Designing the mouth - 1

 

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

 

  • Draw one half of a stylized mouth on the light colored paper.
  • Although the position of the features in this mask is conventional, you do not have to follow normal facial proportions in mask design.
  • Variations in the positioning of the eyes, nose and mouth will create different expressive effects in your design.

 

Designing the mouth - 2

 

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

 

  • Cut out the mouth shape and flip it over.
  • Place it on the dark sheet and align it with the vertical edge of the light paper to complete its shape.
  • Note that the inside of the mouth has also been cut out and flipped onto the light side of the design to create the illusion of an opening.

 

Designing the mouth - 3

 

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

 

  • This illustration depicts some alternative designs for stylized mouths.
  • Note how each mouth has been simplified into a basic shape with stylized details.
  • Note again how simplified features on a mask communicate quicker and are more visible from a distance. They also have a greater expressive impact than more realistic images.

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Mask from the Dan people of the Ivory Coast.

Mask from the Dan people of the Ivory Coast.
Photo: © Roman Bonnefoy