In this video on how to draw a skull, artist Laurie B will show you how to sketch the basic shapes of the skull for cartoon characters or realistic portraits.
The skull is the perfect place to start if you want to draw faces, because understanding how it is constructed makes drawing all the other details such as the eyes, nose, and lips so much easier!
Table of Contents
- Begin drawing the skull with an oval shape
- Divide the skull up with horizontal and vertical lines to fine the eye line
- Add a line across the jaw for the teeth
- The spine originates from the back of the skull, not the center
- Draw horizontal lines to give you the right proportions for the front view of your skull
- Extend the horizontal lines across the page to draw the front view
- Your horizontal guidelines will help you place the eye sockets
- Finish off your skull drawing by adding some shading
- That's it - you're all done!
Begin drawing the skull with an oval shape
Begin drawing the skull by sketching an oval shape. In this lesson, you’ll notice how this oval shape is slightly squished.
There are several different methods you can use to draw the skull, but this is one of the easiest and quickest ways to learn. It’ll also give you a pretty accurate base to start from in your drawing.
Divide the skull up with horizontal and vertical lines to fine the eye line
Next, you’ll need to divide the oval shape you drew in the previous step with a horizontal and vertical line. The vertical line passes through the middle of the oval shape, and the horizontal line is slightly lower. This is where the eye line of your character will be.
Add a line across the jaw for the teeth
The next step in learning how to draw a skull is to add the line across the jaw for the teeth. The line of the teeth follows the line of the lower part of the jaw and then curves up to join the major form of the skull.
Finish off the teeth by sketching in some light lines. Don’t worry about making the teeth perfect at this stage. Most of the time, you won’t need to draw the teeth individually, because they will be hidden by the lips.
The spine originates from the back of the skull, not the center
Now it’s time to add the spine to your skull drawing. A lot of beginner artists draw the spine coming down from the center of the skull, but this isn’t really correct. The spine actually comes down from towards the back part of the skull.To see for yourself, reach your hand to the back of your neck, and then feel the bump of your spine. Follow the spine up to where it connects to your head. Do you notice how it’s not actually in the center of your skull?Art Tip: If you’d like to learn more about drawing the human body, your own body is a great reference point.
It doesn’t matter if you are learning how to draw a skull, how to draw a face, or any other part of the body – just grab a mirror, a pencil, and some paper, and get drawing. Everything you need to learn is right before your eyes.
Draw horizontal lines to give you the right proportions for the front view of your skull
Now that you’ve learned how to draw a skull from the side, why not do another drawing of the skull from the front?
To get started, draw some horizontal guidelines extending from the right side of your side view skull drawing like in the image above.
When you are drawing the front view of the skull, you can use these lines to make sure the major parts match up in both drawings.
Extend the horizontal lines across the page to draw the front view
The horizontal guidelines for drawing the skull are:
- The top of the Skull
- The lowest point of the skull oval shape
- The lowest point of the jaw bone
To draw the skull from the front, start off by drawing a circle. In the video, you’ll notice how this circle isn’t squished like the oval shape you drew for the side view.
After drawing the circle, draw some lines going down to indicate where the jaw will be.
Your horizontal guidelines will help you place the eye sockets
In this step, you’ll learn how to draw the eye sockets and add some other details to your skull drawing, such as the cheekbones and brows.
Remember to keep drawing more horizontal guidelines if you need to. These are really useful for keeping the front and side views of the skull in proportion with each other.
Continue refining your drawing of the human skull, and begin making the lines darker once you’ve drawn them correctly.
By this stage, you should have most of the facial features added to your drawing, which means you’re almost done with learning how to draw a skull!Art Tip: It’s a great idea to buy a replica human skull to use as reference. You can find these easily on a certain popular auction website, and they cost around $20.
Buying one of these will really help you understand the anatomy of the skull. For example, you’ll be able to see exactly what the cheekbone looks like, or how the lower jaw attaches to the rest of the skull.
Finish off your skull drawing by adding some shading
Finish off learning how to draw a skull by shading in the jaw and the eye sockets. Then, add some teeth to your front view drawing of the skull.
That’s it – you’re all done!
That's it - you're all done!
Learning how to draw a skull is really important if you want to draw realistic-looking faces. So, just keep practising until you get it right 🙂
Because if you’re serious about drawing characters or portraits, this is one of the best ways to develop as an artist!
And, once you’ve learned how to draw a skull, why not take your art skills further and learn how to draw facial features?
This blog post on how to draw a nose is a great place to start!This Lesson is Part 1 of a 3 Part Series on Skull Drawing