Thursday, 25 July 2013

Books & Reviews: A Complete Guide to Special Effects Makeup: Conceptual Creations by Japanese Makeup Artists

I received A Complete Guide to Special Effects Makeup... as a present last year and I'm very grateful!
Acclaimed as the best book ever published on the subject, A Complete Guide to Special Effects Makeup covers everything from basic facial makeup styles, simple scars and gashes, to masks, molds and cast-making; everything you need to know to create vampires, zombies and other fantastical characters.  
Featuring step-by-step instructions, with hundreds of color photos, from makeup artist professionals who have worked on films such as Alien vs Predator and Land of the Dead
Whether you are a beginner preparing for a Halloween party, or a cosplayer interested in learning more complex techniques, this is the definitive guide.

"Cattleya" by Manabu Namikawa
Photo: Takuyuki Saito; Model: Marie
Beauty Make-up: Keizo
The first thing that hits you when you begin the book is the well-lit, absolutely stunning photographs of each make-up piece. They really give a sense of just how impressive these looks would be in person, as well as showing enough close-ups to see all the details.

"FBI Agent from Hell" by TOMO
It might seem doubtful that there are "hundreds of color photos" included in this collection, but once you reach the first project tutorial page, it becomes a lot more plausible. Every look shown also has a step-by-step tutorial, complete with concept drawings/ideas, tools needed, application techniques and, except in the case of full-face masks, photographs of the models before, after, and during the transformation process.

"Vampire Queen" by Akiteru Nakada & M.E.U.
There are four chapters in the book: 01: Basic Makeup and Cuts, Gashes & Scars; 02: Masks; 03: Making Molds; 04: Practical Application. In addition to providing how-to guides for the nine looks featured at the beginning of the book, there are also various guides for smaller, less time-consuming/complicated projects throughout. The projects include everything from basic beauty makeup and facial lacerations to accessory sculpting and mold making, all of which are very clear and easy to understand. There's also a "Special Effects Makeup Glossary" included at the end, which means that even complete novices will have no trouble understanding the terminology.

When the photographs finish, there is then an insightful interview with professional SFX makeup artist Yuuchi Matsui (Ringu, Ichi the Killer, The Happiness of the Katakuris, Pulse etc.) and the very last page includes short profiles of each of the makeup artists featured throughout the book.

"Executioner's Mask" by Keizo
Overall, this was a fantastic read and I would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in SFX makeup!

"Goth & Loli Zombies" by Akiteru Nakada & M.E.U.
Photo: Takuyuki Saito
Models: Kancho & Mari

"Silene" by Manabu Namikawa

"Bud" by TOMO
Photo: Yosuke Komatsu Model: Marie
Beauty Make-up: Keizo
Costume: Yuta Okuyama & TOMO


  1. I know it may be the best book on the subject, but it is certainly an area of specialist interest.

  2. Even if I wasn't interested in special effects and makeup, I think I would love this for the pictures alone. Wow!

  3. How the heck did you get it??? Amazon is always out of stock and someone is selling it at an astronomically absurd price. If you know where to purchase for the actual price, I would love to now.

    1. I'm not positive where it was from, as it was a present from someone last year, but I think it might have been from Amazon. :/ Sorry! I just looked on there and I can't believe how much it costs now. It's a great book, but for a relatively thin paperback, that originally cost £14.99, those prices are extortionate! Also tried looking on the publisher's website and, although there's a link to buy it (for £16.99), when you click it a message comes up saying it's out of stock.

      I'll let you know if I see it around anywhere, selling for a reasonable price, though.


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