Costume Design Part 3
Sometimes make-up is designed by the costumer, sometimes there is a separate make-up designer, and sometimes actors are responsible for their own stage make-up. In shows with more complex make-up needs, a make-up designer is more hired.
Make-up has three purposes on the stage: 1) to make the actor's features visible, 2) to create character, and 3) corrective purposes.
Because stage lights tend to wash out an actor's face and because greater distances between spectators and actors makes visibility difficult, all actors wear makeup on stage. A base gives the face color and evens out the facial tones; stage bases may be water-based, greasepaint, or pan sticks. Eyeliner and rouge for the lips and cheeks are also used by all actors. While greater distances call for more saturated colors, in a smaller theatre actors will use less make-up and colors that resemble their natural tones.
Makeup may also be used to create a character. Smaller character effects include changing the shape of eyes or eyebrows, aging the face and hands, or adding facial hair. Different countries and time periods also had different notions of beauty; by following these with make-up design, make-up can help to establish period and time for a character. Consider silent film actress Clara Bow's "bow" shaped lips, or the heavy liner and bright colors used on the eyelid by women of the 1950's. Larger effects may be created with putty or prosthetic devices (latex foam or plastics), such as building up the nose and chin with putty for the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, or building entire prosthetic heads and limbs for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Other character effects might be bruising, bulletholes, scars, or disfigurements.
Corrective makeup is used to help an actor look his or her best on stage. The actor uses highlight and shadow to enhance the bone structure and features of the face toward standard proportions.
For both character and corrective makeup, the most common techniques are highlighting/shadowing and stippling. Highlighted areas will stand out, whether or not they follow the normal structure of the face, and shadowed areas will recede from view. Stippling is pressing the makeup onto the face rather than wiping it, and it is used to give texture to the face and to blend together areas that have been highlighted and shadowed extensively. Alone, it can be used to create a "5 o'clock shadow." Stippling may be done with sponges or brushes.
End of Costume Designer readings
BACK TO BLOOD'S COURSE MATERIAL HOME PAGE