Tag Archives: Shapes

How to draw skulls revealed and uncomplicated.

Learn how to draw skulls by first thinking about the caricaturists of a human skull, it is composed of bone that forms the overall shape and because of this it is an off white color making it great for practicing your shading and providing a good subject matter to encourage you to make more use of the paper tone. Even if you use colored paper with highlights to emphasize the lightest tones, your skull drawings will still look good, giving you plenty of practice with your drawing techniques and skills. Common features to a skull are the brain cavity with a nice curved area, eye sockets, nose cavity, jaw and teeth.  All of these can be exaggerated as features to easily create the skulls of monsters or sinister creatures but still recognizable as skulls because they have strong characteristics and features that are easily recognizable.

My advice for you would be to draw a human skull a few times so as to understand what a human skull looks like and how it is drawn but I don’t expect you to have one of your own so I have provided a few examples for you to draw if you want to use them. I would advise that you trace them first so you do not have to do the outline construction this will make it easier. If you want to learn more on the subject of tracing and its benefits then you could join my ezine and down load a free report on the right hand side of this page. When you have a few outlines drawn you can decide on which one you would like to continue by doing the shading on it.

How To Draw Skulls Three Quarter View
A skull example for how to draw skulls,

This will help you to see more detail in the subject matter, informing you as to how the shapes fit together and how the shadows help to create a more three dimensional shape to your skull drawings or any drawing.

It will also be good practice for helping you to better understand how to draw skulls of all kinds’ not just human skulls because it will put accurate information into your head to start with about skull drawings .

The video below will help you by showing you how I draw; it is always good to watch how others draw.

I suggest that after doing this you should try to draw some skulls free hand from memory.

The best way to draw skulls is to start off drawing real skulls then after drawing a few you will have the information written into your brain so as to be more able to draw them from memory. The good thing about learning how to draw skulls is s is that they are not like faces and do not have to look like a particular person in fact you can be quite creative with them because of this. The best way to start off is with the main outline which depending on which angle you are looking at is a circular shape with a rectangular bottom where the jaw would be when looking from the front.

How To Draw Skulls Fron tView
How To Draw Skulls A Front View Example To Use As An Information Source To Help You.

When looking from the side it would be an oval shape lying horizontally with a rectangular shape jutting off the front where the jaw would be again.

How To Draw Skulls Side View Profile To Help And Inform You About What Your Drawing.

From this basic shape you can then start putting in the detail, if you do these out line drawings with light pencil marks they can more easily be covered up as you put more detail into your drawing building it up as you go along. My best advice would be to use photographs to get your information and you can find many of these online but just in case you’re not able find any then you can use these that’s why they are here the help you learn how to draw skulls and you will find plenty of interesting angles that can be useful if wanting to add some other adornments like hats or head dress to you skull drawings when learning how to draw skulls.

Real Dead MF

Skulls are good for drawing as they are quite easy, once you have drawn a few, you can get a buzz out of drawing them because they look good without great effort, they can be used for horror art, fantasy art, tattoos or cartoons. They can be combined with many other elements of creature and character designs, they are good for adding drama as a visual dynamic, I enjoy drawing skulls and have drawn many.

Now you should try drawing some more skulls free hand by making simple line drawings of them trying out different versions quickly, try exaggerating features like cheek bones or teeth, try having some teeth missing. You could make one into a pirate skull by giving it an eye patch and a bandanna or an Indian with a head dress or a cowboy with a Stetson, the possibilities are endless. How to draw skulls will help you to make some great skull drawings but you should at the very least start by drawing your skull drawings from the photographs of real skulls.
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Hand drawing.

The hand is a remarkable tool, worthy of taking the time, to do some close observation by making some, detailed, hand drawing studies. If you are interested in the figure or drawing people, then it is important to study the hand in detail because it is also, an important aspect of human interaction and communication. The hands, have a great deal to say without words but through gestures, they can often convey many different meanings and are an important element, of visual communication, along with body language.

Research shows that none verbal signals, carry about five times as much impact, as the verbal channel. Hands play a significant role, in this none verbal communication, so if you are drawing studies of the figure, it is important, to have some understanding, of what the hands might have to say.

If you want to start understanding the hand, more closely, then you could place your own hand, palm down on a piece of paper and just draw around it, to start out with, now take a look at the shape without any detail.

Basic outline of hand showing no detail.
Basic outline of hand, showing no detail.
Image of a hand with more detail using hatching methods of mark making mostly.
Same hand but with more detail, using, hatching methods of mark making, mostly to further define, shape and form.

Now you could draw your own hand again, with more detail this time, it will enable you to observe it more closely and understand the shapes, and form better.

Image of hand showing bone structure in some detail.
The hand showing bone structure, in some detail, Phalanges, Metacarpals and Carpals, that make up the different bones in the hand, and part of the wrist.

The body of the hand or the main bulk area, is about the same length as the index finger, from the knuckle, ball and socket joint.

Hand diagram image of important features
Hand diagram, image of important features to understand.

Notice that the index finger, is similar in size to other areas of the hand.

Hand image showing how the index finger can be used to understand the proportions better.
Hand image, showing how the index finger, can be used to understand the proportions better.

If you place your hand over your face with the tips of your fingers near the hair line and the part of your palm, where it connects to your wrist, at your chin, you will notice, if you look in the mirror, that your fingers start, just below your eyes. This means that the distance, from your chin to just below your eyes, is the size of the main body area, of your hand from your wrist, to the start of your fingers. Multiply this by two and you have the size of the whole hand, from the wrist to the finger tips.

Because of the fact, that there is as much information, to be noted in the hand, as there is in the rest of the human body, it is worth understanding why and also realizing, that they are often just as difficult to draw.

The hand consists of four fingers, a thumb and the main body area, being the palm.

The human body/figure, consists of two legs, with similar joints as the fingers, two arms and a head, so both have, a similar number of corresponding elements, that make both hand drawing and figure drawing, near equal in difficulty.

Hand image showing how the middle finger can be used to understand the proportions better.
Hand image, diagram showing, how the middle finger can be used, in comparison to understanding, proportional sizes better.

For further information on hand drawing, please take a look at this video, on YouTube, How to Draw a Hand (With Spoken Explanation), Mark Crilley, manga creator, of ‘Miki Falls’  presents a tutorial, on how to draw a hand, paying close attention, to getting, the general proportions right and giving another well presented, overview of the main characteristics.

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Outline drawing.

In the process of drawing images, we often start out with a basic outline drawing, as the foundation, for learning where everything else goes, in relation to the outline and each other. The problem I find with many beginners and well practiced people alike, is they do not always, understand outlines very well, also as in the case of beginners, they do not understand at all, in many instances.

The easiest way to draw and understand outlines, is by using tracing methods of drawing because when you trace an image, you can only, realistically make an outline, as tracing doesn’t lend it’s self to shading. Tracing also gives you a better understanding, of how pictures work, especially when trying to understand, construction drawing.

Wheel images showing perspective distortion.
Car wheel images showing distortion when seen in perspective.
Wheel images showing perspective distortion line drawing.
Car wheel images showing perspective distortion in a line drawing format.

Let me explain, by using a car wheel as an example, we all know that wheels are round but they are only round, when we look at them directly face on, because when we turn them, at an angle, they become, more and more oval, in shape.

The correct term to call this oval shape, is an ellipse and is something many people have problems with, when trying to draw them accurately, to find out more about this, please take look at single point perspective and two point perspective, you will find the both helpful.

Get yourself some pictures that you might like to draw and trace them, so as to be able, to take a look at these images, as only line drawings, you will notice when tracing these outlines, that they are most often, not as you might have thought they are.

Doing this, will help you to understand, that shapes are not often, the shapes we think we see and that wheels, are most often not circular but oval, along with many other shapes we see but actually, only think we see. This is because our brains tell us that wheels are round or that a shape is this shape or that shape, when in actual fact, many shapes are not what we think they are because our brains are telling us what we see, rather than actually, seeing what we see.

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Hatching, cross hatching and tonal modeling basics.

Hatching, cross hatching and tonal modeling basics, will help you understand shading techniques, this understanding I am going present will further enable you to develop your drawing skills, by using these simple methods.

A very basic explanation of tonal modeling is as follows.

If you draw on a piece of paper with a soft, 3B or 6B graphite pencil and make a dark line by pressing hard, then rub over the top of the pencil line, with your finger or with a piece of paper under your finger, you will see that line you made has now been smudged. Now the line that you made, will not be as well defined with the edges of it being softer and less definite or hard. This is known as a tonal modeling technique, one method of creating this tonal modeling technique is by smudging the pencil marks used for shading, to help create a more realistic three dimensional form. This is not the only way to do your tonal modeling or shading, as it can also be achieved by rubbing the pencil lightly over the paper to create a soft blended tone also.

There is also another shading method called hatching and cross hatching as well that we will explain a little later in this article.

Tonal modeling is when the pencil marks are modeled or smudged, so instead of them having hard edges, they have soft blended edges, this smudging can be done using your fingers, a paper stump, soft tissue or cotton wool. Using your fingers is not recommended because of the oils from your skin, that contain acids being left on the paper, these oils with time can cause discoloring and rotting of the paper, ruining the finished drawing, over a period of time.

When a sculptor models with clay, he creates the shape and form of the sculpture by modeling the clay with his hands, tonal modeling is when you model the pencil marks to create soft blended tones of graduated shading with a pencil, charcoal, pastel or paint, it is a process of blending tones or colors, so there is a soft graduated transition from one tone or color to another.

Tonal modeling in a drawing or painting context, is when the pencil, charcoal, pastel or paints are blended to create soft shadows, to produce the form and shape of the object, being drawn on a 2 dimensional surface creating the illusion, of a 3 dimensional form or shape.

The blending of the drawing materials, into graduated tones to create the illusion of a 3 dimensional form or shape, on a 2 dimensional drawing surface is what’s usually referred to as tonal modeling.

Below you will find an image of two pencil drawings.

1.    This first image has been drawn with a 5B graphite pencil, using a hatching and cross hatching method.

2.    This other second image, has been drawn with a 5B graphite pencil, using a tonal modeling method.

Example of hatching and tonal modeling.
The two methods as example, cross hatching and tonal modeling.

Both depict the shape and form of the image but the second example, is modeled, using the tonal modeling method, notice that the shadows and tones are soft, with few hard edges, unlike the first cross hatching example, with many hard edges/lines.

Essentially there are hatch marks and smudge marks, with both these types of marks having attributes, also associated with the use of charcoal, that enable you to learn to understand tonal variation better.

•    Both types of marks are good and effective in their own right, as well as when used together.

•    Both make excellent drawings, in their own right and when mixed.

•    Both can have specific, common and preferred uses.

•    Both are also used when painting.

•    Both can be used effectively, with other types of drawing tools, especially the hatching marks.

Modern mark making revealed again.

Crosshatching and tonal modelling.

Pencil drawing photo image of a thumb and finger.

The above is a combination of hatching, cross hatching, line drawing and tonal modelling with only a HB pencil being used to do this.

Crosshatching and tonal modelling.

Example of two different mark making techniques, cross hatching, tonal modeling.

  1. Cross hatching style drawing, of a dolls leg but although very messy looking in the detail, it is a fine example of how, even soft flowing shapes can be created with crosshatching.
  2. Tonal modelling or blended style, with very hard edges, although you can see some of the hatching marks showing through as well.

Hatching and tonal modelling revisited.

Example sheet showing different types of mark making.

  1. Example of a loose tonal modelling or blending style drawing, of a face that is really somewhere between, hatching and tonal modelling because of the even marks, slanting downward to the right.
  2. A Yorkshire terrier dog, which happily lends it’s self well to this loose but flowing hatching technique, which is highly appropriate for drawing fur or hair, as can be seen a little in image 3 as well.
  3. A soft blending of tones creates this portrait, this is mostly achieved by smudging the graphite pencil marks, with a paper torchon or drawing stump, this is just a hard paper pencil type tool, that can be used to smudge the pencil marks.
  4. Although some like to call this a squiggle or squrkle technique, it is actually just another form of cross hatching, this image has been drawn with a permanent ink pen.

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The graphite pencil.

No education is neutral, that is fact, so the only way you can really find out is for yourself, drawing is a good way to do that and I would like to suggest, that we start with the faithful graphite pencil.

The pencil has been around for many years because it’s good to use, easy to hold for most people, even the oldest available drawing tool, other than the finger (charcoal) comes as a pencil nowadays.

It is interesting to understand, that what we think of as a pencil, is most often a graphite pencil and has many similar qualities as charcoal, it can be used in much the same way but the graphite pencil will produce, more tonal variation.

The good old graphite pencil, comes in many different measures of hardness or softness, which enables the user, to create many different qualities of line, as well as a very wide variety of tones, from almost black, to almost white and everything in-between. The softer pencils come in the B range, they are identified as, B to B9, with B9 being very soft and because of this, it dose not stay sharp for very long, consistent fine lines are more difficult, without a fine, sharp tip. If you watch a well practiced expert drawing, with a softer pencil, you will notice how often they turn it, between their fingers to change the drawing tip and keep it as sharp as they can, as long as they can. The other side of this is the harder pencils. These range from H to H9, with the H9 being very hard, they will stay sharp for a long time but will also gouge deep groves into your paper, if you press too hard, when drawing but can be useful, when shading very light areas of tone or creating effects.

The graphite pencil is very versatile, it has many different capabilities, that produce many different results, all of them worth knowing about and worthy of taking a look, or even a second look, even if you have been drawing for years.

Everything we look at and see is a shape, that is often made up of other shapes, most of these shapes, change shape, when moved to different view points, this is the bulk substance, creating the three dimensional form of the shape. These can be created with two types of line, a linear or straight line and a curve. If you can draw these two types of line, you can draw, if you can draw stick figures you can draw. If you don’t draw more than stick figures, then you either don’t want to draw or don’t really know how.

The simple lines below, show some shapes and lines that can be drawn with a graphite pencil, it’s as it says, if you can write words, then you can draw straight lines and curves. If you can read then it’s even better and you’re lucky, because many people world wide, can’t.

A straight line and a curve, created a stick man.

Straight lines and curves, graphite pencil lines made with a 3b & HB pencil.

Graphite pencils 5b & 4b wooden type.

The simple lines above show, how simple it really is to draw lines and curves. None of them are outstanding, these lines have been made with HB and 4B, graphite pencils. But none of the full range of pencils, should ever be overlooked and as you can see, they are versatile, the lighter lines are with a HB, which is probably the most common of all and is a Hard Black, HB. Where as the darker lines, the word (yes), are made with a B4 pencil, which is in the B range of Blacks.

Mechanical Pencil with 3b graphite sticks.

Lets look at an exaggerated, three dimensional line drawing of a cup. These are common shapes using line and hatching to emphasize, the three dimensional form or shape of the cup using a 4B.

A single point persepctive drawing of a cup that is distorted.

You can also see the construction lines, drawn with a pencil, that where used to help create some of the out line or shape, using a single point perspective, this can also be used in a vertical direction to create a wheel shape.

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