Did you know that there are over 1, 700 different species of scorpions in the world? This, naturally, tells us that not all scorpions are alike. The range from very tiny (9mm) to nightmarishly large (20cm)! Their body types are dependent on the types of environment they live in. Here are a few different examples of scorpions. Notice how some are fatter than others, or have thinner claws, or larger stingers.
Scorpions carry their larvae on top of their backs until they are mature enough to leave their mother. The average number of scroplings per litter is eight, but some species of scorpions are capable of having litters of up to one hundred scorplings. Like most infant creatures, baby scorpions look very similar to adult scorpions, but with shorter legs and tails and fatter bodies.
Before we begin working on drawing the scorpion, let's do a couple quick exercises to get better acquainted some key features. Here is a step by step breakdown of the most defining feature of a scorpion - the tail and stinger. The tail is made up of a series of sections, each of which are unbendable, but when connected together, allow for great flexibility.
Next, let's take a look at the claws, which are very similar to lobster claws. Notice how the base of the arms attach to either side of the head. The serrated inner edges of the claws are used to help grasp the scorpion's prey while killing it with the stinger.
Have you ever seen the head of a scorpion? Each species has a very different looking head depending on its environment. They have a pair of eyes either on top of their head or on top of the backs, just behind the head. They also have multiple eyes on the sides of its head, but the total number of eyes depends on the species. As mentioned in the previous step, notice how the base of the front legs attach on either side of the head.
Here's an example of how to bring those elements together and use them to demonstrate how a scorpion attacks its prey. Notice how the back arches upwards to allow the tail to lunge forward and sting the prey. Keep in mind that the back legs should be planted far enough back so that the scorpion has enough leverage to bring its tail forward.
Let's get started with drawing a scorpion step by step. Use a 2H or harder pencil to loosely sketch in your construction lines. These should be very light so that they can be erased later after the image has been inked. Draw a large oval shape for the body. Because of the point of view we are working at, the scorpion's left claw will be a side view so it should be a small oval connected to the body by a bent line. The right on, however, will be foreshortened and therefore will be represented as a circle, which will be connected to the body by a shorter line. Remember that these appendages will connect to either side of the head. Sketch in a long curved line for the tail with a circle on the end for the stinger.
Now we can start drawing the claws. Since the right claw is facing towards us, it is not going to appear as large as the left claw until we later shade it. Scorpions have exoskeletons, meaning that their bone structure is on the outside. The body is made up of segments that fit together almost like a puzzle.
Moving on to the head, be sure that the front appendages connect in a believable way. They should appear to almost lock into place. Place a couple eyes on either side of the head. This is also a good time to draw the front edge of the shell covering the scorpion's back. This way we can place the two extra eyes above the head.
Let's get to work on the right legs. They should be even spread out from one another to provide adequate balance. Scorpions have four legs on either side. The very back leg is the longest so that it can push the rear end up high enough so that the stinger can reach the prey.
Now draw the body of the scorpion along with the left legs. There is a series of shells running down the backside of the scorpion as part of its exoskeleton.
We can now finish off the form of the figure by drawing the tail. Remember that the tail is comprised of sections that, when together, allow it to bend forward significantly. Make the hook on the stinger rather long - it'll be more menacing.
Ink over the image using either a brush, brush pen, or Micron markers. After you're done inking, erase your pencil marks with a kneaded eraser. You will now have a perfectly clean black and white image of a scorpion. But it's not finished just yet…
Let's start shading the figure by first establishing the location of our light source. In this case, it's going to be coming from in front of the scorpion, slightly on the scorpion's left side. Our scorpion is going to be predominantly black in color, so lay down a lot of heavy blacks. Since the exoskeleton of the scorpion is smooth, the shine spots should be fairly large as well. Because of the large amount of black, leave thin highlights of white along the edges of most of the body parts so that black is not always touching black. This will make each individual piece of the exoskeleton stand out rather than fade into its neighboring piece.
We can continue to render the image by feathering the edges of the shadows into the shine spots. Using a brush or brush pen, carefully drag the tip of the brush into the shadows, gradually pressing down as you do so. The thin end of your brush stroke should be closest to the spot of the light source, and the fat end should meet the shadow. Here is a close up example of how various feathering techniques. It is a good idea to curve the strokes to match the curves and contours of the figure.
Here is the image fully rendered. Notice how the shines are still very prominent because we carefully faded our shadows into them with feathering.
If you need to use some white ink or opaque white paint to do touch ups, feel free to do so. In this case, I went back and inserted some more thin white highlights around the outer edges of some of the body parts to help them stand out better. The image is now complete. Congratulations!