Poor Unfortunate Souls…

At the start of this semester I was set a small assignment to create an avant garde fantasy or bridal look incorporating hair pieces or padding in the design. I had just over a week to research, design and practise the look so I decided to use it towards my final assessment in December which has to be based on a historical character. My choice of character for this was between Ursula, (a Sea witch from the Disney film The Little Mermaid) and Mother Nature (An ancient mythical goddess). I ended up opting for Ursula and my main reason behind this was that I wanted to challenge myself. Ursula is a very interesting and complex character so not only would this would help in my research, it would allow me to step out of my comfort zone and create an evil, dark and mysterious Make Up. My previous assignments have always been based on pretty, pink, flowery characters and designs.

 I began breaking down Ursula’s character by researching and drawing spider diagrams. I didn’t want my look to resemble the well known Disney interpretation of Ursula so I tried to erase this image from my mind and concentrate completely on colours, textures and related words. Ursula is a cecailia (half woman, half octopus) and throughout my research this was the one aspect of her appearance I wanted to stress in my design. Through trial and error and many practises I finally settled on a make up look. I wanted the eyes to be a focus point and my aim was to make them appear as though they were lurking through the depths of the ocean. I also wanted to show octopus tentacles on the face so that the character was recognisable through the make up as well as the overall look.

 Styling the hair was a real challenge for me. It isn’t my strong point and I believe sometimes I let the thought of this get in the way of my work. My initial plan was to build the hair up off the face into a dome shape on top of the head, (representing the head of an octopus) using padding and some braiding hair I had previously purchased. On two occasions I practised this style and on both occasions I failed. Not only was the padding I had made too thick to pin into, I couldn’t seem to anchor it onto the head successfully. After getting myself a little worked up I took a moment to review the situation. I was making this way to hard for myself! Why didn’t I create the look I wanted using a simpler option and a way I had practised on myself many times before.

My intentions for Ursula’s outfit were intended to be dark and dreary, whilst a little sexy and fashionable. I wanted to use materials that suggest she is evil and from the depths of the ocean, materials that give a bad perception of under the sea. I used some scrim from the Special Effects department to represent fishing net. I also created a crown to show her power, I used an old headband, video tape and wire. The aim was for it to look like seaweed tangled together.

 The Result…

 On the day of assessment I had 90 minutes to complete the hair and Make Up and dress the model. Although I was successfully within the time limits, I wasn’t completely happy with my final look for a number of reasons.

 The process of sticking tissue paper, card and sequins onto the eyes was a lot quicker than I expected, everything was going perfectly to plan until I decided to add white greasepaint under the eyes. In my practises I had noticed that my application was untidy and unrealistic looking and I blamed this on laziness on my behalf, with the intention of taking more care in my final I went ahead and used the same technique. However the white underneath the eyes still appeared messy and untidy to me and it made a huge impact on the over all design. Looking back I can see that I wandered away from the dark, mysterious eyes I had touched upon in my research and if I was to go ahead and develop this look further, that is something I would consider. I would also look into alternative products for making the eyes appear bigger. I also feel my base could have applied better, I think because I was concentrating so much on the eyes and lips I took little notice to the foundation. This resulted in my lips not looking as strong as the could due to small pinky spots around the lip line.

Another terrible flaw in my design was that I decided to use eyelash glue to stick the materials on my models skin, including her eyebrows. I genuinely believed I could use this product without any health and safety problems. If I was to use this technique in the industry I could have been sued for misuse of products! Luckily my model was fine on this occasion and I have made a mental note not to use eyelash glue on the eyebrows again! Alternatively I could use spirit gum and bond off.

 The hair went as a I planned on the day! It was a quick and simple way to create my desired look and I’m happy I stuck to something less complicated. The hair had chosen was very frizzy and messy looking and I personally found it difficult to work with. To say I only had a week to come up with this look I am very happy with how the hair turned out, however I am certain to practise much more before my final assessment to create a more impressive hair style. One thing I can do is plaits so I may incorporate this into my design.

 The costume, crown and overall look didn’t work out as well as I had anticipated. I think the right ideas were there they just needed developing slightly. The crown didn’t really look like seaweed and the draped scrim over the shoulder didn’t look like fishing net. I put a lot of effort into this small project and as I have stated above there were a few mistakes in the process.

 The task has been very beneficial for me as it gave me the chance to put my thoughts into practise, I feel I have fallen out with the idea of using Ursula for my final assessment, and as much as I would love to pursue my idea and make it successful, I can’t help but feel my end result will be more successful using a different character.

I will now start researching another character and breaking down there personality ready for my final look.


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