Emily S. Whitten: Pro Cosplay Makeup with Jenna Morin!

jenna-morin-1A month ago I shared the inside scoop on the exciting new comic-con on a cruise ship, Fan2Sea – where it came from, what it will offer, and why it sounds like, as Bender says, “Fun on a bun!” And the awesome fact that I will be going on the cruise and reporting back on that fun for everyone.

But you don’t have to wait until after the cruise to know more about what’s going to happen on it. In my continued coverage, I checked in with one of the many cool people who will be featured on the cruise, professional makeup artist Jenna Morin, to ask her about her work and what we can expect from her on board. She also gave me a bit of makeup and accessorizing advice for a cruise costume I’m working on. Read on for the Q&A!

Jenna, what is your background and experience as a makeup artist and cosplayer, and how did you get involved with that?

I’ve been doing makeup for about twelve years now. I started when I was working in a haunted house and just fell in love with it. I suppose cosplaying started for me there as well. Something about transforming into someone or something else was just plain magical; people’s reactions to it were just the icing on top. My first makeup ventures were as a face painter and body painter. I did a lot of children’s parties and a lot of photo shoots. Then companies like Budweiser and Jameson Whiskey started hiring me to body paint models for high end events. I just kind of evolved from there. I went to school for beauty makeup to round myself out and had some great mentors for my SFX makeup. Now I’m just traveling the world doing what I love. I’ve been fortunate enough to work on some great movies and some of my favorite television shows. I do a lot of events for AMC and The Walking Dead and I’ve got a great following in the convention circuit.

jenna-morin-2Do you have any favorite stories or experiences that have come from your work in the industry? What are some of the coolest projects you’ve worked on?

So many stories. Okay, here’s a favorite… I was doing an event for AMC a couple of years ago. The entire cast of The Walking Dead was there to have dinner with advertisers and investors. During dinner they wanted a horde of zombies to come out and invade the space. I was in the back making zombies, completely annoyed, behind on time, because nothing seemed to be going right that night. I was putting the finishing touches on one of the makeups and I hear a voice behind me say “I don’t think it’s quite right; maybe you should start over.” Without turning around I replied, “Last time I checked I was the hired artist for this job and I think it looks great,” in a very agitated and snarky tone. The person started to apologize and I turned around only to be face-to-face with Andy Lincoln. He apologized so much and said he was only kidding, but I felt like a complete ass. We’ve worked together a bunch since then and he always teases me about it.

What will Fan2Sea attendees be able to learn from you, and what will you be doing while on board?

Well the biggest thing is that I will be doing makeup on board! I’ll have my entire kit with me; everything from airbrushing to prosthetics. Attendees can come to my area and get body painted, face painted, turned into a zombie, or even get pretty stuff with glitter. I’ll have my entire face paint kit for kids on board as well. They can become their favorite superhero or beautiful princess. I keep my costs super reasonable so its affordable to everyone, so everyone, come visit me to complete your cosplay and makeup needs!

As for a tutorial, I think I’m going to offer a fun class on how to make a zombie out of household items. Not everyone has the budget or access to super professional materials. I want to show that really cool stuff can be done with things from your cabinets, grocery store or even the dollar store.

jenna-morinWhat if someone has never tried cosplay makeup before? Will you be able to help them out? Do you have any tips to share?

I can help anyone, from makeup veterans to someone just trying it out for the first time. I’m happy to sit down and talk to you about your character and figure out what works best for you and your needs. The biggest tip I have is to save up and buy some quality makeup. There are plenty of cheap makeups out there that will get the job done… for about an hour. Then all that time that you spent applying it starts to melt off, smear, smudge and just plain fade away. Not to mention the skin problems that can come from low quality makeup. Do some research and make sure you use something more on the professional end… Your skin will thank you for it!

Since it’s always cool to get advice from a pro – I’m a cosplayer but I would like to also be comfortable on the cruise in warm weather, which means I’m looking for comfy, cool options. I found this super cute dress at Hot Topic and thought I could make it into a Walking Dead cosplay for a walker killer – but not a specific established character. I want to create my own badass walker killer! I thought I could do some blood on my skin to go with the dress (to make it look like I’ve been killing walkers), but I don’t want it to be cumbersome or sticky in the heat. Do you have tips about that and how to apply it? Also, we all know some of the Walking Dead characters have their own unique weapons. I’m trying to think of one that would be easy to carry or attach, but unique. Any ideas?

First, I have some amazing alcohol based blood spray. It’s not sticky at all, it’s waterproof, and it’s totally comfortable. It will dry on your skin and hold there all day, so you won’t even feel it. It takes about 15 seconds to dry! I have it in a cool spray bottle for blood splatter and the best thing for making blood streaks is to just use your hands.

Walking Dead props can really be anything. Remember, they pick up whatever is around them to defend themselves most of the time. You can go completely outside of the box. I’d suggest making something out of L200 foam. It’s light and easily manipulated. A pipe, axe, aerial, wrench, bat, or knife. Or, if you watch Z Nation, something like Addy’s bat with the spikes on the end – that could be awesome as well. If you do the bat, what I’d suggest is to buy a foam bat and use L200 to make the spikes. They are selling bats all over for Harley Quinn cosplays right now. Grab one of those and paint it black and then make the silver spikes out of the foam. I’d suggest you check out YouTube for some tutorials on how to manipulate L200.

Thanks, that’s super helpful!  So what are you most excited about for Fan2Sea?

I’m most excited to meet the fans and guests. Cruise vibes are all their own and there’s no other venue like it. Hanging out with everyone and feeding off of their excitement to meet their favorite celebrities, or meeting someone that’s excited to meet me or get their makeup done by me is always an amazing experience. Also, the karaoke. I’m a big fan of karaoke.

Thanks for sharing with us, Jenna, and I’ll be super-excited to meet you on the ship and get some walker-killer makeup assistance (and possibly something with pretty glitter on another day, because who doesn’t love pretty glitter makeup?). For all you readers out there, I hope to see you on the cruise as well!

And until next time, Servo Lectio!