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How to become a zombie Andy Warhol: Everyone gets their 15 minutes of BRAINS

October 19th, 2011

Did you catch zombie Andy Warhol lurching around outside the AGO yesterday?  With Halloween just around the corner and the fantastic Toronto Zombie Walk just days away, we thought we would teach you how to recreate the look using easy-to-find tools. Now you too can be the coolest zombie out there, and make amazing jokes about ’15 minutes of fame/brains.’

Andy Warhol 11

We think Warhol would have approved too – in 1984 he was turned into a zombie himself by famous make-up artist and scare-man Tom Savini!

We invited the amazing Cassandra Carter from Sculpture Supply Canada to demonstrate how to create the look. This is a basic tutorial, suitable for wannabe zombies of all abilities.

First, here’s your shopping list:

Costume – we got everything apart from the wig from a thrift store.
Black turtleneck sweater
Black pants/jeans
Black shoes
Blonde wig

Makeup – available from Sculpture Supply Canada or similar store.
Smooth-On Ultimate Wound Kit
PPI Illustrator – FX palette & Zombie palette
Fleet Street Drying Blood – Dark
Ben Nye Blood – Fresh Scab
Ben Nye Character cream foundations – Blue Spirit, Cadaver grey, Black
Neutral setting powder
Red lip liner
Black eye liner
Latex wedge sponge
Black stipple sponge
Small makeup brushes

Step One:

Start by attacking your blonde wig with a comb and scissors to recreate the iconic Warhol look. We found turning the wig backwards worked really well! One you’ve created the shape you want, put the wig to one side so you can start to do the make-up. Now is also a good time to make sure your model is clean shaven (men), exfoliated and moisturized.

Warhol Zombie 1

Step Two: Wounds

Time to crack open the Wound Kit. This kit isn’t too expensive and contains everything you need to recreate realistic gory wounds. There’s even detailed instructions in the box. It helps to draw out the kind of wounds you want beforehand or use pictures for reference. We went for some detail around the mouth and nose – the key with silicon is that less is more. It sticks to itself, so it’s better to start small and build up. Keep your wounds asymmetrical and they’ll look more realistic. Once you’ve used the silicon to create the shape of the wounds you can then start adding makeup.

Zombie warhol 2

Step Three: 

Apply the base colour you want to the face, not forgetting to work it into the hairline. We used  Ben Nye blue spirit for a grey, undead-ish tone. Apply contour shades and highlights, building up darker tones around the eyes, nose and mouth. Then use powder to set the makeup.

Step four:

Once the base is done you can start adding the finer details. The FX palette can be used to create veins, capillaries, rotted skin, fungus, bruises or anything else you can think of. Add distress marks around the eyes, nose and mouth to give a sense of decay. Use the red lip-liner in the water lines of the eye to make them look bloodshot. You can also use the black stipple sponge and a darker cream foundation in various areas to make the face look even more rotten. The trick here is not to get too carried away with too many colours or things going on – keep it simple! Use the black eyeliner to recreate Andy Warhol’s dark, bushy eyebrows. If you make a mistake, use Q-tips to fix it.


zombie_andy_warhol1Step Five

Blood time! Grab your fake blood. We kept our blood subtle (we didn’t want to drip on the artwork) but if you wanted to go wild here, you could. It’s really up to you! Once you’ve added the fake blood all you need to do it add in the wig and glasses. One zombie Andy Warhol!




Some top tips to remember:

  • Keeping your makeup A-symmetrical is key
  • Use reference pictures while applying your makeup
  • Take your time
  • Draw it out beforehand
  • Give yourself time to practice
  • Don’t get too carried away with too many colors or too many things going on.
  • Keep it simple and effective
  • Have fun!

Happy Halloween everyone!


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