Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Makeup Tutorial: Edge and Elegance Look


Start with a clean, bare face.
Apply foundation a slight shade lighter than the model’s skin tone for areas that want to be highlighted and darker around areas that need to be shadowed i.e. under the cheekbones, sides of the face, under the jaw line. This is very soft contour without using contrasting highlights and shadow cream makeup.

 Olive tan and golden spice were the most versatile color for a variety of skin tones.


Fill in the eyebrows with a shade of brown that matches your own eyebrows. Then apply a smokey eye effect.


Begin to pattern the face at the top middle section of your face.
Concentrate on making big swirls, making some lines thicker and thinner. Be careful to wait until the drawings are dry as you work your way down because I have, on many occasions, been frustrated by accidental smudging of my palm on her forehead. 

I used this fine liquid eyeliner to draw the lines. 


Keep continuing the swirls down the side of her neck and over one shoulder until you get the desired effect.

That’s all! This is the final result:

To see the full shoot of this look, click here or the photo above.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pattern Series: Clashing Lines

Edge and Elegance ii

modeled by pia weber
makeup, hair & photography by cindy chen

~ Pixels of jewels find consonance in the amity of blurred edges. ~

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Makeup Tutorial: The Forest Pixi Look


Cream foundation base:
Use foundation of an olive tone cream base to even your skin color out, get rid of any redness, and allow for easier, effective contouring to happen

Highlight and Shadow:
Start off by contouring the nose. Highlight on the tip, and then draw two lines down the sides to create a more intense bridge of nose.

*Note: don’t forget to highlight as well as shadow!

I connected and deepened the crevice where my eyebrow and nose connects because I have bulgier eyelids and the dark brown compensates for any apparent puffiness.

Brown eyeliner:
I lined my eyes with pencil brown liner, elongating the ends with a baby cat-eye.
Add some shadow to your eyelid crease but only follow the normal angle of your eye so it doesn’t become too extreme. Make sure to blend downwards and highlight your brow bone with concealer or whatever you used as highlight!

Line eyebrow with brown pencil (can use the same eyeliner if needed). Extend it a little further down the outsides since we are going for the ethereal, creature-like look and we want it to look a bit weird.


Nude lipstick:
Pale your lips by applying some nude lipstick

Green eye shadow:
Dab some green eye shadow onto your forehead (the general area above the eyebrows) and also where the shadow hits on the cheekbones. I used three shades of green to create a blurred ‘forest feel’: turquoise, apple green and a lighter hue.


Gold and white eyeshadow:
Add gold and white eyeshadow onto where the highlights are, specifically on your nose and cheekbones to get the shining effect when it catches the light. Here’s a side view.

Shiny cheek, shiny cheek~

Cut out your props:
Cut out small pieces of leaves in diagonals so that they don’t become green squares, stick on some flowers; add a pearl in the center if there’s a gaping hole. I just got the flower petal by dismantling a plastic floral bouquet and using the scraps.

Eyelash Glue:
I used the classic eyelash glue trick to stick everything on. Mind you, if the objects like the leaves are thicker or heavier, you will need to hold it on your face longer for it to stay. Try not to scratch the area if it gets itchy or wiggle your forehead. The less movement, the better.

If you’re working with smaller objects that you can’t really hold with your fingers or tweezers, simply dab some glue onto the place you want the object to stick to and then gently press it on the spot until you feel it’s going to stay put once you let go.

Lopsided leaves! (who needs symmetry anyway...)


White eyeliner:
Excuse my subtle duck face. I was trying to show off the white veins I drew where the leaves and flowers protrude from my face with a white wax eyeliner pencil.

I also slightly lined my lips with the white and blended it in. I touched a little white eye shadow on the center of my lower lip to get that nice pout going.

Adding depth to the leaves:
The leaves looked a little fake a while ago, so let’s brush on some gold and green eye shadow that you used a while ago as a base color on top of the leaves. The glue on them will help enhance the color as well and give it more dimension.


Add some false eyelashes, mascara, fix up any colors you want more contrast on, draw some flower patterns (just use white cream makeup and press the tip of a dry, square brush gently on skin to make cascading petal marks down the sides of the neck).

Now you’re done!

To see the final photos from the set, just click here:

Monday, November 17, 2014

Patterns Series: The Bleeding Needle

 Edge and Elegance

modeled by pia weber
makeup, hair & photography by cindy chen

~ The irony of sinister beauty meets the ink of a bleeding needle ~



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Forest Meets Fantasy Series PI

I Spy A Forest Pixi
photography by Andrew More Photography
model and post-processing by yours truly 

For inquiries of his work, email: andrewmax6@hotmail.com

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

DIY: Treasure Gold Rave Bra from the Nocturnal Writer

Here’s a super fun DIY costume for all my concert-goers and rave-lovers out there. I’ll take you step by step through the making of this rave bra, which was inspired by rustic but regal gold and treasure. If I'm confusing you, just comment below with questions and I will choose whether or not I'd like to answer you (I'm kidding, I'll respond).

So this is what it will look like:


Buy your bra. 
Just choose a cheap one that you don’t mind getting all sticky and gross, because honey, you’re never going to be able to wash that again after you decorate the hell out of it. I chose a light pink bra from H&M with minimal designs on it so it’ll be easy to alter. It had a pretty lace ruffle going on in the front, which gave it natural rumply crumply texture. Just make sure it’s thick enough so the spray paint doesn’t bleed into the actual fabric that touches your skin (NOBODY WANTS SWEATY GOLD BOOBS).


Gather a collection of small light craft objects that you can stick onto the bra and not weigh it down (don’t want heavy stuff jiggling on your boobies when you jump up and down at a club). You can literally use ANYTHING. Just look in the pile of 'broken things that I refused to throw away because I'm a hoarder' and pick out old jewelry, buttons that don't belong to any coat, flowers from your ex-boyfriend that you haven't burned yet, beads, coins, and whatever you can find that will bring texture to the look. I was about to deplete my wallet in order to buy amazon vintage brass charms from overseas. Then I found a shop next door that sold stuff from China. So I went for the cheaper option. Guess which one I picked?

You'll see I used styrofoam balls. BIG MISTAKE. Don't do it. It'll burn, melt and let off fumes that get you high (in the bad way). Avoid soft plastic items, styrofoam, or extremely flammable items. The glue gun and spray paint will tear right through the surface.

Also remember that you will be spray painting the ENTIRE bra, so don't worry about the color. What's interesting though, is that if you have rhinestones, crystals or anything shiny, we can scratch off the top layer of gold when it's all done to reveal the colors.

Take a look at the materials I used:
- Fake bouquet of red and white flowers
- Gold beads (Two different sizes: one larger one was part of a necklace that I cut apart and the smaller ones are glossed and came in small packs)
- White ('pearl') beads (these are space filling beads because they are tiniest)
- Styrofoam balls (DON'T DO IT)



Ok, so once you have an idea of where everything is going to go, just go ahead and start gluing things down. Start with the biggest objects and gently place them where you want them to be (I know this might be hard because the bra cups are curved and beads will fall off, so make do where you can). Then just let the magic happen! Improvisation comes in handy right now. If you're going to for a symmetrical look, make sure you're working BOTH sides simultaneously so you don't get mixed up of where you placed which size of bead. Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT RIP OFF THE BEADS IF YOU MESS UP ON ONE SIDE. If the glue is hot you WILL burn yourself. If the glue is cold, you WILL rip off the bra fabric, which could tear the delicate seams and RUIN EVERYTHANG (ok maybe not to that extremity, but you know what I mean).

Be creative! Rip apart petals if you think the flowers are too big, cut up the leaves if you want sharper edges. DESTROY IT ALL. Pick up the pieces, and then glue them separately on the bra. Remember you are getting as much diversity of texture as you can.

...So I tried to take photos while I was in the process of glue gunning but then I started sticking my fingers together because apparently I couldn't multitask very well so here's some progress shots I took when I decided it was time to stretch my back.

 *musical interlude*


When you have everything glued down and you've let it sit for a while to let all the glue harden and cool (which shouldn't take too long actually), you're ready for the GOLDIFICATION OF THE RAVE BRAAAAA.

People, when you spray paint, make sure you are 1) in a ventilated area (outdoors!) 2) have some sort of mask to cover your airways 3) have goggles or at least prevent yourself from hovering over the bra as you spray because you will inhale the cloud of paint that bounces back into the air 4) use horizontal and vertical strokes when you spray (hold it close to the bra) and 5) have it positioned in a slightly elevated platform on top of newspapers, plastic or fabric you are going to throw away.

If you're on a time crunch, or just impatient, yeah, you can spray the whole thing thick and wait for it to dry for the next 5 hours. OR the better option is to spray thin layers over the entire thing, wait for it to dry in 2 hours, then spray over the first layer after you examine the parts you missed. It gives it a more complete look. Then just let it air overnight to get rid of the just-sprayed scent so you don't smell like a wall when you wear it.


If you're not satisfied with how it turned it, add more objects! I decided that the center was looking a little empty, so I added more flowers. I was about to leave the red flowers its original color, but then it started looking too cutesy, which strayed from my totally female-empowering treasure-hunting look, so I sprayed that gold too.


Now that the look is complete, it should look something like this~

Now all you have to do is wear it!


  Thanks for reading! : )

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I Dreamed of a Bleeding Boat

I know my timeline of photoshoots have been jumbled up, but here is the continuation of my sleep paralysis part I series. 

The title speaks for itself. As previously mentioned, these drawings stem from images my mind captured. Like a photograph of a memory, it was snatched during the transitional moments between dreaming and waking up. The concept made sense while I was asleep. But when my eyes opened and sunlight flooded into a familiar room, the meaning slid under the door and never came back.

Thank you to my beautiful model for being so patient with my impromptu shoot and letting me draw all over her baby soft skin.

"Lucidity and Clarity"
Modeled by Cailyn Criniti

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Sleep Paralysis Series Part II: A Nightmare's Lullaby

"Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon that occurs during transitional phases of falling asleep or waking up, wherein the body is still at rest while the mind is experiencing a cross between dreaming and staying awake."


For the last two weeks of summer, I wanted to end my work on Opal's Catharsis with a bang. My photographer, Dan, and I had an agreement half a month prior: to breathe life into the dreams I've had whilst having sleep paralysis. To forever capture them into eight photos. The challenge was to complete eight photoshoots in two weeks. But it was a multifarious challenge. Timing, precision and preparation were the biggest issues. Finding that one perfect shot was the second. On top of that, creating a surrealistic representation of how warped the nightmares were (as I remember them) was definitely a push for technical growth in graphics. Besides grazing the surface of styling and makeup designing, there were also many calculations involved. The camera angles, lighting consistency and overall cohesion were taken into account before the shoots even began.

I am happy to say that we have conquered all these obstacles. I now share with everyone my most meticulously planned set - a photo story equivalent to a journal of my dark and eccentrically psychedelic dreams, rated PG13.

*All eight photographs will be posted on this page every other day.

the sleep paralysis series 
part ii: a nightmare’s lullaby
photography by dan mccarthy
concept, makeup and modeled by cindy chen

A lullaby serves to cradle a child to sleep and if a nightmare had one, the cradler would be sleep paralysis. The nightmare would take comfort in knowing its victim is trapped in his or her fears, mind and body incapacitated and rendered absolutely vulnerable. For a few minutes there is a breach between illusion and reality. Two worlds collide when they are not meant to co-exist.

The Dangers of Falling Asleep
The First Dream:
A hardback book cracks open and breaks my skin.
The concept of how an identity is split apart by an external force was stuck with me long after I woke.

The Plunge Into Darkness:
Often the feeling of impending doom ate at an amazing dream.
Even if the rest of my body remained calm, the panic was still present.

Entanglement of Fears:
Depth and perception were increasingly warped, but it smelled wild out there.
The ropes felt real on my arms, even when it all ended.

When the dream starts to fade, everything slows down.

 Carried by Colored Winds:
One of my earliest dreams involved the over-sized obstacle course represented as a playground set.
The winds would break the fall with a gentle caress every time I failed to reach the top.

 Illusion and Reality

 Poison of the Inbetween