Melanie Ayres tries to make us stop and think for a moment. These prosthetic characters begin life as an initial sculpture, created on a plaster cast of a person. However, as Ayres explains, the sculpture only starts to become a character when their backstory is developed: “Thinking in-depth about how the character thinks, feels and the life they lived, informs my design choices and allows me to decide on the storytelling elements I want to include in my makeups.” The prosthetics are silicone-based and moulded, manufactured from scratch as bespoke pieces to be fitted to a chosen model. Ayres adds lifelike textures towards the end of the design stage, often taken from real life and the natural world to keep the characters based within reality. When applying, Ayres likes to work methodically to blend all the pieces into the model’s skin. This helps to achieve suspension of disbelief, which is needed for the characters to feel realistic.