This is the How To on the traditional white face or Joey clown, these techniques apply to the Auguste clown as well as the Tramp or Hobo character, all are described below.

Here is a  photo of the Jokester Steve Bauer.

Mari find and insert your Jokester photo here


Step 1: There are 3 types of clowns: white-face, auguste, and tramp. Here, we are demonstrating the white-face. Actor Steve Bauer, before applying makeup and  wearing old clothes. Steve puts something on his head to keep his hair back.

Step 2: Steve begins by applying the white grease paint makeup with his fingers.   

Step 3: Don't worry about the streaks yet, we'll get to them, just get the makeup on your face.

Step 4: Streaks will occur, just pat the whole face down with a makeup sponge or the palm of your hand.

Step 5: Steve Bauer pats down. This is a process that takes away streaks in the makeup and gives a matte finish. The process is to tap your face with the makeup sponge or the palms of your hands so the grease paint makes a slapping sound.  It should not hurt.



Step 6: Making a smooth finish after patting down. There should not be any visible streaks. 

Step 7: Using a white sock filled with Johnson's baby powder, and tied in a knot, Steve prepares to sift the powder onto his face. Note: it is important to use baby powder only. We have found that Johnson's brand is the best.

Step 8: Never touching the wet grease paint, Steve sifts baby powder onto his face. Obviously holding his breath.

Step 9: Steve continues to sift powder on to his face; you can't ever have too much powder. This powdering technique is to set the makeup. Steve and Marianne have been swimming in a pool with the makeup on, and it won't run or smear. This is the proper technique to insure you are not a 'greaser'.

Step 10: Adding some additional colors on top of the powdered grease paint. After which the black and red colors are then powdered. This method is called the "dry method". 
The additional colors are applied with a chisel point brush which makes clean, crisp shapes. 

Step 11: Finished Jokesters makeup by Steve Bauer.

Clown Lecture

                                    Three Basic Types of Clowns:

1.      Whiteface or Joey

2.      Auguste

3.      Tramp / Hobo / Character


Common mistakes to avoid:

1.      Big Hot dog mouth

2.      Large features

3.      Greaser




The TRAMP/HOBO character is the only true North American clown. This character grew out of the tramps/hobos who rode the freight trains across the country looking for work. Although the TRAMP and HOBO clown is considered a single category, each is unique. The main differences between these subcategories lie in the areas of attitudes and costumes.

  1. The TRAMP believes the world owes him a living; that his condition is caused by others. He wants (and expects) everybody to feel sorry for him. He does everything in his power to avoid work. This shaggy vagabond is the individual for whom nothing ever goes right. His face and neck are colored to make them appear dirty and unshaven. Red is added to the beard line to make the face appear sunburned, and the mouth and eyes are white where the tramp has wiped away the dirt with his hands. The eyebrows should be small and worried looking. He may have a drop of glycerin or similar material to make a tear running down the side of his face. His expression is usually SAD and/or SOULFUL. Many times tramps use their own hair, which has been ratted up to look shaggy. If a wig is used, it should be one of the darker, duller shades. The TRAMP is ragged but clean. His costume is usually a two or three-piece suit which is extremely worn and ragged. The rips and tears may be left open, patched (with ragged patches- not neat iron ons), or pinned together with large safety pins. The color is usually black or other dark color, but may be brown, gray, or tan. The vest, if one is worn, may be a dark mismatch. The shirt can consist of a worn and full of holes red 'long handles' or a worn out regular or work shirt. The color of the shirt should be something other than white. The necktie should NOT be flashy. It should be a regular tie that is worn out. A clothespin, a mousetrap, or other article might be used as a tie clasp. A rope might be used for a belt or suspenders.
  2. The HOBO wants to be a HOBO; he may be down but he certainly is not out. He often appears to be HAPPY. A HOBO usually will not ask for a 'handout', preferring to work for it. He will take a job-but usually not for long because he wants to move along to someplace else. His face is much like the tramp's make-up except in the expression. He is apt to smile, and his eyes generally appear larger, more wide-awake, open, and HAPPY looking than the tramp's eyes. His costume is quite similar to the tramp's, but may contain brighter colors in various parts. His vest is likely to be a bright color, as are many of his patches. His shoes should be the same as the tramp's. The TRAMP/HOBO category is the only category in which the use of any kind of color gloves, gloves with holes, gloves with fingers cut off, or the complete absence of gloves is permitted. However, if gloves are used, they should be CLEAN but APPEAR DIRTY, STAINED, and WORN. The overall effect of make-up, costuming, and performance must compliment the character portrayed.
  3. Famous tramp/hobo clowns include Emmett Kelly Sr., Red Skelton, and Otto Griebling.

 (Mari find and insert your auguste photo here)


The Whiteface clown


The whiteface clown is probably the image that comes to most people when they think of clown. The whiteface is broken into two classes, the "Classic Whiteface" and the "Comedy" or "Grotesque Whiteface."

The whiteface is the oldest style of clown, dating back to Greek theatre. Contrary to popular belief, the clown does NOT wear makeup to hide or disguise his figures, but rather to reveal them. In Greek theatre, lighting was poor (compared to modern day theater), and so a white background with black markings served well to illuminate the actor's features. A well known descendent of the whiteface is the court jester of the middle ages (though authentic court jesters often performed with little or no make-up at all).

A major subtype of the whiteface has also evolved. Unlike the court jester or classic whiteface, who can be considered quite intelligent (given a clown's unique perspective ;), the "Comedy" or "Grotesque Whiteface" is more buffoonish, with more outlandish and mismatching clothing, and a more exaggerated style. In the comedic partnership of Abbot & Costello, Bud Abbot would have been a classic whiteface; Lou Costello either a comedy whiteface, or an Auguste.



The Auguste

The Auguste clown is in a class by himself. The least intelligent (although that's not saying much :) of the clowns, he is also perhaps the most beloved. With the most exaggerated make-up and movements, this is the zaniest of the clowns. Famous examples include Lou Jacobs, among others.


There exists a European variation of the Auguste, which is more of an "Everyman" character -- who might wander onto the stage or into the ring. Rollie McBain is an example of this character, as is the inebriate played by Chaplin.

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