Creative & SFX Makeup

The Creative, Theatre, and SFX Makeup Course is for people interested in gaining specialist skills in creative makeup for film, television, theatre, fashion and photography. In this SFX & Creative Makeup course, you will learn the basics of SFX makeup, including how to create different looks and effects. 

You will also learn about the different products and techniques that are used in SFX makeup, so that you can create the perfect look for the next project you are working on.

So, whether you are looking to create a simple wound or an elaborate creature effect, this course will teach you the skills you need to know. Enroll now and let your creativity run wild!

Course Duration

Maximum Class Size

About Creative & SFX Makeup Course

The Creative and SFX Makeup Course can open new doors into the film, magazine, theatre and TV industry. If you are already a makeup artist or would like to start a new career in the creative/special effects makeup industry, this course can offer you the techniques, confidence and understanding to allow you to participate in the field as a creative, theatre and SFX makeup artist.

Intended for those interested in gaining specialist skills in creative makeup for film, television, theatre, fashion, and photography. Delivered over 14 weeks, one night a week. Allows the individual to still work while you train with us.

No prior experience required. This course can offer you the techniques, confidence and understanding to allow you to participate in the field as a creative, theatre and SFX makeup artist. Has the ability to open new doors into the film, magazine, theatre, and TV industry.


What we cover

  • Male Makeup
  • Old Age Theatre Makeup and Illness
  • Period Makeup (20’s – 90’s)
  • Creative & Character Makeup design and application
  • Covering Eyebrows with Drag Queen application
  • Bald cap making and application
  • Bruising, Cuts & Grazes Burns, Scars, Blisters
  • Diseases, Death
  • Makeup Foam Latex Character Applications

Course Outline

Week 1: Product Knowledge Session/Lighting & Stage Knowledge/Male Makeup

Week 2: Old Age Theatre Makeup and Illness

Week 3: Period Makeup choice 1 (20’s – 90’s)

Week 4: Period Makeup choice 2 (20’s – 90’s)

Week 5: Creative & Character Makeup

Week 6: Covering Eyebrows

Week 7: Bald Cap Making

Week 8: Bald Cap Application

Week 9: Drag Queen Application

Week 10: Character Makeup, Creative Makeup

Week 11: Bruising, Cuts & Grazes

Week 12: Burns, Scars, Blisters

Week 13: Diseases, Death Makeup

Week 14: Foam Latex Character Applications

Course Features

Max. 6 Students

Our small class sizes allow our trainers to dedicate time and attention to each student.

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Career Outcomes

This type of career requires you to work on television, commercial or film sets, or in designated makeup trailers throughout the filming duration.


It can be quite complex or it can be simple so it varies on the production and character role. An example of a complex one is the special effects makeup artist working on a zombie character portrayed by an actor. A simple one could be enhancing the actor’s appearance through small touch-ups. 

There are four types of different film and television makeup artist roles: the main leader being the “key makeup artist”, next is the “makeup artist”, the “makeup assistant” and lastly the “special effects makeup artist” (also known as the “SFX makeup artist”).

  • Key Makeup Artist (KMUA): They are in charge of designing each individual actor’s makeup. They get to apply makeup on lead roles and actors however they carry out the complex designs. On the other hand, they do delegate the makeup artists and makeup assistants to make sure the makeup runs smoothly throughout the film shooting. 
  • Makeup Artist: These artists are responsible for applying makeup for non-leading actors and supporting roles. They are under the supervision of the key makeup artist and they’re responsible for achieving the original designs by the KMUA. 
  • Makeup Assistant: They assist the makeup artists with body makeup application on the actors (for example, body painting or body art) along with organising the makeup kits and other smaller tasks. The KMUA may also send them tasks to accommodate the “photographing casts’” makeup and ensure that it is consistent in reshoots (if necessary). 
  • Special Effects Makeup Artist: Known as an SFX Makeup Artist (as mentioned previously), their job can be quite divisively challenging. They are required to have knowledge of basic film makeup and advanced SFX makeup techniques. They are responsible for any special makeup effects alongside applying prosthetics (i.e wounds, winkles, supernatural features for dramatic effects, etc) or applying “foam latex” (these are used to create three-dimensional prosthetic effects).

Your job is to apply makeup to characters portrayed by actors to enhance their natural physical appearance. Other times you will be working with different characters that require heavy specialty makeup for that desired look (such as airbrushing, wigs, prosthetics, hairpieces and more). Not only will you be applying makeup, but your job might also require you to read scripts, and study the characters and background settings to create the sketches. 


The front-row audience (remotely from the stage) will be looking at the actors’ expressions so it is crucial to make the actors “look their best” by making their cheeks rosier and eyes look bigger. Lighting will also have an effect on their makeup as well

What You Will Learm

Makeup for the theatre is significantly different from everyday makeup. Theatre make-up and cosmetic make-up have two distinct objectives. Cosmetics are used to cover flaws, enhance features, and improve a person’s appearance. Theatre makeup is often used to create a character. Instead of hiding and correcting flaws, you might enhance imperfections rather than hiding them or employing dramatic application techniques rather than opting for subtlety. Cosmetic products can be used for theatrical purposes, but in general, theatre makeup is needed to create the right look for the stage.

  • There are a few factors to take into consideration.
  • Where will the performance take place?
  • Size of the venue? Small or large?
  • Inside or outside?
  • What kind of lighting is being used?
  • Will coloured lighting be used?

The size of the venue determines the lighting required to light the space and determines the makeup application from subtle to dramatic. Coloured lighting determines the colours to use in the makeup. Generally, you’d use contrasting colours to stand out in the lighting.

Once you have considered these factors, you can begin to decide on the products and application techniques that will work best for you.

Compared to traditional makeup where you make the actors more attractive, hide flaws and enhance beauty, as an SFX artist you are there to turn them into scary, supernatural, wounded or creature-like characters. Realism and imagination are the goals of making your insane interpretations alive.

Character makeup artists have the creative ability to change a person’s physical appearance to suit the requirements of a film or art script. You’ll be working with a wide range of facial features, ages, personality traits, deformities or anything that requires dressing up or enhancing the face or body.

You might work with a wide variety of characters from something out of a horror movie to something more abstract and unique. For example characters like werewolves, witches, aliens, monsters and more.

For SFX character makeup artists, you have options of working for Halloween events, custom parties, film sets, prints or theatre. You will most likely be using your SFX makeup skills in genres such as horror, fantasy, science fiction or thriller media. Examples of character makeup in films are “It” (the clown in Stephen King’s movie “It”), Samara (from the movie “The Ring”) and Galadriel (the royal elf from the movie “Lord Of The Rings”).

While our technology has expanded to create a world of computer-generated special effects, an SFX makeup artist is still important in creating a solid connection between actors and the fantasy world around them. Especially when CGI isn’t an option when working in the theatre field.

Not only will you be transforming a character but you’ll be adding realistic bruising, blood and grazes using cosmetics and prosthetics to modify an actor’s appearance. This makes the scene look realistic and allows actors to connect more with their character roles.

You’ll be working with different ranges of materials (such as silicone, rubber, latex and gelatin) to create scars, cuts, wounds, burns, bruises, mutations and more. You might work with mouldable wax to create three-dimensional effects, raised scars or add-ons to an actor’s facial features. 

Your job as an SFX artist is to use these combinations of cosmetics and materials to create different types of injuries on the skin. This is called “trauma makeup”. For example, a character during a fight scene or a vampire sucking blood. You can find tv shows such as The Good Doctor and Grey’s Anatomy that use SFX makeup for the surgery scenes.

When it comes to creating trauma makeup, you need to have the care and attention to detail. You’ll be monitoring the makeup and applying touch up when needed. Patience and focus are also essential. An example of this is using different applications of colour (for the false bruises and blood) and inconsistent shapes for the cuts.

In other cases, you’ll be using pre-made parts (like scars or bullet wounds) combined with makeup and skin-friendly glue to give a more achievable lifelike look.

The most important component of SFX makeup looks is fake blood. This is used for cuts, wounds and more. You can create it using a mixture of red food colouring to corn syrup (for example, this mixture was used for the pig’s blood in the movie “Carrie”) or purchase fake blood products.

You might even be working on actors that require to look a certain age whether that be ten, twenty or even fifty years older. By adding wrinkles, speckles and silver hair colouring, SFX artists can make them look older or ill on the very same day.

As an SFX artist, your presence on the set is very important. You need to be able to monitor and touch up makeup. For some scenes, you might even require to add more makeup and prosthetics to increase the age of the character.

There are two basic elements when it comes to doing age makeup- structure and texture. For structure, you can achieve this by using a cream foundation, blush, highlights and shadows. You’ll be using stipple techniques (adding small dots and speckles) to the skin to blend in with the actor’s complexion.

The texture is also applied to add pores, blotches and age spots. You might even use materials (such as latex wrinkle stipples or prosthetic “Bondo”) on the face to create a three-dimensional realistic old age look.

You’ll be using a mixture of different reds followed by browns to achieve warmth and dimension. With your attention to detail, you need to match the colours to the actor’s skin complexion. If you’re applying old aging makeup, you’ll be utilising red tones around the eyes, nasal fold and corners of the mouth.

For a sickly look, your main focus is adding a red tone to the nose and eyes. In most cases, you will be using more than one colour. You’ll also be working on using faded colours on the eyebrows as well as adding temporary silver or white colour to the actor’s hair.