It actually is a photograph. It's been through Photoshop, obviously, but the guy and the girl are real people. The make-up concept and design was by make-up artist Mike Marino (Black Swan, The Wrestler, I am Legend). The graphic was put together by designer Anil Gupta.
Before the current Conan production, the one starring Jason Momoa from Lionsgate, Warner Brothers had the property. According to chud.com:
At a couple of points it got close to happening at Warner Bros; close enough that make-up tests were commissioned. The image you see above is one of those.
The make up was from Prosthetic Renaissance, and it was a pretty big set of appliances – forehead, nostrils, chin, bridge of the nose, wig, even cheeks. The design was, obviously, based on the late Frank Frazetta’s vision for the character, and it’s looks like a painting from the Frazetta archive come alive.
Here's the base sculpture of the make-up:
And, of course, the iconic Frazetta Conan:
I don't know if it would have actually happened this way at Warner Brothers. I doubt it very much, hollywood being what it is, but it would have been amazing to have a whole Conan movie that looked like a Frazetta painting. Imagine someone like Zach Snyder just going apeshit with those paintings. It probably wouldn't satisfy Howard purists (or Frazetta purists) and it probably wouldn't appeal to a very large audience but it could have been a kick-ass experience for millions of fanboys out there.
If you're one of us, you know what I mean.
You can read the whole story here.
I've been here and there. I've drawn a lot of pictures. I've written a bit, too. I'm not good at this self-promotion thing. Look, you want to know about me? just visit these websites. Okay?