A Paper Mask

10.1.14 MASK DRAW BAD copy SANY0979

A paper mask. As well as a drawing of said mask.

In essence, the mask-making part of this project was based on two things: understanding and reconstruction.

To create an accurate representation of one’s face, one has to first understand the shapes that make it up; they have to know where the plane shifts in the face are before they can try and put together something to represent it. I have little understanding of what a hippo looks like, so if I tried to create an accurate model of one, it would be unrecognizable. The same goes for faces, but it’s much more difficult with my own face, considering I can’t see it. In the end, one has to settle for running their fingers across their face and hoping they can reconstruct the shapes they feel.

This is where the reconstruction part comes in. It’s not so much the concept of reconstruction that ties into the understanding; it’s the method. It’s the most obvious method of doing anything- trial and error. If one understands how one’s face is put together and what shapes make it up, the rest of the construction is basically just trying things out to see if they work. I know I wasted several scraps of paper by messing up what I was doing, or having it just plain not work- but sometimes knowing what won’t work is a great way of finding out what will.

And since the mask itself isn’t a drawing piece, one can’t talk about the standards like composition or palette usage. Instead, I’ll talk about craftsmanship. To cut paper, use an exacto knife, and use it well. If I screw up and cut something wrong, finish the shape and cut out an exact copy. And I’d say I did a good job at it. I worked with exacto knives a lot during high school -my sculpture class in particular- so I’m very experienced with cutting crisp edges.

As for the drawing, the composition was meant to evoke the feeling of being forgotten and lonely. Throwing the main focus of the piece, the mask, into the corner and surrounding it with a much darker background gives off the feeling that it’s sitting somewhere, alone and forgotten. Having the mask run off the page implies that there’s more to it– after all, even things that have been forgotten about still can have hidden depths.

The high-contrast shading is meant to make the piece more dramatic. A feeling of extreme loneliness is strong, not dull, and the drawing should reflect that accordingly. Having less darks and less brights would give off a dull, less intense feeling rather than the strong ones I wanted to evoke.

The drawing took a little more than ninety minutes to complete. In all honesty, I would have and should have worked on it a little longer- if I had, I would have noticed some things that detract from the effectiveness of the piece. The bottom right corner, for example, fades into a bright white rivaling that of the bright areas on the piece. It creates an additional focus area that draws attention away from the subject, and it’s distracting. Along those lines, the black and gray background also fades into white around the edges of the paper, which is also rather distracting. However, these are decently easy fixes- the edges can be cropped, and the corner can be filled in.


About barberne

an animation student at alfred state from rochester
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