This is a tutorial guiding you through the process through which I created my Witch Doctor Voodoo Mask, specifically the level 26 Legendary item "Quetzalcoatl".
Pictures of my cosplay are found here: [link]
and here: [link]
Concept art reference: [link]I made this mask to go with my Witch Doctor cosplay, which I won a prize for at the Swedish convention NärCon: XI (July 26th-29th, 2012).
Any questions as to how I made anything, feel free to ask them in the comments below.
After editing the transkript I've noticed there are several spelling mistakes, which I blame myself putting together this tutorial late at night for.Below is a transkript of the text written in the tutorial:
-------Making the Base Mask
1) The first step is to choose which mask you want. For my Witch Doctor I chose the Legendary level 26 mask “Quetzalcoatl”, which I found firstly as concept art, but which also turned out to be realised in-game.
(”Fun” fact: I wanted to be able to turn the mask in 3D to get a good look at it, and ended up having to pay 150.000 gold in the auction house, with only seconds to spare.)
Below is the mask I chose for reference.
2) Step two: getting the proportions right.
I made an extremely simple mask just to see if the proportions were right, the mask has since been discarded and have been of no use once work on the real thing began.
(The holes on the ‘top’ were used to test whether the mask was to be situated on the head as seen in the below 3D render of another WD mask. If I had seen the in-game version of Quetzalcoatl this would have been unnecessary.)
3) Now that the research is done, we can get down to business.
I decided to build my mask on top of a base in the form of (ironically enough) yet ANOTHER mask! (I chose one slightly larger than my own face.)
4) Next I started thinking how large to
make the “throat protection piece”(?).
I guess it is there mostly for just how
badass it looks.
DISCLAIMER: In the end my mask ended
up larger than the base, so this step
should probably be put off until later
when you make a mask yourself.
5) Strap it on.
So the ribbon/band/whatchamacallit that came attached to the mask was puny, as a G-string trying to cover up the Hulk. I had to exchange them for something sturdier, and chose elastic bands like those found on men’s underwear. I sew them all on by hand, and since the base mask is made of plastic covered in thin fabric I was forced to push the needle through using a pair of pliers. After sewing them on I added hot glue in between the band and the mask for further strength.
DISCLAIMER: This might have been redundant, but I feel better safe than sorry.
6) I knew I had to be able to unclasp my mask, so after checking how tight I wanted it to be I cut the band and sew a pair of clasps onto it - viola! They were a bit tricky to fasten on the back of my head, but it was always managable.
7) I chose to make my horns easy to put on and take off - I decided to put a huge screw on each side and inside the horns the “capsule” you put into a plaster-wall would go. . It did prove successful.
8) But the problem was - how the €¤&% was I to put a pair of screws onto my head without causing myself headache or having them fall off?
The solution proved simple yet effective. I screwed (or rather made hole for) the screws in a pice of wood, underneath which I put a piece of cardboard, underneath which I had to insert some styrofoam to make up for the curve of the mask.
9) I was still not at ease with my solution. I decided to sew on elastic band on top of it all, with the screws piercing the band. I also hotglued all the pieces onto the mask.
One side DONE
10) The green “beard” is purely functional - the mask was tight around my mouth and I knew I had to provide space for my jaw to move around, so I had to cut some room for it. In the end I had to do more than slice it up a little.
11) I added some decorational touches to further the WD feel of the mask. It made sense to use his most recurring phrase and to place it on his forehead.
12) Next step, and the last in preparing the base for the ACTUAL mask, was to add the blue/purple fabric which would cover my eyes but still let me see. I chose one fine, dense and darker fabric with another lighter and less dense fabric on top to achieve (what I felt was) the right colour.
DISCLAIMER: Since I am slightly colour-blind I hope you can forgive any colourful errors on my behalf.
<-- that’s not a blue bugger
13) And so it was time to make the REAL mask! Here I have covered the base mask in plastic foil so as not to have the material I will use stick to the base mask (thus ruining any modification which might’ve been, but weren’t, needed). I have put toilet paper rolls on the eyes, fastened with tape, in order to indicate where the eyes will go.
14) I had to cut off more to provide ease of breathing through the mask. I sew some extra stitches on the mask, in case it would break - seeing as it became brittle after cutting so much away. I also painted the mask in case it could be seen from below underneath the actual mask
Base mask finished !Making the actual mask (Top Mask)
- Part 1
1) So the base mask is done and it’s time to create the mask that you’re actually trying to make.
I chose to make my WD mask in joint foam. Joint foam (Swedish: fogskum) is a material that expands to twice the size it has when it leaves the nozzle and it can lead to cancer if inhaled in a NON-ventilated room. That said, there are actually environment-friendly versions of it, which negates the necessity of a gasmask.
However, the store I bought mine had no environment-friendly alternative, and I had to hurry to get this done, so I bought the nasty version. I used a gasmask and squirted the...stuff...all over my mask outside where the wind caressed my neck as I worked.
After using the joint foam, I quickly realised that while it did not push through materials, it was a devilishly clever substance that sought out all the small holes in between the tape and the plastic foil, and as a result it pushed up inside the toilet paper roll on one side - as seen here when my girlfriend wears it.
2) Next order of business was detaching the base mask from the newly created top mask. It was easy enough, and the joint foam had luckily formed in such a way that it was easy to take out and put the base mask back into it. Some cutting had to be done where it had expanded so that the screws were enclosed.
3) I quickly realised that I could get very little air unless I cut an opening in the mask which let the air pass unhindered from my nose and mouth to my chin - meeting the air.
Drawing up where the hole
for my mouth is on my base mask
Right: Cutting out that very hole, connecting it to the “nose holes” (no, not nostrils = Swe. näshålor) and, most importantly, opening up the way to the chin.
I also f**ked up and cut away too much on the eyes - the straight cuts on the right picture were much to aggressive, but was fixed with styrofoam later on.
4) In this stage I started cutting away unneccesary pieces, trying to close in on the shape I wanted. I sliced thin pieces away instead of going too aggressively - as with the eyes, as mentioned.
Instead of explaining each small step I count on you to see for yourself what it is I have done - if you cannot I fear you may not be able to carve a mask yourself.
When I carve I do what people say stone masons do: see the shape you want to achieve, then find it with your tools.
That said, I did use some guiding lines in the form of symmetric lines and constantly compared what I was to do withthe reference (found on Step 1 on Making the Base Mask).
Forming the top part
Forming the forehead and the eyes
Forming the nose, mouth and jaw
Trying out the one correctly shaped stone I got my hands on. Unfortunately it did not have the colour I was looking for.
5) The shape is all but achieved, and I started filling the joint foam’s multitude of small holes with latex joint fix(?) (Swedish: latexfog) which I suppose is what you put on the joints between a window pane and the frame. It is slightly elastic, rough to the touch and is easily painted. It dries faster than glue as well and is not a fluid which meant I could turn the mask as I wanted while the stuff dried.
The only disadvantage to it is that it weighs a little, all things considered this, coupled with the two screws, is what makes up 85% of the weight of my mask - without its weight I might’ve been worried it would catch the wind and fly off somewhere!
Above: The essentially finished carving of the top mask, with the base mask beneath.
6) It was partly the cancer hazard of breathing in any joint foam particles, and partly achieving a nicer finish, which made me cover the inside with paper drenched in a
mixture of water and glue (anytime I mention glue I refer to
shoe glue (Swedish: skolim) which is white and dries rather slowly - unless I specifically call it hot glue which in that case is hot glue, put on through the use of a hot glue pistol).
7) I did some finishing touches where the latex joint fix could not cover the joint foam’s bubble-holes. Styrofoam was used.
8) This is the point where I started carving out the horns.
I begun by printing out the horns from my reference, onto two A4 papers, after which I taped them together and copied the shape onto styrofoam using a marker pen. Once the first shape was done I used it as a template for the copies I had to make.
The reason for this is that my styrofoam was relatively thin, and usually I made do with two layers glued together, but on this specific piece (shown in the picture below) and another connected to this I had to put together three layers to reach the correct thickness.TIP:
Personally I have found that toothpicks work wonderfully well together with styrofoam:
To start with, they are sharpened which make them easy to stick into the styrofoam. They function as strengthening devices, much as steel does when put inside concrete. They are also useful in keeping several pieces together.
I usually carve two pieces out, stick them together with some toothpicks (put through the thickest areas) and do some last carving on the whole piece, after which I glue them together - and here the toothpicks help the pieces to go into their correct positions again.
9) Off to another piece!
Next I started working on a crucial piece. This is the piece that is situated in between the top mask and the horns, but through which the base mask’s screws will go as well. If this piece has too narrow a hole it can lead to another piece breaking apart, or simply that the whole side looks awkward.
I cut off a pie-slice mainly to have an easier time carving out the hole through which the screw goes. If I would to it again I would simply cut it in twain (which means in half), then put it together.
Below & left in picture:
The screw’s grey “capsule”
Right in picture:
Ta-daaah! It works.
10) Making me horny.
Last but not the least piece to create by hand - the two badass horns! I was under a lot of stress and did not have time to make all the cuts and difigurations as seen in the reference concept art, but I plan on rectifying this shortly.
Once again I carved the horns out of styrofoam, two layers thick after which I rounded them bit by bit to get the corect shape.Making the actual mask (Top Mask)
- Part 2
I did some patching up where I had initially carved out too much - and it was lucky I did because the difference would have been between awesome mask and pathetic failure. Styrofoam and white glue as per usual.
11) All the pieces are made! But I was not happy about the thought of bumping into people and doorframes with my horns and breaking them - and believe me, my fears of bumping into things came true, so pay attention to this stage - so I figured I needed something to strengthen my horns in some way.
The choice fell on wood, which I had a stick of laying around.
I measured it to my horns, cut it at an appropriate length and placed it so that the screws’ capsules would not get in the way of it.
To be able to place it inside the horns I had to take them apart (luckily I had not glued them together - NEVER glue anything onto anything else unless you are positively certain you have done all you have with the piece in question) and carve out a little hollow the size of the stick, after which I poured glue into the hollow and in between the two parts of the horn. Then I stuck toothpicks into the styrofoam where they did not meet the grey capsules nor the wood.
The same process was done with the gray capsules. I realise you may feel I have skipped some of these small details - if so, just ask me in the comments below and I’ll be willing to answer your questions.
Above: some more finishing touches, this time around the holes in the top mask where I had cut it open to get the base mask.
When I measured how far the screws’ capsules would reach I did not take into account that I would fill these holes up, which led to some distress. Luckily I could cut my way through to the desired depth.
12) Some smaller details/pieces need also be put onto the mask, namely the little horns on top of the top of the top mask (pun intended). I am a little disappointed in how I made them, I was under a lot of stress and was about to begin my allnighter before I was to go to the convention where I would use this mask.
Everything that happens in the steps after this is therefore what I managed to do while under heavy stress and lacking one night’s sleep.
Nevertheless, these pieces are the major source of my discofort, because they some of them are far from the shape and size they should have going by the reference I had.
I carved them from styrofoam, inserted cut-in-half toothpicks and simply stuck them into the joint foam - which is so “soft” that it slid right in with no effort! And still they have managed to stay there, with a little help of glue, of course.
And there you have it, all the small pieces assembled.
13) Next we are back to the first piece I was working on, excluding the mask I made the base mask out of. I had to carve out a slightly altered, larger, piece seeing as the top mask is larger than the base mask.NB!
Take great care when you align this piece, it has to be centered otherwise the whole mask will come off asymmetrical!
Once again my beloved toothpicks work their magic. I was initially thinking of merely using these toothpicks as a guideline, but they proved to be so sturdy that they could hold the whole piece together on their own!
I did not want to trust them thoroughly, however, and stuck toothpicks THROUGH the cardboard (in the thinnest parts) and into the top mask, after which I hot glued all the toothpicks heavily - seeing as they would be covered in craft foam anyway.
14) Booyah! At 2 a.m. night I could finally begin putting on craft foam on the top mask!The process went in this way:
a) pick a large enough paper for the piece to be cut.
b) hold it onto the mask
c) draw along the contours of the piece pursued
d) cut out the paper
e) try on the paper onto the mask again
f) rectify mistakes
g) cut out the craft foam piece (colour of craft foam matters not when using acrylic paint, apparantly)
h) put the craft foam piece onto the mask
i) rectify mistakes
j) hot glue the s**t out of it
k) hold it in place
l) the warmth of your hand (or the fact that it traps the heat) together with the warmth of the hot glue ensures the piece stays in place and is securely placed, it also follows dents etc. in the mask - perfect for a WD who is more genuine when not slick and smooth.
m) repeat steps a-l.
Each piece took roughly 15 minutes each, meaning it took an hour to do 4 pieces.
I tries desperately to createa pink glow in the hollow of the top by filling it first with a LOT of glue (the hole was initially too big, which was why I used so much) and then poured red food colour (Swedish: karamellfärg) into it, and when I moved the mask around it mixed and took on a pinkish colour.
I also used marker pens (brown and green) to paint the edges on the green top part, in case I would not have time to paint those pieces carefully. It worked well, but each to one’s own.
15) I decided to make my feathers detachable, just as
my horns, to make for easy transportation. Thus they
were merely glued to a sheet of craft foam, which in turn
was glued onto the back of the top mask once it was
supposed to be used.
The colours were chosen to match my chest armor,
but the green feathers I expected to be as tall as the
others I had to use (as seen on the picture). The green was supposed to contrast to some purple feathers I had bought as well, but I did not have time to finish those pieces of the cosplay.
--- This was as far as I got when I pulled my all-nighter ---
16) Below are pictures where I had to ask people to help me out to meet my deadline, which thankfully involved basically painting the craft foam to achieve the right colour.