I was really looking forward to starting on customising Nikko’s pickguard, but it took a while because it is hard af to look for proper Dia de los Muertos references. They’re usually fashion spreads, pinups, or just straight-up gimmicky. I’d done a bit of research when I designed my old sugar skull logo a few years ago, but I didn’t want to be as flippant this time time around. I wanted to be respectful of the holiday and hopefully not veer into cultural appropriation.
While I usually find the colours paint markers come in limiting, it worked to my advantage this time around, for the bright, vibrant colours typically used in the celebrations. This piece also brought me face-to-face with an old nemesis: drawing flowers. Flowers are fucking hard to draw, y’all.
Of course, I had to bring out our Saltillo blanket when it was time for photographs.
I had so much fun working on this commission, it wasn’t til my joints started popping that I realised I’d finished colouring in one sitting!
Azúcar, Guitar pickguard, Paint markers, 2016
Got anything you’d like me to marker up? I’m open for commissions! Drop me comment or an email and let’s talk about. 🙂
This has actually been finished since Tuesday morning, but the lighting’s been terrible for photos because of the rainy weather.
I have been itching to experiment with painting on surfboards since I started surfing so I am beyond stoked that Nikko entrusted his board to me.
He wanted Medusa but with sea snakes, so y’all know I was obsessed from the get go. I’m glad we were on the same page of not wanting the design to take up the entire bottom of the board. I think surfboards look great as they are, so I prefer surfboard art that still lets details of the board come through.
I had originally thought I’d go all-out snake-mermaid, but it went in a different direction during the sketching process. I took a lot of inspiration from traditional Japanese and monster pin-up tattoos, which I think lent itself well to the limited colours I had to work with.
Which brings me to the struggle that was real: Paint markers. If we’re friends on social media, then you’ve witnessed my various meltdowns while I was experimenting and figuring out how to work with the markers. I’ve had to start over a few times, but I think it came out alright in the end. It’s the most fun I’ve had working on a piece in a long time. What I’m particularly patting myself on the back for is that I didn’t fall back on my usual crutches of repeating patterns and hair that takes up more than half the canvas. 😛