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Tips, tricks and techniques for all your psychotic fake blood needs
Lets talk about Blood. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the movie America Psycho so we thought it would be fitting to give you a little advice and a few tips and tricks to producing blood makeups and creating your own signature killer look. Not going to lie, the range of fake bloods out there is enormous and can be quite intimidating, especially when you’re not sure what to look for! So here is a little run down of the types of blood you may find:
Congealed and “Wound filler” Blood:
These often come in pots, tubs and tubes. They can be a little hard to work with so best apply using the end of your brush or a little spatula! They are great for adding texture to your gory looks (perfect for zombies) and for creating cuts, aged wounds and scabbing effects.
These are stickier and thicker than your regular bloods. They allow more control for application which is helpful if you want to add depth to your wounds, create more detailed blood work and gives more control over things like drips.
A lot of the cheaper-made brands of blood with be of the thin type, often staining your skin pink! If you are going to hunt the web for higher-quality brands, you are likely to stumble upon two type of thin bloods; venous and arterial. Arterial blood is the oxygenated blood found in your arteries so the products will often be a bright (but realistic) red colour whereas Venous blood is deoxygenated blood found in your veins so these products will be a dark red colour!
If you are unsure, you can always use red face paints! Just make sure they are not thick when you apply them as you can always add more! You can also get away with adding a little black (or even green) to make them darker. Great for controlled blood effects on your clothes!
Cheap blood colours:
With the more professional bloods you will notice that they have various base colours such as browns and blues whereas cheaper brands are often pink and stain the skin. A few tricks to changing the colours to crap bloods are:
Bloods come in a range of base colours.
Brands who make good fake blood:
Kryolan, Mehron, Ben Nye, “Maekup”, Mouldlife’s Kensington gore range, Ripper, Grimas, PTM Red drum blood, Necessary Evil Mouth FX
Dos and Donts’:
Always remember: Your skin colour and clothing will play a part on how the blood sits and looks, so try and play around before on your hand or leg or on some scrap material.
Admittedly… blood can very quickly be the downfall of a Halloween costume, either being too neat for a crazy zombie or because it looks like you’re adding it just for the sake of it or that it ends up looking like finger painting or war paint (but great if that’s what your going for). Blood is about balancing the chaos and the detail so here is some tips to help with facial and wound blood looks:
THE FLICK TECHNIQUE:
Ideally use a soft headed brush for this one! The flick technique is a way to give a more controlled splatter look. Load your brush with whichever product you chose, you want it wet but not dripping everywhere (this doesn’t matter so much with clothes and sets!) Either flick back the whole brush with your wrist or tap the brush firmly with your finger. If you worry about dripping, tilt your head back and raise your arms so the brush it above your face (think of when someone washes your hair at a hairdressers). If its a murder/serial killer look, keep in mind the direction of the splatters you created
left: red face paint Right: Gloopy fake blood (remember it may drip on the face if using blood!)
THE TOOTH BRUSH:
Dab an old toothbrush into your desired product, pull back the bristles and let them flick down. This give a nice spray effect! How thin or wet your product is will effect how it splatters and sprays so have a little practice on your leg or on some paper first.
left: Fake blood Right: Wet red face paint
You can use this same technique with a firm headed paint brush. Again test it first but this should give the same effect but with larger blood spots.
Using thin fake blood here!
A tooth brush can also give great scratch effects but try and use the end rather that the whole head as it may look a little too neat and unrealistic and… well… like you’ve dragged a tooth brush over you!
FINGER DRAG and WIPING OFF:
This is often what lets down a costume, usually looking too much like someone just blobbed it there or its not realistic. Of course using your hand is a great way to create a manic look but try and test on your leg or arm first, see what type or blood works best. Don’t apply like you’re finger painting, use the side of your finger, lighting tap it, thin your blood and build up, use your nails etc.
If you go overboard with the blood on your skin and find yourself looking more like you’ve swam in it, dab a wet wipe to remove the excess. DO NOT WIPE. Dabbing gives a mottled effect which makes your skin look damaged.
The Stipple Sponge:
This is my favourite sponge in the whole wide world. They are originally used to create stubble and freckle effects! Here I simply drag it along and tap it a little. With a little practice it can create the best scratch, grazed and bloody texture effects!
Using thicker/gloopy fake blood
One thing that annoys me when I see a horror and gore look is someone going all out on one area of the face but then the rest is pristine and neat (unless that’s exactly what you are going for Two-face…) So always remember to think about the background to the gore!! Think about the big picture:
If its a fight makeup: Think about damage elsewhere, are you sweating? yes? Then the blood would be thinner in these areas.
Post apocalypse or explosion: Add a little black or brown thin face paint or even eye-shadow to your cut to make them look dirty
Zombie after a meal: did the blood only stay at your mouth or did some spray you at you or in your eye?
Cannibal: Did your victim fight back? do you need grazes on your hands? Scratches on your neck?
How old is your wound: As blood is exposed to the air, oxidation happens which causes it to get darker and crustier ie. the newer the wound, the brighter the blood!
Here is a few photos to show these techniques together.
left: painting on the ‘wound area’ with a mix of gloopy and thing bloods. I have used a tooth brush flicked lightly around the area.
right: using a little brown and black eyeshadow with the bloods to make a “fallen over outside” look
I have dabbed away a bit of blood from my leg and added a drip!
You can keep the drip or pat it around the area, and there you have a simple but effecting wound.
Hope some of these tips helped and that *fingers crossed* you can have a bloody Halloween this year!
By Alice Bizarre
Alice Bizarre is an SFX make-up artist and film writer, a prop maker and prosthetic sculptor.