Sugar skulls, called calaveras in Spanish, are edible, handmade representations of human skulls made from sugar or chocolate and decorated with icing, foil, beads, or feathers. The term also refers to similarly adorned decorative clay skulls.
These skulls are typically made in celebration of the Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, a holiday celebrated in Mexico that roughly corresponds to Halloween. The holiday has roots in the Mayan and Aztec cultures, and the skulls are often placed on altars as ofrendas, or offerings. The name of a deceased loved one may be written on the skull.
Sugar skulls are also used for the Roman Catholic holiday called All Souls’ Day.
If you would like to be able to draw your own sugar skull, follow this easy, step-by-step sugar skull drawing tutorial. You will need a piece of paper, an eraser, and something with which to draw, such as a pencil. You may also want to use crayons, colored pencils, markers, or other materials to decorate your completed sugar skull.
Each step in this drawing guide is accompanied by an illustration. In each picture, new lines drawn in that step are highlighted in blue. All other lines are shown in black. It is advisable to sketch lightly at first, as you will be erasing early lines, called guide lines, as you go along.
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Step-by-Step Instructions for Drawing a Sugar Skull
Draw a smaller circle within each eye circle. Within the smaller circle, draw a swirling, curved line.
Draw a decorative pattern on the top of the sugar skull. To begin, draw a short, straight line. Connect another short, straight line at a right angle, and extend another line from this one. Add a larger, curved line to this point. Repeat the process to form a mirror image on the other side. Connect the two sets of lines with a short, straight line.
Draw a flower like form within this shape. Draw a small circle and place a spiraling curved line within it. Using a wavy line, outline the circle. This will resemble simple petals.
Add more detail to the sugar skull. Draw a dot between each of the large teardrop shapes and the design at the top of the skull. Draw a heart shape on each side of the sugar skull, partially hidden by the skull’s edge. Draw a smaller heart within each, and shade the smaller heart. Beneath the mouth, draw two swirling shapes consisting of two curved lines. The shapes will resemble an apostrophe.
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