El Dia: Behind the scenes of the DOTD makeup and shoot

Okay, so I know it’s getting to be a bit overdone, but I really wanted to do a dia de los muertos themed shoot. I absolutely love the art of the whole look, and the holiday had fascinated me since I first learned about it in my high school Spanish class. It took a while to get the whole idea together and to get a date solidified, but luckily Jim O’Connor and I managed to schedule to shoot on a day that it didn’t rain for once. (The first time we’d scheduled to shoot this concept it ended up pouring down rain the day of the shoot, which kind of sucked.)

            I do my own makeup for about 98% of the shoots I do, I’m simply used to it, I have more than enough supplies, and it is easy for me. I have to say though, in all my years of makeup experimentation this had to be the most elaborate thing I have ever accomplished. Though the perfectionist side of me still complains in my subconscious telling me I could have done better, I think I did a decent job with this look.

            First I started with the white face. Luckily in my super goth days back when I was in high school and Hot Topic still had a pretty decent selection for the dark at heart, I had bought some white liquid foundation and white face powder by Morbid makeup. I am quite happy I thought to hold on to these, because they actually have come in handy for other projects in addition to this one.

whitest of white for the gothest of goth

            After my face was fully white, I started the eyes, which is actually a lot easier that it would seem. I simply drew a slightly exaggerated outline of my natural eye socket all the way around my eyes with a turquoise liquid eye shadow, then filled in the inner sections with a collection of turquoise and teal shades which were comparable to my outfit. Once I had my two circles completed, I moved on the nose.

            The nose ended up being one of the most difficult things about the dia de los muertos look….for me at least. It is quite challenging to draw something on a 3D feature like one’s nose and have it come out looking even on each side. I was constantly touching up the sides, quite irritated with it. Essentially what I did is a technique I have seen in many dia de los muertos works of art—I drew a spade on my nose, blacking out my nostrils, underside of my nose, and the tip of the spade lay on the bridge of my nose. A very infuriating process, trust me. I used a black face crayon from Halloween makeup kit for this, nothing too fancy or special, but it got the job done.           

            For the lips, I reserved a special shade of lipstick I had bought back in my young days in which I was determined to have every shade of lipstick on the planet: a teal lipstick by Mirage Cosmetic’s Wild and Crazy line. For ages, I had been looking for an excuse to use this shade in a shoot, and it was perfect for this look. Here is what I had so far…

Pardon my shitty hair, this isn't done yet. :P

            But of course, this is just the beginning.

            When I was first formulating this concept, I wanted to go all out and use some sort of rhinestones, so I gathered some interesting looking gems from Michael’s, and glued them all around my eyes. Though they were self-stick, the adhesive was rather weak, so I added eyelash glue to the backs to make sure that they would stay on. The process of sticking them on was tedious, but beautiful once completed.

Sparkle, sparkle.


          Usually there is some sort of extra embellishment around the cheeks and chin, but I decided to forgo that due to lack of time. I did, however opt to do the embellishment on my forehead: a spiderweb like design with a cross gem right over my “third eye”. Another typical feature of these designs is the skeleton-like embellishment around the jaw line….unfortunately I had to skip this as well, but in truth I was rather satisfied with just the teal lips. I have been thinking of revisiting the look again one day in the future, and if/when I do, I will experiment more with the skeleton mouth and embellishments. I was really inspired by these great works of art I found online….

inspirationmore inspiration

            With all the hard stuff out of the way, I just did some finishing touches and went off to the shoot.  It was a great day for this set; the sky looked really overcast and added just enough necessary gloom for the theme.  Photos are still being edited, but here’s a cell snapshot of how it looked, on the scene: Finished look...made the headress too.

           An interesting thing I noticed was someone had spray painted Dharma logos from the show Lost all over the area, which I found amusing, having just FINALLY gotten into watching the show…


Jim and I worked until it started getting too dark to shoot anymore, and then we stopped in to Bean Hollow in historic Ellicott Cityfor a post-photoshoot coffee and snack. I got the apple salad and it was AMAZING! I highly recommend it….^_^

Apple Chicken Awesome Salad with extra awesome!

            Once I got home I realized what a truly awesome job I must have done with the makeup…..because it was hard as hell to take it off….. Especially those gems! I probably scrubbed at my face for at least an hour….Blahhhhhh

            LOL, I’m such a goof.

            And my cat got a twig which hitched a ride home on my skirts (so many leaves and twigs were sticking to me from walking out in the woods, it was insane. Lol) so she was happy too.

Buffy and twig, friends forever.....


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