The Many Tasks of the Mask: Illustration Case Study

The Many Tasks of the Mask is a graphic design project and self promotion piece that was developed with the intention to bring the viewer through my artistic process and design decisions.

This post displays the panels of this multifaceted fold-out piece, (originally intended as a printed package) and describes their meaning one by one. This piece is a result of my final project at Design Essentials, a Graphic Design program at BCIT, and Emily Carr University in Vancouver, BC.

As an artist born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I had many artistic influences growing up; Latin American folk art, Native Art from the Southwest and the Pacific Northwest, as well as the visionary paintings of Salvador Dali and the films of Tim Burton. This illustration is a collage of influences and developed educational skills. Follow along as I briefly analyze my design decisions.

Front Cover Sleeve

Stage 1: Inside/Out

This is the first panel of the piece you see after removing the cover sleeve and is created solely in Illustrator. The first stage of my process involves influences and art that stimulates my imagination; this mask is an homage to art from Southeast Asia, the Pacific Northwest, and New Mexico. My idea was to have these masks seem as though they are eating each other or attached to one another like a totem pole, another of my favorite artistic modules. As you flip up the first panel, the back of the mask which contains it’s title and the description is revealed, and the next panel is exposed.

Inside/Out front view
Inside/Out back view

Stage 2: The Brainweather

This is the second panel of the piece and was painted in Photoshop. This part of the process involves idea generation, brainstorming, mind mapping, and dreaming. The world of ideas is an expansive universe filled with new and exciting visual information that needs to be explored thoroughly. I imagined a face made of atmosphere and clouds that is complete with cloud cities, a rainbow and a sun creating a third eye. The top face is a daylight scene, and can be reversed to show another face that represents the night time and outer space.

The Brainweather front view
The Brainweather back view

Stage 3: The Information

This stage in the process involves a wide variety of research and visual information from books, magazines, web pages, TV, movies, and any other media that would contribute. These Newspaper clippings, illustrations, icons, and webpages are inserted in the facets of an African inspired mask with bulging eyes, which symbolize the digestion of all this information.

The Information front view
The Information back view

Stage 4: The Experiment

The next step is all about experimenting and trying new possibilities by creating thumbnails, sketches, and compositions—in order to make a polished creation, use a multitude of ideas and artistic styles before arriving at a solution. Since this mask is all about the different possibilities and methods of creating, I used hand drawn sketches, Photoshop painted and stamped portions, and Vector Illustrations to create this explosion of variety.

The Experiment front view
The Experiment back view

Stage 5: The Furnace

This is the final panel in which all the elements from the previous stages are fed to The Furnace to create the final creation. This industrial machine-like face has two doors that open to reveal the final message: The Furnace is ultimately fueled by PASSION, so it has the power to produce again and again, which is the underlying message of the entire piece.

The Furnace Doors closed
The Furnace doors open

These next two images show the piece as it is folded out all the way. First, the inside view of The Furnace and all the description panels. The next image shows the other side with all the panels as well as the back of the piece in the center.

full view inside
full view outside

I really enjoyed creating and developing this case study; it was very satisfying in many ways. It not only shows my variety of interests and illustration techniques but also give the viewer a glimpse into my personal artistic process.