Can you help me design a tribal medicine man’s mask?
Asha Limbach, England
For this question I’m designing a medicine man in a postapocalyptic world, and I’m keen to show the attributes of that world in the character’s costume, in particular his mask.
Bear in mind that the medicine men of tribal societies weren’t just doctors – they were also the connection between humans and the spiritual world, and their costume usually reflected this. Their masks symbolised how the tribe or that society imagined a supernatural power. So you can suggest a lot of things with this mask and its decoration, including the technological level of the group, their beliefs and their past history.
I always try to create a story to support my character designs, so for this character I imagine that a war has wiped out most of the planet’s population. The survivors have slowly regressed to tribal societies living in areas unaffected by the fighting. After the passing of centuries the tribes no longer remember what happened to the ‘ancients’ and their most precious objects would probably be the remnants of days gone by.
I thought it would be cool to show this connection, so I imagine a high-tech helmet, decorated with bullet casings from the war and also some more classical tribal elements and paint. I want to explore how the original high-tech soldiers could have looked like, so I jumped into ZBrush and create a quick sculpt of their helmet. After doing some quick renders straight from ZBrush and gathering some references and photo textures, I start to build up my character using photo manipulation and digital painting techniques combined with the 3D base of the helmet. After mixing the different elements I add some wear and rust to show the age of the objects and finish it with some tribal painting, which is the final visual connection between the mask and the character’s body.