Products I used:
- Black/White Snazaroo Face Paint
- Palladio black liquid eyeliner
- Grey eyeshadow
With a new season of American Horror Story coming up, not to mention it being the season to bring all previous seasons together, I thought it would be appropriate to try doing a makeup from each of the past seasons. For the first season, I obviously had to go with Tate Langdon’s skull makeup. It’s a fairly simple makeup until you get to the wickedly detailed vertebrae design on the neck, and I really wasn’t sure how I was going to even attempt that.
Applying the Base
Applying a totally even and perfectly opaque white base has so far eluded me. I have picked up a few tips though and hopefully in time I’ll actually get this basic step nailed down.
Using white Snazaroo face paint and a flat foundation brush I loaded my brush up with as much paint as I could and applied it to my face with criss crossing strokes. I went over each area again before it was fully dry and I got a pretty thick and somewhat even base color.
Sketching the Design
Once I really took a good look at the Tate Langdon skull I realized it was a bit more detailed than I thought. I knew the neck was busy but when I really looked at it I noticed it was this gorgeous sketched array of bone and tissue.
My painting skills are not even close to that good so I was just going to come as close as possible. The basic shapes of the teeth and eyes were daunting enough so I sketched out a guideline for myself with grey eyeshadow using a thin eyeliner brush.
Filling in the Black
I used my black Snazaroo face paint and a thin brush to outline my nose and eye holes then filled them in with a thicker brush and more paint. I actually had to wash off part of the eyes, redo the white base, and draw the shape again because I had made them too big. After filling the eyes and nose in, I outlined them with my black liquid eyeliner to sharpen up the edges.
Adding More Detail
Using my grey eyeshadow again, I added the little bits of accents and shading around the eyes and nose. Because the back teeth and cheek hollows are shaped and shaded so perfectly in Tate Langdon’s makeup I tried sketching a little more detail with my grey eyeshadow. I was partly trying to draw a guide and partly just messing around to give myself and idea of how it should basically look.
More Filling with Black
I used the black Snazaroo paint again to outline each tooth and fill in the hollow cheeks. I went back and forth between white and black paint in an attempt to get the shading close to the original makeup I was copying. My end result was not at all close but they kind of still looked like skeleton teeth so I went it with. I outlined some of the areas with black eyeliner to make the lines sharper and the black darker.
Painting the Neck
Sigh. Let me just say, not only am I new to SFX makeup but I’m mostly new to art in general. I don’t have a ton of natural drawing and sketching skills and I’m also really struggling to teach myself how to pay close attention to what I’m looking at then translate it into my makeup. My end result is not even comparable to the Tate Langdon makeup but it was good practice at least.
I sketched a really basic version of the vertebrae with grey eyeshadow, added the most apparent lines of tissue from the original design, then went over it with black face paint. I added a bit of shading here and here with black paint and then went over just the main spots with some liquid eyeliner to create more depth in the whole thing.
Finishing Touches and Final Results
To really channel our ol’ buddy Tate I slicked my hair back with a little of my husband’s hair gel, realized that was a horrible, sticky mistake, tied the majority of it back with a hair clip, then sprayed it all with some hair spray.
I threw on a black t-shirt and my black leather jacket and was off to mean mug at the camera.
What I Learned
If I didn’t have a reference picture to haunt me with its judging gaze I probably would have been decently happy with this makeup. My main challenge was the detail in the neck and the perfect shading in the cheek hollows and back teeth.
If I were to attempt this again I think it would have been a good idea to sketch the design out on paper first to let my brain really absorb what it was seeing. I may have been less overwhelmed when it came time to paint that spinal cord into my neck. The white base could also have been a little more even but I’m pretty sure that will be a continuous battle on my SFX adventures.