Working up a mask from life

I spent last weekend in a portrait class that focused on understanding how faces twist to express emotions.  On Sunday we worked from a live model in one long pose (the expression collectively chosen was ‘anxious’).  The rest of the class worked in 2D, using paints, pastels and pencil to capture a likeness.  I decided to instead use clay and Instamorph to create the base for a mask.  It was an interesting challenge!

Next step: taking the white mask base and painting it, adding in eyes etc.     With his permission, I took photos of the lovely model, and will use them to help finish the mask.

Model and clay base
Model and clay base
instamorph mask
Model and mask


  1. Hi! My name is Olivia. I am 8 years old. My brother and I are are in a competition called Destination Imagination. For our competition we need to make a mask. Our mask needs to morph during our performance. We were looking at your page to see ideas about making masks. Would you be able to help us with how to make them? And do you have any ideas about how we could make it morph?
    We are allowed to learn from professionals but our parents are not allowed to help us a lot.
    Thank you very much.
    Olivia and Ethan

    1. Your best bet might be to make a mask that has some pull-off layers – a false nose for your mask’s nose, a false chin or bottom jaw with lots of teeth perhaps, horns or giant ears might work too. With the extra parts held on by means of velcro dots painted to match the underneath mask colours, your mask could turn from ‘monster’ to ‘hero’ or the other way round when you need it to. Good luck!

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