Sunday, December 6, 2015

The making of a Sugar Skull - the design process

In my last post I said I would share the process used to create my sugar skull necklaces and earrings.    
The plan is to break the process down into several posts....... so stay tuned.

The first step in the whole process is designing what I want to make, in this case a skull.  I ended up making a variety of skulls but they all pretty much use the same process.  

The drawing for the skulls is created either free-hand, with the computer or a combination of both.  In this case I used them both.  I drew half the skull, scanned it into my computer, copied and flipped it so that the finished skull would be symmetrical.  (In the olden days I would have drawn half, folded the paper in half, held it up to a window and traced it.  This would have also given me a whole skull.)  Same idea....... different method.  

This drawing is then scanned into the computer and duplicated multiple times so I have something to draw on without redrawing the skull every time.  Several pages are printed out so I can try a variety of designs on the skulls.

The next step is to use a black magic marker and draw different designs for the skulls.  Then, back to the scanner.

As you can see (these are scanned copies of my marker drawings.)  I also play with size.  The reason is that the clay shrinks between 10-12% (If I use a third generation clay.)  And 30% if I use the original clay (which they don't make any more....... Damn.  It's kind of nice sometimes to have that much shrinkage.)  The first two designs were not used.  

 I do several pages of designs, shrinking them multiple times 10% at a time.  This process helps me see the finished size of the skull.  When done, I choose the size I want and then use the design one step bigger than the finished piece will be.  

The first two designs were not used.  The other two were used and I also made a plain skull like my original drawing.  (There was a method to my madness for leaving one plain. Will explain in a later post.)  

There it is.  The design process.  Takes several hours to complete and involves old and new art techniques.   

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