What’s in a Sugar Skull?

No NEW work here, but finishing up John’s Purple Gaze ring got me thinking about all the sugar skulls I’ve done recently.  Figured they’d need a post all to themselves.  

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Yeah, we all get that this comes from that Day of the Dead aesthetic, but it goes way beyond that for me.  A good chunk of my sugars don’t even use that particular style.  “Sugar Skull” has come to classify really ANY ornamentation to the surface of the skull, in ANY style.

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Sometimes we go detail-heavy, sometimes we keep it simple.  Sometimes the style is Latin, sometimes it’s Japanese, sometimes it looks like a microphone or a mess of thorns……

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The only thing these suckers have in common is that the ornamentation is kind of riffing on the sculptural planes of the skull itself.  In other words, the trick isn’t to ignore what the surface is doing, but rather respond to it.  I’d say “kinda like jazz” if I knew anything about jazz.

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Keep in mind that ANY of my rings can get this sugar treatment.  

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Done all kinds of line work and central imagery.  Thick, thin, wobbly, sharp, clean, cragged…..

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But these rings work best with some kind of central imagery as an anchor.  A cross, a star, whatever.  It keeps the surface from looking too busy.  When I work with a client on a sugar skull, they tend to have specific ideas about what that central image should be.  The rest of the treatment is built around that and frames it up nicely. 

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Okay, enough for now.  This could go on and on and my intent here was to create a post where I could send people who had questions about how the sugar treatment looked.  Remember, this is not to be confused with the Boss Voodoo which is carved from scratch from a block of wax for each client. The result is equally ornamental, but the process (and price range) is totally different…..

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Those are examples.  HUGE ring.  Heavy too.  Just like the sugar, they’re very detailed and work best with gemstone eyes. 

We’re a few weeks away from the new Jupiter Skull, so stay tuned.