Evolution: Faces

Your clown face is one of the most important parts of your brand as a clown. It needs to be clean, not scary and above all the same every single time you put it on. Having said that I also think that it is very important for your clown face to constantly evolve to reflect changes in your ability to put on make-up and changes in your character.

Since I didn’t want to use pictures of other people to show examples of bad clown make-up and to show you a true evolution in a clown face I went into my personal clown archives and dug up these old photos of my clown face. They start off bad and get a lot better pretty quick. If you look you can see some of the ideas of yesteryear carry through to today.

  • This first image is the worst. This is from one of my first clown gigs ever and if I could remeber who it was for I would send them their money. The ideas are all there, the execution is lacking. My eyebrows, especially with that top hat are not big enough and are way to high on my forehead. It also looks like the white around my eyes isn’t applied very heavy, which isn’t bad it just isn’t good either. The red on my checks isn’t too bad though they would look better if it went up my cheeks a little more. The real trouble area is around my mouth. The shape makes my mouth look weird, though I have kept the chin part, and the black outline is horrible. That is the worst part of this makeup is the black outline around the white muzzle. Please don’t do that. A black outline like that creates a harshness to a clown face that isn’t pleasing to look at. A few other nitpicky things are that my wig doesn’t cover all of my real hair and I don’t think I had any make-up on my lips.
  • The second inage is a lot better. I am pretty sure this is about a year later. I have stopped outlining the white of my mouth which makes the overall face look a lot less harsh. I am not sure why I don’t have eyebrows, though it could look worse. I didn’t put any make-up around my eyes which would have been bad, though my glasses provide some focal point at my eyes making the face look complete. You cannot tell from this picture but that clown nose was huge. It was a hollow latex nose that was really flimsy but easy to blend, so it looked good but brok easily. I was also putting my nose on with spirit gum, which is horrible.I don seem to have figured out that covering my normal hair with my wig is a good thing.
  • This was my clown face after Moosecamp ’99. Notice the huge steps that have been taken. I am pretty sure that it was Pricilla that actually put this make-up on my face because it looks better then I could ever have done it. I am using a professional noseĀ  in this picture and a nose specific adhesive, which I recommend. Not only do I have make-up on my lips but it accents the shap of the muzzle, which now goes all the way to my nose. The eye area goes about half the distance up my forehead compared to the first image and accents my natural features. Instead of red I use a red blush that softens my face and fits the character that is my clown. For a long time this is the face that I strove to emulate when putting my makeup on myself.
  • Like I said, that last make-up required a lot of skill to put on and I wasn’t very good at it. This is from the following years Moosecamp. My clown eyebrows need to be waxed, they are huge. I also had a hard time getting the pips in the corners of my mouth right so I would always just do the traditional aguste black bottom lip. In this picture I didn’t put make-up on my neck, which is a little bit of a nitpick but it would have looked better with a unified skin tone. Also the skull-cap I am using in thie picture is too big and shows obviously by my ears.
  • Now this is not a true step in the evolution of my clown face, this is my hospital clown Dr. I.P. Freely. This face was developed with the help of Joe Barney and help me explore other possibilities in clown make-up. The unfortunate part of this make-up is that when I smile, like I am in the picture, my lower lip looks all crazy. Developing a face for hospital clowning is a good way to figure out what is essential to the overall look of your clown face and will make your clown face look even better.
  • This is one of the final steps into the evolution of my clown face as it is today. There were more faces in between the Moosecamp 2000 and this one, but I didn’t take pictures of them all. As you may have noticed I have a different wig on then in past photos. This was taken about 2 years ago when I got a new costume, nose and wig for presents. Things I like are the eyebrows, though they are not the same size and the overall look of the face. Unfortunately the skull cap for this wig is a little tight and the ear holes ripped, leading me back to my old clown wig, which I am still love. The only changes I have made are to even up the eyebrows and add a pip to the center of my chin to accent my mouth just a little bit more.

As you can see, one person’s clown face can change a lot over a short period of time. My clown face probably changed daily when I first started out and experimented with different options. Then once I was happy with the overall look I was able to make small adjustments to the make-up to get exactly what I wanted. It has been about thirteen years since I first put on make-up and I am still fine tuning my make-up. Are you?

Update: Here is the most recent picture of my clown face: