Recent Delamar Gradate Lottie Roberts, tells us in her own words about her journey from fashion fiend to prosthetics pundit:
Prosthetics make-up was a misunderstood interest for me, and by the time I had finished my studies at Delamar Academy, my passion was real. When I arrived to take the 22 week Advanced Complete Make-up Artist Course , I seriously thought I wanted work in fashion, because that was the kind of makeup I had been able to experiment with at home (however poorly!). I had never even considered the possibility of prosthetics or special effects make-up. I used to make wounds out of liquid latex and cotton wool, creating Game of Thrones inspired ‘prosthetics’ out of bits of clay, which I then glued to my brother’s face, but that was about as far as I got. I loved it, but I had no idea what was possible. I had no idea this area of the industry was such a strong career path for many make-up artists.
Prosthetics is a hidden, and magical area of the make-up industry
To the average person, “Make-up Artist” is synonymous with mascara and lipstick, not silicone and foam latex. I’ve always loved films such as American Werewolf in London to The Walking Dead. I can remember watching Alien for the first time and being in awe of the monsters, terrifyingly realistic looking monsters. The thing I love most about prosthetics is their transformational power – just look at the way in which Frances Hannon’s team turned Jennifer Lawrence into Mystique for the X Men films, or how Animated Extras aged Kate Winslet for The Reader. With prosthetics you can literally create and bring characters to life, and that is so exciting to me. The make-up makes the character with prosthetics, rather than adding to it.
My favourite example of prosthetics being used to tell a story is in Pans Labyrinth, where Doug Jones played both The Faun and The Pale Man. He slept in some of his prosthetics cling filmed to his body because they took so long to apply and remove and he had to have a special stand made to allow him to rest his head between takes because the Faun horns were so heavy! The dedication and the commitment put into the project resulted in something really magical.
Since my weeks training in prosthetics at Delamar, I have been frankly obsessed with learning as much as I can about all the techniques involved. I have really enjoyed going back over the films I used to love and finding out how the makeup teams created the effects that used to fascinate or scare me so much. To be tutored by Ali Reith, who has worked on Star Wars and Jurassic World, and who is so forthcoming with all of his knowledge and expertise, has been such a fantastic experience. I cannot thank Ali enough. On the Basic Prosthetics course we sculpted, moulded and applied a zombie-inspired silicone prosthetic piece, which was a lot of fun and a massive learning curve.
All of the tutors have been generous in sharing their knowledge with us. Amanda Warburton taught me Character and Casualty, and went above and beyond to help me not only in class but also by preparing me to do my first bits of sfx makeup in student films. I have also been very lucky that other Delamar classes have been so welcoming, which has allowed me to make friends with and gain advice from Advanced Prosthetics students.
I think the best thing about the courses at Delamar is the way that they allow you to explore so many different aspects of makeup and hair. For me, I expected to enjoy all the beauty work, but I had never touched a wig before or even considered how many films and television programmes feature facial hair. Delamar has allowed me to explore all the different aspects of the industry, and much to my surprise I think I have found where I am meant to be-in the prosthetics workshop.
I am walking away from my course feeling inspired, excited and enthusiastic. The whole Delamar team have supported me in such a way as to give me the confidence and the knowledge I need to take the first steps in my career. I have been really impressed by and grateful for the support I have received since leaving (even though its only been a week!) and I can’t wait to see what happens next or where my training at Delamar will take me.
Thanks to the training I have received I am now confident enough to work on my prosthetics and special effects makeup at home, as well as for student films. I have also started applying for work experience at workshops and with prosthetic makeup designers. I wouldn’t be in a position to do this if it weren’t for the brilliant tuition I have received, or for the fantastic guidance Leda, Ali, Amanda and everyone at Delamar has given me.