SFX Books

Biographies and other books

Makeup artist biographies, concept art, behind the scenes, interviews and more! Some of this books take you behind the scenes and into the lives and workshops of industry professionals.

Makeup Effects and creatures

Behind the mask - The secrets of Hollywood Monster Makers

Behind The Mask – The Secrets of Hollywood Monster Makers

The secret of Hollywood’s Monster Makers. Mark Salisbury and Alan Hedgecock look at the master makeup artists who have, in the 20 years since “The Exorcist”, proven themselves to be the leaders in their craft.

This book is filled with behind the scenes shots from well known movies and information abput some of the best makeup fx artists and monster makers in the industry.

Savini - the biography


By Tom Savini

What can you say about Tom Savini? 

Well, the facts work just fine for this multi-hit wonder. He created the zombies and all of the iconic special makeup effects for the mother of all zombie movies, DAWN OF THE DEAD. He created Jason, one of the most prolific movie villains of all time, for the movie franchise FRIDAY THE 13THand for the mega-hit video game.  He created Leatherface in the much-loved fan favorite TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE PART TWO.  He created the crate creature Fluffy, the grave-rising cadaver Nate, and all of the twisted, cockroach-filled, water-soaked zombies for the five horrific chapters of the movie CREEPSHOW and continued to dazzle audiences with his work on a dozen other horror movies in his career as a special makeup effects magician. He played the crotch rocket-wearing character Sex Machine in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN and mesmerized movie-goers with his many other standout roles as an actor, including those in GRINDHOUSE, MACHETE, and THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER. He directed three of the most memorable episodes of the television series TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE and the much loved and respected remake of the movie NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, and most recently he was called upon by his pal Greg Nicotero to direct an episode of the new Creepshow television series for AMC’s Shudder.

In this beautiful picture book, Tom, in his own unique writing style, tells his life story, discusses his movies, shares anecdotes, give his opinions, and of course, talks about the movies in a way only Tom can.

The Winston Effect-The art and history of stan winston studio

The Winston Effect- The Art and History of Stan Winston Studio

For over 30 years, Stan Winston and his team of artists and technicians have been creating characters, creatures and monsters for the silver screen, from The Terminator and the extraterrestrial monstrosities of Aliens and Predator to the amazing dinosaurs of Jurassic Park and the fanciful character of Edward Scissorhands.

Now, at last, he’s opening up the Stan Winston Studio to collaborate on the first-ever book to reveal all the behind-the-scenes secrets of his groundbreaking and hugely influential artistry and effects work.

Featuring an extensive array of sketches, production art, and photographs straight from the studio archives, this is the book his fans have been waiting for!

Rubberhead Volume 1

By Steve Johnson

Dive deep into the mind of award-winning special effects makeup legend Steve Johnson – the Hunter S. Thompson of Horror who’s designed special effects for GhostbustersThe Abyss, and An American Werewolf in London.

Rubberhead Volume 2

By Steve Johnson

The insane journey of illustrious Special FX artist Steve Johnson continues in Volume II; that’s right, more drugs, more sex and more stories from some of Hollywood’s greatest movies.  This time, Steve’s beautiful and unique writing style takes us on a haunting journey about never being able to get over a friend who took his own life while working on Fright Night.  From his own plastic surgery obsession to working on the ill-fated Nicholas Cage Superman movie to being fired from the set of Predator to being sucked into a graphic novel, Steve’s story is legendary.

Join Steve as he continues traveling through his life as he observes his insane achievements as well as his failures of epic proportion.  Johnson’s uniquely creative writing turns his life story into a wild ride that you just can’t stop.  Thankfully, there is more volumes to come!

Behind the Scenes Photos, Never Seen Before from: Big Trouble in Little China, Fright Night, Poltergeist II, The Cat in the Hat, The Village, Species, Species II, Monkeybone andBicentennial Man.

In addition, there is the crazy concept art and FX tests from movies that Steve…almost worked on, which includes, The Lost Boys, Super Man Lives, Predator, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Love Guru, The Jetsons, Iron Man, Lost in Oz, Planet of the Apes, Constantine, Alien vs. Predator and War of the Worlds.

Making a monster - The creations of screen characters by the great makeup artists book

Making a Monster

By Al Taylor and Sue Ro

A behind-the-scenes look into the careers and creations of Hollywood’s most talented makeup artists reveals how they have created, through gimmickry and artistry, movie monsters from Frankenstein to Star Wars. With over 400 illustrations.


MAKEUP MAN – Micheal Westmore

By Michael Westmore and Jake Page

A peek behind the Hollywood mask by one of its foremost makeup artists

In Hollywood’s heyday, almost every major studio had a Westmore heading up the makeup department. Since 1917, there has never been a time when Westmores weren’t shaping the visages of stardom. For their century-long dedication to the art of makeup, the Westmores were honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2008. In this lively memoir, Michael Westmore not only regales us with tales of Hollywood’s golden age, but also from his own career where he notably transformed Sylvester Stallone into Rocky Balboa and Robert DiNiro into Jake LaMotta, among many other makeup miracles.
Westmore’s talent as a makeup artist first became apparent when he created impenetrable disguises for Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Burt Lancaster, Robert Mitchum, and Frank Sinatra for the 1963 film The List of Adrian Messenger. He later went on to become the preferred makeup man for Bobby Darin and Elizabeth Taylor, and worked on such movies and TV shows as The MunstersRosemary’s BabyEleanor and FranklinNew York, New York2010: A Space Odyssey, and Mask, for which he won an academy award. The next phase of his career was to create hundreds of alien characters for over 600 episodes of Star Trek in all its iterations, from The Next Generation to Enterprise.
Replete with anecdotes about Hollywood and its stars, from Bette Davis’s preference for being made-up in the nude to Shelley Winters’s habit of nipping from a “little bottle” while on the set, Makeup Man will satisfy any Hollywood’s fan’s appetite for gossip or a behind-the-scenes look at how tinsel town’s most iconic film characters were created.

Academy Award-winning Michael Westmore has been making up the stars for over fifty years. He frequently appears on the SyFy channel show Face Off with his daughter McKenzie Westmore.

Heart of art- A glimpse into the wondrous world of special effects makeup and fine art of Akihito

Heart of Art

A glimpse into the wondrous world of special effects makeup and fine art of Akihito.

Akihito brings inimitable and interesting characters to life. The Heart of Art welcomes one to look deeper into the creative process and motivation behind the work of Akihito. Whether you are a designer, sculptor, makeup artist, or fine artist, this book will regale, challenge and inspire. The Heart of Art features the extraordinary work of an artist that creates characters that meld a love of Japan, its culture, and its rich history into fantastic works.

Rick Baker-Metamorphosis

Rick Baker – Metamorphosis

The definitive visual history of the thrilling make-up artistry of the legendary Rick Baker, a must-have for collectors and special effects afficionados.

From the gory zombies of Michael Jackson’s Thriller to the staggeringly lifelike results of Bigfoot in Harry and the Hendersons to the groundbreaking effects in An American Werewolf in London, Baker’s special effects, makeup, and prosthetics are some of Hollywood’s most enduring legacies. This deluxe, two-volume set is replete with more than 1000 four-colour images and original sketches. It covers the makeup artist’s 40-plus-year journey, from his early days as a young “monster maker”, creating body parts in his parents’ kitchen, to his more than 70 film and television credits–that earned seven Academy Awards, one Emmy, and three BAFTAs, among numerous other awards.

Men, makeup, and monsters - Hollywoods Masters of Illusion and FX

Men, makeup, and monsters – Hollywoods Masters of Illusion and FX

By Anthony Timpone

Cinema is illusion, and in this book you’ll find profiles of twelve masters of screen magic, the best you can find in Hollywood, including:

-Dick Smith, a living legend whose work has graced The Godfather, The Hunger, and many other films

-Stan Winston, the man behind Terminator 2, Jurrasic Park and Aliens

-Tom Savini, whose work for George A. Romero’s “Living Dead” movies made him a leader in the milieu of splatter effects

-Rick Baker, whose apes have conquered the screen in Greystoke, Congo, and Gorillas in the Mist

These masters and eight other specialists-including today’s hottest talents, such as Bob (Hellraiser), Keen, Kevin (Child’s Play) Yagher, and Tony (Addams Family Values) Gardner-offer details looks at the art and craft of movie makeup.

From foam latex to complicated puppetry, it’s all here in this essential handbook. With many rare and illuminating photos-including eight pages in color-this book is invaluable for anyone interested in learning the craft of movie makeup and fascinating reading for anyone who ever wondered, How did they do that?

I'm Rubber, You're Glue - Shannon Shea

I’m Rubber, You’re Glue

By Shannon Shea

Using his unique and personal narrative, Shannon shares his funny, embarrassing, and brutally honest life story, detailing his journey from a monster obsessed Louisiana kid to co-supervising the creation of the iconic alien hunter from the film Predator along with his countless other iconic film creations. A must for any film fan, Rubber, will give fans a behind the scenes look at such classics as House, Star Trek IV, Evil Dead II and much more


Monsters in the Movies

100 Years of Cinematic Nightmares

By John Landis

Learn everything there is to know about special effects in films and what it goes into designing iconic monsters that still show up in nightmares in Monsters in the Movies. From B-movie bogeymen and outer space oddities to big-budget terrors, legendary filmmaker John Landis showcases the greatest monsters ever to creep, fly, slither, stalk, or rampage through theaters!

Landis provides his own unique and entertaining insights into the world of moviemaking, and hosts in-depth conversations with leading monster makers, including David Cronenberg, Christopher Lee, John Carpenter, and Sam Raimi, to discuss the art of monster making. He also surveys the historical origins of the archetypal monsters, such as vampires, zombies, and werewolves.

Go behind the scenes to discover the secrets of the special-effects wizards who created legendary frighteners like King KongDracula, and Halloween‘s Michael Myers.

With more than 1,000 stunning movie stills and posters, Monsters in the Movies is sure to keep even the most intense fright-seekers at the edge of their seats for hours!

Monsters, Makeup & Effects-Conversations with Cinema's Greatest Artists

Monsters, Makeup & Effects -Conversations with Cinema’s Greatest Artists

By Heather Wixson

Pennywise. Xenomorphs. Freddy Krueger. Beetlejuice. Jason Voorhees. Most movie fans immediately recognize these creatures and characters, but hardly know much about the artists behind these iconic designs. In Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume 1, journalist Heather Wixson shines the spotlight on twenty special makeup effects artists, creators and technicians whose work has left us captivated and marveling at their innovation, ingenuity and creativity. Featuring behind-the-scenes photos and extensive interviews, MM&E explores the lives, careers and inspirations behind some the greatest artisans to have ever worked in film and television. MM&E is a celebration of the creative spirit and artistic endeavors of those who have worked tirelessly for decades to create the memorable monsters, creatures and onscreen personas that have terrified us, made us laugh and filled us with a sense of wonder. Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume 1 features comprehensive discussions with: Howard Berger – Ve Neill – “Screaming” Mad George – Thomas Burman – Alec Gillis – Tom Woodruff Jr. – Joel Harlow -Matt Rose David LeRoy Anderson – Bari Dreiband-Burman – Doug Drexler – Wayne Toth – Lance Anderson -Tony Gardner – Patrick Tatopolous – Jim McPherson – Bart Mixon – Gabe Bartalos – Paul Jones – Everett Burrell.


Monster Squad

Celebrating the Artists Behind Cinemas Most Memorable Creatures

By Heather A. Wixson

Leprechauns, lost boys, and labyrinths—the things of bad dreams from the kings of mad screams. 20 special effects artists that helped shape the landscape of modern horror and sci-fi cinema from the 1970s to today finally pull the cobwebs from their secrets.

Heather A. Wixson from Daily Dead interviews legendary and visionary creators Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff, Jr., Tony Gardner, Jennifer Aspinall, Michele Burke, David Marti, Bart Mixon, John Rosengrant, John Dykstra, Phil Tippett, Brian Wade, Steve Wang, Rick Lazzarini, Gabe Bartalos, Mike Elizalde, Kevin Haney, Todd Masters, Bob Keen, John Goodwin, and Steve Johnson.

Discover how your favorite creatures were brought to life and the inspirations behind their imaginations. Illustrated with over 300 behind-the-scenes photos from over 50different horror and science fiction films.

About the author: Heather A. Wixson, a ten-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment, has written for several notable websites, including Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead.

Films discussed in Monster Squad include An American Werewolf in London (1981), Jurassic Park (1993), The Terminator (1984), the original Star Wars trilogy, The Thing (1982), Ghostbusters (1984), Aliens (1986), Hellraiser (1987), Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), Evil Dead II (1987), the Basket Case films, Predator (1987), Fright Night (1985), the A Nightmare on Elm Street series, Pan’s Labyrinth (2007), Stephen King’s IT (1990), The Lost Boys (1987), Tremors (1990), Interview with the Vampire (1994), Darkman (1990), The Monster Squad (1987), Army of Darkness (1992), the Leprechaun series, Hocus Pocus (1993), Robocop (1987), Planet of the Apes (2001), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), the Friday the 13th series, The Blob (1988), Species (1995), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Harry and the Hendersons (1987), the Chucky films, Alien 3 (1992), The Toxic Avenger (1984), The X-Files: Fight the Future (1998), The Dark Crystal (1982), Pumpkinhead (1988), The Addams Family (1991), House (1985), the Hellboy films, Starship Troopers (1997), Attack the Block (2011), Fright Night Part 2 (1988), Mimic (1997), Spaceballs (1987), Slither (2006), The Return of the Living Dead (1985), Tales from the Crypt Presents: DemonKnight (1995), Saturday Night Live, MADtv, and many more.



Behind the Scenes with Hollywoods Top Artists in Special Makeup Effects

By Scott Essman

As conceived by author-producer Scott Essman, this 20-page magazine-style special black-and-white publication will be a treasured collectors’ item for movie fans everywhere. Spanning the first 100 years of movies, this first part in a series of Essman’s special publications focuses on the pioneering makeup and creature artists who have created some of cinema’s most memorable characters. Organized as a series of photo-essays profiling each significant “creature person,” readers will learn the secrets of their most beloved screen heroes and villains alike.

Leading Ladies of Makeup Effects-Showcasing the Award-Winning Women of Makeup Effects for Film and Television By Patricia L. Terry

Leading Ladies of Makeup Effects

-Showcasing the Award-Winning Women of Makeup Effects for Film and Television

By Patricia L. Terry and Gary Christensen

Written by Patricia L. Terry and Gary Christensen, this is the 1st book to offer portrait biographies about 26 Leading Ladies working in makeup effects for film and television. Featuring their influences, training, projects and careers, these biographies express how and why these Ladies have risen to success. The book features 12 Oscar winners, 9 Emmy winners, and 5 Emerging Artists (the possible award-winners of tomorrow).


Paul Blaisdell, Monster Maker

A Biography of the B Movie Makeup and Special Effects Artist.

By Randy Palmer

Paul Blaisdell was the man behind the monsters in such movies as The She Creature, Invasion of the Saucer Men, Not of This Earth, It! Terror from Beyond Space and many others. Working in primarily low-budget films, Blaisdell was forced to rely on greasepaint, guts and, most importantly, an unbounded imagination for his creations.

From his inauspicious beginning through The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow (1959), the construction of Blaisdell’s monsters and the making of the movies in which they appeared are fully detailed here. Blaisdell’s work in the early monster magazines of the 1960s is also covered.

Making Movie Magic- A lifetime creating special effects for James Bond, Harry Potter, Superman & more

Making Movie Magic

– A lifetime creating special effects for James Bond, Harry Potter, Superman & more

By John Richardson

JOHN RICHARDSON is an Oscar-winning special effects supervisor and designer, who has been involved in over 100 movies, including nine James Bond adventures, all eight Harry Potter films, Aliens, Superman, A Bridge Too Far, Straw Dogs, The Omen, Cliffhanger, Far and Away, Willow . . . and many, many more. In creating the magic that flows through these films – by creating huge explosions, beheading people, producing futuristic gadgets, making a man fly or breathing life into creatures that amaze and haunt us – Richardson has come to hold a unique place in cinema history.

The son of pioneering FX technician Cliff Richardson, he learned his trade at the feet of a master of the craft. With over five decades of adventures under his belt, and a vast photographic collection of unseen pictures, Richardson now lifts the lid on his exciting and fascinating career of making movie magic.


Theatre Artisans and Their Craft

By Rafael Jaen, Holly Poe Durbin and Christin Essin

Theatre Artisans and Their Craft: The Allied Arts Fields profiles fourteen remarkable artists and technicians who elevate theatre production to new dimensions, explore new materials and technologies, and introduce new safety standards and solutions.

This book have profilse with both makeup artists, scenic artists, prop makers and more!

every tools a hammer-life is what you make it-book by adam savage

Every Tool’s a Hammer: Life Is What You Make It

By Adam Savage

In this New York Times bestselling “imperative how-to for creativity” (Nick Offerman), Adam Savage—star of Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters—shares his golden rules of creativity, from finding inspiration to following through and successfully making your idea a reality.

Every Tools a Hammer is a chronicle of my life as a maker. It’s an exploration of making, but it’s also a permission slip of sorts from me to you. Permission to grab hold of the things you’re interested in, that fascinate you, and to dive deeper into them to see where they lead you.

Through stories from forty-plus years of making and molding, building and break­ing, along with the lessons I learned along the way, this book is meant to be a toolbox of problem solving, complete with a shop’s worth of notes on the tools, techniques, and materials that I use most often. Things like: In Every Tool There Is a Hammer—don’t wait until everything is perfect to begin a project, and if you don’t have the exact right tool for a task, just use whatever’s handy; Increase Your Loose Tolerance—making is messy and filled with screwups, but that’s okay, as creativity is a path with twists and turns and not a straight line to be found; Use More Cooling Fluid—it prolongs the life of blades and bits, and it prevents tool failure, but beyond that it’s a reminder to slow down and reduce the fric­tion in your work and relationships; Screw Before You Glue—mechanical fasteners allow you to change and modify a project while glue is forever but sometimes you just need the right glue, so I dig into which ones will do the job with the least harm and best effects.

This toolbox also includes lessons from many other incredible makers and creators, including: Jamie Hyneman, Nick Offerman, Pixar director Andrew Stanton, Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toro, artist Tom Sachs, and chef Traci Des Jardins. And if everything goes well, we will hopefully save you a few mistakes (and maybe fingers) as well as help you turn your curiosities into creations.

I hope this book serves as “creative rocket fuel” (Ed Helms) to build, make, invent, explore, and—most of all—enjoy the thrills of being a creator.


Show Case

Developing, Maintaining, and Presenting a Design-Tech Portfolio for Theatre and Allied Fields

By Rafael Jaen

A design tech portfolio showcases a theatre designer/technician’s most prized accomplishments in stage design, lighting, costuming, or makeup. The ability to make a winning portfolio is essential to getting into choice colleges, obtaining scholarships, and getting new jobs in the field. Unfortunately the process can become time consuming and challenging if you don’t know where to start. Show Case offers students, teachers, and aspiring professionals the information they need to know to create, maintain, and show off their portfolio.

This fully revised second edition features new and expanded chapters that explore current and innovative approaches to creating a design-tech portfolio, including branding, social networking, and traditional and interactive e-portfolios. This comprehensive guide also covers planning and developing details such as page layout, content variety, aesthetic sequencing, marketing, personal presentation, and next steps. Each chapter features introductions, samples, and lists of “Do’s and Don’ts” provided by experienced professionals in the different design/tech fields. Portfolios featured are from an incredible cast of contributors at different stages of their careers, including recent graduate students, officers of renowned organizations and international theater artists, and art directors representing narrative artists in the allied fields of film, TV, and other media. This book is designed as a reference guide, workbook, and an inspirational tool, assisting designers/technicians in the process of developing a showcase that can be used to apply for graduate school, to pursue new jobs in the field, and for career marketing purposes.

One Day at Disney-Meet the People Who Make the Magic Across the Globe by Bruce Steele

One Day at Disney

Meet the People Who Make the Magic Across the Globe

By Bruce Steele

Bruce C. Steele is a journalist and Disney fan with a long career of profiling the famous and unheralded, from the pastry chef at the Biltmore Estate to the stars of Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns.

Discover what it’s like to report to work every day for The Walt Disney Company. Step behind the scenes to immerse yourself in one “ordinary” day at Disney. On a Thursday in 2019, a small army of photographers and videographers scattered across the globe to capture what goes on beyond those tantalizing “Cast Members Only” doors – whether eavesdropping on historic endeavors or typical tasks. All the photos in this book were taken on that single Thursday, beginning early in Tokyo and following the sun around the world through Shanghai, Hong Kong, Paris, Madrid, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, and dozens of places throughout the United States. More than 40 hours after it began, the day ended as the sunset on the Aulani resort in Hawaii.

On that day, some 80 Cast Members agreed to open up their workshops, dressing rooms, kitchens, cubicles, TV studios, labs, locomotive engines – and some even more surprising and diverse workspaces. They also shared their stories: childhood dreams and chapters, career pivots and triumphs, workaday hurdles and joys. It was just a day in the life, as extraordinary as any other day at Disney. As any Cast Member can tell you, a Disney job is less a destination than a limitless journey. And for just One Day at Disney, we can all tag along for the ride.

Dream It! Do It!-My Half-Century Creating Disneys Magic Kingdoms by Martin Sklar

Dream It! Do It!

My Half-Century Creating Disneys Magic Kingdoms

By Martin Sklar

Part memoir, part business book, Marty Sklar entertains readers with more than fifty years of tales of creating magic around the world.

Marty Sklar was hired by The Walt Disney Company after his junior year at UCLA, and began his Disney career at Disneyland in July 1955, the month before the park opened. He spent his first decade at Disney as “the kid,” the very youngest of the creative team Walt had assembled at WED Enterprises. But despite his youth, his talents propelled him forward into substantial responsibility: he became Walt’s speech writer, penned Walt’s and Roy’s messages in the company’s annual report, composed most of the publicity and marketing materials for Disneyland, conceived presentations for the U.S. government, devised initiatives to obtain sponsors to enable new Disneyland developments, and wrote a twenty-four-minute film expressing Walt’s philosophy for the Walt Disney World project and Epcot. He was Walt’s literary right-hand man.

Over the next forty years, Marty Sklar rose to become president and principal creative executive of Walt Disney Imagineering, and he devoted his entire career to creating, enhancing, and expanding Walt’s magical empire.
This beautifully written and enlightening book is Marty’s own retelling of his epic Disney journey, a grand adventure that lasted over half a century.

Do you think there are any books we should add that are missing from this list? Please get i touch 🙂

It can be books about makeup artists, monster makers, special effects artists, prop makers and more!

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