dia de los muertos art

Paper Mache skeletons Guanajuato Market, Mexico Photo credit: Tomas Castelazo

Paper Mache skeletons
Guanajuato Market, Mexico
Photo credit: Tomas Castelazo

Dia de los Muertos art is (perhaps ironically) one of the world's most colorful and lively art forms. 

As Day of the Dead approaches, brightly-colored skulls and dancing, laughing skeletons appear on shop windows, in market stalls and on t-shirts. Intricately-cut tissue paper billows in the breeze, draped from buildings and trees and stretched across altars. The spirit of the holiday encourages a vibrant creativity in its participants – from the artistically-arranged altars to the sugar skull face paint of celebrants.

Day of the Dead art is dazzlingly alive — which some would consider to be a stark contrast to the nature of death. But to those who celebrate Dia de los Muertos, the holiday reinforces the belief in an afterlife, in which our deceased loved ones are still very much alive and kicking. They make a special journey on Day of the Dead to come back and visit us, and it is our job to greet them with offerings and smiles, so that we may once again share more time together here on earth.

On this site we'll highlight Dia de los Muertos art in its many forms. Aside from paintings, drawings, sculptures and other forms of "fine art", Dia de los Muertos art can take many appearances in the form of folk art. For instance:

  • sugar skulls and other candies are hand-crafted with colorful designs
Decorated entrance to the Panteon Zocalo in Mexico City on Dia de los Muertos Photo credit: AlejandroLinaresGarcia

Decorated entrance to the Panteon Zocalo in Mexico City on Dia de los Muertos
Photo credit: AlejandroLinaresGarcia

  • ofrendas are arranged as artistically as possible.
  • In cities, celebrants don costumes and apply make-up as a form of temporary body art to participate in local festivals and parades.
  • Performance art also plays a part in the form of theatre and dance.

The Day of the Dead is a very artsy holiday. The colors of Mexico and the festivity of Dia de los Muertos inspire artists the world over.

If you want to see more Day of the Dead art, check out my popular sugar skulls art pieces, where I also discuss the meaning behind my Dia de los Muertos artwork.

Get inspired! Learn how to draw skulls in these easy art tutorials. There are 9 different skull templates to choose from. After you draw the outline of your skull, you can fill it in with bright colors and designs, inspired by Mexico's sugar skulls.

Get artsy and color your own sugar skulls with this Sugar Skulls Coloring Book!

Return to the main Day of the Dead page.