Make It So, Picard

A Conversation with
James MacKinnon | Department Head Make-Up & Prosthetics
Vincent Van Dyke | Prosthetic Designer
and Maxine Morris | Department Head Hair

Picard Season 3 was a daunting one for us… This season was to be set up with new obstacles we hadn’t yet encountered, including a new tonal direction and the inclusion of some special characters. Whereas previous seasons had given us challenges like accomplishing 100-plus make-ups in a single day, Season 3 proved to be a challenge of a different type: iconic characters to reimagine and resurrect, and provide support to the story in very compelling and character-driven ways, while keeping the viewer iåmmersed. First order of business was a tall one and vital … the return of Worf. With the legendary Michael Dorn returning to his iconic role, our job was to bring back a specific look that met the needs and expectations of the fans, while also being updated in a way that felt a part of Picard’s world. Prosthetic designer Vincent Van Dyke and creature designer Neville Page were up for the task. 


Vincent Van Dyke: My early conversations with Neville Page were quite brief and simple when it came to Worf. We both knew this was a character not to mess with, so to speak, but one to really honor in a way that would not rock the boat. We wanted a hefty nod to the original iterations of his look, but keep it updated enough that it was brought into it our signature realism, with a naturalistic feel for this environment. We also had an opportunity here to add in some age and character. My lead sculptor Daniele Tirinnanzi really took lead on this reimagining and sculpted his prosthetics beautifully, paying homage while also keeping this as elegant and organic as possible. My wife and lead wig maker, Sasha Camacho Van Dyke, beautifully designed and built a custom wig, brows and mustache extensions, again honoring the look we are familiar with, while breathing new life into it. We matched some of Michael’s own true hair colors with this striking white facial hair and brows with grey hair. Maxine Morris—Department Head Hair— did a beautiful job cutting and styling this wig, along with day-to-day application. 

James MacKinnon: Worf’s daily application was handled by myself and Kevin Wasner, applying a single piece silicone prosthetic that included the nose and brow, up to the top of the head crest. There were also 2 small silicone pieces for his cheeks that tied into this along with lace and hand laid facial hair. We were able to get this make-up down to 1 hour and 45 min total, including hair. 

Sneed (right)

Another stand out make-up this season for us was a Ferengi named Sneed—a nasty character that had a pivotal role this year and in the development of story and character—he needed to provide a very fluid and natural performance in quite an extensive prosthetic make-up. 

VVD: Sneed was near and dear to my heart, as I really loved the Ferengi growing up. I wanted this character to be very reminiscent of what we know these aliens to be, but again, updating it with that realism and anatomy that felt more a part of Picard to us. Sneed consisted of six overlapping silicone prosthetics, with a large cowl piece that had an intrinsic foam core in to reduce the weight.  

JM: I applied Sneed’s make-up on the day with Vincent Van Dyke, accomplished in just under three hours, including tattoo applications over the prosthetics and on the talent’s neck and hands. He also had a full set of dentures in as well to complete his look.


This season takes a turn, and we are inundated with Borg! Borg are infecting crew members, and we watch them turn throughout the final episodes. This utilized a variety of techniques on multiple talent per day by our team. Headed by Bianca Appice, Afton Storton, and Dyane MacKinnon, these artists were applying intricate tattoo transfers that were designed to have a merging effect of circuitry that flowed into vascular systems up the neck and into the face. And this is just a taste of Borg, an appetizer for when we board the cube! We find six fully reanimated Borg drones—with decaying flesh and tech in a way we have not seen before. Twelve prosthetic artists, including Kevin Haney and team, handled these characters taking on two each. They were transformed using 10-plus piece silicone prosthetics, 3D printed tech pieces, hoses. All of that then incorporated into their elaborate costume. Each make-up took about three hours to apply. All these pieces have led up to the reveal of a new Borg Queen! 

The Queen has assimilated into the ship, and started to become one with it, while simultaneously decaying, aging and mutating… this is a version of the Queen we have never seen. Neville Page reimagined this beautifully, pushing the envelope and creating a newly iconic character for us to execute. 

VVD: This Queen was a tall order, and we had to act fast to facilitate this build by including multiple departments and coming together. 

Our approach was a bit unorthodox—basically starting in reverse—myself and our lead Sculptor Daniele Tirinnanzi broke this make-up down and figured out the overlaps and pieces before we even started. Once we understood how it would all go together, Daniele sculpted the cowl first, as the singular piece that would be glued down first in application. We then scanned this on the cast of the talent to produce all of our overlapping positives for each additional seven prosthetics digitally. These positives were printed and then based out and molded to create our working cores. The cowl after scanning was molded to be then produced in foam latex.

All overlapping prosthetics were cast in silicone and then transitioned into the pre painted foam cowl in a marbled translucent way which flowed into a lot of the elaborate “Giger” like sculptural forms. 

JM: This look was established by myself and Vincent, but applied on the shoot days by myself and Hugo Villasenor in 4 ½ hours total. This also included a large breast/chest prosthetic that married up to the set to give the illusion of her dangling upper torso with all of the Borg cables and hoses, etc., flowing from the bottom of this. Like an elaborate skirt of tech merging into the ship’s aesthetics.

These outstanding make-ups were some of the most elaborate and challenging of the season, but far from the only standout characters from this very full season. Bringing back Data, Dr. Beverly Crusher, Deanna Troi, Geordi La Forge, William Riker, the iconic ensemble cast, was daunting (to say the least!) but also quite the honor for us. We are working with a legacy that is held on a very high pedestal for fans. To have them all working together with our leading man, Mr. Picard himself, Sir Patrick Stewart, his make-up by Peter De Oliveira.

My Co-department Head, and right hand for all three seasons, Silvi Knight handled an overwhelming amount of work with grace, immense talent and skill. Along with her team, Tanya Cookingham, Allison Cary, Hanny Eisen and Kim Ayers, Silvi took on so much work while working seamlessly with me on the incomparable Jeri Ryan in her reprised role as Seven of Nine. Jeri’s look this season was very much what we have seen in the last two seasons of Picard, but we updated the color and finish with a more metallic and polished appearance. 

We also had a new villain on the horizon, Vadic. This character, applied by Hugo Villasenor, was a very important character to get right. Brilliantly depicted by Amanda Plummer, Vadic is a cerebral criminal with a clear intellect that rivals even the seasoned heroes of our ship. A seedy quality was needed with her—something that felt untrustworthy and conniving to support this otherwise articulate and unidentified alien to the crew. Subtle Pros-Aide transfers were used on her in a symmetrical application, with references of jellyfish stings and lightning strike scars; marks that were unique and felt almost like a pattern, while remaining organic even through the overall symmetrical aesthetic. This season was incredibly rewarding, and this whole series has been an absolute privilege to be a part of. I am proud of the work the team and I have created in this world, and that it leaves an indelible mark on  the Star Trek universe.

Maxine Morris: First off, it was a privilege and honor to be a part of Season 3 of Star Trek: Picard. Finally. Finally! This was a “team effort” on all fronts because “the creative process is collaboration of like-minded artists.” We were creating hair styles and characters from words on a page and bringing them to life. I could not have done this without my team, and as anyone knows, delegating assignments is often necessary on a very “busy show”! I would like to take the time to acknowledge those efforts by my team: Valentino Agundaz, my Co-department Head, who went above and beyond covering while I was out with COVID and designing the looks of Jack Crusher and Vadic. Key hair stylist Andre Debois, who was assigned cutting, maintaining and covering principal performers’ photo and stunt double wigs as well as maintaining Capt. Shaw and Lt. Mura. Hair stylist Sheila Holden, for designing and creating the “Rafi” wig and the design of the Sydney La Forge hair style. Hair stylist Ronald Graves, for his design and barbering of Geordi and the application of AfroTech on Tuvok and the daily shaving of Esmar and T’Veen. Hair stylist David Larsen, for maintaining Deanna Troi, along with hundreds of background performers, alien and human alike. To all my additional hair artists, too many to name, who showed up and suited up, I’m humbled by your creative contributions and efforts.   

Seven of Nine

For Seven of Nine, I created a look that would allow for movement, volume and texture while taking into consideration the make-up applied by Silvi Knight and the prosthetics by James MacKinnon. We didn’t want the hair to distract from the FX make-up. My design concept was making her a bit more human; not so classic; by showcasing her natural moving hair and instead of her previous Chignon hair styles often worn on the previous Star Trek series. The hair was cut to maintain healthy ends along with taped extensions added and long layers were cut to give the hair movement, volume and texture throughout. Her hair was prepped with Redken 22 heat protectant and blown dry using a round brush. A three-quarter-inch barrel curling iron was used combining the extensions with her natural hair to produce a combined curl effect that would last throughout the day. Touch ups were kept to a minimum, I would flip her head forward and tousle her hair at the roots for added volume throughout. Then I added some good old-fashioned backcombing and teasing at the roots for extra volume. We finished this off with Living Proof Styling Lab Control Hairspray.

In keeping with the original TNG character, Data/Lore always sported a jet-black hair style in original series. I came up with the idea for a silver gray-white lace front half hairpiece designed and constructed by Kristy Starky to add more hair in the front hairline. His hair was scissor cut, along with blending the lace front hairpiece with his natural hair, keeping the top much longer to blend the lace pieces correctly, while still maintaining some length in the nape area to bevel under. We then did the application of the lace to his skin using Super Baldiez adhesive and a shammy to lay the lace, keeping it undetectable on camera. A blow dryer and a round brush were utilized to create volume and keep the top section uniformed and blended with the rest of the hair. Silver/Gray Hair Topic fibers were applied to the crown section for volume and to dull the shine on the scalp. This style was set with Aerogel Spray. 

When it came to our Klingon character Worf, we hadn’t seen him for quite some time, so it seemed natural for his dark hair to mature with time in space. The wig design by Vincent Van Dyke FX and the hand-made ventilated piece constructed by Sasha Camacho Van Dyke brought this look together. The placement is the challenge. It has to be precise when it comes to the application to an appliance such as this one; there was very little wiggle room. Taking my direction from FX designer, Department Head Make-up James MacKinnon, I took into consideration the alien curvature of the appliance in order to find the exact placement, which was the highest ridge, and brought down the left and right temporal bone in order to achieve a precise fit. I used Super Baldiez adhesive, a suede shammy to lay the lace down in order to not be detected and that could withstand heavy action moves by the performer. The hair design was twisted hair bound and wrapped by leather straps to give it a tribal look.

JM: As Picard comes to an end, I would like to thank all our crews, along with the talented artists at VVDFX, Neville Page and all the Local 706 make-up artists and hair stylists who came out to help bring this world to life for three amazing seasons… 

Make it so!! •