what I did there?) and there has to be a few of those that have a theatre department, who might enjoy holding a class for a bunch of LARPers. Even better, they might do it for free (or next to free) if they think it can be used as a learning experience for their students.

Someone make this happen, and I'll be happy to advertise for the class on the blog.

So what about you guys? Do you guys have any opinions on these topics, or any tricks that you've used to help makeup look better? Drop it in the comments!


  1. This is actually something I've made a hobby of...I've been toying with the idea of making some videos to help people with their own makeup.

    As for airbrushes--Northcoast Nero actually has one. I'm experimenting with it and hopefully in the near future we'll be able to use it on a regular basis.

  2. I figured if there was anyone in Ohio that knew how to use an Airbrush for makeup, it would be you.

    I'm glad to hear that NCN is giving it a shot. If you ever get some videos up on it, I'll be sure to link them here.

  3. I 100% agree with everything posted! I have been watching YouTube videos to get ideas, and with halloween around the corner there are even more vids.

    The biggest problem I find is time, everything is always go go go.

    WAR had an airbrush machine present for 2 events but the learning curve was extremely steep and it seen little use, but the use it did see turned out great.

  4. NERO Indy had an airbrush (and some makeup to go with it) donated last event. We haven't used it at an event yet, but we've been practicing using it outside of events. If we made stencils for it, it would be even quicker.

    We are starting to take pictures of how to do makeup for our various creatures. This way, they can be used for reference and we can have more consistency within and between events for particular creatures. For that same reason we purchased half masks for some of our common monsters.

    I personally feel that being able to consistently recognize creatures based on their costuming/makeup is more important than having occasional amazing costuming or makeup. Obviously, having consistently amazing and recognizable costuming is superior to both, but that's expensive.

  5. Hey, I'm quite proficient in stage makeup, especially for fantasy and injuries, the sort of stuff you're most likely to use in a LARP. I do teach theatre, and makeup is one of my favorite topics. Perhaps we can set something up. Also, if people were willing to travel into our part of WV, I'm sure I could set up a workshop with a college theatre professor that I do quite a bit of work with as well.

    I must agree with both of these prior statements:
    "The biggest problem I find is time, everything is always go go go."

    "being able to consistently recognize creatures based on their costuming/makeup is more important than having occasional amazing costuming or makeup"

  6. There's a group in Cleveland who is non profit that does monster, zombie and horror make-up. They are active in haunted houses, but I saw them in the summer at our town fair doing people's make-up. I think they'd be up for doing something like this, even for a small donation or fee it would be worth it.

    Now, if only I could remember their name! It was something like "League of Terror" :)

    Go, go Googles!

  7. I'm all for anything that makes LARP more immersive, and upping the standards of makeup and costuming is a good start.

    The bar is set dreadfully low for these things already, though some games don't care about immersion as much as others.

    There are tons of resources on the web for both, but getting lost wading into a sea of youtube videos and blog posts is not something many have the extra time for.

    I think the best thing for larps to do, aside from local classes, is to collect a small but informative batch of posts and videos instructing their players on various things.

    But please, no more massive lists of resources and links.

    -Scott Eerie