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How to Draw a Skull

Learn how to draw a skull from professional artist Kevin Kobasic in this illustration and drawing tips video from Howcast.


So, a lot of people want to know how to draw skulls because let’s face it, skulls are cool. One really simple way that you can think of a skull is, imagine a loaf of bread that’s sort of rounded on top. And then you add sort of this little triangular shape under it, that sort of describes the jaw, and then boom, you’ve got your very basic skull shape right there.

One of the basic things you do when constructing a face, whether it’s a skull or an actual face, is to sort of plot this middle x and y-axis. The center line and the face sort of bulges outwards in the center, so my center line is curved. And then right in the center, you want to draw another line going like that, and that marks where your eyes are. And if you look at a face carefully, you’ll notice that the eyes fall directly in the center between the top and the bottom of the head.

One of the first things I usually think of is where the bridge of the nose is, this is kind of esoteric, but it really, really helps. When you look at people’s faces, you sort of see this triangular shape that describes the bridge of the nose. It’s not something that’s going to be in your final drawing, but this little area sort of helps you mark out how far apart the eyes are going to be and where the forehead starts, and where the nose connects to the bridge between the eyes, mark out the tops of the eye sockets.

I think the next most important thing about constructing your skull is to sort of see the cheekbones as the sort of square shape here. If you take another line, like here’s that center line that shows where the eyes are, maybe another line about halfway down or so, maybe a little above that describes about where the cheekbones are. The thing that makes the skull really realistic is if you have these cheekbones really well defined. There’s like a little hollow right here and this ridge kind of comes around the eye socket.

Again, to mark out the teeth, you’re just going to do another line, not quite three-quarters of the way down from the line that describes where the eyes are to the bottom of the chin. I always find it better to just think of the teeth as a solid shape, rather than a whole bunch of individual teeth.

There’s a little empty part that the jaw comes up and hinges back here by the ears. So I got my basic structure, it’s really easy. Just go in and start an actual line, and as I’m shading it, I’m sort of thinking of using these shading lines to describe the roundness.

One thing that helps your skulls look really realistic is there’s sort of a bulge right here over the eyes, you can think of it sort of like a jelly bean. Let’s imagine it like a jelly bean that goes over the eyes. Just give a little bit of shading to that and that helps really make it look like a realistic skull.

You’ve got the two middle teeth and then you sort of count out, one, two, and there’s this sort of canine shape to these two teeth. I think that sort of gives you a basic understanding of how to sketch out a skull, and the next video I’m going to relate that to how to think of the structure of a person’s skull when you're drawing their face.

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