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Visual Design Class Honors Dia de los Muertos

Student working on her drawing.

Faith Zako, Staff Reporter

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Dia de los Muertos is the Latin American day to honor deceased loved ones. It is held on November 1. People dance, eat, party, and just have a good time. They believe that on this day, the dead are awakened from their slumber to come to the real world and celebrate with them. They decorate altars with flowers and offerings, as well as paint and decorate sugar skulls.

The Visual Design class at Los Banos High School has taken this opportunity to take part in these cultural ceremonies by decorating their own sugar skulls.

Students started the process by watching a video tutorial on drawing the skulls. Once they had the basic idea, they were allowed to practice using the oil pastels that they would be using on their final skull drawing.

For their final skulls, the students received a long piece of drawing paper and were told to make their skull drawings life sized. Some students struggled at first, but amazing designs were beginning to appear on paper. When finished, students were allowed to outline their designs with black sharpie before beginning to color them.

For the assignment, the skulls had to be decorated with oil pastels, not chalk or colored pencils. Oil pastels are difficult to work with because in order to blend the colors, they must be smeared, and when they’re smeared, it is noticeable which direction you smeared them.  Unfortunately, there’s no going back. The students were told to learn how to work with their mistakes.

“The hardest thing is to draw the top of the head and then to draw two curved lines, extending down which is the cheekbones. That’s the hardest part for me because sometimes it’s not going to be even or I did one side too big or too small,” says Christina Navarro (9). “I enjoyed making the designs and making different patterns when I was done with the face features.”

Each student’s design was a unique take on the traditional Dia de los Muertos sugar skulls, and each in a way reflect the artist’s own personality. The students look forward to seeing their completed final works.

Student concentrates on coloring his work.
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Visual Design Class Honors Dia de los Muertos