Lining Eyes

The eyes (eyeball, lids, and eyelashes) along with the brows, more than any other part of the face, reveal a lot of subtleties in various expressions. Elaborate studies have been made on this subject, like the ones done in relation to the eyebrows (reference given above). When the lower and upper lids are lined with black Eyeliner and or Mascara, they would become more accentuated. This is to enhance the possibilities of saattwika abhinaya (basically the exposition of the mental conditions) which a human being does by natural instinct. The style of lining also indicates the nature or the type of character. This also is a subject to be studied in depth if one intents to. If a person on the stage represents only a Narthaki/Narthaka, as mentioned earlier, the ‘Sculpture’, true to the region of the style must be maintained. The suggestions given below are meant only for the practical purposes to achieve the said ‘Sculpture’.

Pencil, liquid eyeliner & mascara are the most commonly used materials.They are used individually or in combination, according to the requirements and comfort of the artist who does it. Except pencil, the rest are applied with thin brushes. The looseness of the skin and the existing fold-lines must be observed closely and the movement of the loaded brush must be carefully monitored. There should neither be any overfilling nor any under-filling. One has to be very careful while working with the black materials. Unlike other relatively lighter ones, it’s is difficult to remove or cover up black, by virtue of the materials and the tone itself. Mascara, eyeliner or their combination can be taken by dipping the bristles of the brush kept aside only to use when black is required. Lining work is usually done only after finalizing the eye-shadows. However, this may be reversed, according to the working pattern of the artist.It is safer to do the lower lids without touching the lashes. The points of the inner eye-corners, outer points from the outer eye-corners and the width of the curvature below the eyelids must be fixed with very light, thin relatively dry lines. Draw the line to connect these points. Once the line is fixed and darkened, the inner area above this line can be filed. Drawing the lower lid by leaving a narrow space above (below the lash-line), putting a small dot with the base colour in the outer corner etc. are small addendums to make the eye look a bit more larger, if required.

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The same procedure should be followed for the upper eyelid also, keeping them closed till the application dries completely; else it would smudge into the eyeshade, also forming lines along the upper of the eyelid. The points of this line should meet the ones marked for the lower eyelids. How pointed the inner corner is must be based on the nature of the upper end of the nose. Unless it is done for a specific Character, no hard and fast rule can be specified for it; except that one should do it according to ones sense of ‘Sculpture’ gained from experience. The width of the upper eyelid line, usually thinner than the lower one, must be decided based on the size and nature of the eyelids & shape of the eyes. When the eyes are opened these lines mark the distance between the brow and the eyeball. The length, width and curvature of the segment, the ‘tail’, that extends from the outer corner of the eye gives the exaggerated visual dimension to the eyes. In specific cases, they also indicate the nature of the Character. In short, these are important factors in deciding the subtleties of abhinaya

Upper eyelashes, if they are abundant and long, can be curled upwards using a curler that carries mascara or eyeliner. Artificial lashes may be judiciously used, if the performer really needs it. Usually, if the shadow & lining are properly done, an artificial one will not be required. Remember that lashes would be noticed only in very close proximity as in model work, close-ups in cinematography etc. Also, in live stage performances, a ‘distance’ has to be maintained between the performers and the audiences.

Applying Eye shadow

Eye shadow is applied on the eyelids and under the eyebrows. On stage, the use of eye shadow is used to add strength and dimension to one’s eyes, complement the eye colour and also to draw attention to the eyes. On an average, the distance between eyelashes and eyebrows is more in women than in men (average is two times that of men). Based on this knowledge, one should check the distance between the lash-line and lower brow-line and decide the type of eye shadow to be used. Therefore, to create an illusion of increased distance between the said two parts, use lighter shades and vice versa.

Eye shadows come in many different colours and textures. It is usually made from a powder and mica, but can also be found in liquid, pencil or cream form. Selecting different colours and textures is impotent in ‘Character Makeup’. Therefore, as the present context demands, the following details refer only to a common style to ‘Sculpture a Stage Figure’ apt for the chosen style of Naatya; viz. Bharathanaatyam, Mohiniyaattam & Kuchipudi.

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Compact or powder form are the apt ones for the purpose mentioned above. Mostly the colour used is red. A Lighter and a darker tone can be selected. Using a stiff flat brush apply a thin coat of the lighter shade on the entire eyelid, focusing on the centre. Using a small dome brush apply the darker shade to the inner and outer corners of the eyelid. This means that the eyelid will have an application of ‘dark-middle-dark’ across the eyelid. Avoid getting the dark shadow too far inside the corners, as this will create the illusion of dull purple circles under the eyes. One can also choose to drag the outer edge of the dark shade slightly upwards towards the end of the brow for a more dramatic look. Blend the colours. Clean the dome brush with brush cleaner or soap and water, and dry it completely on a clean cloth. Use it in a soft, brushing motion to blend the two colours. Avoid bringing the darkest colour too close to the centre of the lid, as this will make the highlighted section look dull. Blend the outer edges of the eye shadow with the base colour as well, so there are no harsh colour-blocking lines or sections on the lid.

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