To be fair, I was given quite a lot of artistic licence with regards to the overall look. So long as I stayed with the rather broad remit of 'Keep it original', the band were happy to give me free-ish rein.
As the design was for a full head mask, it was apparent that it needed to be light, but also strong enough to withstand the rigours of going on tour.
Originally, when my initial idea was for a more regular look, I was contemplating using very thin plywood. As the design moved towards something more irregular, that idea became way less feasible. I just don't have the woodworking skills necessary.
I did a bit of online investigating, and settled on using polystyrene, which was light, and could be shaped easily.
I invested in a hot-wire cutting machine, and some blue poly offcuts to practice with. While it's great to carve and shape, the big problem is that poly is really brittle, and damages easily. Not ideal for lugging around the country, from venue to venue.
Turns out that there are a number of products available to 'coat' poly, in order to make it more resistant to damage.
I tried a few out. Some were better than others, but eventually I
was happy that I had a way to create the look that Doug and Tony wanted. Armed with a few initial concept ideas, we arranged to meet up in Birmingham to discuss things further.
(Above) The first foam coat I used didn't work out how I wanted. Not only was it messy to work with, it could only be applied very thickly, so it obscured all the detailing I had made on the foam. Plus, it was very dense. Using it all over would have made the mask way too heavy to wear comfortably.
I switched to a liquid plastic coating which was easy to work with, so much lighter, and because it could be applied more thinly it allowed all the details to still show through. It also 'sealed' the foam, making it less porous, and easier to paint.