Sketchbook No.6: Day of the Dead


Red Day: Thursday, February 9th

Blue Day: Friday, February 10th   

Have you ever heard of the “Day of the Dead?” Also called Día de los Muertos (by Spanish speakers in the US) or Día de Muertos (in Mexico), it is a holiday celebrated in Mexico, other countries in Latin America, some places in the US with large Hispanic populations, some countries in Europe, and the Philippines.
Originally based on the Catholic holidays of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, combined with Aztec indigenous rituals, “Day of the Dead” is a day to remember loved ones who have died, often commemorated with visits to the cemetery. Families often light candles at the graves and leave offerings of food, drinks, and flowers (especially marigolds, “cempasúchiles“), or for children, sweets and toys. Many people also make an altar in their home, dedicated to their loved ones who have passed away.

This sketchbook prompt was inspired by another website, so first head to this webpage by clicking the image below and scroll down to the youtube demonstration video and then come back!

day of the dead

Hopefully you found some inspiration and are ready to create your own creative version of this artist’s interpretation.


  1. Use a face with a ‘frontal’ view: meaning that the face is looking directly at you and is almost symmetrical.

  2. Leave the eyes, neck & shoulders if present.

  3. Must have patterns on the face & stitching on the mouth and cheeks.

  4. The hair must be altered. The hair has to be covered with something unusual. The color scheme and background need to support the patterns on the face and the subject matter you choose for the hair. 

    1. For example: If you want to a football themed Day of the Dead skull, maybe you cut out football helmets and footballs from magazines for the hair. The color scheme for the patterns and the background would probably match the teams colors you are going with. Also, maybe the background has patterns or something that creates unity and balance in the work as a whole.
  5. Turn in sketches with your Day of the Dead face!

Here are some samples of Day of the Dead art that may inspire you:




…and they don’t always HAVE TO BE SYMMETRICAL!

STEP No.1:Glue picture onto sketchbook  paper.

STEP No.2: Gesso face, avoiding eye sockets, nostrils and lips. While it is drying in between layers sketch out your patterns for your face on another piece of sketchbook paper.

STEP No.3: Begin background on paper – working in layers.

STEP No,.4: When background is dry, glue down face where desired (remember it doesn’t have to go in the center!)

STEP No.5: Begin adding finishing touches!

HAVE FUN making your version:)

You can also check out my Pinterest board with this link:

pinterest icon


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