Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Hell is Empty and All the Devils Are Here"

During the snowstorm today, between getting some french toast at the diner and watching Jurassic Park, I put a few long hours into the Caliban mask for Stage Makeup... and I have to say, it looks pretty awesome so far.

I would say it's about halfway done- My main goal today was to draw out the patterns for the changes on the plain white mask and then make the "prosthetic" pieces that would change the face to the shape I wanted. The pieces were made from a white air-drying clay I happened to find in the University bookstore, and It worked pretty well with the project. My only complaint is that it seems to have cracked a little in the drying process, but the cracks were easily repaired/filled with krazy glue. I'm sure I'll be able to make them reasonably invisible in the painting process. Either way, my design allows for cracks and wrinkles, so who knows? It may be a blessing in disguise.

I have a few pictures to show right now, accompanied by slight explanations-

This is the original white mask with the preliminary design drawn onto the face so that I could sculpt the clay directly onto the mask. I then planned to allow the pieces to begin drying, and about halfway through, remove them from the mask to dry fully. I will then glue them into place before the painting process.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the forethought to take pictures while the pieces were on the mask drying, but as the pieces came off, I labeled them and placed them in their respective places on the original concept drawing. This is a picture of all the pieces laid upside down on the drawing. Some sections are made in several pieces like the eyes and nose that will be pieced together tomorrow. The lips are also in three separate pieces, which might be slightly more apparent in the next picture.

This is a pretty good depiction of what the pieces will look like once they're on the mask. They consist of two brow bones, under-eye bags/wrinkles, the bridge of the nose, both nostrils, creases at the mouth (not pictured), exaggerated cheek bones, wide jaw bones, two upper-lip extensions, a plumped bottom lip, and a pointed chin. Painting will involve shadowing several areas like the cheeks, chin, temples, and eyes.

Joan Rivers Before surgery.
Just a closeup on the detailing on the eyes and nose. The pieces are laying on the original drawing.

Closeup of the lips and chin. You can see in this picture the separation between the two pieces of the upper lip.

I'm really excited to piece it all together tomorrow! Don't know if I'll make it through the night. This project has definitely sparked the part of me that was always interested in making prosthetic makeup pieces. It's a lot of work, but I've loved every second so far. Painting will be fun, I'm sure. I really can't wait to see how this turns out =) 

I also have planned to make stringy hair with white yarn... not sure if I'll go through with this part though. It seems like that might be overkill. I guess we'll see tomorrow.

OH. And, unfortunately, I will not have the time to work on it tomorrow that I had hoped to have, considering Montclair State University is one of the only institutions that isn't closed tomorrow, opting rather to have a delayed opening. Remember when we had those in High School? Exactly.

Anyway, here's to hard work paying off (hopefully), awesome results, and the ladies who lunch.



  1. Well I'll be damned... Looks just like my mother!!!!!!!!!

    Very impressive Joe.

  2. See if you can get some long Lincoln locks, or mohair locks... they will add a touch of reality, and can be quite curly, or frizzy, depending on how you handle them... all will add to the character.

    Building masks looks like a lot of fun!!

  3. Tallguy, funny you should say that- I was thinking of using a pale yarn for the hair. I'll look into the Mohair, that sounds like a good idea...

    Building masks is definitely fun =) Gluing them together, however, is not...