Mask making class.

- " YIKES ! -what the heck is that?"

:Reference material


Fruit fly -under the electron microscope.

Because I was essentially attempting to imitate the physical appearance of a giant fly's head upon a human torso, I began with a trip to my local library.  Many libraries will store on record an alphabetical filing system of photos and magazine clippings on almost all subject matter.  Of coarse, you may find it just as easy to 'surf' the Net for what you are looking for.
I began researching the different species of fly for something which fitted my own pre-defined notion of what a fly looks like close up, and quickly settled on this macro enhancement of a fruit fly's head.  The only draw back, being that I was reduced to only one piece of reference material for the whole project. And, although the picture was in good focus, the unfamiliar structure caused us a little confusion in places, and I found myself having to 'guesstimate' much that I could not understand in the insects morphology at that time.  Although, to be fair, I did not have the time to embark on a lengthy study of insect biology, and besides, Since I figured that criticism may only come from a relatively small community of hardened entomologists, that was a risk I was happy to take.

Materials list

The head

The hands

1 small Polystyrene block

2-ply corrugated card

x2 household kitchen Sieves -for the eyes

x2 feathers -for the feelers

*2mm foam sheeting

*Broom bristles (Acrylic) -for the hairs

*Photo mount contact spray

Kitchen cleaning gloves (Washing up type)

'Cola'  bottle (Plastic) -For claws

Liquid latex (Pre-vulcanised)

*Construction card

*Wood glue

*Car body paint &   hair colour spray

*acrylic bathroom sealant

*Used on both 'head' and 'hands'.

:Preparation & Method

They may not have been perfect, but as far as finding a pair of cheap ready made compound eyes, you would be hard pushed to do better than dismantle a couple of kitchen sieves for this particular project.  Carefully prise apart the metal rim with a pair of jeweller's pliers and remove the meshing (be careful not to distort the shape).  Next, measure out the spacing for a rectangular piece of corrugated card that will be used to connect the two 'eyes' together (The spacing will be determined by the width of the wearers own head).   I used liquid latex to firstly prime the sharp edges of the mesh, and letting it dry, before bonding it to the card.   The length of which only needs to be half the circumference of the 'eyes' themselves.

As you can see, I scored the card with a scalpel blade to allow it to easily follow the contours of the 'eye'. Each end was finished with a convex cut; at the front to allow for the features of the face, and at the back, to allow for access of the wearer's own head into the piece.   Now, by referring back to the reference material, I could start isolating out some basic geometric shapes from the complex facial features of the fly.  As luck would have it, their existed, in the details of the fly's head, a centralised triangular feature that fell exactly where the wearers own nose would extend, so it was simply a matter of constructing this shape, and attaching it to the front of the mask with wood glue.  For the facial features (where I would need a higher degree of manipulation than the corrugated card would allow), I used construction card (The type employed by designers for manufacturing mock ups or prototypes, and available from craft shops).
The rest of the mask was put together in this way.  First by studding the photograph, and then by blocking out areas with basic 3D geometric shapes, which applied in combination, formed the complex visage that made up the fly's head.

Areas which required definition, could be highlighted by applying additional layers of corrugated card (such as on the crown of the head), and once more, I used a scalpel blade to carefully score the card.

If I were to do this project again, I would insist on less symmetry, as it would have added more character to the finished piece.



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  S y l a k    S p e c i a l   E f f e c t s

Sculptor / Model maker: Sylak  -   Make-up artist / Painter: Nicky
Assistant concept designer: Curt.

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