Tuesday, January 7, 2014
How I Got into Leather Mask-making
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.