Before listing individual books, I want to mention The Motley Bibliographies: Four. It is titled Theatrical Costume, Masks, Make-up and Wigs: A Bibliography and Iconography, edited by Sidney Jowers and John Cavanagh (Routlege, NY/2000). It lists, with descriptions, all literature available on theatre history of costumes, masks, make-up and wigs through July, 1996. This includes most of the books available on Commedia dell-Arte and books on mask-making. If you are doing more extensive research for design purposes, it is an excellent resource.
1. **Sears Eldredge's Mask Improvisation for Actor Training and Performance: The Compelling Image has chapters on meanings of masks, histories of mask use and training, with the bulk of the material on lessons is using neutral, character, emotional, totem, complex character, and found masks, and mask theatre. The appendices include thorough instructions for mask design and construction, some useful mask templates, and teaching forms and handouts.
2. **Commedia dell'Arte: A Handbook for Troupes by John Rudlin and Ollie Crick is an excellent book for playing Commedia and the appendices include mask making, writing scenarios, the stage, backdrop, costumes, and songs and dances. The mask making section is easy to follow for building in clay, papier mache', plaster bandage, vacuum forming, and other methods other than leather. An excellent book (like Grantham's) for performers, and the list of mask makers includes Fava and Sartori.
3. **The Prop Builder's Mask-making Handbook by James Thurston (Whitehall, VA/1990), has over 350 photos and demonstrations of mask-making techniques. He includes how to make leather masks for Commedia.
4. **Barry Grantham's Playing Commedia: A Training Guide to Commedia Techniques(London/2000), has an appendix that includes a concise mask-making lesson, and a limited list of UK and Italian mask makers. It is a great book for teachers, and for students wanting to know how to play the characters.
5. W. T. Benda's, Masks, (Watson-Guptill, NY/1944) is full of wonderful sketches for stimulating mask ideas, mostly full face. The chapter on "How I Make My Masks" has detailed descriptions and good illustrations for basic paper and glue and paint methods.