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15 Byberry Road
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Michele Melcher Illustration, Philadelphia based illustrator, artist, painter.

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Dia de Los Muertos – Self Portrait

Michele Melcher

Self Portrait

Self Portrait

As you all know, autumn is pretty much my favorite time of the year chock full of things that I love: pumpkin carving, spooky movies, Halloween, etc. Another holiday that is celebrated the day after Halloween which I have always been fascinated by is the Mexican and Latin American holiday “Dia De Los Muertos” or The Day of the Dead. (no, it’s not a George Romero film).

According to Wikipedia, “the holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died…takes place on November 1, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased.”

One of the common symbols of the holiday is the skull or “calevara”, which can be worn as a mask, or in the form of a decorated sugar skull. Many celebrants wear traditional costumes, wear masks and paint their faces during the parades and festivals associated with this holiday. For this self portrait, I painted my face as a sugar skull. Scroll down to see the pencil sketch and close up details of eyes, textures, fine lines and other things that don’t show up in a smaller image. Enjoy!

Detail

Detail

Sketch

Sketch