Category: masks

How I Got into Leather Mask-Making

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.

Leather Faces on Parade!

Wow, when you try to make a pun from Phantom of the Opera’s “Masquerade” and leather masks, you end up with disturbing mental images of Leatherface from Chainsaw Massacre dancing a musical number (or perhaps that’s just me?)

Moving on to the point of this entry! I’ve been dabbling a fair amount in leathercraft of late! In a strange twist of fate, dabbling has started to become a part of my business at large, with at least half of my sales at DragonCon from masks I had on display there.  As such, I’ve recently uploaded a flood of masks for Halloween to various online markets. (Just click the thumbnails to see their sale listings)

And if that weren’t enough masks to shake a stick at, I’ve also been invited to the Mechanical Masquerade, a steampunk ball taking place November 6th in an old theater in Avondale Estates.  I’m super excited about attending this event as a vendor and hyped to make all new designs!  I’ve been a little stumped on what to do so far, but I have a feeling that when the dam breaks, I’ll get a rush of inspiration at the very last minute!

Right now I’m brainstorming on how to mix the themes of filigree, keyholes, gears, roses, clockwork, and lace.  Toss that all together and I’m getting mental images of a street-walking Rosie from The Jetsons, but I’m sure it will all gel at some point to inspire some really cool designs (no doubt in the same vein as my Keeper of Secrets mask).  I’m not quite sure I understand the Steampunk movement as it applies to Fashion, so I am looking for reference links here, if you guys have any good ones!

Will I ever get back to painting (or writing, for that matter?) Only time will tell!  For now, I’ve been quietly thumbnailing images for my long forgotten Rapunzel comic at night.  The upcoming Disney retelling of the tale (Tangled) has rekindled my love of the story and my dark retelling of it.

But that is a matter for another entry!