how to draw a realistic skull, human skull

How to Draw a Realistic Skull, Human Skull

Step 1.

Before starting out, I'd like to show the main bones of the head. You can Google or Bing these names to find out more about them. This little pic gives some more knowledge for a better understanding of what you are drawing. Yeah, it's ANATOMY TIME!!!

Step 2.

Draw the oval lightly with a No.2 or HB pencil. Make sure you draw it as seen in the picture.

Step 3.

Now draw in the bisecting red line to balance the skull's features.

Step 4.

You can draw in the lines a. for top of eye sockets, b. for bottom of sockets, c. for the nose cavity, and d. for the teeth.

Step 5.

Now draw in the eye sockets. Notice how the lower socket extends over the guideline. And make sure you leave the white spaces within sockets clear.

Step 6.

Observe where the nose cavity appears in relation to the guidelines. Now draw it in.

Step 7.

Watch closely how the teeth relate to the guidelines. Take your time to get that curvature look of the teeth. As you draw, you will have more accuracy.

Step 8.

As you noticed, the skull lines are becoming more detailed. Watch how it is drawn just outside the guidelines. So the cranium will have more mass. Make sure to add those dots, crevices, and cracks... that adds texture and character.

Step 9.

Finish drawing the jaw, shadow and horizontal line for the ground.Patience is your best friend because with it, you'll be able to complete your drawing. If you haven't already, you can now erase your guidelines.

Step 10.

I made this line drawing especially for you if you don't want to do the pencil shading and blending part. At this point, you can color it in for your Halloween "Trick or Treat". Otherwise, let us continue to the pencil drawing part.

Step 11.

Here is the outline done with a 0.7mm mechanical pencil. Look closely and see if your lines look something like this. You can erase if certain areas like the eyes or nose don't line up. Take you kneaded eraser and dab off the shadow outlines or dark lines with your kneaded eraser for a more realistic look as you shade. Shading transition from dark to light (or visa versa) should be smooth... no harsh lines. Be patient with this, it's not as complicated as you may think. As you do more pictures, this will come easier to you.

Step 12.

Before we go any further, I want to mention some tools I used, which is the famous white acrylic (this time white opaque watercolor) and also sandpaper. Right before I shaded, I used 36-grit sandpaper and rubbed over the skull's face with a blending stump after the pastel application. You will see what I mean in the upcoming steps. But before that, I want to show you some great uses of a pencil.

Step 13.

TOP PICTURES: Here are the mechanical pencils with their crosshatches, lines, and circular shading. They start from light (H) to dark (B). The 2nd top picture includes 9B'S & BLENDERS You can actually shade a little with blending stumps without the graphite (if it's a little dirty with graphite already on it). Try this stuff out. It really goes a long way in creating a realistic pictures or even sketches. If you don't have these tools, just use a No.2 pencil and a tissue to blend. BOTTOM PICTURES: You can purchase many different grit ranges of sandpaper at your handy hardware store.

Step 14.

The picture that goes with this step shows two different ways to hold your pencil to acquire certain effects. OVERHAND: Holding a sharpened pencil in normal writing form with fingers in the middle or near the lead gives you great control and thin/detailed strokes. UNDERHAND: Holding the pencil at a 45 degrees or near level to the table with end of pencil under your palm with pencil on the flat side, gives you large shading coverage. With the No.2 pencil, you have the exposed lead side to shade with. But for a wider swath, use that Cretacolor Monolith graphite pencil with no wood casing. The whole sharpened portion is all lead, like in the step's picture. Practice the toning values to help you with control.

Step 15.

PENCIL STROKES & TONE, SHADING, TEXTURE -- For your convenience, I have inserted this step with different pencils, strokes to use. And you can study the shapes that make up this drawing universe, along with tone, shading, and texture.

Step 16.

The picture here is a great exercise for value shading. I've got a little secret tip for you to make things easier. You can download this to your desktop. First click on the picture to have access to full size. By right clicking on your mouse, you can select "Save Image As." It should save to your desktop.

Step 17.

After printing out a number of the above template, practice shading in the values like this picture. You become familiar with this shading technique that gives you more control and confidence.

Step 18.

This is where I slid my 36-grit sandpaper under my paper outline. I rubbed on the paper with my blending stump to make the paper "bumpy." SUGGESTION: Make sure you lighten your dark outlines of the skull. It is much easier to do this in the beginning rather than at the end, like I did. Now I can start with the pastel application. If you do the whole picture in a pencil sketch, this is where you would sketch in small circles or lines to shade the areas. It would take hours upon hours to cover all that area with a pencil. I chose to shade with pastels. In a few strokes I've got area coverage. Applied medium gray to the general areas of the skull. For shaded areas, I applied medium to dark pastels. Now the eye sockets, nose cavity, shadow under the skull, I applied charcoal/black pastels. Looks like a mess, but that's how a some beginning projects will appear. Keep patience with you and keep applying those layers of whites, grays & blacks. You'll have a great outcome.

Step 19.

Here I used my blending stump to "draw" in more lines, add more shading to the skull's head, sockets, nose cavity, teeth and background. I blended the speckled areas with the sandpaper underneath. The sockets, nose cavity, teeth and background, I did not use sandpaper to get a smooth effect. The kneaded eraser was excellent in keeping the socket and cavity ridges clean of pastel. At this point, I have not used a pencil yet.

Step 20.

I took charge and grabbed my 9B Graphite pencil and added more definition the skull, nose cavity, shadowed features on the face, and shadow in the dirt.

Step 21.

The interesting thing here is I wanted to add more realism aka depth to the skull. So I dotted with my 9B pencil more grainy texture. Also for highlights, I took my acrylic whites and fine brush to add dots and lines of white to the holes, crevices, and cracks. Adds great pop-out texture. I also added the acrylic white to the outer ridge of the nose cavity.

Step 22.

This background was cloned from the reference pic to add drama for the preview picture and to save time. Remember the tip about lightening the outline in the beginning. If I left it dark, it wouldn't look as realistic. And it was a bit more messier to lighten after all the blending and pastel was applied. Now, To help out with specific areas of highlights, tone, texture, etc., the next two following steps will show you.

Step 23.

Without highlights, your picture would have a flat appearance. Click on this picture to learn how to make your own picture POP out!

Step 24.

Click on this picture to see how Tone, Shading, Texture, and Reflective Light affects a realistic human skull. I am closing out now. But you all have been wonderful and it has been a great pleasure to do this tutorial with you. Please fav, comment, and show your love here by clicking on "Love It". I will definitely reply back soon or eventually. Love, peace, happiness, success, and more beautiful days to ya! *hug* *blowkiss*

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Uploaded: October 11, 2012
Artist: Catlucker
Difficulty: Intermediate  Intermediate Skill Level
Steps: 24
Updated: October 11, 2012
P.O.V: 3/4
Favourited: 22 times
Artist comments

Halloween is around the corner and this tut fits it like a glove. You want scary? Try out drawing this realistic human skull. You want to learn more art? Check out the technique in "How to Draw a Realistic Skull." I'm hoping you will enjoy this addition to DragoArt. You can show your support by faving, commenting, and clicking on "Love It"!