First time properly attempting to sculpt a mask (Lucoa from Miss kobayashis dragon maid)

      First time properly attempting to sculpt a mask (Lucoa from Miss kobayashis dragon maid)

      Heya! so I got a whole bunch of DAS airdrying clay on discount christmas 2016 planning to try making a kig mask, I'm finally getting around to it and I wanted to post the progress so far, I'd really like any feedback people could give, even if it's harsh, I'd rather do a good job in the long run than be coddled in the short term.

      I've posted a couple of these on the kigurumi discord server already so apologies if you've already seen them. ^^;

      My goal is to make a full head clamshell mask of Lucoa from Miss kobayashis dragon maid. I sketched up the 2d basic shape beforehand to print out. ^^

      I've also established a collage of masks for reference while sculpting which i'll post so people know what I'm trying to go for stylistically.


      This was a collage i made of the very first attempt, kind of a mess but it was fun getting the clay onto the foam. ^^



      Second day I got a little over excited and tried to experiment with slightly more specific bits like the mouth as well as changing the shapes of the cheeks and the forehead somewhat.



      Third day I only had about 3 hours but I decided to try and deal with the wonkyness and symmetry, decided I wanted to 100% sort out the overall shape before doing details, it's been my main problem so far and an age old problem I guess? like I'm able to get one side how I'd like it just not the other side, still super lopsided and now how i'd like it to be. :/



      As you can see it still needs an awful lot of work, my plan for the next session so far is to try and get the sides of the head symmetrical at the very least, as well as rounding out the cheeks and bringing the nose bridge back to make it less obviously sticky outie.

      EDIT: 4th sculpting session



      Gotten to the point where i'm going over certain bits again and again because they just don't look right, but that's art for you i guess :/ . it's still lopsided but I've been trying to remedy that as best I can, got a few thing on the to do list such as move the nose down bc it's too high etc

      EDIT: 5th day of sculpting, I got delayed for an entire month, wow time certainly does fly, anyhow here are the latest pictures, it's getting to the point where the main structure is looking somewhat how i want it to look and less lopsided. as you can see I overlayed my original guides over the current sculpt and i've noticed some things to change, mostly reducing the length of the chin and adding more forward bulk to the mouth/cheeks, (turns out it wasn't the nose that was oversized, it was the jaw area that was undersized :/ ) it's a good thing i caught it though because if i cast it now my face probably wouldn't fit inside X/



      Any feedback or general advice people could give would be massively appreciated, I want to make this sculpt as good as it can possibly be!! thanks for your time and have a good day!!

      (oh also P.S. here's an imgur link with all the images at their full size imgur.com/a/E2xpv )

      Post was edited 3 times, last by “sylgard” ().

      Happy New Year Sylgard:

      Impressive work so far. I know sculpting the clay is always the hardest part. I'm not sure, is DAS air drying clay considered Sulfur free?

      But I'd like to ask a couple of questions. Normally an Anime character has a different head geometry than a human head. I know when I sculpt a new form, I have to make it bigger than life, to ensure that there will be enough room for me inside along with any required padding, hardware, etc. There is a reason that most Kig masks require two or more wigs to cover them properly.

      Once I have taken that into consideration, I have to ask myself things like how am I going to see out? Have you taken a facial picture of yourself and superimposed it over the drawings in your collage or pictures of your sculpture, to see if the mask eyes and your own eyes line up? Do you wear glasses and need room inside for a pair?

      Have you considered how you are going to breath in there? To me this mask looks to be pretty solid. No open mouth, no nostrils, possibly only slits to see from. And you say you want a clam shell. Air in around the neck is possible, but you also want circulation inside the mask. Have you considered adding an exhaust fan to the design? It looks like it could literally be hidden inside Lucoa's ball cap.

      Another option, since you have the horns, is to turn one of them into a snorkel, and build a mouth piece into the inside of the mask. That would be one way to ensure you fight the urge to talk while wearing the mask Lol.

      I wish you good luck with your project. Please continue to post progress reports and ask questions as problems arise.

      Miss Kiki

      Miss Kiki wrote:

      I'm not sure, is DAS air drying clay considered Sulfur free?



      I don't know if it's sulfur free honestly and i can't find any information on that, is it going to be a big problem?

      Miss Kiki wrote:


      Once I have taken that into consideration, I have to ask myself things like how am I going to see out? Have you taken a facial picture of yourself and superimposed it over the drawings in your collage or pictures of your sculpture, to see if the mask eyes and your own eyes line up? Do you wear glasses and need room inside for a pair?Have you considered how you are going to breath in there? To me this mask looks to be pretty solid. No open mouth, no nostrils, possibly only slits to see from. And you say you want a clam shell. Air in around the neck is possible, but you also want circulation inside the mask. Have you considered adding an exhaust fan to the design? It looks like it could literally be hidden inside Lucoa's ball cap.


      Hey! I have actually thought about this and the size guidelines I printed out take into account my own head size as well as rough eye placement, I'm trying to follow them as much as possible proportion wise so hopefully that should be fine.

      I've intentionally made the mask as close fitting as possible so that it will work with my body proportionally, like you said though, that won't allow a lot of room for air and I'm actually planning to go with the snorkel idea, mainly because I think a fan is gonna be annoying in the mask/require batteries, we'll see how it pans out though ^^

      thanks for the comments, I realise these are things people frequently don't take into account (clay shrinkage might be a problem as well so i'm gonna aim slightly larger than I actually want it with the sculpt)
      I remember the first sculpting class I took. They used air dry clay. Such a bother, we had to drape a damp washcloth over the sculpture each night and seal it inside a plastic bag to keep it from drying out, and shrinking. Yes clay does shrink when it air dries.

      No, not having sulfur free clay will not be a problem, as long as you are not making the mold out of silicone. In some ways your process towards the final result works in your favor. You plan on making a clam shell mask. That means that when you go to make your mold, you can use stone like Hydro cal or ultra cal, or even fiberglass resin and cloth. You make a two piece shell.

      When you pull the mold apart, you can easily dig away any clay which didn't stay on the sculpture. ( See TV episodes of Face Off on Youtube, they use the technique for making foam latex appliances.)

      My first mask came from a manufacturer that made the mold from fiberglass. He then bolted the two halves together, coated the insides with car wax, thus leveling out the seam, then slush cast the first layer of fiberglass inside. He used Jell coat which is a boat fiberglass.

      He ended up with a ridge on the outside of the mask where the seam was, but since you are making a clamshell anyways, that ridge could be where you need to cut the mask in two anyways.

      Please keep in mind that even if your mask has no ears, you will still need the extra room inside for your own. I've had masks that were uncomfortable because my own ears got squished or pinched, when the back side closed. Also, you will need room for the latching hardware and hinges. Don't be afraid to go a little wider, this is not a face hugging Halloween mask

      Also for consideration, if you have broad shoulders they can be made slimmer by the illusion of having a slightly larger mask than your head. I've been told shoulder width is 3 times the width of a male head from ear to ear. Supposedly it's only two times the width of a female head. ( Others can probably comment.)

      I would suggest taking the extra time to finish off the shape of the masks's skull and not depend on the wig or hat to cover over imperfections. But that's just me pulling many Masks apart over the years.

      From my scuba training, a good snorkel is an inch in diameter, and no longer than a foot. This gives you plenty of air flow, without spent air getting trapped in the snorkel. Not sure what diameter the horns will be, but you could use Both for breathing. Which of course means, either way you need room in the mask for the snorkel mouthpiece.

      Your design sounds very interesting. Looking forward to hearing about your progress.

      Kiki
      ​Hey! I have actually thought about this and the size guidelines I printed out take into account my own head size as well as rough eye placement, I'm trying to follow them as much as possible proportion wise so hopefully that should be fine.


      All I can say is beware of the scaling. Look at the character depicted. Scale off that especially if it is official artwork, not fanart. You'll be amazed at the ratio of head to body. Remember you aren't going for human proportions.

      Go for it, have fun and don't quit!!
      did some more sculpting, edited the original post just to keep everything in the same place ^^

      cici wrote:

      All I can say is beware of the scaling. Look at the character depicted. Scale off that especially if it is official artwork, not fanart. You'll be amazed at the ratio of head to body. Remember you aren't going for human proportions.

      Go for it, have fun and don't quit!!


      Thanks for the heads up (heh) I'm gonna post the image I used when trying to figure out what size I'd need see what you think!



      As you can see I've had to stretch the official artwork sideways a little bit to acount for my proportions so the head is actually going to be slightly wider than is proportional for her as is (assuming i can translate the 2d images into 3d fairly accurately XD on the other hand I really want to avoid an oversized head as well so it's gonna be a fine balance XD

      Miss Kiki wrote:

      would suggest taking the extra time to finish off the shape of the masks's skull and not depend on the wig or hat to cover over imperfections. But that's just me pulling many Masks apart over the years.


      Yeah I want to make sure i get it as symmetrical as possible but it's proving to be a pain, thanks a lot for the heads up about the sulfur in the clay!! I was planning to use silicone until you mentioned that so you may have saved me quite a lot of frustration XD
      I think a test is in order if you already have the materials at hand. Create a cube of das clay and let it air dry. Coat it with the acrylic sealer that you planned to use. Mix up some of the silicone and pour over the cube. See if the silicone actually sets up and cures properly.

      What works in small scale, should work for you when you get to the real molding.

      If the Daas clay turns out to have sulfur, then you know that you will need to use plaster/hydrocal/ultracal/ as the method of making your mold from.

      Kiki
      OK.

      If this image, that you superimposed over your own image, is as Cici says , Canon, then you have a bit of an issue. The image needs to be enlarged so that it's shoulders overlap your shoulders. Note I said enlarged not stretched sideways. If you do that, how does the drawing head fit over your own?

      As I look at the drawing, I can see Lucoa is a very curvy character. Matching the hips and Bust in real life, on your body, is going to require shaping and padding. Symmetry will require making a mask much larger than you expected, without it being a bobble head. What I am seeing from the drawing, is Lucoa's head viewed front on, is 1/2 the width shoulder to shoulder. How does that measurement translate to your sculpture?

      When you adjust the drawing to your body, you may find in order to show enough neck, that your eyes may line up lower in the mask than originally anticipated.

      Just my thoughts.

      Kiki

      sylgard wrote:

      did some more sculpting, edited the original post just to keep everything in the same place ^^

      cici wrote:

      All I can say is beware of the scaling. Look at the character depicted. Scale off that especially if it is official artwork, not fanart. You'll be amazed at the ratio of head to body. Remember you aren't going for human proportions.

      Go for it, have fun and don't quit!!


      Thanks for the heads up (heh) I'm gonna post the image I used when trying to figure out what size I'd need see what you think!



      As you can see I've had to stretch the official artwork sideways a little bit to acount for my proportions so the head is actually going to be slightly wider than is proportional for her as is (assuming i can translate the 2d images into 3d fairly accurately XD on the other hand I really want to avoid an oversized head as well so it's gonna be a fine balance XD

      Miss Kiki wrote:

      would suggest taking the extra time to finish off the shape of the masks's skull and not depend on the wig or hat to cover over imperfections. But that's just me pulling many Masks apart over the years.


      Yeah I want to make sure i get it as symmetrical as possible but it's proving to be a pain, thanks a lot for the heads up about the sulfur in the clay!! I was planning to use silicone until you mentioned that so you may have saved me quite a lot of frustration XD



      It looks like you're on the right track, we too do a mockup for scaling before processing the sculpt for printing. It works out well. We're really excited for you, please do keep the momentum up.

      150406-SIZING_.jpg
      Rin Okumura 140912
      The thing about the neck is a good point, as for proportions I am having to compromise slightly, the reason I stretched it sideways rather than just scaling up normally is because If i scale it up keeping the same ratio the head ends up exactly proportioned for my shoulders but not my height, ie, I would need roughly another foot and a half if i wanted to make that look proportional, so it's either make the mask as wide as is exactly proportionally to the shoulders and have it look too big for the rest of the body, or make it slightly smaller than the shoulders and compromise on the body being slightly wider/fatter than is 100% canon, that is my thought process, I think I will take your advice and make it slightly wider but it's also just personal preference, I'd prefer to have the mask look slightly to small than slightly too large.

      (That said I remember when I first saw a kig mask in real life i was surprised by how big they where, so I may end up eating my words, its all a learning curve after all ^^)

      I'm also really thankful for the input (the padding thing is something I'm definitely working on at the moment as well ^^

      Post was edited 1 time, last by “sylgard” ().

      Kig masks are nothing like the china / ball jointed doll masks, which can be as close fitting as a plastic Halloween mask. Part of this is due to the Anime style that some characters are drawn with. Until you get to the specifically adult characters, say school teachers or mothers, you sometimes end up with heads which are not quite human in proportion. Even with the adult characters, a lot of them are drawn so that even the thinnest fashion models could not pull off the look.

      When I tried on my first Kig mask, my thought was how well it balanced out my plumper than normal body. It made my proportions seem more realistic.

      I would suggest doing your best when it comes to your choices. Understand that you can always make your version of the character more curvy and voluptuous, than the pictures indicate. Easier to pad out than cinch in. If that helps making the mask a little wider, OK.

      I will note here, that there are other "chubby" girls in Anime, where the artist has failed to take the plumpness into the face, Nikuko for example. And some like Kurumi, where the chubby face is taken to the extreme, and one would think she was a bobblehead.

      Good Luck

      Kiki
      Sizing really shouldn't be too big of a deal, just make a wild ass guess and err on the large side (a big mask is totally usable while a small one is garbage). ~25cm in height seems to be a good start.

      We could, in theory, get a "perfect" size proportional to the original character art as follows:
      • take your reference image and measure from the lowest point of the head up to the top of the head (CH), then from the lowest point of the head (CB). Next, take a measurement of yourself from the floor to your chin, and subtract a cm or 2 to account for mask bulk (PB).
      • solve PB / (CB / CH) to see exactly how big your character's head should be against your body height.
      However, there's a lot of "little things" that such a model doesn't account for, everything from your shoulder width, to the clothes you'll be wearing, to the fact the hair will be physical strands (the different appearance of drawn vs. real affects the perceived size of objects, and therefore the ideal mask size). We could attempt to build a model that takes all these and more into consideration, but in reality we're dressing as anime characters, not trying to get to the moon. If you look at how much the head size of a particular character changes from fanart to fanart, or even between official media, you can see that being 100% proportionate is unnecessary. Therefore I simply recommend winging it, not only do the smaller numbers not matter but your brain knows what looks good to you and you should get pretty close without any fancy legwork.
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      Heya folks!! It's been a while and I got a bit sidetracked but I haven't given up, the post has been updated to include day 5 of sculpting, I'm starting to close in on the shape I want ^^ (also does anyone have any advice on whether to mould the mouth now or later? I've seen a lot of people do it with separate material after they have cast the fiberglass is there a reason not to do it at the clay stage?)
      Welcome back! Thought you had forgotten about us.

      This is my own opinion based on stuff I have done.

      If you sculpt a bust without a mouth, then you make a shell, you have a blank canvas to work with. You can then sculpt a mouth in any shape and size you want, then remold and cast a final shell.

      However the drawback here, is an open mouth. With a blank shell, you have no depth to the mouth you sculpt. You might end up drilling a hole in the shell so you can form the lips the way you want.

      Many times I have taken a shell with an open mouth, then ground the lips flat, so I could re-sculpt a new closed mouth. You can always use clay to fill a hole. Then using that as my new bust, made a new mold and a new mask.

      It all comes down to what you intend to do I guess. Do you plan on making multiple masks of Lucoa with different expressions? Do you intend to modify the first mask to make another character?

      Kiki