The Joker Costume – Alive and Well
So this halloween my kids decided I should go as the joker and nothing else.
So thinking about it made it seem like a too simple easy costume,few splashes of face paint and your done…personally im not that type of guy to take the easy way about it.
So I decided I needed to be more creative I mean I am already a huge batman fan and have been since I was a toddler my older brother got me into comics and loved them ever since. Having a lot of material on hand to help my imagination inspire the character I wanted to create helped me to pic 4 different joker character styles and combined them into one.
Golden/Silver Age Joker
First Appearance: Batman #1 (1940) (classic green purple color ways to show tradition for the character colors).
First Appearance: Batman #251 (September 1973) this style used for clothing reference and some interpretation on my costume.
The Dark Knight Returns Joker
First Appearance: The Dark Knight Returns#3 (1986) from this style I used the modern business attire look they used for this interpretation of the character.
DC-New 52 Joker
First Appearance: Detective comics #1 (2011) this character rendition is where I got my inspiration for the torn face stitched back look for my face.
After about 5 hours of research and character digging and analysis I laid all my work on the table and drew out some face sketchings and gathered clothes from around my house (closet rummaging, totes,boxes etc) and put everything into a pile.
I then got straight to work on my clothing for the costume and took about 2 -3 hours of making outfits that didnt over shadow the references to the other styles and elements (Im a very detailed,specific,perfectionist type plus I couldnt let my kids down lol) went through about 3 piles of formal shirts,vest pants, accessories you name it I wanted my costume to say “hey Im funny, but dont joke about it” and it needed a lot of attention to detail using colors and clothing and accessories the joker was know to have worn/used,to me that was very important I mean yes you can make a joker costume with anything really but to give definitive character traits and style brings more life to a costume character than adding a silly hat or combing two different characters (i.e-making a jedi/spiderman, or being doctor hulk(doctor costume with someone painted green Ive personally seen this one) the joker is my favorite villain and I wanted to show respect to the character by putting my greatest and best effort to making awesome costume.
So after going through all the clothes I had in piles in front of me and the small amount of frustration dealing with ill fitting material, I had made the outfit I thought was best in essence to each style I was researching from and still looked like a style the joker would wear or be seen wearing while laughing down gotham ave, now on to the hard part of this quest, the makeup.
So now that I had finshed creating,picking and choosing the outfit for my joker I needed to focus eveything else for the big part of my costume, the jokers face/make up. To be simple you could do the standard heath ledger joker white face, black eyes, red lipstick smile but like things with trashy lipstick I didnt want it to be a easy option, so I broke down a lot of looks and finally chose the one more recently featured in the arkham games and me being a natural born artist loved a challenge I mean the detail was outstanding ,the insane and crazy look was beefed up I mean the torn off face being stitched back look gave excellent appeal to the joker and I loved it since I first saw it and knew thats what I wanted on my face.
I went to the store and spent $5 for everything I needed face paint,brushes,and AA batteries(for my Bluetooth speakers I like to listen to music while I paint its relaxing for me) got home and set up my area I was going to be sitting and getting started.
I started by cleaning up my face first with water and getting any dirt off for a clean canvas, I then started a light white cover to help with color in certain areas and from there I got in my artist mindset zone and let imagination, creativeness and determination take hold of my dream and out do myself beyond what I thought I could do I dont have any pro art experience or anything like that I was naturally born a artist I was the kid doodling in class and the whole time I was painting and layering and paying close attention to detail.
I was doubting myself and my abilities and my work, from the paint smudges to putting to much shade in a area or messing up and having to wash a certain area off and do it again this was a tough project and after 3 hours of painting and problems frustration and angry were my mood. Paint not blending well or layering how I needed it making to big of lines or to small and constantly trying not to smear my hands on my face when doing detail lining on certain spots. Im left handed so happens more often than not and just causing me to go crazy in the process but my kids came and cheered me up by saying how cool I was and I was an awesome daddy and they loved it so far.
They are 2 and 4 years old and they mean a lot to me and hearing them say that made me push myself farther than what I thought I could do and make them proud and not give up on making there dream of dad being the joker a reality so I endured and used what knowledge of painting and art forms of detailing colors and realism I had learned from books and taught myself and kicked it into high gear. I was non stop coloring, layering ,adding, removing and changing(picture a cartoon character crazily making something in a frantic pace – my wifes words describing me at that moment haha).
I was determined to make it the best hand painted joker rendition face that people would stare and want to see (which it did haha) by time the clock hit 5pm I had just finished my last brush stroke and stood for a moment taking in the image in the mirror I was seeing and looking over every line every brush stroke every shading point and the depth of the facial features to give it that almost real look. The mouth area came out amazing the teeth were a pain to color. I had to layer with so many dark colors, but they turned out perfect.
The whole thing did from the facial lines to the staples I drew holding the face together to the red scalp tissues color between the face and face mask (pun intended lol) I did a kick ass job but the approval from my kids is what meant the most. They were excited to see when I called my family to come to the kitchen to see everyone gasped and were speechless and insisted I had help, which I didnt. They all loved it and couldnt believe that was someone’s face covered by another face and said I did a hell of a job which I couldnt agree more.
The real test was to see public reaction to my costume. Everyone loved it went to the grocery store literally heads were turning. I had people come up to take pictures or ask me questions wondering if I had it professionally done, which I implied I did it all my self it was a big hit and I felt like I made the best homemade Halloween costume this year for only $5 and some imaginary creativeness from my kids.
In the end Im happy I got to fulfil my children’s dream of daddy being the Joker for halloween and learning more painting styles and having a blast creating a costume.