How to Draw Skulls
Step by Step

In this tutorial I'll show you how to draw skulls step by step. There are also example pictures of my hand drawn skull sketches to feast your eyes with. But I need to Warn You - THIS IS NOT A DRAWING LESSON FOR FAINT HEARTED PEOPLE! The spooky skull drawings at the end of this tutorial are very scary looking indeed! I just don't want you to have nightmares! So don't blame me if you do, you've been warned!

Step 1 - Creating Framework for Your Skull Drawings

how to draw skulls step 1To begin, you need to draw a simple circle. Then find the middle point (the point that you'd put your compass needle on)and draw a vertical and a horizontal lines. Sketch another horizontal line where the vertical one meets with the outlining of the circle. Now draw a third horizontal line below the one we just drew same distance apart. Use your top and bottom lines as a guide to draw a rectangle like in the picture.

The width of the rectangular shape is slightly narrower then the circle, because this is for the lower part of the skull - the jaws.

Step 2 - How to Draw Skulls Details

Now lets dive into details. The most recognizable features of a skull are: big eye sockets, an upside down heart shape nose and exposed teeth. For a skull anatomy check this out then come back to continue drawing.

Let's commence by drawing the eyes. These are pretty big, each socket's length and width are equal and are about a quarter of the circle's width. Position them relative to the rectangle as in the illustration.

Draw the nose with same length but half as long for the width. Position it with the help of framework guidelines.

Next draw the base for skull's teeth, an unfinished rectangle with top and bottom lines lightly slanting outwards. Again, watch out for correct positioning if you want more realistic look.  

Step 3 - How to Draw Skulls Cheekbones and Jaws

Here is where the fun part comes. With this step you can modify your drawing to your liking to give it some character. After all, hardly ever two skulls can be the same.

By looking at the picture you can see that the upper jaw is drawn continuously all the way up to the top to form cheek and frontal bones. The lower jaw, however, stops at cheek-bones, middle area of the rectangle frame. And the bottom of chin bone is nearly half as wide as the rectangle.

Step 4 - Final Outlining of The Skull

Now, you can erase all the frameworks, from this point it's better to sketch it freehand.

Draw two slightly slanting outwards lines for the side and back bones. You can do the little details later on when we start shading this skull drawing.

Finally, outline the teeth. Note how they become smaller and narrower as they recede. Also make them slant to either sides.

Next on how to draw skulls - shading... 

Step 5 - How to Shade Skulls

The most important thing to keep an eye on is the light source. Decide this up front. Normal light that occurs in nature comes from the top. This is a common lighting angle used in drawings and photography.

In our case, the frontal bone and cheek bones near eye sockets should be highlighted. These are the parts that catch most of the light.

Because of our lighting configuration, the darkest areas turned out to be upper parts of eye sockets and nose. You can make them very close to black.

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