As my partner and I get ready to cosplay Joel and Ellie from The Last of Us for a convention, I figured I should put together tutorials for anyone interested. If you plan to turn yourself into Joel, I hope this helps you in your process.
Step 1: Start off with a clean face before foundation
For any cartoonish look I recommend using foundation to even out your skin tone (yes, even if you are a guy). I used Wet n’ Wild foundation in the color sand.
Step 2: Adding Wrinkles
After many years taking down zombies, Joel’s skin is looking pretty rough. He is wrinkled, has age spots, and shows signs of sun damage. To add wrinkles you want to use a shadow that matches the natural shadows of your face. Meaning that If you have a warm complexion you’ll want to use a brown color. If you are cool toned, you might want to stick to more of a grey shadow. I’m using the color “Factory” in the Naked 3 palette.
If you look at a reference image of Joel and attempt to copy his wrinkles exactly it’s not going to look very good on your face. So instead scrunch your face and make all sorts of silly faces in order to bring out your natural wrinkles. Deepen those with a shadow. Don’t be afraid of adding vertical lines as well as horizontal lines.
Step 3: Contouring the Nose
Recreating Joel’s nose shape will depend entirely on what your nose looks like to begin with. What is important to keep in mind is that Joel has a fairly slender nose with flared nostrils. For the contour you’ll want to use the same shade that you used for your wrinkles. Make sure that you blend out the contour with a clean brush or your fingers.
Step 4: That Epic Beard
Joel is pretty grizzly, and some us aren’t quite so rustic. If you need some help in the beard department you can always apply a fake one, or you can fill in sparse areas or your beard with an eyeshadow that matches your hair color. I used the color “Blackheart” on my partner’s beard, and then with a brown eyebrow pencil I drew short lines in his beard to resemble hair and add some depth.
Step 5: The Outfit
For Joel’s outfit you will want to purchase dark green cargo pants or blue jeans. Levi’s or dad pants are probably your best bet. Any beaten work boot should do the trick. As for the flannel, Insert Coin Clothing makes an exact replica of Joel’s green shirt. However you can find the one I used on Amazon.
I hope that you found this tutorial helpful. If you are interested in an Ellie cosplay here is my tutorial.