Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day of the dead skulls - grade 6

This is a repeat of a project I posted about two years ago. It's one of my all time favorite projects, because it's so visually stimulating, and kids love it!

I use the same process every time I do this project - students are given a blank skull template (because drawing a skull isn't the objective here - it's actually to create a symmetrical piece of art based on a cultural celebration.) We talk about Dia de los Muertos, and look at images of skulls from various celebrations. Then, students draw designs in the skull using a pencil, paying attention to symmetry.

When they're happy with their designs, they trace their lines in Sharpie, and use watercolor paint to paint them in. Once they're done, they cut out their skull and glue it to a piece of scrapbooking paper. Lastly, they use jewels and sparkles to add finishing touches to their skulls.

Students learn a lot about balance in this project - there is really a perfect balance that needs to be achieved between black, white, and color, and its interesting to see how they pick up on this while they're working. The package of scrapbooking paper that I bought had some pieces that were grey on black instead of white on black, and you could see when students held their skull up to those sheets that it didn't give the same kind of "look" as when they used a busy, patterned, black and white paper.

Students also picked up on the need for balance in their skull - keeping a good mix of white with their painted parts (it can be tempting to paint the whole thing, but the white adds so much!)

Since holiday related projects aren't for everyone, I always have an alternative option for students - in this case, a vase, which still lends itself to the symmetry and design, without being holiday related. All students were allowed to pick if they wanted to work with a skull or a vase.

 Look at this amazing vase one of my students came up with - it's stunning!

It's so beautiful that I feel inspired to do a whole project based around it. I love when that happens!


  1. Hi, I was wondering how long this project took? They look great.

  2. Could the cityscape be used as a foreshortening project? It looks like all building taper to a center point. Is this correct?


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