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Makeup serves as a great way to improve the vision of your clown character. Just like characterization, there is room for total creativity. The object behind makeup in clowning is to give your clown a unique image. Start by studying different pictures of clowns. Note the effect of the makeup in these pictures. Use them for ideas, but do not copy another clown’s image. Your makeup should express the character of your clown and no other.

There are a few guidelines you may want to follow when working with makeup. If you are not used to dealing with makeup, then this aspect of clowning may be the most difficult. It’s no sweat. With a little practice and guidance, you’ll be right up there with the pros. Start the journey by creating a makeup kit. The following is a list of supplies you keep in your clown make up kit:

A small toolbox to hold supplies
A can or tin of clown white grease paint
Black grease paint
An eyebrow pencil
Red grease paint
Flesh grease paint
3 makeup brushes
Baby powder
Powder sock
Powder brush
Baby oil to remove makeup
2 clown noses
spirit gum to keep nose in place
cotton swabs
Shower cap to keep hair back

You can buy all of these items for your makeup kit in any theatrical store. You can also special order kits through theatrical makeup companies such as Ben Nye. Magic stores may also carry supplies, and the wise clown goes shopping around Halloween time. With all of the proper supplies you can begin the makeup application

Before you begin, you must understand the two types of clowns that require totally different makeup jobs. First is the traditional white faced clown. This clown is elegant, snobbish, aristocratic, and the perfect target for an Aguste clown's mockery. This classy character must be evident through his makeup. The second type of clown is known as the Aguste clown. This clown is the white faced clown’s complete opposite as well as ignorant sidekick. To describe the Aguste clown means to describe a rude, grotesque, and clumsy individual. Not only are the two characters complete opposites, but their makeup is also quite different.

The white faced clown’s makeup is obvious through his name. A complete white face emphasized by bold bright colors and shapes. The Aguste clown has skin color in his face. This tone is not a typical skin color, but merely a tad bit redder. This gives a slight sunburned effect. White is used on the Aguste clown to highlight certain features. What features you decide to highlight are directly related to your character. Other colors can be found on the Aguste clown’s face, but the skin tone and white should cover the majority of the face.

Now you’re ready to begin. First take a long look at yourself in a mirror. Smile as widely as possible, and become aware of the natural creases in your face. You must use these features to your advantage. For example, if you want big red circles on your cheeks, be sure you place them on the cherry of your cheeks. Now, lift your eyebrows. Notice the wrinkles in your forehead, and begin to envision the makeup on your face.

Before applying any makeup, make a sketch with colored pencils as a guideline for your soon to be clown creation. If you have very dry skin, apply a thin layer of baby oil to your face before you begin, and for oily skin, wash your face with a good astringent cleaner. Always hold your hair out of your face with a band, shower cap, or hat. Apply the colors in this order: white, flesh, red, and black. Powder after applying each color unless you want to blend flesh and red. Use large simple shapes as you continue. In order to avoid muddy colors and a dull face, wipe your brush clean after using each color by dipping it in baby oil. Clean your hands with baby oil after using each color as well. Practice making different shapes on your face with your makeup brush. It takes a little practice to learn how to draw shapes on your own face and have them come out as planned. Don’t be afraid to improvise. Play with ideas. Your sketch isn’t carved in stone, it’s simply a building block. The experimenting will give you a good idea as to what you want. After you apply makeup, make faces into the mirror and observe the way your design changes with your facial expression.

Hair is an area of makeup that is often forgotten about or overlooked. Some clowns choose to wear wigs. You can buy a professional wig, custom-fitted and in your choice of colors and shapes. These wigs can be expensive. You can buy inexpensive wigs in all colors in a thrift shop or department store. You may also choose to dye or spray paint a wig any color your like. Keep your wig securely in place by attaching an elastic strap to the sides.

It is a good idea to perform your skits in full costume and makeup, and ask a friend to take pictures of you. Do the same thing without the costume and makeup. Compare the pictures to see the difference. Trial and error is the key to finding an image that suits you and your character best. You may want to try a different makeup job for the same skit.

Makeup is an essential part of clowning that will improve through experience. Hopefully, by using this as a guide, this tedious task will transform into one that’s almost as fun as performing.