sue upton makeup designer

Lately, I've been doing several creative shoots with Laura Hollick, and I thought it might be fun to post an assortment of photos that we've done over the past couple of years ( all shot by Kevin Thom)
It's not a full collection by any means, but it does at least showcase examples of hair/wigs, makeup and the occasional bit of bodypainting & background painting...
So, I'm now back from Calgary after a fabulously fun shoot filled with laughs and monster hours....after all those camera tests, and all the planning, here's a look at the characters as they'll appear on the show:
I'm here in Calgary, and it's the day before we go to camera to start shooting the pilot.  We're in pretty good shape, as we've managed to camera test 5 of our 6 lead characters - and it's all looking pretty encouraging.  I have to say I'm really looking forward to this one:  Gavin is so fun to work with, and this kind of feels like a 10 year reunion of the old Gavin Crawford show - and what's not to like about that?!
The interesting thing leading up to getting our characters together for this shoot has come out of the camera tests.  After our very first camera test of Jess Jones' character months earlier, we thought it might be interesting to have some prosthetic cheeks made for Gavin to help sell Jess as being heavier and a little softer in the face.  The pieces were beautifully designed and made by Louise and Ray Macintosh of Caligari studios...and we subsequently tested with the prosthetic pieces.  What became a bit alarming was the fact that our RedCam picked up color discrepancies that weren't even visible to the naked I suddenly was finding myself second guessing color choices and having to color the pieces to a disturbingly pink shade for it to look "right" on the monitor (though it looked quite wrong to the naked eye).  Though Gavin and I loved the overall effect, we opted to do yet another camera test with the pieces...because some of the other issues we knew we'd be dealing with was going to involve shooting in both hard daylight, and interior I wanted to try to create the most seamless application possible...but of course, that takes a bit of time.
We compared Jess' look with and without prosthetic - and though Gavin and I desperately wanted to make the prosthetics work for the shoot - we had to resign ourselves to the fact that our shoot schedule was so tight and didn't allow for time or the ability to control lighting, etc...that it didn't make sense in this instance to throw prosthetics into the mix given our "guerilla" shoot schedule.
Here's the comparison of with and without prosthetics:
Ultimately, we couldn't justify the extra number of hours required for the it's looking like we'll go with my "painted" rendition of Jess' face.  FYI - our Jess character sports a lovely muffin top (out of camera range), that mixes the look up a bit too.
I was always a huge fan of SCTV - in fact, it was the work of Bev Schectman and Judi Cooper Sealy that inspired me to pursue a career in makeup.   So, needless to say, it was a huge honor to be asked to work on Martin Short's upcoming comedy special to create both "classic" and "new" characters.  Martin Short is an amazing talent and a huge treat to work with - an incredible pro with energy beyond anything I've ever seen.  It amazes me how he morphs into these characters and brings a comedic reality to each of them - I don't know when the show will air or exactly when - but I'll post that info at a later time when I find out.
some of the fun characters in Martin's upcoming tv special

I've recently hooked up with a couple of very talented individuals in Hamilton: Laura Hollick (conceptual artist, model & Kevin Thom (photographer:

Over the past couple of months, we've done a variety of shoots together, and most recently, Laura asked me to create a "red bird" body painting idea she had in mind.

Working with Laura & Kevin is always fun and creative - and I suppose as a result of having worked together over the course of a few shoots, we've established an element of trust and creative freedom that I truly appreciate.  Laura had sent me a few rough sketches and reference ideas that appealed to her - however, she also left it very open ended to my own interpretation...the ultimate image would suggest a canadian flag (with the two red bands on either side to be added later in post), and she, with her painted red bird, would represent a loose version of the maple leaf in the center of the "'flag"

we didn't overplan this one at all. I arrived at Laura's studio with a few different red bird layout ideas, but ultimately,we'd have to start by deciding on a suitable pose that would maintain a level of modesty without
appearing awkward or overly "posed".  Once we'd established our "canvas", it was all about finding an image that would work with our pose.  I started with a roughed in line drawing on Laura, and the spill over design on the canvas behind her.  Once the body painted image was suitably roughed in, I had Laura take a bit of a break, and I opted to paint the image in full behind her on the canvas...though it's not really necessary to paint the entire image - especially if she's going to be concealing major portions of it - it certainly made it easier to line her up with the canvas for our shoot -

The final image has yet to be completed, however, these snapshots give a bit of an idea of the process involved.
Laura's hair was pulled into a sort of "faux hawk" and adorned with a crown of canada goose feathers.

I love how organic the process was - the whole thing (initial brainstorming, establishing the pose, painting both body & canvas & shooting) took about 8 hours.

Check out more of Laura's stuff on her website:
And see more of Kevin's photos at

here's a few behind the scenes shots of the process
click on the images to enlarge