Designing an African Mask - Step 2

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

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

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.