My sugar skull art is colorful, fun and full of psychedelic details! These intricate skulls are inspired by the Mexican holiday Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead in English). You can view my Day of the Dead skull art by browsing the gallery below:

Click the thumbnails below to enlarge the artwork

About Thaneeya's Sugar Skull Art

My sugar skull drawings and paintings are inspired by the candy skulls made out of sugar that are given as gifts on the Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead, which is celebrated from October 31 through November 2 each year. It is a time to celebrate our loved ones who have passed away as we honor their memories and reinvigorate our connections to them.

 A collection of real sugar skulls i made with sugar, meringue powder, water and royal icing!   Click here to learn how to make your own sugar skulls!

A collection of real sugar skulls i made with sugar, meringue powder, water and royal icing!

Click here to learn how to make your own sugar skulls!

I created my first sugar skull drawing in 2005. At the time I had been creating a lot of colorful abstract art when a Mexican-American friend of mine remarked that my designs would look really cool on skulls, so she encouraged me to create my own sugar skulls. Before designing my own sugar skulls I desired to learn more about Day of the Dead so that I could create artwork that is truly reflective of, and sensitive to, the holiday’s meaning and cultural significance. Through my friend I was introduced to both the meaning of Día de Muertos and the variety of traditions associated with it, such as cleaning/decorating graves, baking pan de muerto, cutting papel picado, creating ofrendas (altars) for the deceased, etc. One year I created a large ofrenda to honor my dad who passed away in 2009, and another year I made a bunch of real-life sugar skulls, shown here. I’m grateful that my friend was happy to share her cultural traditions with me and I appreciated her enthusiasm in encouraging me to explore my own personal, creative connection with the concept of sugar skulls.

 Sugar Skull art by Thaneeya

To create my sugar skull drawings, first I start by drawing a skull outline, then I decorate it with my own personal flair - a distinctive, recognizable style of intricately detailed designs, patterns, and vibrant colors. My sugar skull artworks are original designs entirely of my own creation - although the overall concept is inspired by Day of the Dead, my sugar skull art is not based on traditional Mexican art or motifs nor is it intended to look “traditional” - but rather is a creative expression that pulls from the images and patterns I conjure up in my mind, inspired by multiple aspects of my life experience, influences and interests.

I use a variety of media to create my sugar skull art, including: Prismacolor colored pencils, acrylic paint, black ink pens, watercolor pencils, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and iPad apps such as iDraw and Procreate. No matter what medium I use, the common denominator amongst all my sugar skull art is detail and (aside from my black & white skulls), color!

Merch

My sugar skull art can be purchased on a wide range of products via my shop, such as smartphone cases, clothing, bags, accessories, posters, and more!

Jigsaw Puzzles

Sugar Skull Charms

I also have a range of sugar skull charms that can be found online here: http://www.solidoakonline.com/thaneeya

 Sugar Skull Jewelry by Thaneeya McArdle

If you think my art would look great on your products, please contact my licensing agents with your proposal. Current licensees for my sugar skulls include Andrews McMeel, Ceaco, and Buckle-Down.

Sugar Skull Coloring Pages

I'm excited to offer you the opportunity to color in my sugar skull art! My downloadable Sugar Skull Coloring Book contains 21 coloring pages that you can print and color as many times as you want (for personal, non-commercial use only).

If you love to color, here's your chance to collaborate with me by coloring in my intricate line art!

Coloring Books

I have also published two books featuring sugar skulls and Day of the Dead imagery. Both books are unique (and different from the coloring pages above), so you won't find any repeats! They can be purchased in stores and online. Click below to preview the inside pages!

2019 Sugar Skulls Wall Calendar

My newest sugar skull art is now available in a 2019 wall calendar by Andrews McMeel Publishing, so you can enjoy my sugar skull art every month (and every day) of the year! The calendar features high-quality reproductions of 13 of my Day of the Dead sugar skull designs; plus a page for September, October, November and December, 2018 — so you can start using it this year!

Click here to get a closer look at the colorful skull art featured in this calendar!

What is Day of the Dead?

 Dancing Skeletons

When I first started creating sugar skull back in 2005, people would often ask me what those colorful skulls were all about. Back then Day of the Dead wasn’t as well-known as it is now, but here’s an overview in case you’re not that familiar with it:

Day of the Dead (called Día de Muertos in Spanish) is a Mexican holiday that begins on October 31 and goes through November 2 of each year. It is a time for remembering and celebrating our loved ones who have departed from this earthly existence. Far from being a sad holiday, Day of the Dead is a joyous occasion where people honor their deceased loved ones by building altars in their memory, telling stories about the deceased (the funnier the better), making food and sweets to give as offerings, and cleaning and decorating gravesites.

Some people, particularly in the US, might think that Day of the Dead is a weird or morbid holiday, especially if they’re unfamiliar with it. However, building an altar to honor a dead relative or friend is similar to arranging mementos and photos of your dead loved ones on your mantelpiece or bookshelf. Decorating graves is similar to placing flowers on a gravestone. There are actually many cultures around the world that have holidays or celebrations that honor the dead - in Latin America, Asia and beyond.

 Sugar Skull Art Day of the Dead

The idea of celebrating the dead has been growing in popularity around the world as more and more people learn about Día de Muertos, and see it as a healthy way to remember those who have passed. Instead of being frightened by death and treating it as a taboo subject, it's better to accept that death is a natural, integral part of the cycle of life. These days you can find celebrations inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead taking place all over the world.