Sunday, July 02, 2006


The Vampire

The vampire is actually the first project in Dick Smith's book, and we recommend starting with it and working through the book, project by project. Even though Smith was writing for children, and his book was being published in magazine form, he clearly gave careful thought to how he organized his makeup projects. Which each project, you learn a new skill that adds onto a skill learned with the previous project. Smith began his book with the vampire because it is made almost entirely with two colors of greasepaint, and is a relatively simple project. Here's what his vampire looks like:

Dick Smith's vampire

Yep, that's a vampire all right. Smith's makeup is a variation of the makeup Jack Pierce did for Bela Lugosi in the original film version of Dracula, which, in turn, was a variation of the makeup that Lugosi had designed for himself for the Broadway version of Dracula. So this is really your classic movie vampire, and it's easy to do, so let's get started.

STEP ONE: Apply greasepaint.
You'll need three colors of greasepaint for this. White (or skin colored), black, and a creepy color, say, grey or green. We went with grey, because we've done quite a few projects with green. Jack Pierce made Bela Lugosi green, but the decision was mostly made based on the fact that the greasepaint would look otherworldly in black and white film. We do not need to imagine that vampires must be green as a result.

Start by dabbing the white or skin colored greasepaint all over your face. Then dab the green pr grey greasepaint all over. Blend it well, all the way up to your hairline and over your mouth.

Step one: Dab greasepaint Add odd colored greasepaint

STEP TWO: Add shadows
You'll be using your green or grey makeup here to add hollow cheekbones and temples to add a suitably cadaverous look to your vampire. If you like, darken under the chin as well -- the greasepaint tends to make the whole face look undifferentiated, so you're going to have to add shadows back in where they would usually be.

Step Two: Shadowing Shadowing

Max must not yet be a vampire, as he can still see his reflection in the mirror. Let's move on, shall we?

STEP THREE: Shade eyes and add finishing touches
Here's where you use the black greasepaint. Shade the eyelids right up to the eyelashes and back to the hollow of the eyes.

For final touches, shadow the nostrils to make them look larger and draw a narrow line along the mouth in black to make it look like a pinched, narrow maw.

Step three: Hollow out the eyes Step four: Final detail work

Dick Smith suggests wetting and combing your hair into a widow's peak. Max doesn't have enough hair for this, so we topped the costume off with a vinyl novelty wig and store-bought vampire teeth, and, voila, the completed vampire:

The completed vampire


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