You can tell a lot about someone just from looking at them, and this is very true in the world of clowning.
While every clown is unique, there are actually three general types of clowns. Each clown type has its own particular character traits and standing within the world of clowning along with its own distinctive makeup style and costuming to help express this character.
And speaking of makeup, did you know that clowns don’t just use makeup to look like clowns? The makeup actually serves an important purpose for the audience.
Contrary to popular belief, a clown’s makeup is not a mask. A real clown’s makeup is carefully designed to enhance and exaggerate every facial expression a clown makes. This way every audience member can see the clown’s personality shining through and know exactly how that clown feels no matter how close or far away they are.
So what exactly are these different types of clowns? Let’s take a look at the different types of clowns as portrayed by some of our alley members:
First we have the Whiteface Clown portrayed here by Popper. The Whiteface clown is traditionally the more “serious” clown and at the top of the clowning hierarchy. They are the “smarter” clowns and the clowns in charge, or at least they think they are. Whiteface clowns tend to focus more on their talents and showing them off. They’re also usually the ones pulling pranks. If there’s going to be a pie fight, a Whiteface would throw the first pie and often avoids being hit by the others.
Whiteface clowns are the most recognized types of clowns, and they like it that way. They have a solid white face with facial features added 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.
A Whiteface’s costume tends to be a little nicer and can often be quite fancy, although some use very simple costumes. Their outfits tend to be very color coordinated as they care about how they look.
Next up is the Auguste Clown as portrayed here by alley member Dont Kno. The Auguste clowns are the sillier clowns and second in the clowning hierarchy. They are often less talented or, at least, unexpectedly talented in comparison to the Whiteface. When it comes to pranks or a pie fight, an Auguste is typically the target.
The Auguste wears a flesh-colored, orange-ish, or pinkish makeup base with white used to highlight around the eye area and define a muzzle around the mouth. Their features are then added in red or black. August faces are often exaggerated to match their personalities. The Auguste typically uses a prosthetic nose, however, some paint their noses on.
An Auguste’s costume also tends to be much more exaggerated and very colorful.
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 has a flesh, orange-ish, or pinkish base, although, some clowns have a white base. White is used around the eye area with black eyebrows. The Tramp/Hobo’s face 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.
The Tramp/Hobo’s costume is very specific to the character and it is often tattered and worn. Their hair is often pretty messy to go along with the whole look.
So What Type of Clown Will You Be?
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