Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

TM Digital Newsletter

TM TikTok

Behind-the-make-up tour for theatre class provided by Knott’s

Knotts artist displaying great skill perfecting the lips of the monster. Photo credit: abraham venegas

With Halloween being around the corner and theme parks converting to an appropriate theme, the Cerritos College theatre class took a field trip to Knott’s Berry Farm to watch and analyze professional make-up artists apply their craft on how they create monsters for the attractions at the park.

Students walked into a building set-up behind Knott’s to see a behind-the-scenes interactive tour of Knott’s.

Head of the makeup and costume programs at Cerritos College, Susan Watanabe-Lonsbury, has been leading students throughout the Knott’s make-up tour for over 15 years, expecting her artists to adopt some of the techniques.

“I want them (the students) to watch each of the different make-up artists; they each have their own style, own techniques that works for them and it’s fun for them. Some of them do want to be make-up artists here (one day).”

As a former Knott’s make-up artist with nine years of experience, she has trained and transitioned students directly into working for Knott’s.

“I think it’s neat for them to work on a monster and take a picture of a monster and say ‘hey I worked on this’ … and actually go in the park and see them in the light that they’re meant to be seen in,” Watanabe-Lonsbury said.

With over 37 make-up artists hastily working on monsters, a few students had an opportunity to aid some professional artists in applying make-up and creating monsters.

The process, methods and techniques that were used by professionals at the theme park are reminiscent of those taught in Watanabe-Lonsbury’s class.

Alyson Landry, theatre make-up major, has been on the make-up tour three consecutive years and notices similarities toward applying prosthetics and make-up.

“Everything is very similar; when you come here (at Knott’s), you can see that,” she said. “Whenever I come here, I make sure to learn different methods of which is better, which products to use, how to apply stuff, so it’s a really great learning experience if you just talk to people.”

The make-up stations were segregated by monster categories: clowns, zombies, vampires, blood and gore; chosen by the Knott’s Entertainment Department. It’s changed every year with a unique storyline.

In the clowns section was former Cerritos College student Alma Griffin, now a professional make-up artist with over 19 years of experience. She enjoys watching the young pupils weave through the make-up booths in awe.

“I always tell (students), ‘it’s always fun to do this, don’t get discouraged, it is hard.’ It brings me back to when I was all in awe of this whole environment and watching (Susan) do her work and learning from her. The brightness in their eyes – I like to see that in their faces,” Griffin said.

She described how she visualizes the process as an art project, beginning with a blank canvas that is both predetermined and improvisational.

Because of the lack of lighting at the theme park, colors applied on the monsters must be exaggerated in order to be seen by people attending the park.

She offered some words of encouragement toward students looking for a similar career path.

“If this is what you’re picking for (as a career), it is hard, it is a hard industry, but I’m doing it. I’m here. It can be done,” Griffin said.

Story continues below advertisement
About the Contributor
Armando Jacobo
Armando Jacobo, Online Editor
Spring 2015 My name is Armando Jacobo. I’ve been a part of Talon Marks for three straight semesters now and I enjoy every aspect of the hectic lifestyle that entails it. This is my first semester as online editor. I’m also a journalism major but I’m not entirely set what I want to do with it though. Maybe enter the sports realm or music industry…or just nothing.
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Talon Marks Picks TM Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Behind-the-make-up tour for theatre class provided by Knott’s