While every clown is unique, there are three general types of clowns. Each clown type has its own particular character traits and standing within the world of clowning. An audience member can often get a good idea of a particular clown’s type simply by looking at his face and costume as each clown often identifies their type by wearing a specific style of makeup coordinated with their costume.
As clowns, makeup helps create our distinctive characters, but our makeup also serves an important purpose for our audience. Contrary to popular belief, our makeup is not a mask. Our makeup enhances and exaggerates every facial expression we make so our audiences can see our personalities shining through no matter how close or far away they are.
Let’s take a look at the different types of clowns:
First we have the Whiteface Clown as portrayed here by alley member Popper. The Whiteface Clown is traditionally the more “serious” clown and at the top of the clowning hierarchy. He tends to be the more talented clown and often the one pulling pranks. If there’s going to be a pie fight, the Whiteface would throw the first pie and often avoids being hit by the others.
The Whiteface makeup is often credited as the oldest makeup style. He wears a white makeup base with features and accents traditionally in red, black, or blue. Some modern Whitefaces also make use of additional accent colors. The Whiteface typically has a red nose that is painted on with makeup or else uses a prosthetic nose. Some clowns use a string to hold their nose on, but Popper here glues his nose on after his makeup has been applied.
Next up is the Auguste Clown as portrayed here by alley member Dont Kno. The Auguste Clown is traditionally the sillier clown and second in the clowning hierarchy. He is often less talented or, at least, unexpectedly talented in comparison to the Whiteface. When it comes to pranks or a pie fight, the Auguste is typically the target.
The Auguste wears a flesh-colored, orange-ish, or pinkish makeup base. White is used to highlight around the eye area and to define a muzzle around the mouth. Features are then painted in red or black. The Auguste typically uses a prosthetic nose, however, some paint their noses on.
There is also a variation of the Auguste clown known amongst clowns as the Lite Auguste. The Lite Auguste’s personality is often similar to the Auguste, although, sometimes he may also be a little more on the serious side like the Whiteface.
The Lite Auguste is notable by their liter makeup designs as depicted here by alley members Baby Cakes and Daisy.
Finally, we have the Tramp/Hobo Clown. The Tramp/Hobo is at the bottom of the clowning hierarchy. In a prank or pie fight, the Auguste would be missed and the Tramp/Hobo would take the hit.
The Tramp/Hobo is considered a Character Clown and derives his look from the hobo’s of the 1930’s during the Great Depression. Tramp Clowns are typically sadder clowns while the Hobo Clown is usually happier hence the term “Happy Hobo.” Alley member Handy Man shown here is a Hobo clown.
The Tramp/Hobo’s makeup typically employs a flesh, orange-ish, or pinkish base, although, some clowns use a white base. White is used around the eye area with black eyebrows.
The Tramp/Hobo’s makeup design typically features a distinctive mouth defined by white makeup surrounding the clown’s natural mouth. A faux-beard is typically painted on, although, some clowns use real facial hair. The nose is typically prosthetic in either red or a flesh tone.
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