How I Did That: Ronan The Accuser Makeup Tutorial

Ever since making my husband’s Ronan the Accuser costume, I’ve had a ton of questions about how I did the makeup… so, tutorial time!

When we first saw Guardians of the Galaxy, I KNEW I’d be making that costume for Porter. A day or two later, we did a quick makeup test – using my “Beast” blue makeup, and a tube of really cheap black Halloween makeup to look goopy. It looked good enough to convince me to go ahead with the costume, but was a far cry from what his final makeup would be.

After a couple tweaks to my process since that point, I’ve finally hit on the products and procedures needed for Ronan makeup that stays PUT – not peeling up, etc. There are probably a million different ways to do this makeup – I am NOT a makeup artist, and this is just what works for us.

Big thanks to Josh from ChaManLeon Fx, who filled in a couple missing puzzle pieces for me. I’d originally planned to use crushed up rolled oats, but he told me that “Ash Powder” exists.

Apologies for the crappy cell phone photography – I didn’t want to get makeup all over the good camera while shooting for this tutorial!

First things first… here’s my husband in his Ronan The Accuser costume:


Getting something to eat after a long day in costume… with none of the latex peeling off!

If you’re interested in seeing how the costume came together, I have an album up on my costuming Facebook page, here. That album is the closest thing you’ll get to a tutorial, from me – that costume cost me some sanity 🙂

Now, on to the makeup tutorial!

What you need:

Purple Contacts
Glue stick
Scar wax
Blue nail polish
Makeup sponges
Prosaid
Disposable plates / bowls
Ash Powder
Liquid Latex
Castor Sealer
Paper Towels or cotton balls
2 shades of blue cream makeup (I used Paradise brand)
Super White face powder (optional)
Stipple sponge
Sealing powder
Red lip liner
black cream makeup
Makeup brushes
Black eyeliner, mascara (optional)
Black food colouring
Southern Comfort or other nicely flavoured spirit.

I like to lay everything out in the order I’ll use it – which is how I wrote them, above. All that experience writing recipes, right? 🙂

First things first: Have your Ronan wash his/her hands and face VERY well, making sure to get rid of any oils that may be present. Dry everything well.

1. Have them put in the contacts – you don’t want them fussing with that after getting the makeup on!

2. Apply a few coats of glue stick to the eyebrows. I like to gently use a back and forth motion the first time, to get the hair completely coated. Allow that to dry, then run another coat on top, going in the same direction as the eyebrow hair.

Once that is dry, block the eyebrows with eyebrow / scar wax. Make sure the hair is completely covered, with as thin a layer as possible. I like to smooth it over with a wet finger to ensure there are no loose edges that can pull up

3. Paint the nails blue. Aim for a blue that’s as close to the finished skin makeup colour as possible.

4. Using a cosmetic sponge, apply a thin layer of Prosaide to anywhere that the black makeup will be – including the line down the front of the neck. Also. carefully brush a thin coat of it over the (dried!) nailpolish. Allow to dry completely.

5. In a disposable plate, bowl, or cup (At conventions, I’ll usually use hotel room paper coffee cups!), mix together some Ash Powder with liquid latex. I usually just eyeball it – a Tablespoon or two of powder, and as much latex as it takes to makee it goopy – almost like oatmeal.

Using a makeup sponge, dab globs of the latex goop all over the area that will be black – across the eyebrows, under the eyes, the streaks down the cheeks, below the mouth, and the streak down the middle of the neck. Take care to not get it in the eyelashes! Allow to dry COMPLETELY.

6. While I’m waiting for that to dry, I like to get started on the blue makeup, because that takes forever. I’ll start with the ears, neck, sides of face… leaving a fair amount of space around the clumpy stuff. I use water based “Paradise” makeup, a lightish blue.

It’s actually not light ENOUGH, but it’s what I could find locally / what I use for my Beast makeup, so we make do and just use white powder later, to dull it down. Ideally, you want something very light, like a periwinkle blue.

7. Once the goop has dried, carefully sponge castor sealer all over the goopy parts, making sure to get it in the little crevices and everything. Use a paper towel or cotton balls to blot excess castor sealer.

8. Continue painting the entire face, ears, hands, and neck area with the lighter blue colour. Check under different lighting to make sure there are no blotchy/ lighter spots.

Optional: If the light blue is too dark/vibrant, use the Super White powder to powder over the whole thing now. (Image on right, below.)

9. Wet the stiple sponge, shake it off, and get just a small amount of the darker blue cream makeup on it, lightly sponge over the entire face and neck area. You’re going for a very subtle texturing effect here. If you get too much makeup on the sponge, or it’s runny… reapply the light blue and start over.

10. Once you’re happy with how it looks, use a big kabuki type brush to apply sealing powder all over everything.

11. Use the red lip liner to draw thin, jagged “veins” in a few places.

12. Carefully apply black makeup to all of the areas that it needs to go, carefully working it into any bumps and crevices in the “goop” application. I keep a printout of Lee Pace’s makeup on hand, and consult it fairly frequently to make sure I keep it looking right.

(At this point, I stopped taking progress photos of the black makeup, whoops!

13. Once you’re happy with the black makeup, apply eye liner and mascara, if desired.

14. For a shinier appearance on the black areas, gently brush on some more castor sealer. Don’t use too much!

15. For the black mouth, I mix together some cake decorator grade black food colouring, with Southern Comfort. (Wilton pictured, because I have it on hand… but Americolor is stronger!).

This kind of food colouring mixes into alcohol better than water (it’s why all my cakes that were hand painted or airbrushed were done so with vodka!). I chose Southern Comfort because it’s sweet and tastes good, and that combats the nasty taste of the food colouring.

Have your Ronan swish this mixture in the mouth for a minute or two, and spit. I like to have extra on hand in a water bottle, for refreshing the colour during the day.

… and that’s it! Now your Ronan is free to cleanse the universe of Zandarians…

… or fist-bump adorable little fans on Free Comic Book Day…

..or just go twerk on stage!

.. with makeup that stays on and looks great all day. Even when ending that long day with a bowl of pho!

Vampires Are Alive – Eurodance Mondays

For a Halloween installment of Eurodance Mondays, I have an EPIC music video to share with you: Vampires are Alive, by DJ Bobo.

I love DJ Bobo, and have ever since his music made it across the pond in the earlyish 90s. Love the music, love the dancing, and love… well, the effort he puts into it. This is an artist who does NOT half-ass his performances – something that definitely shows in today’s video:

… I’ve seen feature length movies with less costuming, attention to detail, and passion put into them!

The song was an entry in the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest, and managed to inspire one of the Swiss political parties to petition against DJ Bobo on account of suspected Satanism. Yes. DJ BOBO. The man who brought us Love is All Around, Freedom, and … Chihuahua.

I guess there are insane political parties EVERYWHERE.

Anyway, here’s the Eurovision performance of it, again, with amazing attention to detail. (PS: I wish we had Eurovision. What an amazing event! I was so shocked to meet a local blogger – Samantha – who blogs all about Eurovision… and ATTENDS! So jealous! Check her out at ESC Insider.)

Happy Halloween!

How to Carve a Halloween Pumpkin Like a Pro – Expert Guest Post!

Update: Alex will be appearing on “Good Morning America” this Halloween!

Halloween is such a fun time, and my husband and I look forward to it all year. Thing is, we look forward to it for the convention we attend – and it tends to preclude us from things like bothering to decorate our house. As a result, any potential I may (or may not!) have at pumpkin carving, Halloween crafting is largely un-realized!

In other words, Halloween seems like an awesome excuse for a guest post or two!

Remember Alex, “The Pumpkin Geek“? I’ve fangirled out about featured his amazing talents on this blog before. Check it out: Far-Flung Awesomeness of the Pumpkin Variety

It’s been a super productive ROCK STAR year and a half for Alex. He counts Jeri Ryan, LeVar Burton, Gene Simmons, Joe Mantegna, Brad Paisley, and Taylor Swift among his fans – they’re all proud owners of his work.

He’s been written up in international news, online newspapers, blogs… and has shipped his work to 9 different countries and counting.

He’ll be appearing on CBS’ “The Doctors” on Friday, Oct 28th for a segment on safe carving – so be sure to set your DVRs for that! Having only known him online, I can’t wait to see him actually working!

In the spirit of Halloween, check out some of his horror movie carves: (more…)

Blood Orange Truffle Cake

To start off a week straight of cake recipes, I’m proud to share my “Blood Orange Truffle Torte” recipe!

This recipe made its debut in the February issue of Plymouth Magazine, where it was not only featured in a several page spread, it starred on the cover!

This cake has been a favorite offering of Celebration Generation since its creation, and has earned many rave reviews by those who’ve been served it – including the guests of the Goth Wedding that we blogged about a while back!

It’s also one of the many cake recipes featured in Evil Cake Overlord, coming out on April 30th!

Blood Orange Truffle Torte

Cake:

2 ½ cups Cake flour
1 cup cocoa
2 1/4 cups Sugar
2 Tbsp Baking powder
1 ½ tsp Salt
3 ½ oz Instant vanilla pudding mix
6 Eggs
1 ½ cup Water
1 ½ cups Butter, melted
2 Tbsp Pure vanilla extract

Blood Orange Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
(more…)

Real Wedding Inspiration – Halloween Wedding

Now that it’s mid October, Twitter and the wedding blogs are lighting up with mentions of Halloween weddings. I’d like to take this opportunity to share my favorite Halloween wedding with you.

Now, it’s no secret that I’m being extremely selective about the projects I take on, and the people I’ll work with. Life’s just too short, you know? Aside from that, Halloween is the hardest weekend to get a booking with us, as we’re always booked to do an event in Chicago that weekend – they book us a year in advance. Ansley’s initial email to me was such a stand out, I couldn’t help but be intrigued – and bend over backward to make it work for her! Let me share:

Good afternoon,

My name is Ansley — I am getting married on October 30th of this year. After scouring the internet in the daunting task of researching wedding cakes, I fell in love with what you do. Everything else I’ve seen looks mundane and unimpressive in comparison to what I’ve viewed on your site. We are an “alternative” couple (I’ll swallow my pride a minute and admit that’s a somewhat politically correct way of calling us “goths”) and have concerns about how that effects our relations with vendors. Everyone we work with seems to assume that our Halloween wedding means skulls, plastic bats and ghosts.

Not so– we are classy and elegant, not campy. What I’ve seen on your website surely demonstrates not only your talent but that you understand that even “odd” is still art. I’d love to set up some sort of consultation with you, though I’m not sure how it is done as I’m new to this whole wedding thing and all of the chaos it entails!

Thank you for your time,

Ansley

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how it’s done. Polite, coherent, complimentary, eloquent, AND expressing a desire for something different? I was in love with this wedding – and clients! – before I met them!

The wedding was to be “Simple, elegant and most importantly, black”, taking the bulk of its visual inspiration from the Nine Inch Nails music video for “The Perfect Drug”. The wedding and reception were held at the The James J. Hill Reference Library in Downtown Saint Paul… an absolutely gorgeous, unique venue.

If this is starting to sound familiar at all, you may have seen our blog entry about the cake she ordered, “Glam Goth Wedding Cake“. If you haven’t – or want a refresher – be sure to click that link to view her cake photos!


James J. Hill reference Library, during setup.

Anyway, long story short, we juggled to make the logistics work out, and Ansley was a dream to work with. Absolutely one of my favorite brides ever! The cake was delivered, and I anxiously awaited photos of the event. I swear, nothing could have prepared me for the finished product! Ansley looked absolutely amazing in gorgeous black and blue gown, the black candelabra were a perfect compliment to the super high ceilings in the library… sigh. Must have been the perfect wedding to attend! Let me share the photos, courtesy of the bride, groom, their guests, and photographer – M. Doucet:

As always.. I LOVE when brides go their own way with their weddings. This was just amazing, and I’m sure her guests will be talking about the experience for years to come! Also, I’m sure her vendors will be, as well! Love it!

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Decorated Sugar Cookies

Well, Halloween is just around the corner, so now’s a great time to post our recipe for decorated sugar cookies!

These are great to serve guests at your halloween party, or as a weekend activity for kids, or even to hand out to your favorite Treat or Treaters. Very easy to make, and can be a lot of fun!

Cookie Ingredients

2 cups butter, softened
2 1/3 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs
4 egg yolks – Reserve egg whites for icing!
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract*
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
7 cups all purpose flour

Icing Ingredients

4 egg whites
1 Tbsp lemon juice
4-6 cups powdered/confectioner’s sugar

In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add in eggs and egg whites, a little at a time, beating well between each addition. Add vanilla extract, and mix until well incorporated and smooth.

Mix remaining 3 ingredients together, carefully stir into wet ingredients until fully incorporated.

Wrap dough in plastic film, chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, grease cookie sheets.

On a floured counter, roll cookie dough out to about 1/4″ thick (can be up to 1/2″ thick if you prefer a thicker cookie). Use cookie cutters to cut out whatever shapes you’d like, place cookies 2″ apart on greased cookie sheets.

Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until bottoms look lightly golden. Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheets for at least 5 minutes before moving. Cookies need to cool completely before decorating.

In clean stand mixer, whip egg whites until foamy. Add lemon juice, whip for another minute. Slowly add powdered sugar until cookie icing reaches desired consistency. You will want a thicker frosting for piping details and borders. If you’re wanting to “flow” the icing within piped borders, icing can be thinned with a little lemon juice or water.

* 2 tsp Anise extract can be substituted for a fun variation. I especially like using anise (black licorice flavor) for doing cookies that will be shaped/decorated like black cats or bats.