Klingon ridges

The Art of Being Klingon


Qob the Klingon, Bill Hedrick himself

Bill Hedrick seems like an ordinary, friendly, if very tall (6’3″), guy when you meet him.  Yet underneath that, is the heart of Klingon and the mind of an artist. Long before terms like cosplay or even the idea of people dressing up in amazing costumes at conventions, Bill was perfecting his art both as a costumer and a craftsman in movie level prosthetics and makeup. You’ll find his work being used all over conventions in the Midwest, from Klingons to Voldemort to full Planet of the Apes characters.

If you talk to him about his work or look at his Facebook page Illusion Makeup Studio the processes he uses all sound very technical, labor intensive and made-up of lots of chemistry. And while they are, this doesn’t begin to cover Bill’s sculpting abilities, eye for design, the color and painting knowledge of a great portraitist and sheer problem solving creativity.  Bill himself admits that each project he works on, he doesn’t aim for his work to look like that of an expert cosplayer, he aims for it to rival multiple Oscar winner, Rick Baker’s work. A goal that he always feels he falls short of, but results in some of the most stage ready, prosthetics that could be afforded by the average person without a movie budget. Indeed, his forehead ridges can be seen in all stage productions of the Klingon Christmas Carol, a work he also helped in translating into the Klingon language.

Klingon Christmas Carol

Klingon Christmas Carol, http://www.moundstheatre.org/ Photograph by Bob Alberti, Actors Gregory Parks & Ethan Jensen



Gandalf. Bill Hedrick himself

Not everything is all aliens and apes for Bill, though. Known as a special effects wizard, he also can be found as a wizard. (Both Gandalf and Dumbledore.) Have a look at some of Bill’s work in this article and see even more finished and work-in-progress images of his work on his Facebook page!





Voldemort, prosthetics and makeup by Bill Hedrick

Cardassian sculpting

Cardassian in progress. Bill Hedrick

Ape in Progress

Bill demonstrating Planet of the Apes prosthetics and makeup live during a panel at MarsCon.