Hugo McCarthy – The Man Behind the Make-Up

Hugo Hugo “CosGoblin” McCarthy is more than just a local Cosplayer. He is a Special Effects Make-Up Artist who has studied under Vince Collura of Action VanceFX and Wren Budd currently holding an internship at GutRotFX, a premiere special effects company on Long Island.

The combination of Halloween and belonging to a group of nerds got him into Cosplay. “Instead of going for generic costumes for Halloween, my friends and I wanted to accurately imitate our favorite anime or comic book characters. The occasional home-made Halloween costume inevitably escalated once I started going to conventions and events, but the actual cosplaying (imitating and acting as the character you are dressed as) started with Halloween costumes.” His first Cosplay was either Chucky, the killer doll from Child’s Play, or Cait Sidth, from Final Fantasy VII.

To explain how he picks his Cosplays, he says; “Usually, I’ll get into something and just find a character I really like, with a design I really enjoy, and then I’ll try to recreate that look. That, or a friend will recommend something to me and I’ll start doing the research on it, and then I just end up getting into whatever the character is from that way. That’s actually how I got into Blue Exorcist, my friend recommended that I cosplay Mephisto Pheles.”

To Hugo, Cosplaying simply means “hanging out with friends, doings things we love, spending a lot of time and money to create something we can be proud to wear. All around, to me, cosplay just means fun. I’m very much the type to say “do what you love and forget everyone else”, and that’s how I tend to view cosplay. If your cosplay isn’t the best one out there, or if your body type “doesn’t match”…do it anyway. As long as you’re comfortable, and you’re having fun, that’s all you really need.”

Cosplaying is how he discovered Special Effects make-up. He recalls; “I had always done my own make-up for my joker cosplay, but it wasn’t until I had done a cosplay of “The Spine”, a character from the band “Steam Powered Giraffe”, that I really looked in the mirror and said “hey…this came out really nice…I think I might like to do this for a living!””

hugo pictureSo, what does it mean to do be a special effects make-up artist? Hugo explains; “Well mostly my job as a make-up artist is to make things look believable, whether it’s meant to be realistic or not. If I’m making someone look beat up, I have to make that bruise I’m painting look like a real bruise! If I’m recreating a character face, it’s not going to look real of course, but it has to look believable. For example, if I’m doing make-up for the comic book version of “The Joker”. While yes, he is a cartoon, I have to be able to translate that look into real-world facial anatomy.”

According to Hugo the differences between Horror make-up and other types of application is this – Horror make-up has many more angles and accentuation involved, not to mention the blood and gore. “Mostly, when it comes to say, Zombie make-up, verses Beauty make-up, it’s really a difference of making someone look less healthy (Zombie) or more healthy (Beauty), for lack of a better comparison.” While he is proud of his Horror make-up application, he actually considers hand-painted characters to be his specialty.

At Cosplay Sunday, his lecture: “Horror make-up and Special Effects with drug store supplies” will explain how to apply Zombie and Injury make-up, such as cuts and bruises. Whether you want to incorporate these skills into your next cosplay or you just want a new activity to gross out your friends, you should definitely check this out.

RSVP to CosPlay Sunday via Facebook.

See Hugo’s lecture and meet other Cosplayers this Sunday on July 27th.


photo Alyssa Hesse is an intern at SPARKBOOM™ and studying Business Management at Adelphi University. When Alyssa isn’t working, she can be found on her unicycle or with her three cats.. When she graduates next year she hopes to make a career in industrial stage management.


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