'Alas, poor Yorick!'

What do you do when you've been doing so much client work you can't even think? For illustrator and designer Sara Blake the way to reset is to do a little personal drawing. One of her latest projects has been a series of skulls inspired by Dia de Muertos and skull tattoos, along with some of her own musings as 2012 kicked off.

According to certain interpretations of the Mayan calendar the world's cycle is meant to come to a cataclysmic end this year. Although Blake doesn't believe in these prophesies, it did get her thinking about mortality and she was having some apocalyptic dreams. "I think deep down I'm a little freaked out about the end. Not really about my end, but more about everyone's collective end - an apocalypse. I worry about the point of everything in the meantime if we're all going to die and 2012 just gave it all a little more immediacy," she says.

You may have seen her extensive tattoos in issue 195 of Computer Arts, and Blake loves the aesthetic of the skin-and-ink media generally. She's hung around in tattoo shops for the last 10 years and has seen just about every skull design going, including plenty of Day of the Dead varieties. This led to her own floral death's head, continuing on from the classic theme.

If you look closely, there's some skillful texturing in the images. Some of the boney bits really do look like dried old bone, plasterwork or alabaster. She continues: "They were all drawn in pencil. I didn't have access to my watercolours when I drew them, so that step was left out, but the colour and texture were created digitally. The textures were close-ups of parts of cracked walls around the Lower East Side in New York and all the colour was just experimentation."

While she continues working for various different clients, her desire to draw freely will never subside. Right now she's working on a project called 100 Girls, and has just completed number 11. More soon, no doubt.

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