The ANBU Brotherhood has a variety of members around the world who enjoy a wide range of anime, manga and cosplays. Its would seem inevitable that one of our members would want a cosplay mask unlike any ANBU design currently available. well that time is now.
Enter The Blue Spirit. Avatar (The last Airbender) fans will immediately recognize the instrument of Prince Zuko's redemption. The Blue Spirit mask. This is an interesting request as I have in an ongoing personal battle against one of my best friends to proclaim the best anime of our current era. My pick is Naruto (of course) and his is Avatar Last Air Bender. I do love the show I will admit :-) and am proud to be asked as well as excited to be making, this sweet mask.
This mask is to be made in a Blue Metallic paint, mixed directly into the clay as with any colored mask commissioned by the ANBU Brotherhood. It would seem that is where the similarities end with a standard Brotherhood mask. On this mask, the Mouth will be open and breathable, tusks, hair wrap, and unique ears will be added to make this one of the most unique projects undertaken by the ANBU Brotherhood to date.
Mixing the clay with the desired color paint really does give the mask a realism and depth that isn't easily obtained with surface paint alone. This process also makes the mask color permanent, no scratching of or fading over time, an invaluable feature to any cosplayer or collector. On this particular project I would like to take it even one step further. Borrowing from Ancient Japanese Traditional Noh Mask construction, I will apply a diluted solution of paint and water mixture, applying it like make-up. This layered approach will will produce a rich depth to the mask, hopefully making it one of the best Zuko Blue Spirit masks ever made. All ANBU Brotherhood of Masks, projects start with the paper mache shell. That shell is then adapted to fit the mask being created, parts added or subtracted as needed. this mask is no different. Special eyes were designed to make this mask, you can adapt your own design. The first step was to draw a blueprint sketch onto the mask frame to help build out the facial feature needed to make the mask pop.
Then we must make the cheeks, eyebrows, and open up the mouth. The mask must be covered with the first layer of clay and harden before the add-ons can be placed, things like the hair wrap, ears, tusks and teeth. At this point its starting to look like something Prince Zuko would approve of. "Don't worry my prince... this is just the beginning".
OMG This mask took some time to do! So many moving parts, ok not really moving parts but you get the picture. The Blue spirit mask used two different colored clay, lots of toothpicks to re-enforce the protruding parts, not to mention the many times I had to let this mask dry before I could start the next step. I am very proud to present this mask in its entirety. Please look at the gallery below and see an extensive "In the Lab" look at one of the most difficult masks to date. Stay tuned for more too, I currently have 2 more masks on the table that will be more intricate than this. thanks for looking, I hope you enjoy being in the lab with me. :-)
Click the image above to visit the ANBU Connect mask shop where you can purchase the Blue Spirit mask for yourself.