Dia de los Muertos

Ever since I first saw photos of El Dia de los Muertos celebrations I was struck by the colours and emotions around it all. The event is a ritual time to honor loved ones who have died and to acknowledge death as a part of life. It becomes a celebration rather than a mourning process and I love the idea of this. In particular I love this quote:

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” –Kahlil Gibran

I think it is a beautiful way to think about sadness. I was inspired to create a journal page reflecting on this. I created a double page spread and challenged myself to draw again. I started off with a rough outline shape. I filled in this shape with gesso, I just used a small paint brush and went carefully right up to the lines.

pic 6

I coloured my page using black soot distress ink. I traced my skull outline on some tracing paper to make a mask to protect it from my inking and so that I could ink right up to the edges of the skull. Once the background was dry I used a damask stamp to stamp on it. I used the same black ink so this gives a subtle tone on tone effect.

pic 2


At this stage I added some more detail to my drawing with pencil. I went over these pencil markings with a permanent fine tip pen. I then erased all my pencil markings.pic 7

I then added in lots of detail to the skull. You may have see the sugar skulls as they are known from the festival. They are always colourful and intricate looking. I used my Inktense pencils to colour in all this detailing. The pencils worked perfectly over the gesso. I just coloured in and set it with some water to get the vibrant colour.
pic 3

I had a lot of flowers left from a previous journal page that worked perfectly for this page. I layered them all up and added some pale yellow enamel dots in among them too. The flowers have a lovely bit of shimmer on them and they really pop against the black.pic 1

I drew some cobwebs on the four corners using a white paint marker. I then added a few flowers around the page also. I have the quote I listed above written on the back of one of the flowers. I can lift it up and read it when I like. I quite liked the page as it was then. I am not fully decided on adding the quote in white onto the page. I like the idea of keeping it tucked away more privately.pic 4

Here is a close up of the colour on the skull. All the patterns I doodled on were just randomly done and doodled. The only thing I tried to do was mirror one side on the other, but I was not too hung up on it being perfect. I love the flowers in the eyes!
pic 5I  am entering this into the Mixed Media Place challenge for the month – the theme is Sadness. I hope my page fits – its about sadness but not at the same time. Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you enjoyed it and were not too freaked out by my skull popping up on screen! 😀


7 thoughts on “Dia de los Muertos

  1. What an awesome interpretation! Thank you for the step photos! Thank you for joining the Mixed Media Place challenge!

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