For a while now I’ve had a bee in my bonnet about putting together a costume, maybe even something that would could as a cosplay, for a gender-swapped version of the Crow. Being a good little goth deep in my soul, I’ve always been a fan of the Brandon Lee movie; I know it’s not quite as sacred as others of my stripe and generation often see it, but I think it’s good, and I’ve always liked the look. Though I don’t goth it up very often anymore, I still have a fondness for it, and I thought maybe I could do a photoshoot or something with whatever I put together.
While I’ve got plenty of goth clothes still lying around– and they still fit, because I’m in EVEN BETTER SHAPE NOW than I was in college, thank you very much –the biggest challenge was what to do about the makeup. So I decided to finally experiment with doing my own translation of the look from the film. Brandon Lee’s version looks like this:
I don’t think I want to replicate it exactly. Though back when I was doing my goth makeup, I basically did the plain white face, but I have soft features and now I think the plain white makes me look a little soft and moony. I wanted to contour a little bit, just to keep my cheekbones. I think the angular look suits the character and the style anyway. The trouble, as I discovered when I tried to do it when I dressed as Neil Gaiman’s Death, is that it risks falling into corpsepaint territory pretty quick, and I’m not exactly going for the skull look. And I’m not exactly an expert when it comes to contouring even when trying to do it on my actual skin.
First I applied a layer of white greasepaint. Then I took black eyeshadow and tried to carve out my cheekbones, narrow my jawline, take down my forehead, and slim down my nose. I wanted to eliminate any softenness or broadness, as lean and narrow better suits my aesthetic of goth. I’d like to highlight, but I didn’t currently have much in the way of product that could look lighter than the white greasepaint. I tried to use pale eyeshadow, but ended up just adding extra swipes of greasepaint between my eyebrows, down my nose, and on top of my cheekbones. Then I blacked out my eyes with shadow, liner, and mascara. I even mascaraed my eyebrows to make them darker. I don’t currently have black lipstick, so I just used an eyeliner crayon. The signature lines on his mouth and eyes I struggled with. First I tried the crayon, but it wasn’t very precise, so I went over it with a felt-tip eyeliner pen.
Then I parted my hair down the middle and took some pictures. Here are the results:
It’s not bad; it’s definitely in the ballpark. It’s tough to contour on white face, as every little bit of black out of place shows up. I kept trying to take it down with more greasepaint and then build it back up. Blending was tough, so I’m not totally pleased with it. I also think I suffer from not having the best products. I am most unhappy with the eye and mouth lines. My eyeliner did not make a deeply pigmented black line, so it’s smeary rather than sharp like his.
I will have to iterate more. First thing I’ll do next time is apply more than one layer of greasepaint. I think I can get it more opaque and plain white that way. Also I’ll apply the contour more slowly, building up the darkness a little bit at a time. I might be able to make it seem more like shadow rather than just dark swipes across my face. I struggle with that in regular makeup contouring as well.
I am definitely getting better products as well. I think that will help with the opacity of the lines. I NEED A GODDAMN BLACK LIPSTICK SINCE I DON’T SEEM TO HAVE ONE ANYMORE. And I could use some nice white eyeshadow, maybe to use as highlight. I may want to try at least once to do it without contour and see how it looks. Still afraid of looking like a big bland featureless moon that way, but I used to do it that way when I went goth and liked how it looked then. I don’t know if the evolution of makeup has changed my tastes too much, though. We’ll have to see.
And now, I’ll give you the classic Crow stare: