Tramp or Hobo Make-Up

The Tramp or Hobo clown differs from the Whiteface and Auguste in that it is of American origin. Both the Whiteface and Auguste originated in the European Circus, but this clown type is said to have been created during the depression that followed the Civil War by Tom Heath and Jim McIntyre. A newer clown look is that of the Bag Lady, the female counterpart to the Tramp or Hobo.

John 'Gonzo' Gonzales
John "Gonzo" Gonzales


The Tramp or Hobo uses a base of flesh-colored pink or tan and facial designs usually include a beard and highlights of white around the eyes and mouth. The white muzzle was inspired by the look of minstrel entertainers of that era. Bag Lady make-up is similar to the Tramp or Hobo - minus the beard, of course!

Apply the White

  • As in the Auguste style, draw the shapes around your eyes and mouth with white. The muzzle of the Tramp or Hobo is traditionally smaller than of the Auguste clown.

  • The white on the eye can be bold like the Auguste or just a light coat on the upper eye lid with blended edges. Fill in the areas around eyes and mouth with white. Pat smooth and use setting powder to "set" your white make-up. See Setting Make-Up

Apply the Features

  • Tan or ruddy colors are popular face colors for this clown type. Apply with fingertips or a makeup sponge to forehead, around eyes, and from the nose to the beard line. You can leave a "hard edge" against the white around the eyes or use your fingers to blend the two colors together.

  • Using a black eyeliner or paint pencil, color your existing eyebrow. For a more surprised or happy look, enlarge the white area to cover your eyebrows and draw new brows above their normal position. You can use red to create bags under eyes or a reddish-brown color to make the cheeks appear hollow. Most Tramps use a false nose, but one that is flesh colored with a reddish tip rather than the stereotypical "big red nose." Powder to set the makeup.

  • You can use a brown colored loose powder to "weather" the makeup or the outfit.

Apply the Beard

  • Using black - or for a lighter beard, grey - and a make-up sponge, apply the beard. Using a stipple sponge will give a stubble effect. Starting in the middle of your cheek and working down, add shades to the beard so it gets darker in the middle and fades out toward the neckline.

  • The tramp's lips should be accentuated with dark brown rather than painted red.

For other clown make-up styles, go here: Make-up application for other clown types.