Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Beards, Beards...And More Beards

We've recently had the distinct pleasure of studying beard work under Mr. Fred Blau in my Masters II training. Do yourself a favor and IMDB and/or google this man. He worked on such little films as "Apocalypse Now" and tv shows as "Planet of the Apes." Uhm, yeah. Speechless. His finesse for what he does (and affectionately calls "whisker work") is simply stunning.

The array of pictures show the steps I have gone through working with crepe wool (the cheap stuff, on a film, you use real hair on the principles). Of course, the first one is just for some fun! I had to sit for a classmate to do an application, so I figured I'd let my theatre background stick out a little. The last pictures are of trying out laying pieces on guys, with the overlay that blends the edges.

Here's the technical process (I have SO MUCH respect for beard work now):

First, you start with the braids of hair. You have to steam them or boil them to straighten slightly. Then you hackle them through, basically, a giant spiked comb. Yes, if you touch it, you bleed. From there, you blend 3-4 colors together, then build your beard work onto a tuffy head, which is the mannequin head for this. It's very tricky to lay a beard since you have to get the hair in the right direction and thickness, layer by layer to look like it is follicle by follicle. From there, you style with an old fashioned marcel iron and stove. Then you trim and shape. Glue with a spray adhesive, lift off of the tuffy head with alcohol.

Then ta-da! You have a piece ready for your actor. Whew!




Photo credit and copyright: Brett Dorrian Artistry

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