Any other newbies here?

Chris SpillersChris Spillers Spartanburg, South Carolina
I'm totally new to the whole special effects makeup thing.  I've wanted to do it since I was a kid, and am finally able to invest some real time in it.  I feel a bit intimidated given the quality of other peoples artistic ability here lol  I have never sculpted anything but a not so bouncy clay ball heh.  Anyways, just curious if I'm the only one this green here, and maybe if anyone has some tips/pointers.  I've learned a TON so far, and a lot of the tutorials are good about approaching this from a ground level standpoint, especially the Garage Monsters series.  But like I said, I'm a bit intimidated, even to participate in the webinars.. all I can see is the artist asking to view my progress and me having nothing but a nondescript gelatinous blob to show for my time lol

Best Answer


  • Hey Chris,
    We all start at some point and why not learn here at the SWSCA? Everyone here on the forums have been nothing but supportive and has a willingness to learn and explore their talents. Even though you might think your skill level is not up to par with other participants, you might surprise yourself in what you produce here. Remember that everyone (even those 30 years in the business) are always learning.

    Don't let the work here intimidate you- we combine technology and art to produce the most spectacular things. Everyone that I have meet here celebrates that and sees the good in it all. 
  • Chris SpillersChris Spillers Spartanburg, South Carolina
    heh I'm still intimidated.. I doubt that will change anytime soon. However I am amazed at the level of progress I've made in just under a week. I literally have never sculpted a thing in my life.. and I posted pics of my most recent attempt under 'aspiring novice'.. It may look like a 5th grade art project, but given my innate artistic ability (or lack thereof).. it is TRULY a testament to the quality of instruction here. Best money I have ever spent!!! And a quick thank you to you, and all those active on the forums, for making this experience even better :D
  • Mike RuyleMike Ruyle Madison Heights, MI ✭✭
    I'm new, but excited and passionate about it! :) Love my SWSCA subscription!
  • Hi Chris.... Nope , I've just joined too. I'm probably the same as yourself, in that , up to a couple of months ago, I'd never sculpted or drawn anything in my life. But giving it a go, to make a costume, was the start. I've posted in the other forums tonight, so you can see where I'm up to. Good luck in your ventures.
  • Omg i know what u mean... The skill of the people here is mind blowing. X
  • Victoria DurhamVictoria Durham Orange County
    Welcome a little scary at first but I'm getting the hang of it.
  • Chris SpillersChris Spillers Spartanburg, South Carolina
    Nice to see I'm not alone :P  I've actually been amazed at how welcoming and helpful everyone I've run across has been.  Very new environment for me, reminds me of the days I worked backstage, just one big family :D
  • Mike RuyleMike Ruyle Madison Heights, MI ✭✭
    Yah, I love the SWSCA! It's awesome!
  • Thom ComptonThom Compton Woodhaven, MI (Travel full time)
    I totally understand the intimidation factor, being new to this, but I am coming to the conclusion that the level of detail and the style of the art is far less important than the passion behind it. Not to say details aren't important,  just saying they come with time and learning and experimentation. I have always found that my weakest points end up being my strongest because I tend to focus most on them.
  • I am also new here, top speak Spanish so you can imagine how lost I am .... so do not worry you're not alone.
  • Kore BornoKore Borno Maryland
    I get your point but, "nondescript gelatinous blob" Sounds pretty cool.

  • Kore BornoKore Borno Maryland
    Actually your description works well for much of my work, but that's why I'm here.
    Here's one which kind of looks like a nose.
  • Ben wickBen wick wolverhampton U.K
    Hi everyone, yep, another noobie! lol! I live in the Midlands in the U.K I've mainly been fabricating costumes etc... Ive built a fully working, full size Dalek.  (Dr who,) I built it with an electric wheelchair to power it (convenient, as i'm stuck in a wheelchair anyway, lol!)  I like a few others here , am very apprehensive about sculpting, as the work of some people here is incredible. So forgive me if I feel intimidated too. I'm a user of a few prop forums, and the SWS was mentioned a few times, so my good lady has purchased the 3 tutorials a month option as a christmas gift for me, (yay me!!) and what did she do? Yep registered in HER name, lol, so I'm not Sally I'm Ben. I'm really looking forward to watching the great Jordu Schell's tutorials. Well that's me, so just wanted to say hi to al,l and hope to see you on the forums.
  • Thom ComptonThom Compton Woodhaven, MI (Travel full time)

    Okay, just a thought for those feeling nervous. If you are ever unsure of your talent, just go to an art supply store and look at the little knick-knacks they have their for sale. Then think to yourself "Someone sculpted these", then remember that the reason they are being sold is that people BUY them. Yes. People. It never ceases to amaze me that these things are considered purchasable. It makes me feel a lot better about my work. We all have natural strengths and weaknesses. A little time and a lot of love for what you do can put things right where they need to be. There are a million different ways to make these skills work for you. I read an article once that said; In order for you to be undeniably good at something, you should expect to invest 10,000 hours to it. In the meantime you will go from decent to really good to amazing to undeniable. It is just a number. This number is given for someone who has absolutely no experience. I am guessing anybody on here has a lot of experience in watching films with all manner of creature. So, you are way ahead of the curve!!!

  • Ben wickBen wick wolverhampton U.K
    What a really nice reply Thom. I'm sure others will find those words as comforting as I did. I do get nervous and (this is not self pitying), I have had people whilst commenting on things i've done make me feel that my disability means I should be critiqued gentler instead of honestly. As you said, to be that good takes A LOT of hours practice.
  • Matthew GroveMatthew Grove Herndon, Virginia, USA
    I would like to add that as a young man in the late 1970's I devoured every Famous Monster magazine I could get and dreamed of working in the industry. In the early 1980's I was in film school at the university of Oklahoma. In a sculpting class I worked on my projects. The instructor only liked abstract art. He told me I was a nick nack artist and I would never do anything more than make little things for people to buy to put on their shelves and collect dust. At the time I was young and was really set back by this instructor's comment. I came away from a few thoughts after my university experience there. The first is that you should find a school to attend that nurtures your talents. The second is that if you are happy making nick nacks ( I am using this as a metaphor here) then do what you love. I ended up at an amazing studio, small, start up in London that is now the leading fx house in Europe. Do what you love. Keep at it. Surround your yourself with like minded people who also love what you do. I have only just found this forum and the school. There are things here that I wish I has been able to see back when I started. I look forward to many years of sharing ideas and projects. I wish all of you a happy new year. Matthew
  • Just wanted to jump in with my newbie voice.  I JUST started here.  I haven't subscribed to the SWSCA yet, but I have purchased a video tutorial and am currently waiting for my first live webinar to begin.  Hence the reason I'm browsing the forums.

    I am in no way affiliated with the film industry or show business in any way.  I'm just an accountant who recently got into cosplaying as Jack Sparrow.  Being a little (read that as A LOT) OCD about projects I take on, I can never do anything half-arsed.  So, I'm trying to learn everything I can about how to make my costume better and bring the character to life.

    I'm waiting for the webinar with Joel Harlow to begin at this very moment.  He's Johnny Depp's makeup artist in many films including the Pirates franchise.  Who better to ask about makeup tips, techniques, and advice for a Jack Sparrow costume than the man who did the makeup for the original films, right?!

    However, I am feeling very apprehensive and intimidated myself.  I know the webinar I have registered for is not specifically about makeup effects for the Pirates movies, but I have been assured that Mr. Harlow would be happy to answer questions I may have.  Still, I'm afraid of looking/sounding like a newb amateur that is going to do nothing but annoy the guest presenter and all the attendees with my beginner questions.  I can almost see their eyes rolling already!  BUT, I'm going through with it anyway because... how the hell else am I going to learn what I want to know!

    Anyway, just wanted to say you're not the only newb here.  Although, by this time, you're probably not a newb any longer!
  • Thom ComptonThom Compton Woodhaven, MI (Travel full time)
    Hey Robb, 
     I have been here doing different classes and webinars and I have to say that these are the greatest bunch of people a school of any sort could hope for. The general mantra around here is "Everybody starts somewhere." There is no shame at all in learning and asking questions. Everyone of these teachers at one time had no idea what any of this was, so don't sweat it. 
  • I am blown away how nicely structured every thing is here. Ive done this before, but so many new things, no one has ever made what I wanted so always had to learn and make my stuff. Got just enough get up and go to make some killer props for my own projects here in Las Vegas
  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    Welcome to the community Roy!

  • Just stopping in to say Hi I'm new and so glad I join.
  • Hey there! I'm new here too!
    I have always loved creature creations for movies, but never done it myself! I am fairly good at drawing designs, but I've never done anything besides that! Right now I'm trying to take it slow, so I'm testing my skills by building a mask for Halloween! It's just a classic burlap sack wearing maniac! I also tested my skills at being a monster recently by participating in my school's haunted house!
    I look forward to learning new things and being able to talk with everyone! :smiley: 
  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    Welcome Joshua!  Hope you can share some photos of your mask here once it's done!

  • edited October 2014
    Thanks Chris! I definitely intend to do that! I'd love to get some critique on it once It's done!
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