If you’re new here, you may not know that I have an all encompassing hobby called leather mask-making. An obsession, if you will! All artists need something to get them away from the drawing board, which is why I turned to mask-making years ago as my ‘insanity relief’. Read on to learn more about how this obsession first grabbed me!
Eirewolf on Twitter asks: How did you get into leather maskmaking, and what advice would you have for someone who is learning the craft?
First thing’s first, I always harbored an obsession with masks. Something about them was intriguing, mysterious, both revealing and concealing of our true personalities all at once! If I created a character for my stories, to be sure I would find an excuse to put them in a mask! All philosophy aside, they just look cool.
I had made masks out of clay before (you don’t want to see those. They’re lumpy hot messes), but lightening struck when my good friend Windfalcon linked me to Merimask‘s awesome tutorial on mask-making! Leather was a material with so many possibilities and the fact acrylics were involved made it easy to cross-pollenate with my interests as a fantasy artist. Merimask put the tools in my hands and helped me find the path to my own inspiration and I’m forever grateful for that!
I bought my first shoulder of leather with Windfalcon (who was my roomie at the time) and we split it, the both of us embarking on our own mask-making journeys (her stuff is wonderful and you should go check it out too)! Ironically, it wasn’t till a year later that I actually touched my half of our hide.
I’ve been a mask-maker for a total of 4 years, which still makes me somewhat new to the craft! My first mask creation was this rendition of Ichigo’s Hollow mask from the anime Bleach. I have since branched out into all kinds of original and cosplay design ideas! I am definitely still learning, with stitching and riveting next on my mask-making skill list!
My advice to future mask-makers:
– For a cheap starter set, the Tandy stamp and swivel knife set from Hobby Lobby is great! Don’t forget your weekly 40% off coupon from Hobby Lobby’s website when you get it. They have small sheets of leather you can practice on too!
– If you decide to sell your creations. Price it on how it looks, not your skill level! Customers only know that you’re not a master mask-maker if you price your work at the level of a cheap amateur. A good mask is a good mask whether you’ve been doing this 1 year or 100 years. Pricing cheap is also a hard hole to crawl out of later when you do want to up your prices later.
– Have fun and be creative! If you’re on DeviantART, come join us at the LeatherMaskArt Group where we welcome all leather mask-makers to the community.
The saga of ‘Angela why did you decide to have a book signing and a gallery show just before DragonCon and then start your gallery panel stuff too late?’ continues! Spent the last 3 days painting like a madwoman! You saw the naked leather masks, now see them with COLOR!
|Behold my PRETTEHS! That’s a little pile of stuff to be turned into jewelry and
bookmarks at the end.
|A Black Swan mask. Heavily inspired by the look of
the movie with Natalie Portman. Still need to add
crystals to the crown in this one!
|Seraphim mask. If my brain wasn’t broke before,
it was after this mask. Possibly adding gold chains
|Tarot: The Moon mask. Or also “Moon Bonnet”.
She’s going to have a ‘necklace’ of fresh water
|And finally, the DRAGON Mask! Totally dig how this came
They all still need varnishing, which will add an extra layer of candy-like awesome, but are otherwise done for the most part! Stuff I still need to do:
– Finish displays for the bookmarks
– Finishing touches on the masks/jewelry that need dangly parts
– Mat and frame things. Embellish mats that are not LE
– Label everything properly for the art show
– Finish presentation for E-marketing panel in the art track
– Maybe do costume bits for a Lusiphur
– EAT YOUR BRAINZ!
I can haz yer brainz? ;_;
After much hair pulling and teeth gnashing, I’ve finally got a channel up on Livestream! Catch live broadcasts while I paint, poke at leather, or maybe hold random live giveaways! I’ll try to remember to make a post here when I’m going live, but more often than not, I’ll be posting the announcement via my Twitter.
I did my very first broadcast today while I worked on a venetian mask! Recorded live here:
I’ve also got all of my other tutorials, trailers, and things up at my channel so have a good poke around!
My Livestream Channel – http://www.livestream.com/angelicshades
Woo having a webcam has been fun so a far! Yay for learning new technology.:)
Just a quick post tonight as it seems an unexpected workload has been dropped in my lap! Hayley informed me of an interesting little convention in my area called Faerie Escape Atlanta, a new age and mythic themed convention here in the metro Atlanta area! It was just the excuse I needed to use that neglected roll of shiny new leather in the corner of my room to make some fun things to add to my artist alley presence. I already have plenty of art tile pendants, mousepads, and art prints to sell. I thought it time to add something different to fill up my dealer space, which is bigger than I’ve ever had!
A fan on dA suggested making matching masks and bracers out of leather, which really got my brain going! Tree bark masks and bracers with mushrooms growing on them? Climbing ivy? Wings? The possibilities are endless! My muse is in overdrive (oh hello! I’ve missed you)
But first, I’m doing a simple prototype so I don’t spend a lot of time on something only to mess it up since I am a newb at designing armor. I’m basing this first set on my Centurion Mask. I’m also working on leather butterflies to sell as keychains and centerpiece pendants for necklaces.
My progress so far!:
The bracers still need to be buffed with copper paint, which I’m doing tonight before there will be any kind of sleep!
I also had a surprise encounter with a winged visitor to help spur my inspiration:
He’s a lovely Polyphemus moth who was about the size of my palm! I saved him from bees, but didn’t have the heart to add him to my collection. I let him go to live out the rest of his probably short lifespan.
And now back to work with me!