Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, art, travel, make-up, cooking and the occasional rant!

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Halloween Fun with the kids

This is my first Halloween in Ontario with my sister’s family.  Today we carved pumpkins (by we I mean “me” mostly.)

I have to say I am really impressed with the pumpkins here in Southern Ontario – big, orange, ripe and so easy to clean out!  My niece chose the white pumpkin to design her face on – these must be a hybrid of some sort as I swear it smells, looks and tastes like a honeydew melon inside.

I carved the orange one and my niece drew her design on the white one but it was too difficult for her to carve it, so I finished it for her.

We are pretty happy with the results!


I did suffer an injury though…


Sliced right across the pad of my right index finger (Top Tip: Don’t hold THE BLADE of the knife when trimming the edges!)  My sister applied first aid… I think these are Troll bandaids?  It wasn’t too bad thankfully as I have clients later!

Hope everyone has a fun Halloween!

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And… That’s a wrap for Halloween 2016!

Another year of Halloween appointments completed.  This year was a bit rough for me as I am still struggling with my gallbladder pain (surgery is scheduled in EIGHT MORE SLEEPS!) As I wasn’t driving I was able to take my pain pills so it was reasonably tolerable (most of the time.)

This was the first year that there were no no-shows, so thank you to my clients – and the ones who called to cancel.  It made planning my day and filling open spots so much easier!

My first appointments this year were on Thursday afternoon, then all through the day Friday, solid on Saturday until 10 p.m. – thankfully Sunday was free from appointments but spent prepping for a special effects job – and then Monday, Halloween, with more bookings.

There were a lot of skulls.  Every year there are skulls. This year most of what I did was skulls… sugar skulls, half-skulls, full skulls, demonic skulls… with a few other things.  And one special effects zombie.  Five years ago it was the other way around – lots of special effects zombies and a couple skulls.  Guess tastes change.  Or overexposure on social media.

So here is a selection of what I did this year.

This first one won Scariest Costume (client emailed me to let me know!)


These next ones were a few of the ones done at at Muskoseepi Park for their annual Halloween Spooktacular.




And a sampling of the skulls done over the weekend:






And some of the usual suspects…


Vinny’s ides this year was Cruella DeVille who had been bitten by were-dalmatians and was morphing into one… LOL…


And the last one to share today, a little raccoon ready for trick-or-treating!


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It has begun…

My first Halloween clients of the year were tonight.


And I put my Mummy up in the window.


Another client dropped off his prosthetics so I can get them painted and prepped for Halloween Day.

Tomorrow my first appointment is at 7:15 a.m.

Saturday is fully booked at this moment.  That seems to be fluid though as Saturday has been fully booked about four different times since the end of September, then I’ll have a couple clients cancel, fill-up the spots, repeat… LOL.  A wait-list has now been started.

Skulls are the most popular request so far – both the Day of the Dead variety and the skeletal ones.

I acquired a great piece of artwork today – a friend is doing a drawing a day and this was her work from yesterday.  I loved it so I bought it!  Framed and hung it in my studio this afternoon so she is on the wall to supervise all the skulls I will be painting this weekend!


My studio is all set-up and  organized, including a photo backdrop. I am ready!  Bring it on Halloween!



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Tis the season

Ah, the smell of Halloween is in the air… rotting leaves, the hint of snow, burning leaves, the musty scent of winter clothes being pulled out…

Replacing the insoles in the winter boots… er… um… well, that isn’t all that pleasant.

Here are some ideas from my archives for Halloween.

Bats 2




Annual Halloween Wrap-Up

Halloween season this year was a long one, not that I’m complaining!  Well… maybe a little because my back and feet are killing me.

My Halloween bookings started on October 19th with four appointments, then I did a couple of full zombies for a film shoot the next day.  The 25th I had bookings in the evening, then on Saturday the 26th I did my usual gig painting up the staff and haunters for the local park’s Haunted House, then back home for appointments well into the evening, then had evening bookings during the week, worked at the museum the evening of the 30th for four hours at an event, appointments all day on Oct 31st, from 2 pm on on Nov 1st, and finally, four more appointments the evening of Nov 2nd.  That was a LONG stretch of bookings.  And, I had eight (yes, EIGHT) customers who came for make-up TWICE… and one of them actually came THREE TIMES!!

It was a very nice financial boost to the household.  I’ve always thought it would be great to be able to do this full-time, I love make-up application and creating characters… but physically, well, I’m getting too old for this … I was in severe pain at the end of the long days and had to take a couple of Aleve AND a couple of Tylenol just to be able to stop the pain enough to sleep.  I can face the short busy periods of standing and leaning to do make-up but I wouldn’t survive a regular day to day routine of it.   Oh to be young again, eh?

I love Halloween – I’ve got some excellent customers who book every year.  Most of my business is repeat customers… and I think 2014 is already booked solid.  I already have confirmed in writing appointments for next year.

So, here are photos of some of what I created this year – as always, customers send me, or come with, photos they found of what they want me to create so, thank you to the original artists of the designs interpreted here (if I know who the inspiration photos were created by I will note them – most were unknown to me…)

This first one is based on the cover photo of Becstar Anthony’s book.  My customer loved it (she saw it on my blog!)  This is based on that design, with changes!


This is the customer’s photo – after she was in costume with her hair done:


This next couple also wanted sugar skulls… they had photos but I didn’t really follow the designs.  They had a variety of photos so I chose bits from one, something from another, etc.  They promised to send a photo in costume… I’ll post it when I get it.


This next one is my interpretation of the Cheshire Cat – she wanted the big mouth full of teeth and to look fierce… she was going out with a group all dressed as Alice In Wonderland characters.


This next one, I have to admit was one of my favourites – he had a couple of photos and wanted the overall look of one with the mouth of the other… I think it works amazingly well with the costume!  And those eyes!!


This customer had photos of the large mouth… the first one was the first time he came and wanted it like the photos he had provided, the second is based on a mouth design I found that I liked better and he chose that for the second time around.


And this is another compilation of a few photos – mouth from one, top part from another design, own idea for other parts…


The three above guys then went to the Mall on Halloween Day and terrorized the little kids… just by being there!

This next one is a repeat customer – she works at a Haunted House/Event each year and comes to me for the make-up.  This year was a Zombie Crossing Guard – She sent me the photo in costume “on set” which is pretty cool!  I deliberately used the black as she was going to be working outside and it would be dark for most of the event and we wanted it to show up.


The next is my version of Two-Face from whichever Batman movie had Aaron Eckhart in it.  I think it turned out pretty well.  This customer came back the next weekend to get it done again for another party.


This next is another repeat customer – he is the Skull Warrior above too.  This was the make-up from the first visit this year – he had some photos he liked so I did my version of it (choosing colours to make he eyes pop!)


This Zombie was working as a guide at an event:


Here is a Zombie Bride – she was one of the customers who came twice this year.  The second time we did a skull and rib cage design and she made the front page of the paper as part of the Thriller dance mob.


You can see her in the centre of the photo:


This is a little five year old Zombie Bride all ready to go trick or treating… she insisted on “scars with stiches”… 


Next, two green aliens… They bought their own bald caps, ears and horns… cheap ones…  I pre-painted the ears and bald caps in advance.  Due to the, er, lack of acreage of the bald caps I only glued them down on the foreheads, cut around the ears so they would lie flat and since they were wearing hoods the loose backs wouldn’t matter.  The horns were glued onto the bald caps once I had them secured.  They ended up not wearing the ears (they were not able to be attached – the kind you just fit over your own ear and wouldn’t stay.)  I wish I had noticed the undone hood on the taller guy before taking the photo though.


And last, but certainly NOT least… Comic-Con Man!!!  Vinny came two times (hence the two different designs) and I painted his chest as well as his face – so the Superman and Batman emblems I painted freehand – I had to get Vinny to bring up the Superman “s” on his smartphone, but Batman was freehand from memory (there are so many versions of that!)  His costume was a Spidey suit on backwards, Captain America’s shield on Batman’s utility belt, Wonder Woman’s boots and bracelets, Catwoman’s ears and tail.  The design on the left was my idea – he arrived in his costume and I quickly sketched out my idea, the design on the right was to his specifications.


So that is just SOME of what I did this season.

Oh, almost forgot… the film that I did the zombie make-up that I posted about previously is out!  Here is the link Bar One/Walking Dead Commercial Have a look – it is pretty cool!

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Halloween – the most wonderful time of the year

Ah, I love Halloween… I’m sitting here after my usual manic Halloween party weekend blitz of work.  The snow is falling outside (has been for a week now) and will be continuing.  The weather forecast for Halloween Day is -10 for a HIGH and -24 for a LOW… should keep the “tricks” to a minimum this year.  That is why costumes are designed to go over snowsuits up here.

The last time we had this much snow this early was 2006.  I didn’t get a chance to rake the front yard or clean up my flower beds so will have to deal with it in the Spring.  I did get the planters emptied, but had to bring them into the garage to thaw out first before I could get the dirt to come out.

This year I had some appointments booked Friday night, my usual Saturday morning down at the park painting up the haunters for the Haunted House, then back home for appointments the rest of the day till late, then a birthday party booked for today, Sunday… This year I promised myself that I would take photos of EVERYTHING…. I almost managed it.  I let one really cool Neon coloured monster leave without getting a photo… bummer ’cause it was really cute!  I’m hoping to stalk a photo of it down on Facebook!  And I didn’t take any photos at the birthday party.

My regulars have all booked for next  year already – and their friends too, so I am almost fully booked for 2013 and it isn’t even Halloween 2012 yet.  One wants body painting so we’ve blocked off two-hours for him – he was a last-minute Avatar last year and this year had a photo of some tribal warrior body paint that he wanted which I rushed through with Vinny’s help… Vinny had only booked “face painting” for four people, so I didn’t book enough time to do a proper job… it was okay but could be much, much better as I could make sure to have other products to make a better job of it. It still looked pretty good.

And Chris, who comes twice every year – he won best costume at Rock City last year with the Evil Jester make-up I did, won best costume, again, but at the Shark Club this year!  He stopped by to give me half of his prize money this evening… he was so excited.  He is already planning next year’s costume.

So here are photos from this weekend – please keep in mind that customers bring me images of what they want and many are copies of other artists’ work.  I paint what the customer wants.  Some are done without references but others are exact copies as that is what the customer insisted on, so, thanks to the original artists for the great ideas for some of these designs.

First, this is Chris, who won best costume at The Shark Club last night:

He had three photos he’s found on the net and I picked the one I liked the best and painted it.  He had his hair seriously spiked AND had gel nails put on and filed to points – he goes all out!

Next is a friend of Chris’… didn’t get his name  but we called this a Kabuki Skull… I started out going for a half skull due to his beard but it ended up looking like a kabuki mask so I added the red:

The next ones are Vinny’s group.  Vinny comes every year with his posse… this was the first year he actually made an appointment!  He booked for four face paintings but one of them wanted body painting… I lectured them about telling me about it in advance so I can schedule enough time to do a proper job.  Vinny helped me with the body painting on Colin to get the base on while I worked on details… for a rush job it turned out pretty close to what Colin wanted.  And he booked for a body painting for next year on the spot.

First was The Reaper – he had a specific image he wanted with the really wide mouth and he wanted the eyes on the lids:

Then Vinny got painted as a wolf – in this photo he is posing in a way that I think he meant to be “sexy” … hmm, not sure about that but he is dressed in a sexy Red Riding Hood costume with glow sticks inserted in the hood.

And here are Vinny and I painting Colin… you can see Colin is holding a tablet with the image of what he wanted on it so we could refer to the image.

And here is the finished painting… he added a wig and cloak later.

I also painted a couple of scary clowns:

This next one is Manda who is a regular… she’s also got some sfx wounds and gore… after she left my place she was going to be trashing the costume and dousing herself with blood… I thought the costume was great as it was but she’s into the splatter.

I also did a couple of sugar skulls.  The first wanted exactly like the image she provided which was a black and white photo of a stylized half skull:

And then there was this one.  She had a photo of a red one that she wanted that she showed me but I didn’t refer to it as I painted… I did it, showed her the mirror, she liked it, I took photos.  Then suddenly this afternoon I was sitting here and I though OMG I forgot to …!!!  Can you see the mistake?

It would be an easy fix … but I am so embarrassed!

Then I did a grey zombie which I quite like – it was done to match the wig cap he had:

This next one is another of my regulars who brought his significant other with him this year – they are a Corpse Bride and Groom.  He’s long dead and they met when she was buried so she is fresher.  I hope to see photos of them in costume at some point.

And here is a pretty spider witch.  She had some photos – one of Lynne Jamieson’s spider crawling out of the mouth that seems to have gone viral lately.  She decided that it wouldn’t last until the evening so opted for a spider on the cheek:

The next two I painted for the annual haunted house down at the park:

A zombie:

A blue witch:

At the party this afternoon, which was all girls, I did a lot of matching costumes and the rest were all glamourous eyes.  One little girl had a gorgeous Grecian gown with typical Greek patterned trim.  She just wanted her eyes done, so I did gold with black liner and replicated the pattern from the trim on her dress…. then, of course, I did about a dozen more.  But they were all different.  All of the children were in costumes, really great costumes, and not one duplicate.  Really impressive.

It was -12C when I left to go to the party… and about a foot of fresh snow.  I had to park about a block away and struggled to drag my rolling trolley through the snow.  Had just as much fun getting back to the car too.

And, the best part is… tomorrow I go to the bank!

I love Halloween… and I still have a couple of bookings on the 31st!