Whether you’re gearing up for Halloween or just love a good transformation, this episode will give you everything you need to pull off a beastly look. So, if you’re ready to shed your skin, release your inner creature and craft a show-stopping werewolf look, let’s leap right in.

create a screamworthy werewolf
snarling werewolf makeup

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • Planning and preparation are essential to create a successful and striking werewolf makeup look.
  • The importance of conducting a fitting or test makeup session prior to your makeup application.
  • Involving other skilled artists in their areas of expertise can significantly enhance the quality and impact of your work.

Episode 70: Show notes

snarling werewolf makeup

Not too long ago, I posted on my Instagram page some piccies of an oldie but a goodie werewolf makeup that I did. So many years ago that I applied him now, I think it was ten.

After the images of this makeup went up, (thanks in no small part to the photographic gift that is Brett Stanley) I got a fair few questions back from you about how I did certain things.

So I thought I’d dedicate an entire episode to exactly how I created my werewolf look and things that may help you when it’s time to create and apply your very own werewolf, too. 

Might I add a huge thanks and bucket loads of gratitude must also go out to RBFX and the sculpting of Nick Marra all those years ago. It’s still one of my favorite appliances. And while we’re at it, a little shout-out and hello to Roland and RBFX.

Might I add that Halloween is fast approaching in just a number of months at the time of this recording. So for my halloweenists and I know I have a lot of friends that I know are heavily passionate and into Halloween.
So I guess that means it’s time to start thinking, right? And I’m sure the stores will have the orange color story splashed about all over the walls soon. And pumpkins a-plenty before no time at all.

Your Werewolf Design

The first thing is you should start to think about your design, isn’t it?

Ask yourself the question: Are you building this makeup yourself from scratch, or are you going to buy ready-made appliances off the shelf?

And with that comes the concept of reference images. 

Using references should apply to everything you do in makeup. You can find out why right here.

 I always like to look at real images from nature and real life.

I still have a folder of wolf and dog images on my computer – full of the references that I use for my little werewolf makeup back in 2014. 

That makeup put me on the map in LA when I first made the move. And it’s still a makeup that some people identify me with today, which is really cool and was totally unexpected at the time. 

And what goes hand in hand and is way more important than you might think is choosing your model.

Now, if you’re working on a movie project, and are part of a larger crew, these parts of the process may already be well and truly in place when your involvement begins, and therefore may not apply.

But if this is a project for yourself that you’re doing from start to finish, and it’s your baby to do with what you will, which is how I’m treating this post. 

Your Werewolf Model Choice

Choosing your model is as important as the design itself, and I think it’s something that people can overlook.

It can also end up in the last-minute pile, as we’ve all had a model cancel on us the night before or, heaven forbid, the morning of (aargh – werewolf howl) and all that sort of drama.

 It’s important to recognize this from day one, because without the right model, your makeup design can fall flat or not be brought to life as well as it has the potential to be. 

And that’s the whole point isn’t it? You’re investing all your time and expertise and skills and money in this, to create a cool image. And ultimately, have fun doing it, but it really can all be let down by the wrong model choice. 

So please do remember that, because your model is everything.

Well, not literally everything, but it is a whole lot of things. 

You’ll want to take into consideration whether your model is comfortable in front of the camera, because not everybody is. 

And if you are hoping to use dentures or contact lenses, are they okay wearing those as well? Are their eyes okay? They don’t have any bridge work or any wire work in their teeth that, that might sort of get in the way of dentures or if you’re making anything with flexacryl, any allergies that they might have all those standard questions that you usually ask when you first get the wheels in motion about your makeup. 

At this point, I’d be remiss to include the point that if you are exploring teeth and lenses, please, please see and optician and get yourself educated about lenses. And look into getting professional lenses made – if it’s that crucial to your design and project.

There are some horrendous stories that all began with ignorance and lack of education when it comes to prep.

My advice to you, if you’re uncomfortable or if your model is uncomfortable about wearing lenses is simply – don’t. This is such an easy fix on a digital editing program like photoshop or procreate.
And not that I’m saying you can go all digital on us practical makeup advocates, but for small things that do end up saving time, and potentially a whole lot of pain, these are solid solutions.

Then there are the facial features and proportions of the model. Do they work for your design? Now, this is where you may appreciate how truly important your model choice is. And as I said, how commonly it can be overlooked.

And why I mention this now is because if you are going down the route of using appliances that already exist, you really need to analyze the face that you’ll be working on to create your werewolf makeup on.
For instance, do you want someone with really big eyes? Or perhaps you want a more sinister looking character that may have smaller eyes and smaller features? Because if your design has prominent eye brows and a hevay brow line, if the model has tiny eyes, they may get lost inside the brow ridge.

It’s entirely up to you and the physiognomy of your available model.

Why? Because their own face is going to have a big influence on the proportions of the facial features of your makeup.

Now, if you’re using an appliance that you already have, do check the sizing of it. Is it a small piece? Because I have noticed that some of the appliances that I’ve used that are generic and off the shelf and certainly not custom made are on the small side. And if that’s the case, then you should look at people with small faces, small frames.

If you don’t know, if you can’t tell about the size from looking at your appliance, try it on first.

Perhaps you’re not using appliances at all, and you’re going to do a face paint or character makeup, which is a really cool idea, by the way.

I think we should bring this back. Let’s get back to some Rick Baker inspired makeups that rely solely on the principals of light and shadow, and rely on face paints and the human form.  That’s what I’m going to do next, I’ve just decided – right here and now – fun characater makeup using straight out of the kit makeup and facial hair. That’s it.

If you don’t have access to your model, you can try your appliance on your own face as a guide. Because you should have an idea about what size face you have, and then that’ll help dictate where you go from there and the decisions that you make.

What is the thickness of the appliance? If you’re using an off-the-shelf one, it may be quite thick and bulky in areas such as the chin or jawbone. And if you’re going to apply this to someone with a full face or a prominent chin, then the overall shape and silhouette and even profile of the makeup and your finished look will change altogether, won’t it?

This is all really important stuff.

So do consider your model very carefully and really know their face first. Take photos and really study them. If you’re designing and sculpting your own makeup, then you can work to customize that makeup design to work in harmony with their own facial features. And once you have all those things locked in, you know what your makeup is going to look like. You’ve got your model worked out, they’re all prepared and ready.
They know what they’re in for. And whether you’ve made your own appliances or you’ve got generic ones that have flown off the shelf and happily made their way into your home, you’ll want to do a fitting or some version of a test makeup.

Fittings and Tests

I love doing these fittings. They’re so informative, no matter the scope of your project.

Even if it’s just as simple as meeting up with your model, so they can see what’s in store and the two of you can have a chat. Everyone is informed and organized and everything’s been discussed. It  gives you a chance to talk face to face with your model, because once you get going on the day, it’s such a different focus that you have.
So to be one-on-one with them beforehand, I think it’s really important as well. You know, even something as simple as just speaking eye to eye and face to face instead of them in the chair, you know, so many things that, that really help the flow of the whole process.

Try to think about all the preparation that you need to do before the day. 

For me, I always try to do the fitting, at least at the very latest, a few days before your application day. Not only is this invaluable for you to give you a bit of a dry run, it will help to put your model at ease and give them a taste of what you’ll be doing on the day. 

It’s always a good last minute check that someone can bring things up that you might have forgotten about or that might have just slipped your mind entirely until now. 

Organize Your Makeup Kit

It’s also vital that your kit is well organized before your big day too. If you’ve had to source anything specific or get any particular makeup products or accessories that complement your overall look, you have that time.  

Bring in A Photographer

Another aspect that I highly recommend you consider before the day is a photographer.

A long time ago, I just used to take my own photos. You know, I was stubborn. I was like, oh, “I can do everything,” and just keep it simple. 

But what I’ve learned over the years is that if there is someone who can do something better than you can, get them to do what they do best instead. 

And aside from a photographer actually knowing their craft, having an eye, and being someone that’s not as close to the work as you are, they see things that you don’t.

They’re highly skilled and obviously technically proficient in their work because that’s what they do, right?

So they’ll bring things to your creation that you would never dream of.

This is true. I’ve seen this happen. Time and time again.
They have ideas way beyond your own. They have a different perspective and a fresh perspective.

From a practical point of view, once you finish your makeup, you’re usually a bit tired, I imagine.

I always feel depleted after brushes are down, and I feel now that my photos in the past used to suffer because of it. Or I’d literally get one or two decent photos out of 200.

So by bringing in someone else who is not only way more gifted at that role than you or I will ever be, they’re also fresh and have a zesty energy that you’ll probably be lacking in come time to take the photos. 

And you can also sit back a bit and enjoy that process, take it all in, and watch the photography. It’s quite a rewarding process to sit back and take in and just do your finessing you need to do for specific photos.

Your photographer can also shoot some behind the scenes stuff and some iPhone video while you’re doing the makeup, too.

This is always going to be a plus for your IG posts and reels. And if you didn’t hear last week’s episode all about what Instagram can do for you, do go and check it out, because I think it’s a good time for Instagram growth.

I think we should all be going for broke if that sort of stuff is important to you. But go check out last week’s episode all about Instagram.

Hair Work

 Okay, we’ve talked about all the logistical aspects of your makeup, “But Kerrin, what about the hair?” 

And all I will say is that do as much of this work before the day as you can. 

Of all the hair work that you want to incorporate in your design, if you can do 90% of it in your prep work and just keep, the areas that are near bending edges that you’ll obviously have to do during the makeup application.

Try and keep it minimal for the application because it can add a lot of time and stretch that day out. And if you’re anything like me, I like to keep it short. 

These days, I just don’t have the patience for massively long application times anymore. Get it done!

If punching and hand laying is not in your repertoire, then that’s totally fine.

Source some lace pieces or bring in someone to help you with the makeup – if that is their thing and that they love doing it.  Make it a team project and have some fun with it. 

This doesn’t mean that you have to take out a first home buyer’s loan just to buy custom-made lace pieces. 

A lot of working makeup artists now have a healthy stock of their own lace hair pieces, which they could be more than happy to rent out to you at very reasonable rates these days.
So just get looking on social media and just start asking. Because. Because you might find some really good deals for just renting lace pieces or maybe even buying some if they’re pieces that that particular person is happy to part with.

You might even find some creature-y kind of wolfy ones already. And then, of course, you’ve got your styling and, and things like that that you can do just to create cool shapes and textures with the hair. It’s all entirely up to you.

And that’s what makes makeup so fun, right? At least personal projects.

If you are going to spend the time and get into hair punching, I do recommend you allow plenty of time for it. It is slow going, so don’t set your shoot date in a week from now. Take it slow. But do set yourself a date from the get go, because otherwise it can drag on for years and you’ll never get around to doing the application.

Maybe set a date maybe six weeks from when you start. That’s a good timeframe, maybe even a couple of months if you’re working and just have weekends. But stick to it because that feeling of accomplishment is totally rewarding.

And then once you know what hair is involved, get your punching needles and hair and fur, if you’re going to take that route. And if so, you’re going to want to allow even more time because fur is finer than hair and it will take longer, I promise. Now, if you haven’t heard me carry on about this before, use references.

They will help you so much with growth patterns, with super cool color combinations, distribution, and density. All the things that can make or break your hair work. 

Now, if you’re uncomfortable doing it, just keep it simple. Perhaps you can adapt your look to take advantage of the things you don’

t like doing. And by that I mean, you could do a mangy werewolf that’s hardly got any hair, and you could add some sort of open skin and welty wounds where his hair has all fallen out, or some kind of messed up, grimy pirate werewolf character that has a torn flannel shirt and a bandana or a patch over one eye or a big scar or something. Make it work for you. And you might even come across a few really fun character details through costume, wigs, and accessories.

I mean, way better than what I just came up with, too. 

But you can minimize the hair work and make it work in your favor. If that’s not your thing, just be smart and just start brainstorming. 

Because that way you might even come up with some even better ideas. And that’s also going to personalize your design and make it so much more unique when you finally pop it on Instagram. It’s the added extras on the day that can sometimes get overlooked or even just forgotten. Ever done that? You finish the makeup and then you come back inside and you clean up, and then you find a little bag of something, “Oh, we forgot to put the earrings in,” something like that. 

Those little details that just personalize the look so much more.
They can really be fun. And it’s just like the little cherry on the top, aren’t they?

I’m a sucker for having a bit of a play and pushing it for the last pics of the day, including the addition of some blood on the teeth and in the fur and just a little spritz of water spray just for added grittiness. 

Or if you want to go dirty, if it’s a. If it’s a light colored fur or skin tone, just some ground in dirt and things like that, that can all add that extra layer and extra context to the character.

Make sure you choose interesting locations for your photos, too. And try to get finished early enough in the day to get some lovely, even outdoor lighting, too. Remember that overcast is best because that is if you don’t have access to a fancy pants studio for your photography. But all these things can, can really help you achieve a more unique and cool character.

Make Lists

Now, lastly, before we go, make yourself a list.

Plot out your goal, what you want to achieve with this exercise, because you are investing, you know, blood, sweat, and tears, literally.

With your checklist, once you get creating, start marking off things because it feels so good.

Once you start crossing those things off, and by writing things down as well, you will commit to the task so much more actively. It’s proven to be so. So make lists. I love a good list. 

And get your werewolf makeup done with a with a hefty list in tow, you’ll be flying. 

So I hope you’ve enjoyed my slight indulgence in the world of the werewolf. 

I hope you go away thinking about, and I don’t know about you, but it just makes me think of Creedence Clearwater Revival or popping on a little bit of Van Morrison. And at the very least, watching American Werewolf in London, because how can you not after talking about werewolves?

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Featured Image by Brett Stanley

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