The Nova Scotia High School Drama Festival

Introduction to SFX Makeup: Bruises, Scars, Burns and Cuts

with Emily Jewer

My workshop is designed to introduce students to some of the basics of special effects makeup focused on replicating injuries without having to apply prosthetic appliances, through demonstrations done on myself.

This virtual workshop will use two camera setups. One camera (on my laptop) will be positioned on my face so students can see me talking for better accessibility, and the second camera (on my phone) will be positioned over my hands and arms where I’ll be applying the makeup for the demonstrations. I will log into the Google Meet meeting twice, through my phone and through my laptop. My phone will be set up on a tripod with a ring light and will be positioned over the table where all my supplies will be set up and where I’ll do the demonstrations on my hands and arms.

Throughout the class I will encourage students to ask questions about the techniques I’m demonstrating, depending on the classroom set up I may require help from the teacher to field questions as we go. I will also discuss some of the differences between creating injury makeup for theatre vs. film. After the demonstrations are done I’ll have a short question and answer period to address any additional questions the students may have.

The workshop will be divided into five parts:

Introduction to Tools & Materials

To start I will do a quick introduction to the various tools I use, including brushes, sponges, and spatulas, and the makeup I’ll be using in each demonstration. I’ll also touch on proper hygiene when working with these tools on other people.


Next I’ll do a demonstration on how to apply bruising with cream based makeup. This will cover proper application techniques with sponges and cream makeup. I’ll show the students how to create different bruises depending on the age of the injury and discuss how bruises can differ depending on where they are on the body, such as the face vs. arms and legs.


Students will learn how to create scars with collodion. This will cover various ways to apply the liquid to create different shapes and depths of scars. Then we’ll go over different ways to paint your scars depending on the age of the scar.


This section will focus on using liquid latex and cream based makeup to create realistic burns. Students will learn application techniques and how to create texture using latex. Then we’ll go over the painting techniques to create depth and colour in your burn makeup.


Finally, the last makeup look will cover creating cuts with scar wax, liquid latex, cream makeup and fake blood. Students will learn how to manipulate scar wax and how to apply liquid latex differently to create a smooth surface. I’ll demonstrate how to paint cuts to create more depth and how to apply fake blood. We’ll also discuss how to make your own fake blood for different uses like on clothing vs. edible blood.

All DramaFest workshops have limited availability. This workshop is not available on Fridays, or on April 19th, April 27th and April 28th. Availability is also limited due to bookings by other classes.

Makeup artists are one of many roles needed in theatre productions and my workshop aims to give students an introduction to the skills they need to begin an exploration into the profession and how it plays into the larger picture of a production.

My workshop will touch on a couple of the specific learning outcomes from the Drama 10 & 11curriculums:

  • Students will explore the opportunities that exist for extending their own drama experiences through involvement in the artistic life of their community and through careers in the arts.
  • Students will understand and use technical support in production work (for example: by researching, understanding and/or using technical elements and support in theatre pieces, by understanding and using various production roles and responsibilities in a theatre piece, etc.).

Emily Jewer (she/they) is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. They studied visual arts at Mount Allision University and since gradutating have worked in a variety of artistic fields including theatre, film, visual arts, and designed as an actor, director, photographer, and artist. Emily has had an interest in special effects makeup since she was young and began to build on her skills in university while working in Mount A’s theatre department. They are a self taught makeup artist and have build up their skills through practical application and online classes and tutorials. For the last eight years Emily has frequently worked with Dalbouside Medical School helping to create and apply medical simulation makeup to replicate injuries and illnesses in workshops and exams for doctors and other health professionals. Emily loves to share her work and is excited to work with students to develop their skills and love of special effects makeup. View Emily’s profile.

  1. Students remain seated throughout this workshop.

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Please note: Theatre Nova Scotia respectfully requests that schools and community groups ideally do not cancel workshops once they are booked, unless absolutely necessary. If a group must cancel or reschedule, please give us a week of prior notice. In these precarious days for arts workers, TNS is going to great lengths to provide schools with exceptional theatre education and local artists with paid work in our industry. Please be aware that artists may have turned down other paid work to accommodate these workshop bookings. Thank you for your understanding.

Please get in touch with us if you have any questions. 

Students stay seated throughout this workshop.