BUILDING A CHARACTER

PART I : Makeup

Lon Chaney's makeup case is on display at the Natural History Museum
in Los Angeles, California.

The first thing to do when recreating a
pre-existing character is to find all of the photos
and materials you can. 

Here, Wally has filled much of
the mirror in his Chaney Room with various stills from
"London After Midnight."  The stills are
cross-referenced with written information found in
several Chaney biographies.

Wally had his orthodontist cast both his
upper and lower teeth, and then sent those diagnostic
casts to a prosthetic teeth manufacturer in Georgia.
It was important that the dentures retain the crude
look of Chaney's originals. Plus, they could have no
colors outside of the grayscale, so the teeth were
cast in a light gray, with darker gray shading between
each individual tooth.

The teeth are fitted into place. 
For temporary fit they'll just snap on, but for more
permanant situations they can be adhered on with
Poly Grip.

When building a character it's always best to
do a test make-up to start.  Though the finished
product will be more sophisticated, including
prosthetic pieces, contact lenses and elaborate
costuming, the quick fix methods shown here are
sufficient for a test make-up scenario.  Firstly, the
buggy-eyed effect is achieved here by placing small
strips of medical tape on the lower eyelids and
pulling them down. The other half of the tape strip is
attached to the cheek.

To test various shades of gray, white and
black cream make-up is mixed together until a desired
shade is achieved.

  Though an entire make-up base won't be
applied for this test, shading around the eyes is done
to ascertain the ability of the make-up to camouflage
the medical tape used to hold the bottoms of the
eyelids open.

Eyebrows are darkened and eyebags are drawn
in with the help of a black eye pencil.

The lips are accentuated with the gray make-up.

MAKE-UP TEST #1

Though the finished top hat will be an actual
beaver hat, and the hair will be a specially dyed wig,
this old hat and Wally's own hair give you a
suggestion of what the finished character will look like.

Continue to PART II

The construction of a special dental appliance

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