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Become a ... SFX makeup artist.

Dorota Buczel

Special Effects Makeup Artist

Dorota is a makeup artist with some very unusual assignments. Unlike most makeup artists, she uses special effects makeup to make her clients look scary, creepy and downright terrifying! Kidsworld caught up with the Toronto-based artist to get the scoop on how you can get a job in SFX makeup--or just some tips on how to make your look extra-scary this Halloween.


KW: How is SFX makeup different from regular makeup?

DB: SFX makeup is different from regular makeup artistry because as a regular makeup artist your job is to make your clients look "better" and as an FX artist you often have to make somebody look "worse" or turn them into a totally different character! A SFX artist is like an alchemist--always mixing different makeup formulas or coming up with new ones to achieve desired results while being very cautious of the safety of a client and his or her environment.

KW: How and when did you get involved in special effects makeup?

DB: I've always been intrigued with SFX in movies so I knew from a very young age that this is something that I wanted to be doing for a career. I enrolled in a special FX makeup program 11 years ago and since then I've been fortunate enough to be doing what I love.

KW: What's the best part of your job?

DB: The best part of my job is meeting incredible people from all walks of life and being in charge of my own schedule. I love being creative!

KW: What is the craziest SFX makeup job you've done?

DB: Over the years I've done many crazy makeup jobs, but some of the more memorable ones were always on Halloween! Last year for example a couple asked me to change their gender and turn them into a pair of dead zombies! First I had to make the woman look like her husband and the husband like the wife--and then I had to make them look dead and scary.

To get that effect, I did a lot of prep work, first distressing and airbrushing their wigs and costumes, which is always fun, and then zombifying them from head to toe using whatever makeup I had in the studio. We even used real dead worms and other gross things to make them look as scary as possible. Everyone had a blast! The couple ended up wining the costume contest at the event which they attended and promised to be back this year with more crazy ideas! I think that everyone should try something daring this Halloween t

KW: How long does it take to totally zombify someone's face? What kinds of makeup do you use?

DB: It doesn't take too long to zombify a face, in fact anyone can do it! You just need a few essential ingredients and a good imagination. To do a simple zombie look on yourself or your friends you will need few zombie foundation colours including grey, dull green and black. You will also need some liquid latex, cotton balls or tissue paper, hair dryer, blood, setting powder as well as some brushes and sponges.

First, sponge on a few layers of liquid latex mixed with small pieces of cotton or tissue onto the skin, powder it and tear the edges of the dried latex letting some pieces dangle from the skin. Tissue paper or cotton are often used to make a wrinkled or peeling skin effect perfect for scary zombies! Lastly, apply the grey, green and black foundation to some areas of the face in a very careless way, receding the cheekbones and the eye area for a "sunken-in" dead look adding some blood to certain areas to spice things up and voila!--you have an awesome zombie!

KW: How can someone at home do a great scary makeup job using drugstore makeup/what's in the medicine cabinet?

DB: Yes, absolutely! There are a lot of great products out there that anyone can find in a drugstore as well as at home in the kitchen. For example, to make blood you just mix corn syrup and food colouring and you have yummy, inexpensive blood. Add some red fruit jam or corn flakes and you have fresh scab! It's all about getting creative--but always keep safety and skin allergies in mind.

KW: Do you do SFX makeup on yourself for Halloween?

DB: occasionally do FX makeup on myself on Halloween. Since it's the busiest day of the year for me, I barely have time to get ready myself. I usually put something together very quickly or at the last minute and then go out and enjoy this magical night with great company admiring all the amazing costumes.

To see more of Dorota's work, visit



Top 5 SFX Makeup Movies

The special effects in these hit films were hand-done with makeup and prosthetics, not computers!

5. "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" This flick uses makeup to artificially age Brad Pitt.

4. "Pan's Labyrinth" Prosthetics and full creature suits turn actors into otherworldly beings.

3. "The Fly" This film is famous for its full-body suit and life sized puppet.

2. "The Evil Dead" This trilogy is the reason most experts get into SFX makeup

1. "The Lord of the Rings" Incredible prosthetics and makeup made this film's creatures memorable.

Photos from YTV Zombie Halloween, October 2008 Photographer: Dee Bouabane Assistant: Larissa Palaszczuk
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Title Annotation:COOL CAREERS!
Publication:Kidsworld Magazine
Article Type:Cover story
Date:Sep 22, 2009
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