Guest Author - Carol Taller
We all know what a mask is, but the word is not always used in reference to a costume. A masking art technique refers to “covering up” part of the image. There are many reasons that you might want to use a masking technique, and there are several ways that you can do it.
The simplest masking technique is to cover up part of the page with a template. The template acts as a mask and creates an illusion for your image. If you rubber-stamp right over the template it will break up your image and create interest.
Another easy way to mask your page is to use masking tape. I like to mask out the borders first, and then crisscross some lines throughout, creating a mosaic pattern. I sometimes will tear the tape lengthwise to create more interest in the lines of the masking pattern.
Masking can also be done with rubber cement. First, you glue the area that you want to keep unstamped. The rubber cement glue will dry fast; when it is dry you can stamp all around it and even on it. When your ink is dry, you can remove the rubber cement and you will have unstamped paper. This method is easy, but not very exact. If you want to be precise about your mask, you should probably try another method.
Say, for example, you want to stamp a house with a fence in front of it. If you stamp the fence first, the lines of the house will go over the lines of the fence and it will not look accurate since you want the house to appear behind the fence. If you stamp the house first and the fence over the house, the lines of the house will still show through the fence and appear incorrect. One item should be masked to make the final image look accurate. But how do you decide which image needs to be masked?
One method to determine what image should be masked is to individually stamp each image and lay it out as you would like it to finally appear. So stamp a house and a fence, cut them both out, and lay them on the paper, as you would like them to appear. Assuming you would like the house behind the fence, you need to use the fence as your mask. So temporarily put the cut out of the house down and stamp the fence over the mask. Now remove the mask, and stamp your fence exactly where the mask was. The fence will lie accurately over the house and your stamped image will be correct.
Another way to determine what image should be masked is to “reason it out”. The image in the back must be stamped first, but it must be stamped over the mask in order to be accurate.
Once you have made a mask it is a good idea to store it with your rubber stamp so that you can reuse it. Some people make their masks out of post its, so that it will adhere easily to the paper, but many people find the post it flimsy and hard to reuse. Some people use acetate since it cuts easily and cleans easily after being stamped. As usual, it is best to experiment and see what you are most comfortable with.