Designing the eyes - 1

 

African Mask Design Lesson - Step 2 - Designing the Eyes 1

 

  • Draw a stylized eye about halfway down the light sheet of paper. Simplify this drawing into basic shapes that contain little detail.
  • Stylized and simplified features are used to help express abstract qualities like nobility, integrity, courage, fear and humour.
  • The shape that you choose for your eye and the angle at which you set it will affect the expressive qualities of the design.

 

Designing the eyes - 2

 

African Mask Design Lesson - Step 2 - Designing the Eyes 2

 

  • Cut out the eye shape, flip it over and place it on the dark sheet to form a symmetrical arrangement.
  • You will now begin to see the counterchange of pattern which will be used throughout this mask design.
  • The aim is to create a perfect balance between dark and light, and positive and negative.

 

Designing the eyes - 3

 

African Mask Design Lesson - Step 2 - Designing the Eyes 3

 

  • The illustration above depicts some alternative designs for stylized eyes.
  • Note how each pair of eyes has been simplified into basic shapes without much detail.
  • Simplified features on a mask communicate quicker and are more visible from a distance. They also have a greater expressive impact than more detailed images.

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A human face mask for the Nyau masquerade from Malawi.

Human face mask for the Nyau masquerade from Malawi.
Photo: © Andreas Praefcke