In the previous post I described how I applied the foam latex prosthetics and patched and blended the seams and edges with Pros-Aide Cream Adhesive to the best of my abilities. Once the adhesive was completely dry and had been powdered to ensure there was no tackiness I was ready to start to apply the make-up.
Concept and Design
The idea I had in my head for this make-up, before I started to sculpt the prosthetics, combined two famous characters; Miss Havisham from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and the character of Baby Jane, played by the amazing Bette Davis in Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?.
Both characters appealed to me greatly as they are both more mature ladies, obviously fairly well off at some point in their lives but now for whatever reason they are frail and a shadow of their former selves although they are both trying to hold onto the past and are consequently unhinged as a result.
Originally I was going for a full character make-up with full costume etc and was interested in going for a more monstrous make-up, leaning more towards the Miss Havisham figure. As you may recall she was jilted on her wedding day so remained from that minute on in her wedding finery with everything gathering dust and slowly decaying around her. She wasn’t particularly old, she just appeared it as she’d become ravaged by the lack of sunlight and fresh air, not to mention mental illness of course.
I wanted to exaggerate all these characteristics for my character to turn her into dusty, cobwebby old crone or witch-like figure almost. It would give me a chance also to make teeth for her and gnarled fingers etc.
But when I realised that I was just going to do a head make-up instead I decided to veer more towards the Baby Jane character instead. If any of you have seen Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?, you’ll know that Jane (Davis) had been a famous child star but in later life her sister had become a far more acclaimed actress. This leads a resentful Jane to increase her power over her invalid sister, (who had been crippled in a car accident), to shocking degrees. As she becomes more and more deranged she clings to her image from the glory days. As you can imagine an elderly lady in thick eye make-up, lipstick and thick, powdery foundation as well as golden curls and a doll type dress is a pretty distubing image. If you’re in doubt check out these photos again or Google Barbara Cartland ;D
I thought that this exaggerated style of make-up, combined with the sad, but more classy image (somehow) of Miss Havisham was perfect for me to base my character on.
Concept – a more mature lady who had obviously had money at some point in her life. She is obviously well past her prime now however but desperately trying to maintain an image of herself from a bygone era.
I gathered all the equipment I would require again to minimise time and be as efficient as possible.
- Mehron Creamblend Stick Makeup (TV6 LIGHT TAN BA.W-89)
- Mehron Creamblend Stick Makeup (WHITE BA.R-08)
- Mehron Creamblend Stick Makeup (7C SABLE BA.E-35)
- Ben Nye Creme Rouge (CR-1 Red)
- Mehron ProColoRing Bruise #505-B (Burnt Maroon and Midnight Sky)
- Mehron Colourset powder
- Sponge wedges
- Liquid eyeliner – black
- Mascara – black
- Eyeshadow – blue
- Assorted Make Up Brushes
- Assorted Hair Pins
Make-Up Application Process
- Base Make-Up
I started by using foam wedges to apply a base skin colour all over the prosthetics as a base colour. I used a combination of light tan and white CreamBlend Stick Makeup which I blended on my hand to create a general skin tone. I thought it would be quite a light colour but found that it really wasn’t when against the yellow/white of the foam latex. I actually found it was quite hard to get a realistic colour and also realised that the foam seemed to absorb the colour quite a lot that resulted in a dry look to the make-up but as I was going for that horrible thick, powdery foundation effect that some old ladies seem to go for though, I wasn’t too worried in this case.
Another problem was the CreamBlend makeup is like a sort of grease paint and it didn’t apply as evenly to the areas with Pros-Aide as it did to the foam prosthetic, so this had to be taken into consideration also. The colour I mixed was still an american tan sort of colour which again wasn’t too much of an issue in this case but I did try to lighten it a little further with a greater white to light tan ratio over the top in highlighted areas like the top of the cheeks, nose and brow.
Some areas blended really well around the neck and cheeks and top of the forehead but some of the edges were very obvious still, as you can see from the photos. This again was down to lack of experience with the general technique and the use of the Pros-Aide. Hopefully this will improve with practice. On a set, this would be a total failure but as this was for photos only, I knew I could probably disguise a lot of these mistakes quite effectively with the wig I was going to use and wardrobe.
- Make-Up Details
I’ve mentioned previously the style of makeup I was going for and the inspiration behind the choices, so the details of this makeup were obviously the most important part for me, to get the feel of the character across.
The first thing I did was to apply the lipstick. I don’t know why really as this is often the last piece to apply for me personally, but I got a bit over excited I guess. I used a fine brush to apply Ben Nye Creme Rouge in red. As there was a light tan colour on the lips already though, this mixed to a bright pink colour which somehow looked more realistic in the end. I increased the creepy effect by filling in some of the fine lip lines I’d sculpted with the lip colour to create that look when lipstick bleeds.
Next I used my own blusher brush and blusher, in exaggerated amounts, to highlight the cheeks. It was fun because nothing had to be done particularly neatly or professionally. It all added to the effect.
If you look at the Baby Jane eye make-up the really thick, black liner and lashes look really effective when combined with the thick foundation etc, so I wanted to create my own version of that if possible. I began by using a sponge eyeshadow applicator and later a brush (both pictured), because it was more effective, to apply a thick layer of metallic blue eyeshadow of my own. Again there was no particular method or neatness to this because it looked better messy if that makes sense.
I had brought my own liquid eyeliner in black which I then applied to the upper lids in thick, sweeping lines that I’m actually not sure I could have done much neater if I tried because of all the overhang of the lids and textures. A thick black layer of mascara was then applied. In hindsight I would have liked to try some false eyelashes but I don’t think it affected the overall look too much in the end.
Sharon actually suggested it might be a good idea also to add some shadows around her eyes to show the weariness, so I used a blend of Burnt Maroon and Midnight Sky from the Mehron ProColouRing (#Bruise) applied with a foam wedge around the eye sockets to exaggerate them a bit.
Finally I used a fine brush again to apply some of the CreamBlend Stick Makeup in Sable to create some thin painted-on eyebrows in a style that I felt the character would have painted on herself.
As you can see from the photos, the prosthetics are obviously a mask that does not blend well into the rest of the skin of the model, but hopefully when I show you the final product it doesn’t matter too much in this case.
- Wig And Final Touches
Finally with the details applied, it was time to add the final touches that would create the character in full.
I had bought a long, grey, quite elaborate curly costume wig many months ago from eBay. It was only a few pounds but worked absolutely perfectly for this project. I will be learning how to make my own wigs as part of the course at a later date, but for now a cheap costume wig was exactly what I needed. I had to cut the sides of the inside of the wig as it was too tight at first and asked Sharon to hold the wig in place as I positioned it and decided how I wanted to style it.
I wanted it to be loosely styled as though the character had tried her best but had not exactly achieved the effect successfully. I asked Sharon to hold the hairpins for me for ease and started by rolling the long tresses at the back up to create a sort of bun effect at the back. I secured this as best as possible with the stronger, sturdier pins on the right as the amount of hair was quite weighty.
Once the bulk of the length was secured I started to work my way around the wig, twisting small sections of the hair into the position I needed in a sort of side parting and securing them with the finer pins until I’d achieved a sort of messy neatness if that makes sense. I twisted the lighter fringe parts of the wig to frame her face and teased some longer pieces down the sides of the makeup to hide any areas I wasn’t happy with.
I completed the effect by loosely wrapping a paisley scarf of Sharon’s around her neck that hid any other dodgy areas and also added to the idea that this lady was clinging to her more classy past.
I hope you can see what I was going for. This turned out surprising well considering I’d chosen to do this project finally, predominantly for practice purposes. I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading about it and I’d welcome your feedback, as always, good or bad.