Tag Archives: Sketching

Day Four, Blogging 101: Identify your Audience, Exploring New Elements


This particular assignment encouraged me to examine the audience, demographic and the readers who may visit the blog. This is a very interesting exercise that involves writing for an intended audience or reader in mind, although I dedicated two days to brainstorming in order to determine, who is reading Black Calavera?

While I don’t have a particular person in mind, I hope to share the research I’ve undertaken over the past few years with the outside world. Now that I’ve switched to my focused state of mind, I would imagine the ideal reader as a skull enthusiast or an artist with a strong interest for skulls.

The second component involves introducing a new element to the blog and I wondered whether there is something new I can possibly explore that is different to what I’m familiar or comfortable with. I was intrigued to explore illustration or drawing that is something that I haven’t practised for about a year now. For two whole days, I sat beneath the heater with a pencil and an old sketch book that was recently discovered in the bottom of a cardboard box; this basically summaries the length of time I haven’t practised my sketching.

With two to three attempts, a sugar skull illustration was finally created! I can be rather picky, although the objective of the exercise involved experimenting with a different medium and the test determined that I can push beyond my comfort zone.  With additional practise and persistence, the sugar skull illustrations will improve over time. This is the starting point anyway and the sketchbook will hopefully provide new ideas for upcoming projects.

Why Sugar Skulls?

The designs are incredibly inspiring and there is a fascinating cultural association with the Mexican Day of the Dead Festival that is unbelievably admirable and highly creative. For those who are unfamiliar with the Day of the Dead, this vibrant celebration welcomes the spirits from deceased friends and relatives through decorative altars, sugar skulls and other creative events, as referenced by Regina.M.Marchi.1

The sugar skulls are highly colourful, although I’m intrigued to explore the decorative designs in black and white. Another fascinating subject, is the interpretation of death and how would one describe this ambiguous subject? This is something I’ve questioned over and over again, although death is one of those mysterious occurrences that is a natural process of life, although the thought is relatively daunting at times.

I’ve actually awakened from a good night’s rest and realised that I perceive the world through my own point of view and one day that’ll eventually disappear, when death approaches. This is actually difficult to explain, although I experienced a sudden wave of anxiety when I realised that there is an ending, there are some things in life that are unavoidable and death is one of them.

So where do we go from here? Good question, well I would love to explore how others interpret death, perhaps this’ll transform into an exciting new project, you’ll have to wait and see.


1.Regina.M.Marchi, Day of the Dead USA, The Migration and Transformation of a Cultural Phenomenon (USA:Rutgers University Press) p.26 

Drawing Skull on Top of a Receipt

10/9/12 – New Skull Drawing

While I was sitting in a cafe in Melbourne I decided to draw a skull on the front of a receipt. I was waiting for someone at a chocolate shop also known as Max Brenners and I had used the receipt that I had received with my small latte. Just goes to prove that you can use an everyday item for something artistic and creative.

New Skull Drawing

18/8/12 – Using Wardrobe Door as a Work Station?

On Saturday night, I decided to draw another black and white Mexican skull on a sheet of lined paper. For some reason I now have an obsession with drawing skulls and the image always seems to be at the back of my mind. The image of the skull has become almost impossible to avoid over the past few months and the shape of the skull is now ingrained into my memory.

I usually need a reference or a photograph for drawing although I can now draw the skull from my own imagination. At the moment I am experimenting with different patterns and designs that I could use as a reference for my photographic work that I will produce towards the end of the year. I’ve decided to use my wardrobe door as a notice board that is used to document work in progress and visual observations.

Once I began to attach drawings, photos and notes to the wardrobe door I was able to actually see what I was working with instead of having all of my work spilling onto the floor. It is interesting to view the drawings from a distance and each day the work provides different ideas or concepts for the project.

My interpretation of the skull varies each day depending on what kind of image I am looking at Each day may provide a different perspective that may change completely in the next week or the next year. For some reason I do not think of death once I am confronted with the image of a skull which may reflect my culture or generation.

I am confronted with the skull day in day out through commercial art, design and popular culture, although would these particular art forms provide an explanation as to why I am desensitised towards death?

Drawing and Sketching

16/8/12 – Work in Progress: Using the skull as a way to Improve my own Drawing Skills? 

Over the past few months I have been sketching the image of the skull in my visual diary and my note book. At the start of the year I wasn’t able to draw anything at all now I have the skull ingrained into my mind. When I sketch I am now able to create the shape of the skull from memory, which is something I haven’t been able to do before.

Drawing is not my area of expertise although I have been practising different styles, patterns and designs over the past year or so. Below is a list of images that I have been currently working on, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to use some of them for my photographic work.

April 20th – I remember drawing on the train with my boyfriend who was teaching me how to draw a skull. I had just used a notepad that I had received from a conference that day and for some reason I wasn’t able to draw the mouth of the skull. I then realised that I was supposed to draw inwards in order to create the jawline. I was always drawing the jawline outwards and I was always wondering why my skulls were out of proportion.

July 3rd – For some reason I like to draw on the train because it takes an hour to get to the city and the trains are incredibly slow. The skulls are still out of proportion and the jawline still needs adjusting. At this particular stage I still wasn’t too sure how to draw the shape of the skull although my second attempt was an improvement.

August 9th – Last week I found a box of Copic markers in my Boyfriend’s cupboard and I was impressed with the quality. I decided to draw a black and white Mexican skull with the Copic markers, which provided some interesting tones around the nose and the jawline. This drawing is a huge improvement from the last few sketches and I was actually pleased with the results.

The black and white skull also relates to the title of my research project, “Black Calavera”, the english word for “black” is merged with the Spanish word for skull, which is also known as “Calavera”. I have decided to use black and white for all of my skulls and the the drawings could be used for a body of work. The Mexican skull is the best drawing i have produced so far, although one eye socket is larger than the other.

For some reason I don’t like to draw with pencils, I find them restrictive and when I am using a pen I tend to make less mistakes. With a pencil you can keep redrawing the same shape continuously although with a pen you only have one chance to creates something that your happy with. This statement is always stored into the back of my mind and once i begin to pick up the pen, for some reason it seems to work. Of course I have ruined a few drawings although I keep redrawing the same image with the pen until I have achieved something that I’m happy with.

August 10th – Last weekend I went to a birthday party and there was a large table in the middle of the hall full of pens, pencils and paper. I wasn’t expecting there to be arts and craft at the party although I had enjoyed drawing or sketching in the afternoon. There sheets of black paper and I decided to draw a Mexican skull using a gold pen. The eye sockets actually remind me of old sovereign coins and the rendering created an interesting composition. Again there is one eye socket that is larger than the other but hopefully I will fix this particular issue in my next drawings.

August 15th – Last wednesday on the train ride home from Melbourne I decided to draw another Mexican skull. I was pretty tired and it was pretty late when I had caught the train, although I was quite bored so I decided to create a quick sketch. I do intend to continue with the sketching in order to develop further ideas for the project and the work in progress has provided an excellent opportunity to improve my drawing skills. I still have a long way to go, although I do remember the advice I had received when I was a child, “practise makes perfect”. Stay tuned for further updates!


29/3/12 Random Sketch

I decided to sketch an image of the skull on the train ride up to Melbourne. It was a very rough sketch and I used the internet as a reference. I initially sketched the image with grey lid pencils but then I decided to draw over the image with pen, which created a different style. Sketching may provide different ideas or concepts for the project that I could use down the track. The other sketch was created by a friend.