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March 29, 2008
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WIP - Phoenix Mask Guide by taeliac WIP - Phoenix Mask Guide by taeliac
Well, here is the WIP on my Phoenix Mask, in case this will help anyone understand the process I went through. I wish I could find the initial sketch of the mask, so you could see what I was working off of. Don't do something like this blind; come up with your design ahead of time!

Some steps are missing, which I'm sorry about, but hopefully, this is a good rough-guide to how I made this.

:pointr: Step 1: Base shape

I used a product called "WonderFlex" (a variform plastic) and heated it in nearly-boiling water, and stretched it over the head form to make the base head shape (where it sits). I let it cool, and then trimmed away the excess.

Now, I can't really get too descriptive of how I made the face shape, mainly because I free-handed it with the meshy plastic, which I wouldn't recommend doing. Your best bet would be to sculpt the base shape out of modeling clay, and block the plastic over that, so you don't have to deal (like I did) with burning your fingers a lot and waiting for the plastic to cool, while holding it in place. It was long and tedious. The base part of this (the mesh part) took a good 4 to 6 hours to do that way, and I had a lot of problems with making things even and somewhat symmetrical.

At this point in the picture, I had stated adding the "feather" pieces on. This is using another plastic product called "Foss Shape" or "Fuzz Form". It is a felt-like product that shrinks significantly when heated, but you heat it with a millinery steamer (or a good garment steamer, in my case) over something to get it to form a shape. I shaped these pieces over rolled-up hand towels to get the curve.

The point of them was to be a lot more stylized, not like real feathers, but almost like plates. Because that's how I drew it in the first place ;P

Then, it was just a lot of hot-gluing the pieces down to the mesh plastic underneath. There is an odd shape to the back to act as support for feathers that will come in later, as I wanted the back to look like a feather explosion (see the finished deviation for an idea of that).

And, yes. I look hella-creepy with the white mask on, with half of the feathers.

The phrase "Plague-doctor Mask" was thrown around a lot! --> [link]

:pointr: Step 2 : Finish the base

More work on the base shape, just cutting pieces of the Foss Shape and molding them to the base, to cover all of the mesh stuff. Little scraps were used to make the little exploding feathers on the sides, but the beak was one long piece.

What isn't pictured is the fact that I used "Friendly Plastic" (little plastic pellets that you heat up in boiling water and they become like clay) around the eyes to create a more finished look there, and on the tip of the beak, to create a crazy (and scary!) hook.

:pointr: Step 3 : Painting... yellow!

Here I'm in the spray booth at school, where I started painting the mask. Because I wanted a gradient effect, I started with the lighter color, and worked towards the deep red. This is mainly because light colors don't cover dark colors very well.

A note, here - this Foss Shape stuff sucks up paint like crazy. I used spray enamel for all of the colors (it's like the stuff you paint your fingernails with, only in spray form!) because I love that stuff - it doesn't rub off like spray paint tends to, and doesn't flake, either. And, each color used a whole can of it! So, in the future, I'm going to try a couple of different ways to seal the Foss Shape before painting it, but it's not that big of a deal otherwise. You just need to let it dry, and then put on another coat, and repeat until it's dark enough.

:pointr: Step 4 : Painting... orange!

More painting, added in the next color in the gradient, orange. Same deal.

:pointr: Step 5 : Painting... red!

Okay, so this picture has a bit of the final dark red in it - I kinda forgot to get a picture until I had started with the dark red at the tips. But, you get the idea.

As always, work evenly all around the piece, using thin coats of spray paint, letting them dry, and then doing another layer.

:pointr: Step 6 : Painting... MORE RED!

Heh, well, anyways, the very tips of the top "feathers" are a really dark, almost maroon red. I did this because I then added bright red feathers exploding out the back, and I didn't want those last few faux feathers on top to get lost and create a giant mass of red!

:pointr: Step 7: Painting... gold (not pictured)

I taped off the main part of the mask using brown paper and painters tape (after everything was dry!) and painted the beak gold. Easy.

:pointr: Step 8: Detail painting (not pictured)

I picked up some small containers of enamel paint (model paints, usually) and did some detail work, especially around the eyes and the beak. This was mostly because the Friendly Plastic had a different finished sheen to that of the Foss Shape (Foss Shape was matte, the Friendly Plastic was shiny) so I wanted to detail out the eyes a bit more, so I used a red glaze paint around them. I also shaded the bottom of the beak, so it would disappear some more, and give it some more dimension.

:pointr: Step 9: FEATHERS!

Start gluing feathers in - I ordered a half-pound of coque feathers, predyed red, in various lengths from 4" to 6", and started gluing them in. They came prestrung together, which made gluing them in a lot easier.

To make a place to set them in on the back, I cut some florist foam down and wedged it under that extra weird shaped piece in the back (see pic set 1), and painted it to match the dark red. Glued it in place, and glued feathers to that!

Then, I filled in whatever areas I thought needed more feathers - most notably, where the mask sits next to your cheeks and a bit under your chin - it really helps to hide your face, making it an even cooler piece to run around in.

Phew! I think that's everything!

In the future, I will go in and put a piece of felt to cover the mesh part where it sits on your head, mainly because your hair gets caught in it as it is, now, with little meshy ends poking out, but otherwise, it is complete!

That was incredibly long, wasn't it?

Hope this kind of helps, if you want to make something like this again!

:star: Suppliers :star:

Here is where I personally prefer to buy all of these products from, but there are definitely more out there if you do some digging.

:star: Wonderflex & Foss Shape - Mainstage Theatrical Supply
:star: Friendly Plastic - Hobby Lobby
:star: Feathers - Plumes 'n Feathers
:star: Paints - check a local hobby store, they should be by model paints
Add a Comment:
 
:iconilithyahime:
ilithyahime Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2010
Thank you so much for posting this tutorial; it's so useful! I've never made a mask before, and I'm just amazed at all the work you put into it. Wonderful job! :D
Reply
:iconsavagedryad:
savagedryad Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2010  Professional General Artist
This is really quite nice! I found it doing a search on foss shape. So not only do I have a great material to try out I also have a idea of what can be done with it!
Reply
:iconliquidfire3:
Liquidfire3 Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2008
WOW! :omg: That is AWESOMELY......AWESOME! :clap: Hehe, it kinda reminds me of your avi. :giggle:
Reply
:iconalazycat:
ALazyCat Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2008  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
It's amazing to see the eventual changes - I really love the coloring!
Reply
:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thank you! I really loved painting it, even though I was really afraid of doing it ^^;
Reply
:iconalazycat:
ALazyCat Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2008  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
The great Taeliac was afraid of doing something? :o >.< It turned out really great though! Once again, the transition is just wonderful!
Reply
:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
:giggle: I'm afraid of doing most of what I wind up doing, don't be so surprised ;P

Thank you again~
Reply
:iconsangotaijiya01:
SangoTaijiya01 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2008
Thats pretty sweet ^-^ Looks fun to wear too =O
Reply
:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
It definitely is, and it scares my fuzzies, which I find quite funny myself :giggle: *is a horrible person*
Reply
:iconanim3fr3ak:
anim3fr3ak Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2008
really neat!!
Anata ga ichiban!!!
:w00t:
Reply
:iconmelyanna:
melyanna Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It's really interesting to see the making of of this beautiful mask: thank you for sharing!
Will you post a picture of the finished mask being worn by someone?
Reply
:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thank you!

I'm hoping to get pictures of myself or someone wearing it eventually, but I dont' think I have any sort of outfit that would match it even remotely, but I'll dig through my closet or see if I can whip something up quickly. It looks creepy on people, because it really hides your face entirely, except sometimes, you can see the person's mouth, and that's it :giggle:
Reply
:iconmelyanna:
melyanna Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Maybe a very neutral black suit can do the trick until you create a costume? :-)
Masks are always a little creepy: I have ben in Venice and masks ther are absolutely beautiful, but they give you this eerie feeling...
Reply
:iconvashtastic:
Vashtastic Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2008   Digital Artist
i love the colors. you're amazing
Reply
:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
:blush: Aww~ Thankies!
Reply
:iconsweet-666:
sweet-666 Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2008
thats beautiful! the colours everything you put alot of effort into this its clear and it was worth it :) the end result is amazing :)
Reply
:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thank you so much! I definitely learned a lot from it, too :love:
Reply
:iconkoyamori:
koyamori Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2008   Traditional Artist
Aaah the colour gradient on the mask is so looooove:O
Neat to see the process between start to finish<333 Thanks for sharing^^
Reply
:iconminako55nz:
minako55nz Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2008
sugoi!
Reply
:iconmewheart151:
Mewheart151 Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2008   Interface Designer
amazing
Reply
:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thankies!
Reply
:iconkc-whitestar:
KC-Whitestar Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2008
Very cool :D
Reply
:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
Hehe, thanks! It was kinda dumb of me not to get pictures of the intervening steps, though ^^;
Reply
:iconkc-whitestar:
KC-Whitestar Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2008
Well you're hard working and it's all good :D
Reply
:iconcatalystswitch:
CatalystSwitch Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2008
Wow, you are so amazing. Master of all mediums costume and more. Crazy.
Reply
:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
:giggle: It really wasn't too different from working with some other fabric pieces, but still a lot of new learning! I'm just happy the teacher let me do weird stuff like this for the project ;P
Reply
:iconnarutard94:
narutard94 Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2008  Student Traditional Artist
very cool!!!! still looks heavy tho XD
Reply
:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
It's actually really light (a couple of pounds) because of the type of plastics it's made out of - it's more like felt than anything!
Reply
:iconnarutard94:
narutard94 Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2008  Student Traditional Artist
o wow really that's amazing ^_^ if only i had skills, like you XD
Reply
:iconj-cleo:
J-Cleo Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2008
Very cool. Looks like you could go to Mardi Gras with that. XD Just because you don't poke someone's eye out with the beak. D: And it's funny how you should say you got burned from your Phoenix mask... but it looks really nice. :3
Reply
:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
:lmao: Okay, good point. I didn't even realize that ^^; Stupid bird burning me :giggle:

I would love to do something like that, but alas, I'm probably going to be forever poor ;P And I would totally wound someone.

I've discovered one more reason to move to Vegas - I want a job gluing feathers to things ;P
Reply
:iconj-cleo:
J-Cleo Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2008
"I've discovered one more reason to move to Vegas - I want a job gluing feathers to things ;P"

You mean a job gluing feathers to people. You've seen the amount of clothes those showgirls wear, right? XD
Reply
:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
Well, yeah, but still... there are feathers on those head things, too ;P I have no problems gluing things to people, either - so long as they can stand the heat!
Reply
:icondamica:
Damica Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2008
Wonderful work!
Reply
:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thankies!! :glomp:
Reply
:iconevergreenwood:
evergreenwood Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2008
This looks absolutely gorgeous! You are so talented :)
Reply
:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
Aww~ Thank you! And thank you for the fav, too :glomp:
Reply
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