Monday, October 10, 2011

Samara: The Little Girl From The Well

The first time I watched The Ring was with a fairly large group of people at a family friend's house. I must have been at least 11 or 12 years old. At that age, I had barely watched any scary movies and those that I did terrified the shit out of me. What Lies Beneath and Thirteen Ghosts already made my legs shake and gave me trouble in the dark. After watching The Exorcist one Halloween when I was about 13 years old, I had the fever the next day LOL. Me when I was younger and scary movies ... it's really quite a contrast to what I'm like today hahaha.

So what I mean to say is ... The Ring and its imagery and its storyline really stuck with me. I don't know what about it made it so strongly imprinted on me but honestly, I was terrified of Samara for a very very long time. Anything with hair covering its face, forests, wells, TV static, girls in white dresses, girls in white rooms ... nope. Done. So if you really understood just how scared I was of Samara back in the day you'd laugh at the extents that I went to make this makeup tutorial! xD

Anyway ... a little more about the character ...

Samara Morgan, age 8. Like most creepy little girls she was an only child (as we know it) and an orphan that gets adopted by a man and woman who can't have children of their own. Her biological mother, Evelyn almost drowned her. So you can already hear that the poor girl is already deprived of any kind of loving bonds in childhood and keeps getting dunked into water. All that this adoptive mother (Anna) EVER wanted was a beautiful girl so she tried to love Samara. However, everytime Samara was around the mother would have extremely disturbing visions. Samara has strange but powerful abilities that mostly do not show entirely until she is in her ghostly form. She has the power to project or more accurately "burn" images by force onto objects like walls, paper or videotape film or ... people's minds. There is a term for this in Chinese called, "Nensha." In English it is referred to as projected thermography. After checking the mother and Samara into a mental institution then checking out (the visit did nothing) Samara's adoptive father forces her to stay in the barn and not the house, saying the child was evil. Samara uses her powers around her adoptive parents (I'm not sure if it was on purpose or not) and eventually uses them on her parent's horses to drive them into insanity and eventually makes the horses break out of the barn and commit suicide. She does this when she realizes that her adoptive parents loved the horses more than her. If you watch "Samara's tape" closely, you see a group of horses by the ocean, drowned. All the mother (Anna) wanted was Samara but due to her depression and conflicted desires she ends up bagging Samara's head then pushing her down a deep stone well and closing the top. If you'd like to see this sad part of the movie here it is ...

Here's the lyrics to the song she was singing:

Round we go ...
the world is spinning ...
when it stops  ...
it's just beginning ...
sun comes up we live ... and we cry ...
sun comes down ...
and then we all die ...

It takes Samara 7 long days to die alone in the well. The last thing she sees before she dies is the "ring" ... the light created from the circle of the well cover high above her. This is why those who she is about to kill see a ring before they die. In the films, it is usually a small ring created from a coffee cup etc. She somehow creates this deadly, disturbing and cursed videotape, projecting parts of her memory onto it. The idea is, once you see it you need to pass it on to someone else otherwise she will come in 7 days to kill you. Somewhere in there you also receive a phone call where her voice whispers, "Seven days." Her tape is meant to show others how much she suffered and she comes to kill you if you don't pass it on because if you don't, that means you didn't really empathize with her tragic life (and death). Oh speaking of, can you watch this video for me? Just pass it onto someone else when you're done thanks ...

In my tutorial the beginning was kind of supposed to be my own recreation of her cursed videotape but of course I don't have even half the disturbing imagery as her!

So ... back to Samara ... in the end, like most evil people or angry spirits, at one point they were wronged or not given the love everyone deserves and something went bad. In the end, it's arguable to say that all Samara wanted was a mother that would love her the way a mother should or perhaps she needed just some kind of pity or empathy and understanding from the rest of the world.

Lesson learned: DON'T ABUSE CHILDREN/PEOPLE/ANIMALS/ANYTHING! Love people. Be kind.

I personally find that most people that become evil or cold or crazy were all at one point, denied love.

In the film world, The Ring is usually high on the lists of some of the scariest (or successfully scary) movies and if not, Samara herself ranks in almost all "Top 5 Scariest Little Girls in Scary/Horror Movies" lists alongside the twins from The Shining, The Exorcist, Esther from The Orphan, Alessa from Silent Hill and more.

If you want to see Samara kill someone, please watch this video:

Now that you understand quite a lot more about the story and character, let's talk makeup :)

Oh wait ... I should mention at one point that the American version The Ring was an offshoot of the original japanese film called "Ringu." Truth be told I have never seen it but I've seen clips from it and I've heard that it's a lot scarier. But I wouldn't know, so you be the judge. And now ... onto makeup!


For your enjoyment here's a video of them applying makeup onto the actress who plays Samara in The Ring 2:

Creating the skin texture is a crucial part in pulling off this look. For the actual film they added many many layers of prosthetic skin onto the actress' face and neck to thicken it and change the facial structure of her face. They make her brow ridge much more prominent and create a permanent frown-looking mouth over her real one. It's really quite a transformation but honestly in the movies, once you add the extra skin and some contouring, she's good to go. But in terms of what you and I can access and pull off, we have to make do with our actual faces. Some of us may have the knowledge to somehow acquire those kinds of prosthetics but for now ... I tried to create something that's quite one-dimensional but LOOKS 3-dimensional. And of course, this is just pure contouring.

I recommend you paint all exposed skin white or off white or a grayish color right off the bat. I don't recommend using grease paints because it'll be really hard to add anything on top of it (like eyeshadows for contouring) So I really recommend some kind of face paint or aquacolor that actually dries up and doesn't stay all nasty and sticky on your face. If white grease paint is all you have access to it's okay but just know that you might end up looking ... well you might end up looking bad in a bad way.

So! Brands like kid's face paint will work like Snazzaroo but I really recommend Kryolan's Aquacolors if you can get a hold of them. I know there's more brands that will work just as well if not better so my list is not exclusive to just this.

a cosmetic wedge + white aquacolor

And set your face with white or translucent powder if you can. It's not necessary and it's actually not a big deal if you don't for this look though. Why? Because you kind of want splotchy, dead nasty looking skin to begin with. So if you set it, it's to help it last longer and only that :)

Many people that I've seen dress up as Samara make the mistake of just painting their faces white and then applying loads of black eyeliner. While in the dark, if you pop around the corner like that you will look extremely creepy regardless but -- you can do more. Create texture by splotching on grayish matte eyeshadow or cream (even better) if you have it. I recommend using a cosmetic wedge or even a stippling sponge (they look like this)

le stipple sponge (great for creating texture on face)
To create some kind of sickly texture on top of the white.

Keep in mind the way that she died ... she was stuck in a well of dirty water for 7 days then she decayed there. I don't believe she drowned -- she likely died of possibly lack of air and starvation but her body was preserved in dark water. Her skin is definitely going to be wrinkly and pale and crinkly and water soaked. Even when we're in the shower or bathtub for a little too long our skin already starts to look funky. Now multiply that by 30 years.


I feel that this is the most important part of this look. This takes Picture 1 to Picture 2. Big difference right? I have the same facial expression on my face in both but the makeup says otherwise.

Notice how much difference contouring does alone from Picture 1 to Picture 2
Contouring is a bit tricky ... I know it was for me when I was just learning how to do it. Everytime I tried to define my cheekbones it just looked like I had a 5 o clock shadow. Kind of like I do in picture 2 hmm ...

But really, it's just a matter of finding where your bones stick out. It sounds raw and eye-twitchy but it's true. Your cheekbones, your clavicles and your jawline are areas you always want to contour when you're trying to look like some form of dead creature. I tell you all to scrunch up your faces/look angry then apply matte gray/black shadow because when you scrunch up your face it brings out natural creases that actually show up when you're actually REALLY angry.

When I filmed this tutorial, I actually had the following picture on the bathroom counter in front of me so I also kept looking at her face really closely to try and find what areas of her face were darkened.

The picture I used for reference while filming this look
Definitely emphasize deepening the area around your eyes. Notice how she doesn't have eyebrows. Notice how she almost has a Neanderthal-like ridge instead of eyebrows. Notice the frown on her face, where her eyes are sunken and their detail. Notice details, makeup artists!

To try and create her 3 dimensional distorted face in 1 dimensional makeup, this was my attempt ...

Now compare this picture to the last picture I posted of myself. All I added was contouring to my eye area, red around my eyes and black eyeliner. See how these steps alone already make my eyes kind of sink into my face and already seem darker.


The lips are an act of subtlety. I already have some white aquacolor brushed onto them from my first step but, here's what I added:

* gray cream makeup
* lavender cream makeup
* dark navy blue cream makeup
* black cream makeup
* dark maroon red cream makeup

I used two wheels, both from Kryolan. The BRUISE Wheel and the BURN & INJURY Wheel. You don't need to have these specific wheels to do this. You just need the colors. They don't even have to be cream makeup but I find that these are easiest to work with and also show up a lot better in terms of pigmentation.

Kryolan Bruise Wheel
Kryolan Burn & Injury Wheel

And oh goodness please do not just load these colors on top of each other like a cake. Use moderation, put some colors in certain areas. Play with the shape of your lips.

As you know, after giving a dead, drowned look to my actual lips I also used the black color from the Burn wheel and a concealer brush (you can also use a thin brush) to create a frown line on my mouth. I'm sure there's better and more long-lasting ways to create this affect but ... this is the way to do it in one-dimension.

Also of equal importance = wrinkles around her mouth. This intesifies the effect of the frown line like no other.


By studying that closeup picture of Samara that I showed to your earlier I noticed she has kind of a dark reddish black gash on her face as well as this really receded black hole-like wrinkled thing going on on her neck. I would imagine the cinema MK artists added this for the pure effect of how creepy it looks but I think that perhaps the gash is from the impact of when she was first thrown into the well or maybe some kind of injury from the times she tried climbing back up the well. The black infested hole in her neck seems like something to do with maybe the lack of air, or water filling her lungs, perhaps.

My recreations were all, as you know, made with cream makeup using the same palette and tools.

Adding zeh neck hole with black cream makeup

Nasty gash-like effect on one cheekbone


I didn't show much of the process of me painting my arms and legs but I showed some. If you want to know the truth it's because when I painted the rest of my body I left the bathroom to sit in front of the TV and watch some Spongebob.

"You like Krabby Pattys don't you?"
So anyway, you can definitely go into A LOT more detail than I did on the texture for the arms and legs but honestly I was rushing quite a bit. You can even mix tissue with some liquid latex or other random objects PRIOR to painting your arm white to reaaallly get that nasty texture that Samara has in the movie. Let's get a shot of her lovely feet shall we?

Samara's feet from (The Ring)
You can see she has actual texture going on there so I recommend (if you have the energy/time/resources) to add actual texture to your arms and legs for the full on effect. Kind of like what I did to my arm in my Left 4 Dead Witch tutorial, minus the blood.

my arm from my L4D: The Witch makeup tutorial in 2010
For the sake of efficiency all I did was add dark red, black and gray splotches of cream makeup using a cosmetic wedge but if you have the time, you can make this A LOT better and more realistic. You should do it!
Oooh ... an exquisite scary arm.
And a very simple but crucial part ... wetting your hair. And if you don't want your hair to be dripping or even wet then at least try to make it look shiny or slicked or something because Samara with stringy flyaway wavy bed hair is NOT ideal! This is why I used a straightening gel in my hair in the video. For me, that didn't do enough so I kind of grabbed the shower head and tried to wet my hair without washing off my makeup. That would have sucked. 

"Just add water!"
Ah ... and now you should look really really dead and really really creepy. Or just creepy. That's more important if you want to pull this off and scare people like the sick minded people you and I are.

So, for your entertainment ... I shall now share some of my favorite pictures from The Ring and of Samara Morgan:

Samara in the mental institution being interviewed


This is the reason I decided to immerse myself in a bathtub for those wondering.

Now to make you all feel better, here's a picture of Daveign Chase, the girl who played Samara in The Ring (the first one). She's a lot older now and very beautiful too!

Daveign Chase

Annd it's worth mentioning Daveign was the voice of Lilo in Lilo & Stitch! So cute. And according to IMDB she is friends with Dakota Fanning. What. Wha. Doy. Why. Can I be in this awesome circle of friends too?! .__. *curls into fetal position*

And now, a list of the makeup I used for your knowledge ...

What I Used ...

* OLAY Complete Moisturizer
* Kryolan Aquacolor in "00" White
* BenNye Neutral Set Colorless Face Powder
* Kryolan Bruise Wheel
* Kryolan Burn & Injury Wheel
* Gluestick (non-toxic, dries clear)
* Maybelline Unstoppable Eyeliner in ONYX
* Etude House (gray-black eyeshadow)
* Coastal Scents 42 Color Double Stack Palette (black matte)

* Cosmetic Wedge (CVS)
* Concealer Brush (CVS)
* Liquid Foundation Brush (CVS)
* Full Face Powder Brush (Sephora)
* Blush Brush (BeauTique #031)
* Angled Blush Brush (e.l.f.)
* Angled Small Liner Brush (e.l.f.)
* Tapered Shadow Brush (Smashbox)
* Definer Shadow Brush (Smashbox)

* Alberto "V05" Make It Straight! Gel
* Hair Straightener
* eventually .... water

White dress bought from local thrift store. Cut off hemmed areas then dunked base and section of sleeves in a bucket filled with water mixed with black acrylic paint. Dabbed direct black paint onto creases & rubbed in. Let dry overnight.  Ta-daaa.

And pictures from my makeup tutorial ...

I actually made the ring animation thingy myself :D

Eyes were blanked out for fun ...

These people take forever to pick up!

Um ... don't try this at home?

Now that you have a full understanding of Samara as a character (and the makeup of course as well) here is the movie trailer for The Ring. I feel that with what you know now, it's a bit more interesting to watch:

Right before I post my makeup tutorial, here's a few fun facts about the filming of this look ...


It took me about 3 takes to get the "emerging out of bathtub water" scene right. I kept breathing out my nose, blinking, looking bloated or looking in the wrong direction. My eyes hurt like CRAZY and I was so tempted to wipe my face with every take. But I didn't!

My mom was home when I filmed the coming out of TV sequence. I asked her to go upstairs because she was in the kitchen and would have seen everything hahaha.

I ate spaghetti before filming this tutorial. It was delicious. I also watched Spongebob in between filming.

My Samara dress was bought from a thrift store and was originally a Star Wars brand robe.

I dyed my hair black temporarily just for this look and have been trying to grow my hair out as long as possible just for this look for over a year.

I was really scared to go underwater for this video.

A Twitter account called "ItsSamaraMorgan" replied to my tweet about finishing editing this makeup tutorial and said ...

And now, my makeup tutorial:

 I think this tutorial might possibly be the one I worked the hardest on because I had a number of filming days, especially for the "cursed video" section and hands in the bathtub and me acting like her mom falling off a cliff ... so I really hope you learned a lot and enjoy it and if you're using it to scare other people GOOD LUCK! Hope I helped :)

Want to read more into Samara and her story? Go here.

Can I just say it's really funny how things work out? I swear Samara was my nightmare for years of my childhood and now I'm doing this xD

- Audie

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Wicked Witch of the West: Reintroduced

 Before Wicked the novel (then musical) became a hit, most of us all knew Elphaba as a mean, unforgiving and well, evil witch. A creature with a cackling voice and an uneasy presence.

Wicked changed all of that.

Gregory Maguire, the author of the novel Wicked has an amazing talent in taking traditional stories, often fairytales and weaving them together to tell untold parts of the stories and most importantly, the story from the perspective of another character. Usually, it's the villain. He skillfully completely turns around the story and allows us to see the well-known tale through completely different glasses. He allows us to see that perhaps there is no "good" or "evil," but just perspective. Or maybe that who we thought was good was just who the media/storyteller/creators wanted us to think was good! Anyway, I find him to be a writer of unique and exceptional talent in being able to do this.

Gregory Maguire & Carol de Giere at Curran Theatre for the pre-Broadway Wicked premiere
In Wicked: The Life & Times of the Wicked Witch of the West he tells the story of the Wizard of Oz from the perspective of Elphaba. The story was made into a big hit on Broadway: Wicked. The musical puts the "Wicked Witch of the West" into a completely different light -- one that instantly makes her so lovable and understandable and also heartbreaking to her audience. If you ever have a chance to see it, I definitely recommend it. It's quite possibly my most favorite and adored musical that I've ever seen. I used to listen to the soundtrack nonstop -- in fact, when I was a freshman in highschool I liked listening to the beginning of "No One Mourns the Wicked" (the opening song in my tutorial and in the actual musical) because the fast notes made me feel like I was running faster during Cross Country practice! xD

Kristen Chenoweth & Idina Menzel during "One Short Day" in Wicked

Wicked is one of those musicals that you see in a theatre and afterwards for a few minutes or days of your life you seriously consider dropping everything to run to the world of theatre and trying to make it on Broadway, just so you can sing your heart out and be lifted into the air on stage with thousands of eyes watching you. Believe it or not, long before I was into film or makeup I thought I'd wanted to land my career in theatre. I wanted to be an actress and I loved musicals but ... it never really kicked off for me in my younger days so I suppose the dream kind of wittled down and came back in a different form. But I tell you this now so you can understand why I seized this opportunity to kind of do a mini-Elphaba glory part in my makeup tutorial :) It's quite possibly the closest I'll ever get, and I'm completely okay with that. Unfortunately I wasn't given a strong, beautiful voice to sing with nor the acting skills, dancing physique & rigor to be on Broadway but I did get some kind of talent in video editing and makeup so ... I'll work with that haha.

Elphaba raising up at the end of "Defying Gravity"

Elphaba is just so lovable, so relatable to. Her song "The Wizard and I" talk about her dreams and aspirations and how someday soon, something she's working so hard for will someday pay off. Someday people will understand her. Who can't relate to that?  "Defying Gravity" is a song that's made me cry, especially when you see her raise up into the air on stage. It's about her breaking out of the norm, breaking out of the labels and chains people have put on her and seizing the chance to become her own person and fly despite what people say about her or believe about her. It's breathtaking and exuberant and for a second makes me believe in magic or something I don't know, it's so wonderful. It gives me the equivalent feeling of seeing Fantasmic! at Disneyland.

So. Now that you know a lot more about the musical that this character came from and my experiences with it and how much I love it ... let us talk ... makeup!


I believe in the actual Broadway backstage they use MAC products to paint the actress that plays Elphaba green BUT I could be wrong. But since I have very little experience with any MAC products and try to stay away from buying excessive amounts of products from them, I did not take that path. I stuck with something I knew and bought a green shade of Kryolan's aquacolor. To be specific it was "Light Green" or "55" if you want to find the exact product. I also bought a darker shade of green with the intention of using it to contour but I realized that it's SO much easier to contour using powder than aquacolor. In my Stage Makeup class the teacher forced us to use aquacolor (wet makeup) to contour and OH BOY was that a hot mess.

So anyway I recommend buying a well pigmented face paint or aquacolor to paint yourself green. This is a lot smoother and faster than doing it the way I did in my Corpse Bride makeup tutorial ... the whole painting your face white then adding blue eyeshadow on top WORKED but ... I only did it that way because those are the only materials I had at the time BUT, if you can, putting the color directly on will almost always be a lot faster, stronger and more even.

Now, I've seen some girls dressed up as Elphaba that chose more limey colors or more kelly green colors and that's up to you. Green isn't meant to be a "natural" color in the first place, per say, but, in my opinion going with a more toned down green will look the most Elphaba-like in terms of the musical. If you want to look more cackly or crazy or more like the witch from the original Wizard of Oz then take your pick. Here are some pigments of green on someone's arm that I don't know to give you some visual:

This is what the aquacolor that I used looks like:
Kryolan's "Light Green/511" Aquacolor
Keep in mind, painting your face green is going to be the most time consuming (and kind of boring part) But it's very important to not rush this part or ... you're going to look crazy. And I know I'm all for being a crazy woman but ... not in that way. So take your time. I recommend using a cosmetic wedge that's a little damp or a foundation brush or both or whatever seems to work without it becoming blotchy and crazy. Just make sure not to drench your tool in water. Lightly damp, not drenched whether it's aquacolor or face paint.

If you decide to use cream/grease paint that's a whole different story. That stuff will take a lot less layers but it'll also smear off and kind of get on everything a lot more than aqucolor or face paint will.

That's why I did my general layer of green in aquacolor then used cream to fill in any spots at the end. MAKEUP FOREVER's Flash Palette is an excellent product with a fitting shade of green but that puny palette is freaking $95 so if you find cream makeup someplace else that sticks all power to you!

I'm probably going to get a lot of people saying, "Elphaba didn't have eyeshadow like that or red lips in the musical blaaaaaahhhh etc etc." ... well. Between you and me who cares? But I will tell you I added those renditions for a reason. For eyes, if you stick with me on Facebook you'd see I was actually highly contemplating a number of things for this makeup look from the eyeshadow style I did down to the lip color, the color of contacts I'd wear and even the backdrop for the video. Yes my dears, I put a lot of planning and thought into these things weeks to months in advance before jumping in front of the camera. Here is the picture I put out, asking people which ones they liked better:

If you look closely you can see small differences in each picture.
It's true - in the Broadway version Elphaba is seen with a subtle smokey eye. No shimmery greens anywhere. And you my dear are totally free to do that. I added the green on top because 1) I happen to own that green liquid liner that I try to put to use anytime I can and 2) Because it was different. There are actually a few Elphaba tutorials already online so I wanted to bring something new to the table, yar!

But a traditional smokey eye is actually a lot more elegant and "adultly" so take your pick, depending on how YOU want to look and what you want to try out:

As said in the tutorial - just make sure to apply your eyeliner in a way that it covers up any "pink" or skin colored areas around your eyes, unless you're really good and can cover that all up with green. I used pencil liner, black eyeshadow AND black liquid liner :P
I must say every picture I've seen of an Elphaba with green lips looks completely gorgeous. 

 I was very tempted to do the same but again my reason was to do something different. The tutorial as titled at the beginning is an inspired look and not a THIS IS EXACTLY HOW THEY DID IT ON BROADWAY BITCHES look haha. And, I have always always always loved the promotional poster of Wicked and on that poster Elphaba has red lips so ... I was honoring that admiration of mine.

It's very crucial to use lip liner if you choose to do red lips though -- especially when you're changing your entire face color. Trust me, it's a worthy investment.

And now, for those interested, the complete and exact list of the makeup materials I used to create the look seen in my video:

* OLAY Complete Moisturizer
* Kryolan Aquacolor in 511 (Light Green)
* Ben Nye Neutral Set Colorless Face Powder
* MAKEUP FOREVER 12 Color Flash Palette

* The Face Shop (Midnight Black Shimmering Eyeshadow) BK903
* MAC Liquid Liner in "Greenplay"
* Sugarpill Loose Glitter in "Junebug"
* Maybelline Unstoppable Eyeliner in ONYX
* the Falsies mascara in "Very Black" by Maybelline
* Black Liquid Liner by ULTA
* Coastal Scents 42 Color Double Stack Eyeshadow Palette
* Benefit RSVP Cream (used to highlite)

* MAC "Burgundy" Lip Liner
* Revlon Lipstick in 477 "Black Cherry"
* Sephora Lipgloss (Shimmery Dark Red)

* Foundation Brush (CVS)
* Cosmetic Wedge (CVS)
* Concealer Brush (CVS)
* Stipple Brush (e.l.f.)
* Definer Brush (Smashbox) - red handle
* Tapered Shadow Brush (Smashbox) - red handle
* Small Angled Brush (e.l.f.)
* Eyelash Curler (Kirkland)
* Angled Bronzing Brush (e.l.f.)
* Rounded Crease Brush (Sephora)
* Lip Brush (craft store)

And now ... a few pictures of Elphaba from the musical for your enjoyment ...

Ah ... so beautiful. Everything about that musical. I can just hear the music even by seeing these pictures.

This was the picture that really set off my inspiration for the actual makeup ... notice the green eyes and red lips! :)

Here's a video interview with my inspiration, Idina Menzel! And ah, how appropriate, while she's getting into green makeup!

And now, pictures of meh creational look:

One last thing I want to share with you ... in high school when I was in I believe the 12th grade we had an assigment to make a cake sketch to send to "Ace of Cakes" (make-believe) ... so I chose to make a Wicked themed cake. I worked really hard on all layers and aspects of the cake so I hope you enjoy viewing it :) I drew it in pencil then outlined it in black sharpie felt tip pen and colored it in with watercolor pencils.

I tried to tell as much of the story that I could in 3 layers of cake. You can't see it in the picture very well but I have a flimsy golden ribbon wrapped around the cake that says "No Good or Evil ... Just Perspective" referring to what I said about that way earlier in this post.

Anyway, it's been a pleasuring sharing this part of my life with you. I really hope you enjoy my rendition of Elphaba! I hope I did her proud :)

- Audie ;)