The final step in the mask making process and arguably the most fun! This is where all your hard work pays off and your monster mask comes to life!
There are many different techniques that can be used to paint masks. However, one thing will remain constant between any methodÖ the paint base must be flexible. If the paint base dries hard, the paint will not stick to the mask. Latex masks are themselves flexible, so a hard drying paint will flake and crack off.
There are a variety of types of paint and inks that can be used. For this particular piece I will be using mostly latex pigmented paints. Note: this is not the same as water-based latex paint typically used to paint interiors. This is actual liquid latex (the same stuff we cast our mask with) that has pigment in it. For beginners, I recommend using Monster Makers Latex Paints. They are a great consistency and color. I still like to keep a few gallons around the studio, like the Flesh, and Brown. I tend to mix my other colors, and I also like to always have a gallon of White and Black on hand. I have dozens of other colors that Iíve mixed in assorted sized jars.
A beginner would not need to have gallons of any color to start out. I would recommend picking up a Monster Makers paint kit to start out with.
There are many acrylic inks on the market that can also be used to paint masks with. In this guide I will not be covering these, although Jordu Schell does an excellent demo on using these on the Movie FX Vol.1 DVD. Inaddition, I have found Badger Freak Flex paints works really well on latex also.
Airbrush & Compressor
The primary tool for the painting of secondary colors. I currently use a Paasche H for most of my work, and a Master G43 for small detail.
The Paasche H is an external mix airbrush, which means the paint and air mix outside the body of the airbrush. This is essential for painting with latex, as the only parts that ever need cleaning are the cone and needle which can easily be removed. This is a very inexpensive and versatile airbrush.
The Master airbrush is an internal mix, meaning that the paint and air mix inside the body of the brush. You cannot use latex in this type of airbrush, you will clog it in a matter of seconds, TRUST ME. It is great however, for spraying inks or other thin paints. Awesome for detail!
I have had the same compressor now for about 15 years. I use a Cambell-Hausfeld Pit Boss w/ a 13 gallon tank & a 125 max psi. Whatever brand or type you go with, youíll want to make sue it can handle at least a 60- psi for painting with latex. A tank is not necessary, but itís nice not to have to run the thing constantly.
The main method of applying the base color. The technique Iíll demonstrate uses small synthetic sponges for the application of paint.
I used to use small make-up sponges, and these really work well. These days, I get more bang for my buck by picking up large foam cushion fillers at my local fabric store and I cut them up into different size cubes.
Wire mesh screen cut into little squares. This is used to strain the latex paint through before painting with your airbrush. The method I use is to place the screen on top of the opening of the jar that attaches to my airbrush. I then pour the paint through the screen and into my jar. Once screened, itís ready to run through the airbrush.
Youíll need something to hold your mask while you paint. I use a 2 x 4 and PVC piping. I have 4 stands all built the same way. Each is a 5í length of board, and holds 4 Ė 18Ē lengths of PVC. I like to be able to line up several masks at once if Iím doing a small production run. If you are just looking to paint one mask at a time, any type of stand will work, including a 2 liter bottle filled with water (empty bottles tend to tip over while youíre painting)