Costume Musings

Cosplaying Hobbits

With the recent release of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, there has been an increase in questions about the finer details of transforming oneself into a hobbit….

…so with that in mind, here are some notes about the wig and makeup aspects of dressing up as a hobbit, that can take your hobbit appearance from good to great!

Hobbits

Hobbits

You’ve probably already got the basics of dressing like a hobbit down, (earth toned clothing, including yellows and greens which are a favorite of hobbits, heavy natural fibers, comfortable, vests, cloaks, knee length trousers, suspenders,  and so on), but what are the finer details that will transform your final look into a movie quality hobbit?

Wigs

Unless you are blessed with thick locks of naturally curly hair, you might want to consider investing in a wig. Unless you are trying to emulate a specific hobbit, any natural hair colour should suffice. Wigs such as the Tina , or a trimmed up New Michael  would be good for boys. For girls the Curly Dolly  is an example of a nice basic wig choice.

Ears

“Ears only slightly pointed and ‘elvish” as Tolkin wrote in a letter to his editor. There are several ways to approach how to achieve the look of hobbit ears you would like.

When buying a pre-made ear tip prosthetic you have to keep in mind the size and shape of your own face. Keeping an ear proportional to the size of your own head is highly recommended, this someone with a larger head might need slightly larger ears. If you have a wider face you might want ears that protrude more at the sides, and so on.

Frodo ear

A view of Frodo’s ear.

A really good choice for hobbit makeups in the premade foam ears, for example the  Alien Ears which are smaller than elf ears and come unpainted and can be painted flesh tone to match your skin colour. I paint mine with grease/cream  flesh tone makeups such as those made by Ben Nye and Mehon, and then protect the colour with a castor sealer.

There are also a variety of pre-painted elf  and fantasy ears and of course the officially licences Lord of the Rings eartips which I am less of a fan of because they are hard and made of vinyl.

All of the ears listed above can be affixed to you own ears using either Spirit Gum or Prosthetic Adhesive.

An alternative to using foam, latex, or vinyl ears, is to sculpt on your own with molding wax which you can buy in a cup, stick, or block.

Feet

If you look at the photo at the top of this article you will notice that the Hobbits have furry, (or at least hairy), foot tops. This effect can easily be reproduced by painting the top of your foot with clear  liquid latex and then applying crepe hair. Crepe hair comes in a variety of colours so it will be easy to match the colour of your hair, (or you wig if you choose to wear one). Crepe hair can also be combines to make subtler shades of colour.

Not feeling crafty? There are official Lord of the Rings licensed “hobbit feet” shoes available as too.

Good luck with your hobbit costuming. I’d love to see photos of your results.

Category: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | leave comment |

Becoming Alfred Hitchcock: Toby Jones’s four-hour makeup process – timelapse video

For the upcoming TV movie The Girl, actor Toby Jones had to don prosthetics and a fat suit in order to play the British director Alfred Hitchcock in a drama about his troubled relationship with Tippi Hedren, played by Sienna Miller. Here’s some accelerated footage of the four-hour preparation process Jones endured to get in character every day http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/video/2012/dec/09/alfred-hitchcock-toby-jones-video-girl

Toby Jones as Alfred Hitchcock

 The Makeup

A multitude of applications are made throughout the process of transforming Jones to Hitchcock. Silicone, adhesives, tints, cosmetic gels, powders, and so on.

One of the products used in the above video is an alcohol activated makeup. Alcohol activated makeup (or AA makeup for short) is a newer category of makeup that uses a special polymer base which readily dissolves in alcohol, but not in water. AA makeup is an extremely valuable tool in effects cosmetics. It’s staying power is nearly unparallelled on skin. If needed, makeup can remain in tact for days. It is completely waterproof making it ideal for aquatic makeup or scenes shot in the rain. It is highly opaque to the level that it is beginning to see regular use as a concealer; replacing thicker heavier oil-based makeups. It applies very thin. It is flexible, allowing the makeup to resist cracking. It blends simply by redissolving already applied makeup with additional alcohol. A few grams of makeup base can last for years of professional makeup applications.

Alcohol activated makeup is most commonly supplied as a dry cake in a pallet or makeup pan. 99% alcohol must be purchased to activate the product. Lower concentrations of alcohol, such as 93% are ineffective at dissolving the makeup. Though rarely kept in stock, 99% alcohol may be special ordered from a local retail pharmacy. Aditionally, there is exists BIC Activator which is made specifically for use with Alcohol activated makeup and has a reduced odor.

AA makeup may be applied by brush dipped in alcohol, or the product may be entirely dissolved into alcohol and loaded into an airbrush. Urethane foam wedge sponges are not as recommended as a large amount of makeup can go to waste in the center of the sponge.

AA Makeup can be removed with additional alcohol, soap and water, or any of a wide array of makeup removers. Overuse of alcohol as a makeup remover is not particularly recommended, as it can cause excessive drying of the skin.

Category: Costumes, Makeup | Tags: , , , | leave comment |