She is one of the most renowned makeup artists in the motion picture business.

Having earned 21 international nominations, including eight Oscar® nominations, Ve Neill is also the first artist to be awarded Make-up Artist of the Year by the Hollywood Foreign Press.”

Talk about impressive! Ve Neill’s spectacular makeup artistry has appeared in some of the largest movie franchises in the world. We’ve collected a list of her film credit highlights at the end of this article but the awards keep coming.

Ve recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award by her industry guild and there seems to be no end in sight for those who have seen the latest film rendition of A Star is Born. You’re in for another Ve special in this film, which stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.

Knowing the broad range of Ve’s creature-creations, everything from space travelers in Star Trek to Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands and Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, we wondered what it was like to watch a transformation happen behind the camera.

So who better to find out than to ask one of Ve’s clients and Ve herself.

The legendary and beloved comic, Robin Williams was a special project that turned Robin into Mrs. Doubtfire. Robin shares what it was like to work with Ve in this video below.

Mrs. Doubtfire was a special favorite when my husband and I were raising our children so it was really nice to relive Robin’s brilliance in lieu of his recent passing. He jokes throughout the interview while applauding Ve’s reputation as the A-lister when it comes to special effects makeup in the film industry.

The video also reveals an unexpected detail in Ve’s creation of Mrs. Doubtfire’s character.  Before filming started, Ve worked with the cast and crew tweaking several variations of Robin’s makeup until his final character was decided.

Most people probably underestimate the importance of these makeup choices but Robin illustrates just how much can change with changes in props like eyeglasses and character adjustments to voice.

Overall, faces like Mrs. Doubtfires take hours to create. Robin spent anywhere from 3 to 4 1/2  hours being made up every day, and at least an hour taking the makeup off. A total of 8 layers of latex prosthetics were applied and these were changed out weekly to account for wear and tear as well as layers of rubber paint.

The second video below shows Ve and Robin working together to bring Mrs. Doubtfire’s face to life. It’s incredibly riveting to watch and drives home a greater respect and appreciation for the depths of Ve’s knowledge and skilled artistry.

Seeing the transformative effect of makeup has inspired women to follow in Ve’s footsteps.

There are more women in the special effects industry and a variety of learning resources are available. Two special effects makeup books stand out.

The first is written by Patricia L. Terry and Gary Christensen. Leading Ladies of Makeup Effects: Showcasing the Award-Winning Women of Makeup Effects for Film and Television offers portrait biographies of 26 Leading Ladies working in makeup effects for film and television.

WomanScape likes this book because it features 12 Oscar winners, 9 Emmy winners, and 5 emerging artists while providing insight into their influences, training, projects, and careers.

The second book, Heart of Art: A Glimpse into the Wondrous World of Special Effects Makeup and Fine Art of Akihito is fascinating because it looks at the creative process and motivation behind the work of Akihito. Working in Los Angeles, Akihito challenges and inspires readers with a rich history into his fantastic works.

It’s easy to be inspired when you consider some of the amazing projects by Ve Neill. For more great photos of her fantastical pieces or Akihito’s, follow them respectively at @VeNeill and @studio_aki/?hl=en.

Rose McInerney

Author Rose McInerney

Rose combines her love of all things artfully-designed to connect women to a shared community of learning and a richer, more fulfilled self. As a passionate storyteller, published writer, and international traveler, Rose believes women can build a better world through powerful storytelling.

More posts by Rose McInerney

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