This energetic image captures the vibrant atmosphere of Día de los Muertos festivals and is a visual tribute to one of Mexico’s most well-known artists, Frida Kahlo.
This was a fun, fairly quick project I started at the Day of the Dead Festival in Old Town, San Diego. Obviously, that time of the year is big and busy for me, and for some weeks leading up to the holiday, I had been feeling a little worn out on Dia-related art. But the great (and at times exhausting) thing about the continual show circuit is that it forces me to always have something to work on for the live drawing I like to do for those events.
So this was a pretty basic idea I came up with the night before that I decided to do the best job I could on. This harkens back to some sage advice an illustration teacher in college gave once, which basically boils down to: “Always try to come up with a great idea, but failing that, pick an okay idea and execute the hell out of it in order to meet that deadline.” I love practical, real-world wisdom like that!
A lot of details of the image were directly inspired by things and people I saw during the festival – especially in the almost garish palette of colors that is a trademark of traditional Mexican decor. Day of the Dead is without a doubt my favorite holiday, one of the primary reasons being the festivals. I’ve been to several since I became interested in it and am always delighted by the bright and vibrant festivities, the poignant traditions, and infectious energetic atmosphere of Mexican culture. So this image is as much a celebration of the celebrations themselves as it is one of my standard tributes to the holiday.
The girl does bear a more than passing resemblance to Frida Kahlo, whose image as a prominent figure in Mexican culture and art is commonly lumped in with Day of the Dead imagery.
The inking was done entirely with Sharpies. I decided to forgo the more meticulous process of inking I usually do with Rapidograph pens to capture a more energetic and immediate feel to the piece.