Thursday, June 16, 2016

Dick Smith shows you how to vampire, 1965

In 1965, Famous Monsters of Filmland published a rather incredible magazine devoted to the work of make-up artist Dick Smith. While already a respected talent, he was still a few years away from his ground-breaking work on LITTLE BIG MAN and THE GODFATHER. Smith eventually became a legend in the industry, his name synonymous by the '80s with the concept of "great make-up effects."

In 1965, though, Smith's talents were still within reach of Warren Publishing, who convinced him to help edit the "Do-It-Yourself Make-Up Monster Handbook," a one-shot magazine that illustrated simple, intermediate and advanced make-up techniques. The models were mostly teenagers, but Smith wore his own appliances in a few of the magazine's photos. The magazine is a Monster Kid landmark, produced in such quantities that it's still pretty easy to find today.

Dick Smith adds a few centuries to Jonathan Frid.
Of course, Smith also played an important tole in DARK SHADOWS. He created the make-up affects that "aged" vampire Barnabas Collins in both the television show and the 1970 feature film HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS. It remains some of my favorite of Smith's work.

For those of you thinking about dressing up for this year's Dark Shadows Festival, below are instructions from Smith on how to best capture that vampire look. Enjoy!

I think a vampire make-up is a very good one for you to begin with. The materials and the application are quite simple but the effect is great. You need white, black, and gray or green grease-paints, a black eyebrow pencil, and some pale or neutral powder. Some false teeth from a novelty store and some stage blood would add to the effect but are not necessary.

Start by wetting your hair and brushing it straight back. Add more water or hair dressing if necessary to get it to stay. Obviously, long hair is best for this make-up, which will give you another excuse for not going to the barber.

Your face should be given a pale, weird color. White (or light flesh color) plus some gray or green greasepaint will give the right effect. Wash your hands first, then put dabs of both colors all over your face and mix them by rubbing them together with your fingertips. Keep adding grease-paint until you have covered your entire face, neck, ears, lips and blended the make-up right into your hairline.

Next take the gray or green color and put more of it under the cheekbones and at the temples to make these areas look darker and more hollow (see illustrations of facial highlighting and shadowing in the first chapter—if you want to be very particular). Use a fingertip or a quarter inch (or larger) brush to blend the shadows but do not slave over them because they are not necessary for this make-up, just good practice for you.

The eyes are the most important thing. Apply black greasepaint to the upper and lower lids, making it very dark close to the eyelashes and in the hollows around the eyeball. Press gently with your finger and you will feel the hollow in the skull in which the eyeball rests. Your shadowing should not go beyond it and the outer edges of the shadow should get lighter and lighter until they blend softly into the pale flesh color. A quarter-inch sable brush (#7 or 8) is handy for working around the eyes but you can do it with a fingertip.

Now powder your face generously with a pale or neutral powder. Pat it on, do not rub. The powder absorbs the grease and sets it, so you put on plenty and then brush off the excess with a powder brush or a piece of clean cotton or one of those fuzzy bath powder puffs.

The shape of the vampire's eyebrows is most important. Use your black pencil and keep it fairly sharp with a single-edge razor blade. The idea is to make tiny hair-like lines on the skin in the same direction that natural eyebrows grow. Study the close-up picture and then start penciling near the nose until the brows almost meet each other. Now work on the rest, giving the top of the brows the diabolical upward slant.

The black pencil can also be used to enlarge the nostril openings by applying black in and around them. The inner part of the lips should also be blackened into a thin hard line with the eyebrow pencil or greasepaint and a brush Your hair should be dry by now and in good shape but if it is not, fix it once more. There have been vampire make-ups with both black and blonde hair, so you can leave yours the way it is. If you should want to blacken your hair, liquid black mascara or black cake make-up is the proper thing to use (never risk injury by using some non-cosmetic material like shoe polish). Other black make-up materials might be used but avoid them unless you are sure that you can wash them out of your hair easily.

If you want to have fangs, now is the time to put them in or improvise some. The simplest method is to bend a white pipe cleaner into a shape like a croquet wicket and model wax fangs over the ends. Chewing wax is good; so is the yellow wax on some cheeses (Bonbel and Bel Paese). Paraffin for preserving must be softened in very hot water. A whitish taffy might work.

If you want to be gruesome, you can apply a trickle or two of stage blood to your lips. A very weird touch is to paint bright red greasepaint or blood on the lower eyelids in a line just under the lashes.

Lastly you will want to dress for the part. Find whatever you can that is black or somber in color. A large piece of cheap black cloth makes a good cape or can be draped around the head as a hood.

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