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Make-up artist earns high praise for celebrity face transformations

'I love being able to use the body and face as a canvas. I love how everyone has a different unique face combination,' says Erin Royal

Innisfil make-up artist Erin Royal of Metamorph Beauty recently placed top three in two different categories in the International Beauty Industry (IBI) Competition for her face transformations.

Royal is a certified make-up artist from the Canadian Beauty College in Newmarket and is the owner of Metamorph Beauty in Innisfil. She has been doing make-up for weddings and other formal engagements; however, her real passion lies in doing face transformations with body paint.

Royal came across a post online one day advertising a make-up and beauty competition. She submitted two photos of her face transformation art for two different categories: Best Character/Cosplay and Best Before and After.

The IBI features 50 different categories to choose from including make-up artistry, film and television, and hair artistry. Participants can submit up to three photos of their work (one piece in three different angles per entry) and are judged on the following criteria: visual success, technical execution, and creativity and concept.

Royal submitted her own face transformations as Canadian actor and comedian Eugene Levy for Best Character/Cosplay, and David Bowie as the 'Goblin King' in the 1986 movie Labyrinth for Best Before and After.

“I love being able to use the body and face as a canvas,” says Royal. “I love how everyone has a different unique face combination."

Royal was inspired by face transformations after coming across similar work by a portrait painter named Lucia Pittalis, who is a famous make-up artist from Italy.

“I saw some of her work and thought ‘Wow’, I have to try that,” says Royal. “Something inside me lit up and I was transformed."

Royal had tried her hand at skeletons on other people’s faces during Halloween, but had never done a full-face transformation before. That is until COVID hit, which then gave her the time to explore this radical form of art using her own face as the canvas.

“I cover my eyebrows with a glue stick and then put concealer over top," says Royal. “Then I blank out my entire face using a foundation colour that is appropriate for the character."

Royal then begins her transformation by starting with the eyes and brows first before moving on to the rest of the face.

“Trying to get the proportions right – hair line, chin, nose – there’s always something different with every face, so I have to try and find my ‘anchor,’ which is usually the bridge between the eyes," says Royal.

Royal completes her face transformations by matting down her hair under a wig or using her own hair with paint for ‘effect’.

“For men, I use my own hair. I keep it short and it grows really fast,” Royal says with a laugh, confessing that she uses root touch-up spray for some of her hair transformations.

Royal also paints her chest and shoulders to give the appearance of ‘clothing’ for her characters. She uses make-up brushes, but also uses brushes from a painter’s kit to create different aspects and dimensions to her skin.

“I use what works! I don’t believe in using only what’s for the make-up world," says Royal.

Royal’s decision to transform her face into Eugene Levy and David Bowie stem from a love of both iconic characters and for their unique and interesting face details.

“I followed (Levy’s) whole career," says Royal. “I love him! He has such a unique face."

Royal was working on a Halloween collaboration with another artist online one day when she became a part of a project involving the movie Labyrinth starring Bowie and decided she wanted to try the late rock star's face next.

“He was never afraid to be himself. He was always true to himself even if he was different… and I loved that about him,” says Royal.

When Royal submitted both pieces, she never imagined she would place top-three overall. It was her first time submitting her work and winning a trophy and certificate, as well as having her work published on the IBI’s website.

Royal’s talent does not fall far from the tree; her mother is also an artist and enjoys drawing and painting, and was a creative designer in her earlier career. Her two sisters are also creatively talented in their entrepreneurial endeavours as well.

“Being creative is a part of our family,” says Royal.

Royal is a mother of two children and was once a paramedic in Toronto for 15 years. In 2018, she had a ‘health scare,' a moment which changed her life completely and prompted her to leave her career and pursue other passions.

“I was a zombie in my life," Royal says of her past job. “It’s a very exhausting job (with) 12-hour shifts… I was a paramedic during SARS, so I really sympathize with paramedics and the strain (the pandemic) puts on families. I definitely feel for them right now."

Royal adds that although she liked make-up, it was not a big part of her life until she left the paramedic world and enrolled herself in beauty college.

“There’s always someone looking for something different,” Royal says of her work. “This is full-time for me – I am making time for it! It’s what I love and want to do (and) this is the direction I am going in right now."

Royal’s most recent face transformation was of actor James Caan who played ‘Walter’ on the popular Christmas movie Elf alongside Will Ferrell. Caan not only discovered her transformation picture on Instagram, but ‘liked’ the photo, too.

To view Erin Royal’s work of art, visit www.metamorphbeauty.com or check her out on Instagram @metamorphbeauty, on Twitter @metamorphbeaut1, and on Facebook at Metamorph Beauty.

To watch Royal’s face transformations from start to finish, visit her YouTube page by clicking here


Jackie Kozak

About the Author: Jackie Kozak

Jackie Kozak is a reporter/writer whose work appears on both BradfordToday and InnisfilToday
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