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Discover an extensive visual resource of hand engraved work and stone setting examples, complete with commentary and personal stories. New every Tuesday and Friday since 2007.


Dia de los Engraving
work by Ron Luebke, Jr.

Friday, November 21st, 2014 Published in: 2014 Archives

If you have somehow missed out on the sugar skull craze from the last year or so, let us introduce you to this trendy take on a Mexican tradition.

While most modern graphic representations, like this one here, feature a woman's face with intricate black lines, flowers, and other symbolic elements on makeup-white skin, the sugar skull itself dates back a couple of centuries at least. The Mexican tradition of celebrating the next step in life through the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in November comes complete with clay-molded skulls made of sugar. These fun, decorated skulls have been adapted from the sugary world of candies and placed into the world of digital art, tattoos, and hand engraving.

Hand engraving artist and scrimshander Ron Luebke, Jr. recently engraved this sugar skull rendition. For the canvas, Luebke used an American nickel coin, wiped clean of all original form to reveal a smooth, metal surface. Luebke noted he inked this engraving, using archival-grade, oil-based ink to increase the contrast between the tiny engraved dots and the metal surface.

"I've found with the artwork being so small on these nickels that inking really makes them pop," commented Luebke. To engrave these small cuts, he uses a graver with no heel and a 50° face. While cutting, he holds the graver and handpiece as he would a pencil.

Whether you have seen the sugar skull trends in tattoos and other art, you can still appreciate the workmanship and skill that went into this engraving. Thanks for sharing, Ron!

Have you engraved a sugar skull or other trendy item? We would love to see what you have done! Send photos and story to featured@grstools.com and your work could be featured on the GRS website.


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