- Lesson details
Learning the structure and gesture of the human skull is an important exercise to make your head drawings and portraits more realistic. Chris Legaspi shows you his approach to conceptualizing the skull’s proportions, angles, and landmarks. Drawing from skull references photographed at various angles, he first outlines the basic rules-of-thumb for drawing a skull and then moves on to rendering accurate representations of the skull. Chris is full of nuggets of knowledge about shadow mapping, value control, and technique! Find on this page the same reference photos that he used.
- Mechanical Pencil
- Prismacolor Verithin Pencil – black
Discuss this video in the forums!Discuss
So, the skull is one of the most powerful pieces of anatomy that you need to know if
you’re learning head drawing, if you’re getting into illustration, you want to learn
to invent heads, this is one of the things we as artists and the students we definitely
need to become very familiar with.
A lot of the questions I get is, you know, what’s, what’s happening underneath the
skin, and this is where it starts.
So, in this lesson I’m going to teach you a little bit about the skull, specifically
what to look for, for head drawing and I’m also going to talk about a process that I
use to break down the skull.
This is pretty hard to draw, there’s a lot of complexity. I’m going to show you
a process that will make it a lot more fun and a lot more approachable.
If you’re ready to get started and ready to learn about the skull, let’s begin.
show you the skull itself so you can see it in person and in 3D.
I think one of the important things in learning the skull is actually to hold it.
I know it’s, it can be difficult to get, to get one, a real one.
It’s very hard to get a replica, it can be tough.
They’re quite available, but part of the practice is to hold it.
So in the meantime, I’m going to show you the parts of the skull that we’re going
to focus on and this way I’ll be able to show you in the round, you know, I could do
this, makes it look cool and that way you get an idea of the importance stuff that we’re
going to talk about in this lesson.
Okay, so number one the first thing I want to note is I’m going to need side view for this.
I’m going to put away my pointer.
The really most important thing I think to focus on when you’re first learning to draw
the skull is the proportions specifically the ratio of the cranium, which is this to
the face, to the face; can you guys see that, the face and the cranium?
These are the two fundamental building blocks that I focus on when drawing the skull and
for students I think it’s very important and one thing you’ll notice right away in
terms of size, look how big this sucker is.
This is huge; it’s almost double the size.
I think it is roughly in terms of volume double the size, this is double the size of the face,
okay, and you can clearly see that in side view.
Because a lot times when we draw portraits, when we do head drawings, head studies from life.
We go to life drawing we only see this much and we ignore this, this stuff, which is very
important right in top view you can see, and that’s because the face is most important
to us as human beings we connect with the face so we intend to ignore this guy.
So skull study will quickly show you like wow, the cranium is big so that’s going
to very important and we’re going to go over that in the lesson.
The next thing that I want to point out is some of the key anatomy and this way you’ll
be able to see it in the round instead of just a flat picture.
Now the skull has some complex anatomy, look at that and it’s beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
cheekbone here, it’s called zygomatic arch, beautiful eye socket bones, individual little
teeth, little beautiful shapes.
In the back we can’t ignore the back, but for artists for art students, for realists
and for illustrators who want to invent the face to me the key parts of the skull are
kind of the parts that you can kind of see through in the face and that to me, begins
here and this is the brow bone, the brow bone right here, the brow bone the top of the socket
and from the side view you can see there beautiful.
And it’s really pretty when you look at low angle underneath, really pretty there,
so the brow bone is number one.
The second that comes along the side of it is what’s the orbital bone, the brow is
the top and then the side as it goes out it’s called the orbital bone.
This is the surrounding of your eye socket so a lot of, try to be, try to imagine all
the beautiful angles you get to see, orbital bone.
Then from the side view I want you to note to the nasal bone as it goes down from the
keystone, we’ll talk about that in a minute.
As it goes down notice the beautiful point here, here would be where the nose cartilage
and things and your nostrils would be here but note how far it sticks out.
So the nasal bone it kind of, you can feel that on yourself here, the peak of your bone
of your nose here, that little bump.
It’s more, my nose is not as bumpy, as tall, but others you can definitely notice it.
Going back I almost forgot about this guy, this is the keystone, which is right here
if you watch any of my previous lessons or other artists also really focus on the keystone
and that’s right here, so we’re really going to get familiar with that.
Then the last thing or another thing I want to note is the barrel of the mouth.
Notice how far the teeth protrude out, so I definitely want you to pay attention to
that because in front you can’t really see it.
A lot of times when I review student’s work their mouths tend to be flat and the mouth
tends to be flat because you don’t really appreciate how far the teeth, mouth and lips
come out, but when you see the skull you can see wow, look how far the teeth really come
forward. You can see the beautiful curve there.
Then the last thing I want to note before we get to the drawing is the actual jawbone.
Now notice, remember we said the cranium much bigger than the face, double the size.
Look at it how big the jawbone is, also known as the mandible relative to the face, jawbone
relative to the face, I’ll take it off here.
Look at this thing, its huge right?
If we line it up side by side you can see that it is a big mass, it’s a big mass on the face.
So it’s very important when we study the skull that these proportions are, they, they
look different on a human face because it’s covered by stuff, skin, fat and all the detail,
but when we see it just as a skull we can then appreciate the full proportion.
Okay, so that’s something to keep in mind and yeah, this is going to a lot of fun.
Oh, last thing, look how pretty from the top view you can see what’s called the cheekbone
or the zygomatic arch, can you guys see that?
Really pretty right here, really pretty piece of anatomy.
That’s actually here, you can feel it trace along the side of your head and this is important
because this will help us lead into the ear hole and help us find the center of the skull.
It’s proportional to, it’s a proportional tool that I’ll use a lot in the drawing
demonstration so you’re going to see how that could be a tool for you when you start
to do your own skull studies and ideally you want to be able to invent, not only draw the
skull from reference or from life from multiple angles, the difficult angles then you’ll
be able to draw it from imagination.
That’s the end goal is that I want this lesson to be more about observation, staring
at the skull, getting familiar with the major anatomy that’s important for head drawing
and then being able to, you know, in a lot of ways internalize this and put it in your
visual library, that you’ll be able to invent the skull from imagination and basically master
this piece of anatomy.
So with that in mind let’s get on with the lesson.
Okay, now we’re going to do some drawing.
Now the first three things we want to look for when we’re observing and studying the
skull are the major ratios and proportions and a lot of what you’ll see in the skull
applies to some of the proportions you may already know in head drawings so that’s
why we want to go back to the main structure, the skull.
The first thing I’d like to look at and I’m going to look at the side view.
So we’ll look at the side view first and one of the most important proportions that
I pay attention to is when I look at the skull is the proportion or the ratio of the face
to the cranium.
So if we look at the facial mask basically and I’m going to go ahead and draw this
here, I’m looking at our reference here.
Just quickly draw in side view, you can learn a lot actually proportionally in side view
and I’ll talk about the process, drawing process also.
Okay, so there we have a little, a quick little construction of the skull.
Now this area right here is the facial mass, is your face, but look at that big sucker
here, that’s the cranium that’s where you hold your brain.
Actually, mine is small, let me beef it up.
Actually, the thing about head drawing is that we naturally as human beings we put so
much concentration and effort in the face we forget that the face is attached to this
big old thing, into a brain.
So that’s what I like skull drawing is that it teaches you that hey, because there’s
no face you’re forced to look at this big old giant mess of your cranial, look at that thing.
So keep that I mind, it’s practically double right.
It’s practically double the size.
You know, your eyebrow would be right about here; socket would be here, just a quick little
cut out to show you where the socket might be.
Look how much bigger the face, the mass of the, how much bigger the cranium is compared
to the mass of the face.
So the more of these you do, obviously, it will start to ingrain in your head like oh,
I’m drawing a face but there’s a big old brain behind.
I’m drawing a face but there’s a big old brain and the brain is twice the size of the
mass of the face.
So that’s something that you want to pay attention to in studying your skull
and observing your skull.
The second important proportion that I like to look at when studying the skill is the
size of the jaw and relative to the size of the face.
So this is our face now I’m going to quickly just do a quick little construction of where
the jaw will be.
Of course, the jaw also contains your teeth, your lower teeth.
So I’m not going to draw too much detail, but this is pretty much the mass of your jaw
There’s a little space for your teeth, this little space right there.
So look at this thing here, that’s your jaw, now look how much mass it has, how much
space at least two-dimensional space it has relative to the face, that’s a lot.
Right, so your face is here, your forehead is here, your hairline will probably start
Look at that, you know, you could argue it’s half or a third, and we’ll talk about next
to it the rule of thirds how it applies.
So again what this teaches you is that when you’re drawing a face the lower half is
actually takes up a lot of mass, a lot of mass in, in reality so you want your drawing
to kind of feel that way.
So when you study the skull you want to make sure that your jaw is nice and big and nice
In fact, I would argue if you’re beginning to draw and beginning to learn head drawing
that I would argue that you would want to slightly exaggerate the size of the skull
as you draw, you know, and if you’re going to make a mistake you’re going to make a
mistake in proportion, it’s better to make the jaw a little bit too big than make it
a little too small in my opinion.
So, you know, probably you’re going to start as you start this process you’re going to
I did to, to be honest with you.
You know, I still have to constantly correct myself, but doing these studies and you know,
obviously the more you draw a skull in side view you’ll be able to learn this proportion,
it will be ingrained in your head the more of these you do.
So keep that in mind, the jaw structure takes up a lot of space in the head.
Okay, now we’re going to look at the rule of thirds.
So in front view if you’ve, if you Google skulls or, you know, if you look at skull,
anatomy books you’ll, we’re all very familiar with this view, this is very iconic skull
in front view, but what I want to do here is to show you how this relates to a head drawing.
Now there’s a proportional rule in head drawing some of you may not be familiar with it.
It’s called the rule of thirds and I’m just going to quickly draw, just quickly draw
a kind of a loose lay-in of a head.
This is, this is like a head with a skin and muscle and all the stuff on top, and if you
are familiar with the rule of thirds, I would definitely review some of the lessons in the
library, like I have a portrait drawing, beginner portrait drawing lesson that goes into great
detail and proportions, simplified proportions, that’s what I prefer, and also Steve Houston,
Charles Hue, all have some great head drawing content, they have the proportions.
So just quickly in, I’m not going to go into detail here.
Now what I want to show is what’s known as the rule of thirds in that the rule of
thirds states that you can divide the face, human face, into three even quadrants
and the three quadrants line up to three key landmarks.
Number one your hairline, number two the brow line and number three the bottom of your nose.
So this is the nose including nostrils, cartilage all that good stuff and then the bottom of
your face, which is your chin right here.
So the rule of thirds, you see how this is sort of a thirds, you know, mine’s not perfect,
I’m not a machine.
I’m just a, I’m just a man in this world trying to make nice pictures, third, third,
third right, very nice.
Let’s pretend that mathematically that’s perfect.
Now let’s go back to our skull, let’s take a look at our skull reference in front
view and I’m going to quickly do a nice a little block end of our skull, I’m not
going to too much detail.
Don’t worry about the process yet, we’ll cover that I swear, a little process I have,
and this image I’m looking at here is a slight low angle, slight warms eye, which
is kind of cool.
This is what would be known as a true classical portrait view or camera angle or eye level.
In my opinion these are the most attractive head drawings or portraits is when you’re
a little bit below the model I really enjoy those.
There’s a slight curve and there’s a slight curve here and again because we’re beneath
the skull and notice, let me quickly go back to proportion.
Remember I talked about as human being we are so used to drawing face and ignoring the
cranium, the brain, the skull and remember in side view you can clearly see that, but
even in front view, look at this.
So this is your eyes, nose and mouth, right, if you can see that.
Look at how massive the cranium is, right.
So when I’m drawing the skull I’m very, very, in front view, when I’m drawing the
skull in front view I’m very, very conscious of, to add a big old cranium there to make
sure that there’s a big space for your brain there though.
So that’s a quick, quick review of the proportional side.
Now let’s go back to rule of thirds, now if we examine, I’m just going to put an
imaginary notch where the hairline is because we know the brow line, the brow lie is clearly here.
We can see that on the skull, obviously, very clear and there’s a nice angle or excuse
me a curve, which is natural as straight as unnatural.
Then the bottom of the nose would be, so this is, notice how the nasal bone kind of ends
half way between the eyes there.
I’m going to readjust my little lay-in there.
So the bottom of the nose would be roughly here and then the lower thirds, because this
is where the nasal bone ends, right, and of course, there’s more nose here so I’m
just guessing, it might be a little lower actually.
Right, do you see how I just made a quick mental guess and then from here to here is
the bottom of the chin?
Now this ratio is slightly larger than this one.
The reason for that is two-fold, one I may not have estimated the correct length of the
nose and two is that we’re at a slight angle.
So when there is a slight low angle to the camera basically these proportions become
suppressed as they go up so they’ll get a little bit smaller as they go up.
But don’t worry about that I just want to note this isn’t a head-drawing lesson.
I just want you to note that these proportions are there for you to help you when you’re
doing your skull study if you’re doing a front view or near front few these proportions
So thirds, thirds and the third, and the hairline you’re going to have to guess, everyone’s
hairline will be different, but for sure here and here, here and here will be there for
you as a guide, and if you follow this along this should fall near the, there’s a hole
where your, actually your ear anatomy goes inside there so that should help you.
Because that’s near where the ear attaches right here, these guys here, the ear, or the
bottom ear attachment not the upper.
So you see how, these proportions are also there on the skull, I mean, these, to be more
correct the proportions of the face come from the skull.
The only one that we’re missing that we need a human being a whole, fully human being
for is the hairline.
Okay, so now let’s take a look at some of the key landmarks,
parts and the things to look for.
Now get in front view I’m going to do a quick little block in, quick little lay-in
and we’ll talk about process later, later in the show.
I’m going to quickly...and notice how I start with very simple geometric shapes.
Now the thing, the landmarks that I look for, you know, the skull does have a lot of really
interesting anatomy, a lot of complexity, but I terms of head drawing, in terms of learning
head drawing when you’re starting out, are going to be the most important landmark that
I look for, and arguably the most important landmark on the entire face is the brow.
I would argue that because the eyes are the most important feature the brow is the most
landmark on the skull because you can’t draw your eyes correctly unless you draw the
socket correctly and the socket begins with the brow.
This is the part that you see so when you’re, when you do these skull studies it helps you
to be able to see, to, when you’re drawing, when you go back to drawing heads and faces
and portraits, you’ll be able to see through the skin at the brow, the brow bone.
So let’s take a look at that real quick and I’m just going just do a quick little
abstraction, a little simplified, little simplified little drawing, I’m trying to draw the socket
I’m going to try to make this look half decent here.
I know it’s like a pair of sunglasses and it kind of is, kind of is, a lot of ways you
can think of them as sunglasses, like they’re holes, obviously.
Okay, now here’s the brow bone against a bone we want to pay attention to.
When you’re actually drawing heads the, you know, there’s stuff to distract you here.
There’s tissue here, fat, skin and hair and notice there’s this like curve in the brow.
Now remember this view there’s a slight low angle to the camera so there’s, so there’s
a perspective is causing a curve as well, but the curve is there and notice how the
brow bone falls into the outer edge of the socket.
This is called the orbital bone right here and then that flows into the zygomatic arch
or your cheek bone.
So these are the parts of the brow that you
kind of really want to hone in on, memorize, get very familiar with drawing,
and then you’ll be able to translate that knowledge into your portraits.
Again, the most important thing is the curve and how it arches out and back and then down
and then back; out, back, down and back, it’s all one beautiful flow, one beautiful flow
from the front to the side and from the side back.
This is actually curving back into Z space into the three-dimensional space.
Okay, so that’s the brow and there’s a few anatomical details here, these are where
muscles attach, these like little dimples here.
Forgive me, I don’t quite remember the name of them here, but these little dimples and
they’re called like sutures and things where tendons attach because there’s a big, big
hunk of muscle here called the obliquus oculi, it basically means eye muscle, it looks like
a big donut and all of these things attach here.
Also, there’s some forehead muscles here as well.
So these little dimples in the skull create as points of attachment, but don’t worry
too much about that, what I’d like you to be more concerned about is number one the
placement, which we talked about before, the proportion.
Number two is the general size relative to the skull and also how the bone actually has,
has sort of an edge and we’ll look at the side view later.
Actually, there’s an edge to it, it has like a little bit of sharpness.
I’ll kind of draw it here; you see that has a little bit of a lip to it, a sharp corner.
So that’s what you see here and then it floats out and then down and then back, so
that flow is really important.
Now the second most important landmark in front view is very important and this is what
I use quite a bit and what I depend on quite a bit is what’s called the keystone.
The keystone is this little bit of anatomy right here and it starts in the skull and
that’s the part where the brow bone transitions into what’s called the nasal bone.
This is your nasal bone here and there’s a little suture, suture is where the bones
fuse together, it’s a little suture, it looks like a crack.
When you see that crack, it’s a suture, that’s what separates the nasal bone from
the brow bone and this area where they transition and meet that’s called the keystone.
It’s like the keystone of a bridge.
So you definitely want to become familiar with this area, you know, in fact, you can
just do real detailed studies of this area.
I would recommend that as well.
Then that flows down into the nasal bone and this, this has a lip, we all know it has a
little bit a curve to it and the nasal opening, and has some beautiful interesting anatomy
inside, we’re not going to be too concerned about that.
But get very familiar with this and when you’re doing your skull study take, take your time
in this area to really look, observe, look at the curves, look at the curves, look at
You notice I had to erase because my original suture was too low so I had to raise it up.
So be mindful of that proportion and one thing that helps me is just I look at the distance
So I look at the distance from where the suture is to where this part of the skull anatomy
is right here and I observed that shape and I compare to it to our reference, let’s
see if it feels right, if it looks approximately the correct distance then I try to mirror
on this side or match it.
If we had a little bit of tone you’ll be able to see that it’s that depression, it’s
a hole, something to keep in mind there.
And there's some anatomy back here, okay.
So these are the most important landmarks in front of you now let’s take a look at
side view again.
Okay, going back to side view, again I’m going to do a quick sketch, quick lay-in
and I always do this out of habit, and we’ll talk about that as well, the angles.
There’s a lot of wonderful consistent angles that will help you.
Now in side view, well let’s take a look, just quickly review the brow bone and notice
the brow bone has a nice protrusion if you look at our reference here you notice there’s
a, the forehead dips in and down.
It dips down and it slightly dips in and then poof, it puffs out.
Remember I said there’s a nice lip, see that over here, nice lip, nice lip, see that lip.
So it’s actually a bit of a sharp point and I’ll put some cross sections there so
you can see what that looks like.
So that’s something to keep in mind when you’re drawing your skull study, and then
we’ll look at the nasal bone.
The keystone you can’t really see here, it’s hidden because it’s a perfect side
view but then the nasal bone goes down and then out obviously, and the, you know, the
nose would be here.
So then here’s another suture in front of the nasal bone relative to the side, and then
Now in side view arguably the most important landmark is the cheek bone also known as the
zygomatic, and the zygomatic starting at the bottom.
It’s this big mass here, I’m going to, I’m looking at our reference here and doing
quick blocking of it and we’ll talk about process next and there’s the hole, I’m
approximating where that should go because we’re not, 100% know if this is correct
but I’m going to use some shapes to compare.
Then in order to make sure that this is okay I need the rest of the fact.
So I’m going to quickly block in the rest of the skull, some beautiful teeth protrusion
there, barrel of the mouth as I like to call it.
Notice the beautiful angle on the jawbone, nice subtle curve as it goes up.
So this feels okay, remember the jawbone, it takes up quite a bit of space relative
to the face.
So when I draw it I want to make sure that it feels like it’s a big insubstantial bone
want to give it, give it some height in this case, some height, this case in side view;
some meat, some meat and bones or whatever.
Okay, just quickly, there’s a lot of teeth.
To be honest, I always get a little, I always try to rush the teeth, oh so much detail,
because to me this, I look at the skull as a tool to get better a head drawing, I mean,
it’s a beautiful object in itself, obviously, and I do long renderings of skulls and paintings
It’s one of my favorite subject matters, like here we’re really looking at how it
affects us in a head drawing.
I ended up drawing quite a bit of detail.
So I’ll just go back, let’s go back to what I as saying.
The zygomatic is the cheekbone and notice how it has a slight angle here as it comes
down and then it actually comes out so we don’t see that, this part is actually out,
it’s here, so that’s this part here and this part here on the side view, is put here
on side view and ends up being here, and notice there’s also a little bit of an angle and
this angle is to make room for muscles.
There’s huge muscles actually come here, there’s some muscles that come down here
underneath the spaces in there.
So there’s a big muscle here and a lot of tissue, skin and fat to help you form your lips.
So that’s why there’s the cheek bone makes a lot of space for it.
So it’s actually not relative to the face, actually quite small.
Remember we’re always talking about proportions, notice how small this is yeah, but when we
look at a face we think of a cheek as like wow, it takes up a lot of space, you know,
but it really doesn’t especially when we examine as the skull.
So the important thing to note when you’re drawing, when you’re doing your skull study
is that the cheekbone, number one is not that big, relative to the face and has these angles
to be mindful of these angles.
They’re all going to be slightly different, every skull that you may get and notice how
it flows back up into the brow bone or it goes from the cheekbone into what’s called
the orbital bone, you know, orbital means eye around and then it goes into the brow
bone, which I guess is part of the orbital bone, right, you see that.
There’s a suture here and this part here there’s a big old space here for what’s
called the temporal muscle.
It’s a big muscle on the side of your forehead so that’s what allows for a space here,
and here’s the orbital bone, the side view of it here.
That’s what we saw here, that’s what we saw here and if you’re like a sports fan
or a martial arts fan a lot of athletes when they get injured you’ll hear orbital bone
fracture, that’s a common sports injury, that’s what they’re talking about right here.
Because look how thin it is relative to this cranium, relative to the face, relative to
the jaw, right, these are fairly thin bones so athletes will often break or fracture this
so that’s, you know, for the sports fans out there.
Now orbital bone and the second most important things is not, it’s the cheekbone what’s
called the zygomatic arch and that’s the little tiny bone, part of the cheek bone that
extends back out through the jaw, over the jaw and then out into the ear, and this whole
you see here, that’s actually where your ear is.
So right behind your jaw there and has a little groove for the jaw, the hinge of the jawbone,
this is a whole, right and it has, you know, really funky, gorgeous and interesting shape.
So you can spend hours on this shape but it’s the taper that’s the most important.
The taper, remember this is thin, this is thin, and this looks nice and fact and meaty,
but it’s actually not as big as important as you may seem relative to the rest of the skull.
So keep those things in mind and let’s take a look quickly at the nasal bone in side view,
notice how, how sharp it is right here and you can feel it, if you feel your nose right
now, go ahead and touch your nose.
You can feel the part where the peak is, I’m going to quickly just draw a nose here from
A lot of people have this bump especially what’s called colloquially or in common
slang language is called a Roman nose.
I guess a lot of the southern European type genetics have this kind of nose, the Roman
nose, very tall and the reason why I bring that up it’s because it’s obvious that
that is where the peak of that nose bone is where the bone ends because here is where
the cartilage begins.
So that’s something to keep in mind is that this, this little point of the nasal bone
is actually, will appear as a bump when you’re doing your head drawings in side views.
So that’s something to keep in mind, when you see the bump, and they say for me to do
a portrait or a head drawing you go, oh, that’s the nasal bone where the nasal bone actually
ends so that’s something to keep in mind and it comes down here.
Also, the second thing to look for in side view besides the point of the nasal bone and
the nature and shape of the zygomatic or cheek bone is how much the teeth barrel out, barrel
I mean, because it kind of looks like a barrel, it’s a drawing term that my drawing teachers
used quite a bit.
We used to draw an old school wood barrel and you see how it’s kind of a, as it curve
out and look how much it shoots out, it’s like boom, protrudes out.
Because a lot of times when you’re looking at the face you’ll see lips and the nose
will come out so it won’t really feel that noticeable visually, but when you examine
the skull you can clearly see it.
So that’s something to keep in mind when you’re doing a skull, make sure that your
teeth come out, actually your teeth protrude out.
Make sure that your nose comes to a point and notice to there’s a nice indention right
here as the teeth come back in to meet the chin or the bottom of the jaw right, comes
out and then comes back in and quickly changes directions.
So that’s something to keep in mind too and you want a little bit of space here, remember
the jawbone is a big old mass of bone relative to the rest of the face so give, always give
this part a little bit of meat right there.
Then yeah, there’s a lot of beautiful things happening here.
I don’t really want to focus too much on the back side now because this is more neck
Now I definitely want you to, to draw this and these are more of these sutures here.
This bone right here is where your neck muscles attach, neck muscles attach that little bump
right there, yeah, these little bumps and sutures, definitely, definitely try to draw
them and become familiar with them, but I’m more concerned about, I’m more concerned
that you get this part looking right versus this anatomy back here looks perfect, but
they are definitely not to be ignored.
Okay, next let’s take a look at a process, now I’m going to show you exactly how I
would draw the skull.
I’m going to do three different views starting with side view.
I’m not going to do a fully rendered, obviously.
This is more of, it’s really more of an observation exercise.
It’s just really an excuse for me to stare, look, observe and think about what I’m looking
at the skull here, the most important piece of anatomy when learning head drawing.
And one of the things I do in skull and head drawing is exact same, really same thinking
is that the start with 2D to 3D, simple shapes to complex and detail.
We’re going to do a lay-in, also known as a block-in and then we’re going to constantly
refine and then eventually add light and shadows
and things if you were to go that far, but that’s, it’s pretty much my head and drawing
philosophy, figure drawing philosophy and work the head in the same way, or skull, excuse
me, in the same way.
So let’s start with basic shapes now there’s a, in side view this is, this is a really
fun way to demonstrate this process.
There’s a shape that’s sort of a universal head shape, I like to call it the Boba Fett,
the Boba Fett.
Some people call it the Loomis head or the Loomis shape because basically this like big
old oval thing, and Loomis was a famous illustrator and art instructor.
You may be familiar with him and then there’s this kind of like wedgie, shovel shape looking
thing and then there’s a big oval, it’s called, I call it a Boba Fett, there’s a
ship, the Boba Fett was a character in Star Wars and he flew a ship, it looked like an
iron, it’s kind of like and iron.
It’s kind of like an iron, but anyway, this is, you know, it goes back to the way that
I approached a skull study is that I like to think of really basic two-dimensional simple
shapes and then turn them into 3D and add complexity.
So this is to me a great way to start the skull, and once we had that I’m going to
quickly do a few sketches of the process and then I’ll do it in do in detail for you
here, and we can, we can have fun with this.
Once you have your Boba Fett shape or your Loomis shape whatever you want to call it
then I’d like to add, start to begin the proportional process and notice how it kind
of fits into a perfect box.
My box is quite terrible, I know it’s all wobbly, it’s right in half, so in my twos,
what the heck, can’t draw a box or a number two, right, half, half, half, half, you see that.
Here is where your, remember the ear whole, remember that?
We’ll look at that, well, if you look at the reference you’ll see as well.
So start to add the proportions and then once I have the proportions.
Then we can even go further, we can even have the thirds now, just quickly ghost them in,
ghosting means really light, quickly, you know.
Remember thirds the forehead will be here, boof, boof, boof, okay and then once we have
that then I can start to do some of the secondary next most important things.
What I’m really trying to do is this really, what this does, what this demonstrates, you
see that, it separates the face from the skull.
Remember the, one of the main points is understanding the correct proportion becoming familiar with
the correct proportion so this, this shade does that for you automatically, right and
notice the second, look at that, look how much more I need to build out there, see that.
Constantly, got to remind myself there’s a skull there, cranium there.
Now the next thing I like to do is drop in the angles and then the protrusions and then
separate the jaw.
One, two, three yaay, lessons over guys, great, have a nice day, good luck, nice talking to you.
No, we’re going into the detail now.
That’s pretty much the process, simple shape, proportions, then break it down, refine, refine,
refine, refine, blah, blah, blah, break it down.
Alright, let’s do this and I’m going to use a colored pencil here, very think, let’s
see, let’s see, let’s see.
I’m going to do three quick little demos, I’ll start with the side view.
Let’s see, right here is good, right here is good, let’s go here.
So I guess, ghost it in, start with my Boba Fett.
Have a beautiful reference here and when you do your skull study I would say
keep it about this small, slightly bigger.
I’m drawing small here because it’s going to be faster and, you know, you know, you
probably don’t want to watch me all day.
You want to do your own drawing, obviously, right?
So yeah, for students I would say, you know, 8 x 10 is a good American/English size internationally
known as A4, so about an A4 size with a little bit of a border.
So A4, I’m just going to put a note here, A4 paper size.
A4 or in America it’s called, there’s a shorthand name but 8 x 10, 8-1/2 by 11 is
the American equivalent or, you know, around that size.
My personal sketchbook is about 3/4 that size, 5 x 8 I believe.
So anyway, that’s about how big you want to do your skull study.
So this is, this is a lot of fun, to be honest I wish I wasn’t talking to you guys, I’d
just like to be silent and draw and just have fun, but I got to be Mr. Teacher guy and try
to explain stuff so I got to try, try to do this the nice way, but this is one of my favorite
things to draw.
Okay, so I got my thing, my Boba Fett, my Loomis head, right, separate face from skull
and what it, right now I’m taking a moment to, to look at my proportion, what, what do
I have, is it correct at this stage, and right now it’s not guys, check it out.
This is still a little small, still a little small, in fact, in fact if you’re new to
this, if you’re new to head drawing and skull drawing maybe you might be, you might
be a coaching student or, you know, proper class or have a mentor and he says hey, hey,
young student, young Jedi person go do a skull study I would want you to exaggerate the size
of the cranium, make it a little too big.
I know, I know, I know that’s like very sacrilege.
I’m basically telling you to make an error, but that’s okay.
I would say it’s better to err too big than too small and that was my mentor’s guidance
to me and he’s one of the most successful artists in America and has incredible work.
Better to make your cranium too big than too small and that’s what I’m doing here,
I’m consciously trying to make it a big old honking thing, okay and let me get another
This one is not erasing this color pencil and okay, anyway.
Anyway, proportion next, boom.
I drew that knowing because I saw this, this jawline.
I’m like I knew that it was first so I knew that this would be here because I know from
experience that where the ear and what I’m looking.
In my mind’s eye I already consciously see the ear hole, I’m just going to ghost it
in lightly, indicate that this is the center of the eye that meets the brow will be here.
That means the hairline will be roughly here so I can roughly take these measurements one,
two, the bottom of the nose would be here.
That means, right, roughly ghosting in that, and then it gives me a little bit of confidence
in oh, okay, so there’s a big amount of space here.
So I’m probably pretty close, probably pretty close proportion, do you see that big amount
I’m establishing the rule of thirds or not establishing, I’m using it as a guide because
it does apply.
Okay, so I got my proportions, next let’s talk about angles.
So one of the things you may have already saw me do is I quickly do this, looking at
my major proportion to half, half way, horizontal center, I always quickly do this and if you
notice, if you look in our reference remember the orbital bone that’s what I’m doing here.
Orbital bone comes down at an angle, orbital bone, orbital bone comes down at an angle
Another thing that comes at a similar angle is the nasal bone, badoboom.
Okay, then, of course, actually the bottom of the teeth matches your lower teeth, they
kind match that angle there and then another important landmark, remember from side view
one of our most important landmarks and I want to scoot this back, this orbital bone
here, is the cheekbone, zygomatic, also comes at an angle.
So I quickly boom, boom, boom, boom, have some nice angles I can work with and then
once I have the angles I go with the protrusions.
Protrusions are things that pop out.
One of the things that pop out remember brow bone pops out, nasal bone obviously pops out
and what’s the last thing the barrel of the teeth, your actual teeth actually stick
out quite a bit.
They stick out quite a bit, and then you see I was closely, is pretty close to that angle.
Now I want to separate, I’ve already separated the face from the skull, now I want to separate
the jawbone from the face and now that I have this angle or the barrel of the teeth established
I can quickly do that kind of thing, actually in this case this comes in an angle and it’s
actually curved, it’s not as straight, but I just draw in straights, what the heck.
Then to help me find this what I do is I kind of go half way from the front of the face,
half way and just kind of lightly drop a line there.
This, this will probably move and then here I kind of just give myself oh, there’s a,
there’s the gap between the jawbone and the back of the teeth, your molars, molars
are your back teeth.
Okay, so you see that, I’m going to go a little bit darker here on camera so you can
see it better on camera, but I want you to draw light at home.
I know a lot of these lines seem light, I’m sorry guys, but this is, how I want you to
draw and actually some of these lines I’m purposely making darker so you can better
see them on camera, alright.
So you see I got my, my little bit of lay-in, a little bit of lay-in.
Next I want to separate the most, remember what I talked about the most important piece
of anatomy in my opinion on the skull is the brow.
So we have the brow in front view established with a bump, now the brow in side view becomes
the orbital bone, orbital bone and I’m looking at the reference as well.
I notice there’s a corner here, there’s a really obvious, it’s not, well, it’s,
it’s not like a hard corner but there’s a curve here and there’s a clue.
There’s a piece of anatomy right here we can see it on our reference, a little bit
of shadow right here.
That’s telling us that’s the corner where the orbital bone turns, excuse me, where the
brow bone turns the corner, poof, and becomes the orbital bone, the side eye bone how about that.
My English is, English is my second language I guess.
Okay, oh, one thing I’d like to do is kind of draw as a quick abstraction is kind of
draw, it’s like a book, I think it of it as a book.
Remember the angle of the orbital bone and then the bottom side will give me the cheek,
boom, boom, boom.
And then the cheek actually, has a pretty similar angle, the zygomatic, the cheekbone
because what this does is it swoops towards us out, this is actually parallel to our eye
and it kind of swoops back now.
So I see the taper, taper, see that taper.
Taper means getting thinner, thinner and then it does some nice beautiful things.
This is one of the most beautiful shapes in the world, the human cheekbone, the zygomatic
arch, such a beautiful intricate shape.
I could draw skulls all day.
Now I’m just basically looking at the small shapes trying to quickly plot them in because
what I want is this hinge.
I want this hinge so I can detail out the jawbone and I’m going to leave myself a
nice little opening here.
There’s a hole there in your jawbone and then it curves, actually curves out.
So I’m doing a little bit of detailing a little too early, I’m getting excited.
So now let me stop and take a look.
What I really want to look at is proportion because remember this proportion has to be
correcting, the entire drawing will fall apart, will fall apart if this is not right and right
now it’s not right, what’s missing is actually upper, a little bit of upper.
Unfortunately, color pencil doesn’t erase completely and notice there’s a nice suture
This is called the peak of your skull, I don’t exactly remember the name, but there’s a plate.
Your skull is a bunch of plates and if you notice, if you look at our reference it’s
there these two plates there’s a little crack, it’s a suture, crack there.
Notice there’s a subtle direction change, it’s almost like that and you can feel it
on your head, go ahead and touch your head you guys, right now you can feel it, look
for it, I’m looking for mine.
You’ll feel a noticeable bump and that bump is right there so that’s the peak, and the
reason why I bring that up is that’s half, half way so it’s a good measure,
I go okay that feels right, that feels about right, okay, feels about right, right there, yeah.
So now I’m going to go back and, of course, if you’re following along at home you would
want to step back from your drawing table or your easel, obviously, you always want
to step back, that’s one thing I like to do.
In fact, I’m going to do that, I’m going to stand up in a moment because I need, I
cannot move forward until this proportion is, is locked in, it’s correct.
So I need to step away from my drawing to make sure it’s working and this lines up
kind of with the bottom of the cheek.
This bottom mass of the skull so I know that this has to change
and there’s like, to be honest I don’t quite know what’s going on.
There’s just a little bit of anatomy there.
There’s a floating bone that’s inside, it’s a small bone right there.
That’s what, that’s what we’re looking at in our reference there; more bumps and
sutures there, wonderful.
Okay and alright, alright guys, now I’m going, I’m going to step away a little bit
from my drawing table and check the proportion.
Alright, guys, it’s okay, it’s good enough to move forward.
Alright, so we got my lay-in, now it’s just a time to refine right.
This is a, it’s a pretty decent lay-in and now I’m just going to, refine means make
the shapes, add more detail, make the shapes right, see like this is like a geometric thing
that’s not right, it’s actually a curve.
I want to start at the brow.
I’ve really trained myself to make sure the brow is correct so I almost always,
my mind pulls myself there, puts my awareness right there, so I want to make that’s right.
This is a beautiful socket, lower part of the orbital bone here.
Flows into the cheek bone and notice here guys, on our reference you can see a little
bit of shadow, we’ll talk about that in a minute and that’s where it changes direction.
Anytime you see a course shadow that’s a, that’s a direction change and if you’re
new to that concept you definitely want to review Steven Houston’s drawing lessons
in the library.
He has a wonderful, wonderful, he references that a lot, the idea that a shadow is a corner,
of course, shadow is a corner, it’s where our form changes direction.
Subtle nuances in the zygomatic and now I’m going to stop a moment and take a look at
my proportion because there’s a, there’s a pretty interesting proportion happening
here this side of the orbital bone.
It kind of tapers or it thins out as it gets to the brow bone,
I want to make sure it looks good.
There’s that little suture that cut, where that bone fuses, a crack,
excuse me, not a cut, it’s a crack.
So I’m going to leave that alone, let me move back to the nasal bone.
Now the nasal bone is not straight, there’s a slight curve. Actually, there’s no straights
in organic forms, that’s just something I do and a lot of art, art school do training,
schools of thought use straights.
To me it looks cool as well as being helpful in measuring.
It’s really what it is, it’s just helpful in measuring and accuracy, and see there’s
a break, you know, the bottom of the nasal bone is in a perfect straight, there’s a
So it’s refining.
Now for me I’m going very quickly right, but you know, take as long as you need.
I’ve done this quite a few times as you may have guessed, quite a few times.
You know, I never had to be assigned this because it just was something fun to me, but
for sure, if this is new to you definitely want to do as many of these and possible and
I would say start with the side view so your eye gets trained to seeing correct proportion,
that’s really the point here.
Really this is not really a drawing exercise per se, at least not this lesson, I don’t
want this lesson to be how to draw a perfect skull, it’s more about training your eye
to see the correct things underneath the skin when you draw portraits
and we do that with skull.
Notice where the teeth, you notice that the teeth I kind of make them all
like this geometric shape, I’ll do the same for the bottom.
I’m looking at the shape of where the teeth meet the bone, the jawbone, right.
It’s kind of this shape that I see, this little indent here for this, I don’t know,
remember the name of the teeth, but these are your, I believe they’re called incisors.
These teeth or are the front ones incisors, forgive me, I’m not quite sure.
The front ones are for the, the chopping of the plant matter if you’re eating vegetables,
like me, plant matter, they’re good for you.
Then to quickly simplify or block in, what I do is I just draw the little space, it’s
like a little triangle shape and again that, this, this always takes me quite a bit of
time and I’m not going to spend too much time there getting the teeth right.
For me and for students starting out I’m looking for this, did you get the correct
proportion, are your teeth too big, are your teeth too small, did you give yourself enough
jaw and that’s what I’m concerned about, and right now that’s what I’m looking
at in myself, did I give myself enough jaw.
Right now my jaw feels nice and meaty remember the jaw takes up quite a bit of space, relative
to the face so in a lot of ways my jaw is consciously like, I’m making it really beefy
in a lot of ways.
Beefy means big, bigger, it’s a slang, means bigger, thicker.
In other words I’m prepared to make it to big just like my cranium.
I initially made it a little too big, better to err and too big.
Now there’s a part of the jaw here there’s a little shadow and what that is, is where
the side of the jawbone, I think, I think it’s called the mandible goes into the barrel
of the teeth here, it’s a little transition here, it’s nice and smooth.
It’s a little dimple here.
I always enjoy that landmark, we’ll get to that, and there’s some little interesting
It’s where muscles attach, there’s a big old, I believe it’s called the masseter
muscle, it runs this way.
It attaches here, the masseter muscle moves your jaw, closes your teeth and you can feel it.
Go ahead and touch the side of your mouth, side of your jaw, right in front of your ear
and clench your teeth, you’ll feel your, that big old muscle there,
it’s called the masseter.
So that’s where these little notches are for, beautiful.
So I mean, you can do a thorough anatomical study of the skull and I would recommend that,
but that’s for another day I would say.
This is such a beautiful object like I mentioned earlier and my eraser is, alright, eraser
is not erasing anymore.
So guys I’m going to stand up again and take a quick look at my proportions.
Okay, again consciously, I noticed this is not right, there it is.
The upper teeth didn’t feel right.
So I’m looking at, I think the last bit of detail that I need to make this feel okay
before I want to move onto light and shadow, add a little bit of tone, is make sure that
the teeth are looking okay.
So I’m going to look at some landmarks here.
There’s a little landmark right there, if you could see it on the reference here there’s
a bit of shadow and that’s telling me that the molar is there, the molars, the back teeth,
a little bit of space between the top row and the bottom row and they kind of light
up here a little bit.
This is always a really tedious, so easy to get lost, but take your time, take your time.
Again, you don’t have to think you have to go as fast as me, if you’re following
along definitely take your time, this is a nice long, I believe they’re the incisors,
yeah, I think they’re called the incisors, right here, the front teeth.
I believe that, it’s Latin for cut, the incisor.
Latin for cut, scissor.
Yeah, anatomy can be quite a beautiful topic and obviously those who are serious about
a drawing especially anyone who needs to invent a head you have to know your anatomy I wouldn’t
say note the Latin names of everything, but for me it’s a lot of fun and that’s something
that you may, you may enjoy as well as sort of the origin of these things, of the research.
You know, one of the greatest artists known in history, Leonardo, was known to be obsessed
with anatomy and he approached it as a scientist in a lot of ways.
So that’s what cool about doing a skull study too, it’s kind of becomes part science
what we’re doing here in a lot of ways.
Appreciating this thing as a, not a work of art but as a functional thing in biology and
quickly that’s your vertebrae, excuse me, vertebrae obviously, I just, I put that in
there just so I know.
I use it as a visual, another visual aid for proportion.
So that’s something we’ll, you can explore as well.
So make sure these sutures are right.
So now what I’m going to do is quickly give myself a nice indication of these sutures
so that the cuts, these cracks, so that again they’re more proportional tools.
See I’m looking at this shape comparing it to my reference, feels okay, there’s
a little bit of shadow here so now I know that this suture can, kind of comes in.
I’m still not happy with the side of the skull.
I think that, that does it there.
Okay, so let’s add a little bit of tone, there’s no real darks here so we don’t
need to bring out a darker pencil so just quickly.
What I’m doing is I’m blocking in the darks that I see, ear hole.
Now I’m happy with my drawing and I’m adding or my lay-in adding lightened shades
so letting some of the shadow do the work, some of the tone do the work, just scratch
some of the form.
We don’t want to, you know, outline every damn thing, that’s not cool even though,
you know, as a professional illustrator myself I’ve it’s exactly what I do in a work setting.
A little bit of tone in the front of the face and I think that’s it really.
Oh, there’s a little bit of tone, because there’s a lip here and at the; add some
This is a front lip, I believe, yes, its front lip, so there’s not a lot of shadow.
What’s happening is there’ll be shadow rolling from the contour out because that’s
all like, it’s the only tone I can put in using the side of my pencil now.
That’s okay, this isn’t a rendering lesson by any means.
What I’m doing is just hoping to get a little bit more of a 3D effect, like get this little
bone here to pop out.
Yeah, get this ear hole to sink in, beautiful blending happening here.
Blending means the bone beautifully transitions into the cranium.
There’s a depression here, meaning the skull sinks in slightly here to make room for the
big thick temporal muscle, a little bit of tone on the front side here of this corner
of the orbital bone as it goes into the forehead.
Add some tone here, a little bit of tone under the jawbone and I think or the cheekbone,
excuse me and then it’s pretty much all the shading I can do,
more of a line drawing here.
See, this is more about me observing and me getting correct proportions, correct shapes,
correct distances and placement, and becoming familiar with, with the shapes of the skull,
the key anatomy.
How it all fits together and basically putting it in my visual library so that when I go
to draw a portrait with the skin on I’ll know exactly what I’m looking at.
I’ll be able to see through the skin and see this beautiful piece
of architecture right here.
Okay, yeah, I can sit here all day, but I’m not going to.
It’s just way too, I’m having way too much fun right now, I really don’t want
to stop, but I know I need to.
Put a couple of marks of tone there, make it look good for the thumbnail guys that’s
what I’m doing here, thumbnail, so you’ll click on this video.
It’s actually a beautiful highlight that’s happening here.
If you guys look at the reference carefully, right here, got some, the peak of the curve
of the skull is such a gorgeous highlight.
I wish I had some toned paper so I could add white, let me add this suture here,
a little bit of detail.
I’m going to pull this out with a hard line and then create so it appears that it’s
not a hard line actually more of a contour, and then there’s a nice beautiful suture
here, don’t worry too much about that.
You can go with that and we reinforce the outline or the contour of this jawbone
and then we’ll call it a day here.
Okay, so that’s a quick study, well not that quick,
but not too much shading and tone here.
Mostly, mostly line but the number one thing a lot of careful observation.
So now let’s take a look at another view, we’ll do a three-quarter view this time.
Three-quarter down means the camera angle is slightly up above the head, the skull,
or the skull is turns down.
This simulates a lot of those situations you’ll get in head drawing, especially in life drawing.
So a three-quarter down, so let’s take a look at our reference here.
Remember the process.
I tried to go a little bit quickly here and talk a little less, do more drawing.
Less talking, more drawing.
Again, start with basic shape.
I like the Boba Fett shape.
This one has some beautiful light, so I like that.
Center line here.
This is the bottom of the nasal bone so this is a little bit higher there.
Caught myself there.
Center of the mouth there.
In a lot of ways I’m approaching this like a head drawing with the skin and all.
Quick look and check of proportion.
It feels okay for now.
I’m consciously making it bigger.
Now let’s see if I can get some angles, protrusions, so brow bone here.
Go ahead and close the book.
Remember, the book shape that I use in side view
and drawing the—I’ve got to pull this back a little bit.
The bottom of the socket is a straight or a curved straight.
Is there such a thing as a curved straight?
It’s no longer a straight.
Remember the teeth are one of the protrusions, and if you look at a reference the teeth,
the top row look crazy.
They’re popping out big time.
I said earlier that the lower jaw should feel very substantial, like it takes up a lot of
space, but in this view it’s okay if it doesn’t too much because
this mass is turned down.
Perspective wise, this is going to look a little smaller.
It’s going to be foreshortened.
Let’s start with the brow bone first.
Remember, there is an angle.
I’m always trying to straighten things out.
There is a curve.
There is that corner.
I’m going to use that as a rhythm.
This rhythm exists too.
You definitely—after you watch this, if you haven’t already, I should review my
lesson on portrait drawing for beginners.
It has a wonderful explanation of some of the rhythms that I like to use.
It’s basically a long line that comes across several points of anatomy, key points.
I’m going to find center, remember of the jawbone, the center.
Ear hole is there.
I’m going to try to find the center.
Remember, there is a suture.
A point, a peak of your head above your skull is right there because I’m following the
center line of the skull to find that.
I’m still in the early proportional stages.
What I’m doing is I’m trying to give myself enough information so I know that, oh, okay,
this socket, these are the face, that’s the jaw bone, there is a hole here.
Still trying to get my proportions right.
So now, at first glance, this feels pretty good.
What is a little off is maybe the backside shape and the proportion of it.
The size of it at this angle.
I can check that later.
Remember, the bottom skull here, this protrusion here lines up
with the center of the mouth roughly.
So now I’m going to go ahead and find what I have.
Let’s see if I can—before I do the mouth I’d like to
see if I can get the keystone to work.
Adjust the angle there.
I’m actually looking at the angle.
There is a nice light.
It produces a very clear keystone shape.
If you guys look at the reference you can see that it’s very clear.
A little dimple there, a little divot, indentation.
The nasal bone actually overlaps the brow, or excuse me, the eye socket.
Now I’m going to try to correct that.
Again, take as much time as you need at every stage finding these angles.
Make sure your proportions are correct.
Obviously, if it takes you two hours to get this far, and your proportions are correct,
then that’s a win.
It’s not a race.
Don’t think, oh, Chris did it in 20 minutes so I have to do it in 20 minutes.
In fact, I would say take one or two hours.
And the teeth here.
Yeah, it’s going to take a while.
I’m just quickly indicating where the space is because I’m still not satisfied with
Notice how I start with a shape of all the teeth and
then indicate the space in between where they meet the jawbone there, where they emerge
from the bone.
There is actually a corner of the jaw here.
It goes from jaw to chin.
The front of the face.
That’s a beautiful shape.
I want to make sure it’s drawn correctly.
It might be even easier if you’re drawing bigger.
Remember, I’m only drawing a small percentage for instructional reasons so I can fit them
on a page and do them relatively quickly.
But yeah, definitely draw big, for sure bigger.
A4 size is great.
Letter—that’s the size.
In American English it’s called letter.
It’s the equivalent of A4 internationally, globally.
Beautiful set of shapes here.
There is a nice clean shadow.
It’s really going to help me gauge the proportion and the shape.
I’m still in the lay-in stage here, not quite ready to move on.
In fact, I’m going to stand up soon.
There is a little bump in the side.
If you guys carefully look at the reference you’ll see the bump there.
See the bump here?
It’s the center of our reference.
It lines up real nicely with the zygomatic there.
The hole of the jaw where the jaw hinges, shape of the jaw, transition into the gum
or the teeth.
There are no gums on a skull.
You know what I mean.
The shape, I’ll use it as a tool, shadow shape as a tool.
Let’s see, this spot right there.
I feel okay now about this.
Interesting play of light and shadow shapes happening in the eye.
I’m going to try my best to ignore it.
It’s so gorgeous, so beautiful, but that’s not important to me right now.
I’m looking carefully at this shape right here, comparing it to my reference.
Comparing that and also the negative, the negative space caused by the teeth coming
out, protruding out quite a bit here.
Alright, so this contour feels good.
Now I’m looking at the contour.
It’s another way to help you make sure her skull is correct.
This feels pretty good guys.
I’m going to stand up real quick.
Get another fresh perspective.
This feels pretty good.
I’d like to exaggerate the curve a little bit and then I’m going to basically add
tone and darken some of these lines.
I know they’re really light, trying to draw light on purpose.
Okay, so now I’m going to do some shadow.
I’m bringing out a black Prismacolor.
It gets a little bit darker than the Verithin.
I’m going to start to—well, not finish, but refine my drawing by
adding light and shadow.
I always like to let the light and shadow and tones.
My God, that is gorgeous.
Interesting thing happening here.
To be honest, I haven’t quite seen that shape.
There is a thing here in our reference.
I’m not 100% sure what that is.
I’m going to leave that alone.
I have drawn skulls but not this one.
They’re all kind of different and cool.
All different like us.
All portraits will be different as well.
Let’s see here.
Here is a cast shadow.
Light is coming.
This is the brow, casting the shadow into the socket.
You’ll see that it actually does that too on a face.
Okay, let’s see.
While I do this I’m also imagining this scenario when drawing a head, a full head
with skin and all the stuff.
I get this pose quite a bit.
Oh gosh, I’m getting down to the teeth.
This is the part where I have to slow down.
Let’s take a look at some of the landmarks we have here.
There is a center ridge that leads to the first one.
First indentation can go in here.
This one is a little off, and this one will be here.
This is your canine, I believe.
Yeah, it’s a canine.
It’s not really quite that sharp.
Canines are only sharp in Dracula, so don’t make them too sharp.
And then that beautiful shadow shape happening in the teeth there.
There is some, what is called 50/50 tones, which are, they could be half-tone.
They could be light, what I would call 50/50.
It’s really up to you.
I think the main thing is if you get the right separation and then roughly in the right place.
This just takes quite a bit of time.
There is really now way around it.
As long as the general movement from the front to the back, sort of like we did in the side,
remember the side had a nice movement, too, current angle.
You know what?
I’m going to do a little bit of a shortcut.
Now, don’t do this at home.
I’m going to try to ignore the lower teeth because they’re all in shadow.
So, guys, do as I say, not as I do.
This is one of those things.
I’m the teacher today so I say draw the lower teeth and then drop the shadow.
Don’t be a little shortcut like me.
Seriously, guys, you do need to learn what’s on there, but I’m trying to make a nice
concise lesson for you.
Anyway, moving on.
Don’t be like me, guys.
Don’t be like me.
Okay, shadow shape.
Let’s see, beautiful shadow shape here.
Beautiful core shadow happening here at the temporal bone.
Remember, this is, right, so we have to draw, the shape of the core shadow is actually curved
this way, curved towards us, slightly down.
The arc is down.
We’re above it.
That’s a cross-sectional rule.
The cross-section is one of the things that Steve Huston teaches.
I also learned it from him.
We describe light on form, or describe form using the light based on the direction of,
in this case, the core shadow.
You can also use things like the anatomy.
You definitely want to review some of Steve’s lessons on that using the core shadow and
drawing with cross-sections.
All this applies.
All the stuff you see, all the good fundamental stuff you see on the library, all this applies
It applies to skulls.
It applies to fruit.
It applies to flowers in some ways.
Regardless of the subject matter, the fundamentals will apply.
I’m going to mask that in real quick.
I’m looking at this shadow shape and I’m really, really happy because the shadow shape
helped me to give me a shape to compare.
I’m looking at this shape and comparing it to the reference and go, wow.
It’s pretty close.
I’m looking at this shape, comparing the reference and go, wow.
That’s pretty close.
What I’m saying is I use the shadow shape as a tool to help me
get proportion by comparing shapes.
One of the things, it’s a big part of my philosophy.
Skull drawing is a great subject to practice that with.
Ready to use shapes to compare to get better accuracy.
I’m saving this for last.
This is looking like it’s going to be a good thumbnail image, guys.
I want to get that nice thumbnail, so you click on this video.
The skull is such a fun thing to draw.
I think I’m not alone.
I think a lot of people, especially art students really gravitate to this.
It’s also a very iconic.
It’s iconic because it transcends.
What it is, the skull is a symbol in a lot of ways.
Okay, I feel pretty good about that.
There is a big mess of construction happening there.
Ah, you know what?
I’m going to leave that.
I’m going to leave that.
Let me mass this in.
Massing in means I’m going to fill in my shadow shape.
I’m going to try to bring those tones up.
Notice that I’m kind of going in the direction.
If your skull study has tone, make sure to be mindful of your technique.
In this case, it’s sort of a tonal side of the pencil kind of technique.
Be mindful that these marks are little arrows in a lot of ways.
So, use them to your advantage.
Take advantage of them.
Oh yeah, this is going to be a rad thumbnail.
For sure it’s going to get some clicks.
Darken the core shadow.
What I’d like to do is bring back a little lighter pencil.
Now I’m going to clean up the construction lines.
I’m going to gradate from the back of the skull to the front.
I don’t want you to get too caught up in the rendering.
Again, this is not a rendering lesson.
It’s not really a drawing lesson per se.
I want this to be more of an observation lesson.
The reason why I’m bringing this up is because this is form and this is a big form.
Remember, the skull, the cranium is huge, almost double the size of your face, practically
double the size of the face.
This tone helps to suggest a lot of stuff, a big old form back here.
That’s why I’m bringing it up.
I’m bringing up the shading, and that’s important to—of course, you want to shade
correctly all the time.
But in this case, it’s a critical part of communicating information of the proportion.
Remember, that’s one of our first goals in skull studies.
It’s to become very, very, very familiar with correct proportion and the skull, the
cranium relative to the facial mass.
It’s the most important proportion that we have to get right away.
We have to communicate that right away.
We want that in our mind right away.
Practice that right away.
Make it very important right away.
Just kind of having fun using the tone to suggest some of the anatomy.
A lot of beautiful anatomy ends in bumps and bruises here.
Well, not bruises, but little bumps and cracks and crevices.
Now, there is a corner here.
There is a corner.
If you notice, it’s there in line.
It’s there in line, but in tone it’s also there.
If you notice, very subtly, this gets brighter.
What I’m going to do is I’m going to stop my shading here or really, really lighten
my shading here.
Also, remember in side view, this part kind of dips in so it actually becomes an underplane,
and this becomes a top plane.
I’m going to leave that alone and leave the bright of the paper the best I can and
then indicate some of the core shadow there.
Yeah, now I’m just really having fun.
I just wish—no offense guys, I just wish I didn’t have to talk because I want to
finish this drawing.
Man, this is so much fun.
I hope you’re having fun at home like me.
I could do this all day, my God.
To be honest, that’s the reason why I became an artist in the first place.
It’s because if you lock me in a room with just some paper and something to draw, I’ll
come out in like two years, and I won’t even know time has passed.
That’s how I knew, like, oh, I should probably do this as a career.
And then as I started drawing more and more and more, and started to get a better understanding
of it, I wanted to tell people about it.
Man, I drew this today.
I learned this.
I wanted to talk about it so badly.
I had fun doing it.
I had fun talking about it, which is probably why I’m on this camera right now because
it’s so much fun.
This is fun, man.
I hope you’re having fun.
The point of drawing is to be fun.
To be honest, this is a very hard thing to draw.
You know, I don’t want to dismiss it like, oh, it’s just a skull, whatever.
It’s really hard to draw, guys, and I understand that.
One of the things that makes it hard is that it’s so beautiful.
It’s so beautiful and so full of detail you can get easily seduced.
Your eye will get sucked in, and you’ll want to endlessly draw the perfect teeth shape.
Hopefully, the process that I showed you, that’s why I wanted to show you the correct
thought process first.
It’s that shapes come first.
Simple comes first.
Detail comes much, much later.
Right now I’m at the beginning of the detailing stage.
This is fun.
The hard work is done.
Again, don’t think by any means that Chris got to the detailing stage in 25 minutes or
40 minutes or however much time we’ll have here.
Please take your time.
Please, please, please take your time.
If me or another teacher assigns you a study, please take your time.
Take your time out there students.
I would say definitely a minimum of one hour for the lay-in and minimum of maybe two hours
for the detailing.
Take your time, guys.
Take your time.
Anyway, I’m just having fun here.
I’m having fun.
I hope you’re following along at home.
This is a wonderful reference to draw.
I would encourage you to try to find a real skull or a replica.
A real skull is very expensive and hard to find.
You may not want one in your home.
They’re kind of creepy.
Look for a replica.
That’s what I have in my studio, a little replica.
They’re easy to find.
I’d encourage you to get one.
You serious head drawing students out there.
If you have the resources and the space, definitely get one.
They are so cool to have, a lot of fun to have, a lot of fun to draw.
I should be talking now.
See what I mean?
See what I mean, guys?
I just get lost in the drawing.
Eventually, someone in the recording studio here is going to pull me off this thing because
I don’t have no idea what time it is actually.
You can come back in two weeks, and I’ll still be here.
Eventually, someone is just going to have to come in this room and pull me out of here,
I’m having way too much fun.
Alright, let’s get back to teaching mode.
I’m going to pull myself away.
I’m going to be a grownup.
Oh, teaching mode.
Notice that accent.
I put that accent there—why?
Because, remember what I said?
Brow bone is the most important bone, in my opinion on the skull.
The orbital bone is connected to the brown bone.
Check it out, guys.
That little mark pulls it forward.
It pulls it forward.
Rewind it, you’ll see.
It was not that forward-ish, not that 3-D. What else?
Teaching mode time.
Teaching mode time.
Let’s see, what else is useful here?
One thing to note in this view, again, look how much the teeth protrude.
Look at that.
When you’re drawing a head, a portrait with skin and all, they’ll be lips here, so this
will come way forward.
That’s something to keep in mind.
A lot of things I see in students that I coach and that I mentor and that I work with personally
is that they’re mouths are flat.
So, a skull study hopefully will train you to see, oh, my God, the teeth actually stick
out quite a bit, right?
I think mine could come out even more.
Keep that in mind, guys.
Teeth stick out.
The cranium is a big, hunking mass.
This is going back into space.
We can’t see it.
It’s in shadow so we can’t fully appreciate it.
Remember, our side view drawing.
We saw that the cranium mass is huge, so keep that in mind.
Alright guys, let’s move on from here.
And I’m going to do three-quarter up view, meaning the skull is slightly turned up, or
our viewpoint is below.
We’re basically below the model or the skull.
This angle you’ll see in life drawing.
You’ll see it a lot in portrait drawing.
That’s why I’ll cover these three.
This one was more for understanding the anatomy of the skull and the proportion.
You’ll see this a lot, and this three-quarter up or low angle, also known as worm’s eye
view you’ll see a lot, lot, lot.
So, let’s go.
We’ll try to go a little bit quickly here.
I know I got a little crazy last time.
I was having so much fun.
The last skull had a beautiful light and shadow.
I always get excited when I see beautiful light and shadow.
So this one, remember how I always talk about starting with the shape.
This one has a nice contained shape.
If I follow the top, it’s a gesture of the top of the skull, gesture of the side.
I’m looking at the cheekbone here and the eye bone, what’s actually the front two.
Follow that down to the jaw.
Where the jaw turns a corner there is a very sharp corner turn.
If I follow the slope of the jaw, the curve of the jaw back, see how that create a nice
little curvy box?
I call this a curvy box.
This is a nice, beautiful—it’s one shape that does the job of the two shapes.
Remember, the two Loomis shapes that we had earlier.
Loomis man or the Boba Fett.
Now, what I’d like to do is obviously I’ve got to find the jawbone.
Right, I’ve got to find the center.
What I’d like to do first is find the center of the face, vertical center.
I’m looking at our reference here, and I’m cutting through the keystone, which is exactly
what I’d do.
Keystone is between the two brows.
Exactly what I would do there in head drawing.
Then I would try to find the center of the socket.
I’m looking at the socket shapes, roughly here.
I’m going to try to cut right through the center of the socket and then curve back.
There is an angle change.
Remember the orbital bone, the eye bone.
It changes direction so it starts to curve back into the back of the skull, the cranium.
So now I kind of have the vertical and horizontal center.
So now I’ve got to find this center.
What I’m looking for is two things: One, the suture.
Excuse me—well, yeah, it’s a suture.
It’s where the front plate of your skull meets the top and back plate of your skull.
There is a point here.
You can clearly see it in our reference.
Can you see there, guys, over here in our reference?
There is a clear point.
That is—the center line of your skull, the center axis.
It’s a curve.
The skull is round.
It’s a curve.
That will lead me.
Remember, where these two intersect will lead me to the ear.
That gives me the jaw.
Now I have a rough idea, and the jaw kind of curves in, down, and towards us at this case.
So now, it gives us a rough idea of where the jaw is.
Alright, and then the back of the skull.
Now, for sure, the back of the skull will not look as impressive here.
Here, because of the foreshortening, the front looks way bigger than the back in the cranium,
which is, as we know, is not correct, but anatomically not correct.
Visually, this case, because of the foreshortening is right.
I still want to give it some meat, some depth, some stuff.
I don’t want to make it feel small, ever.
So there is that little angle there.
That gives us, remember, that gives us the center of the mouth.
Now I’m going to look at her skull.
I have a horizontal center.
I’m looking at the distance between the horizontal center where the bottom of my teeth
are, and where the bottom of the nasal hole, opening there.
It’s roughly there.
Now the brow line, which will be roughly here.
Remember, it arches back quite a bit.
Then I’m going to try to…now that I have a nice idea of what this block looks like,
I’m going to use the contour as a tool.
The contour has a very specific set of bends and curves and corners and direction changes.
I’m going to use a lot of straights to get that right.
Now I can do what’s called, what I call the book.
Remember, the eyes look like a book from the side, the sockets, anyway.
The bottom of the socket lines up here.
So, this has got to come down.
Bottom of the nasal bone.
Remember, the protrusion comes up.
In this case, it’s more of a backwards angle.
It’s more of a softer angle there.
Now, the cheekbones will line up on a curve.
And I know the jawbone is way too small now relative to the face.
Remember, the jaw bone has a lot of—it’s relative in size.
There is an angle here, guys.
This is where the cheek turns a corner.
You can see it here.
It is slightly darker here.
It’s a clear angle.
It kind of leads you right into—do you see that?
It kind of leads you right into the center line, there.
That’s a nice little rhythm I just found.
What I want to do now is get the jawbone looking right.
Right now it does not look remotely right.
It looks way too small.
If you can kind of see—I know my drawing is light—but look how small this is relative
This feels huge.
This feels small.
Remember, it’s the opposite.
The jawbone is quite big, and the barrel of the mouth is quite substantial.
It has a lot of space.
Let’s pop that out.
The barrel of the mouth.
Again, breaking this complexity down into simple shapes.
Trying to rhythms wherever I can.
Trying to relate things wherever I can.
The rhythm of the eye led me to the front side of the jawbone, the mandible,
It’s called the mandible.
There is a beautiful curve here.
It’s just such an incredible piece of architecture, this thing.
Beautiful curves everywhere, I love it.
Now I know that this has to come down.
Either my teeth are too long, or the jaw is too small.
That’s really what it is.
Now we’re cooking.
Now that it feels right.
Comparing the shape, this shape to the teeth.
Comparing this mass to this mass.
I’d like to start to find this orbital bone.
Now I know that the earhole I originally placed needs to move.
That was close, sort of close.
It’s roughly here now.
I’m still trying to keep everything simple.
I don’t want to get too much detail even though I’d love to.
Remember, I said earlier that’s part of your training if you’re new to this.
You want to have the discipline to not draw details too soon.
I need to switch pencils.
What I’m going to do, guys, is stand up because this proportion feels a little weird
A lot of the shadow…there is a shadow here and it’s sort of.
Not it feels good.
Actually, it’s sort of tricking my eye a little bit.
I’m drawing the curve.
I think it would be here.
The curve of my spinal cord.
That’s just for me.
I’m going to stand up and get a better perspective here.
Okay, it looks good.
I took a step back.
I just stood up, actually.
If you’re drawing at home, please, please periodically take a step back.
That’s the best way to catch your proportion errors, is to step back.
The next best way is to use a mirror.
That’s a wonderful way.
Okay, so I’m pretty happy.
Now what I’m going to do is I’m going to try to refine the shape so I give myself
more information so I can keep refining.
The masses feel good.
Cranium mass to face mass feels good.
Jaw mass to face mass feels good.
Angles feel good.
General proportions, the thirds feel pretty good.
Vertical and horizontal center feels pretty good, pretty good.
I can move forward.
Let me move forward here.
I’m going to start—notice I immediately went to the keystone, so that’s just kind
of where my training is.
This one doesn’t have quite as sexy of a—sexy means interesting.
That’s slang for something that looks visually interesting.
The shadow pattern, light and shadow is the other one.
We can still make it a really nice drawing if we want, or we can just be very scientific
and treat it as a—not an anatomical study, although you can treat it as more of an observation
Again, that’s what the point of this whole lesson is, is to force you to look at a skull
for hours and hours and hours and force you to memorize the anatomy of the skull, the
pieces of the skull, and its proportions.
That’s our goal, here.
If you’re following along at home, following along at home.
I think once you get familiar with the skull, definitely
I would then do your own studies, if you can find
your own and own skull or maybe find reference and variety of ethnicities.
We all have subtle variation.
You can start to do your own artistic interpretations of the skull.
Make longer drawings and paintings, make it into an art piece.
I know it’s a little too early for the teeth, but I need this one.
Oh no, it’s the front incisor.
Yeah, that’s right.
Yeah, I need this one.
This is the canine.
The canine then becomes the molar, and there are three big molars in the back.
The only reason why I need that is because I need it to judge the bottom row here.
I need that shape to make sure, I need to compare this shape to the reference—compare
to the lower, compare it here—as a tool to compare.
And the teeth just a little bit tedious.
Just be patient.
Take your time.
I’m trying to rush through it.
It’s my least favorite part, I’ve got to be honest here, but necessary.
Trying to find this dimple.
A lot of complex stuff happening there.
Like I said, you will see this quite a bit in head drawing, portrait drawing, this view.
It’s a very powerful angle.
You’ll see even more, you know, you’ll see even more tilt.
This one is just, I chose this one because it’s not too crazy.
I don’t want to be really—it’s really intimidating actually so that’s why you’ve
got to be careful.
I had to choose this one carefully.
Oh, so this is the wrong—okay, good.
I started to draw these sutures, but my shapes were off.
I’m looking at the shapes.
I was way off.
And now really I’m starting to add detail.
Because as I went back, I realized, everything feels really good because I’m using the
shapes that I have—there is a beautiful angle here, watch this.
I’m going to follow that angle.
Yeah, that’s right.
What I did was I took this angle.
I followed it, and I’m looking at the reference, and also it does lead right into this depression,
which is your earhole.
You can’t really see the full extent of it, but that’s where it goes.
There is a little—remember little notches here where the muscles attach, the masseter
And some anatomy here.
There is actually a beautiful corner.
Very subtle here.
Where the side plane turns into this plane and then there is also a corner, there is
a highlight here right around where this divot is, this hole, and turns into the front plane.
So, guys, I’m going to stand up one more time and take a look at the proportions that
I have just to double check.
Okay, I took a look at it.
It feels pretty good.
If you’re at home, please, please, pretty please take a break periodically and look
at your drawing, please, from a distance.
Stand up off your drawing table.
Look at your drawing from across the room.
Otherwise, proportions will be off, I promise you.
It will be off.
Also, look at a mirror to see your drawing in reverse.
That’s a good tip.
Now I’m going to start to add a little bit of detail and shading.
Let me bring out my colored pencil here.
Little darker tone.
I know I didn’t talk much on this one.
The process is pretty much the same, obviously.
Definitely review the first part because I did take quite a bit of time.
Now, because of my experience I was able to get the proportions very quickly.
I remember we did the big shape and I found this angle.
I found the jaw.
I found the center of the eye and all of that stuff.
I always started with the center line.
I was able to find those things quickly, but take as much time as you need because that
will make or break your drawing.
Again, the purpose of this exercise is observation to get correct proportion and anatomy, so
you definitely want to get that right.
Right now I drew the wrong shape.
I started talking and I screw up my drawing.
I should talk less, maybe.
I don’t know.
I guess you probably need to hear my talk.
Dangit, got to be teacher mode here.
Okay, and let me see here.
I’m drawing the shadow shape there.
There is also some beautiful and gorgeous anatomy in there that I’d love to spend
hours on, but I’m just going to try to do my best to be disciplined and ignore that.
In fact, I’ll just drop in a nice little half-tone there, nice light tone.
Half-tone is such a fun thing to look at, lots of little shapes to look at and to draw.
Really, here, most of the work is done.
The hard work, all the line work and the construction.
That was the hard work.
What I’m doing here is adding some tone and then using the shadow shape to help me
compare my shapes.
And I’m already really happy, really confident with the shapes that I have.
That’s why I’m not talking too much here.
I’m basically doing almost a shading exercise.
I definitely can review.
This is not a shading lesson, by any means.
You can definitely review those in the library.
There is a lot of wonderful lessons.
I have one on shading.
Definitely check those out.
There is a corner change here.
This construction kind of takes away so I’ll erase that.
Let’s drop this tone in.
There is a beautiful highlight here.
There is a beautiful ridge right here, so I want to leave that the white of the paper.
In fact, I’m going to switch to my—I messed up the curve.
Let me erase that.
That’s not right.
Switch to my Verithin pencil, which is a lighter pencil.
This is a beautiful, gorgeous anatomy back here.
A beautiful shadow.
I’d like to do justice to that.
Add some tone.
The core shadow, it’s a subtle core shadow.
It’s a soft core shadow because the light isn’t that strong.
It’s a much softer light than what we had with the three-quarter one.
Not a lot of shadow there.
There is an indication, and I have to do that here, of the overlap.
Remember, the overlap is so important.
The main thing that I’m doing now is trying to get that separation from the top row in
the bottom row, because remember the crazy amount of overlap that happens.
I want to get that even.
You can’t really see it too much in this view, so we’re going to use the shadow to do that.
It’s a lot of detail here, so I’ve got to take my time.
Take your time, guys, watching this at home.
Every time I’ve probably said it, you’re probably sick of me saying that.
The reason why I say that is because I’ve been teaching a while now, and I’ve seen
a lot of students kind of rush, rush, rush.
I’m guilty of it too.
Take your time.
Make sure it looks correct.
I’m actually pretty much done here.
There is not a lot of shadow for me to work with.
It’s kind of like that side view we did earlier.
I put way too much—I’m going to have to erase that.
Yeah, it’s too much.
It’s too dark.
I don’t want that to have a lot of value.
I want shadow so bad I exaggerate the amount of contrast a lot.
Interesting piece of anatomy there.
Actually, this socket is much darker than anything else.
It’s one of the darkest things here besides the backside.
Nice and soft light.
I think what I’m going to do now is just sort of like the side view is just refine
the contours, the contour around here.
Make sure that’s looking good.
A little bit of tone to bring your eye forward.
I’m going to hint at this beautiful bump.
There is a subtle…
I want to point this out really quick.
This actually curves out, goes back.
Then remember how it beautifully transitions back into the skull, so I wanted to make sure
that little bit of tone felt right.
It felt a little off, actually.
A lot of anatomy and detail there.
Okay, there you go.
I’m trying to think of what’s darker.
Really, now it’s at the value stage, value control.
I’m going to bring back a lighter pencil for that.
I’m basically trying to make the drawing feel a little bit more 3D at this stage.
Making sure that these tones push the forms and creases and indentations back.
This is the real subtle nuances and subtleties of this skull anatomy, which is incredibly
gorgeous in my opinion.
So, it’s not 100% necessary, but if you’re watching at home and you’re following along
at home, I would definitely want you to try your best here to use the tone to suggest
or show, describe the anatomy that you see even though you may not understand it fully.
You can even use a reference book so you know, oh, what
you’re looking at.
You know, when I draw these at home, I often have a real skull.
That’s ideally the best way to work.
You have a real skull to work from so that I can turn it and things and understand it
from different angles, which is cool.
You can’t really do that with a person unless you have a willing and able model, someone
to pose for you, a good friend who will sit there and really let you stare at them and
This is also a wonderful exercise.
So yeah, what I’m doing with the shading is trying to communicate in 3D.
Also, in my mind I’m trying to communicate, or I’m trying to understand when the skull
goes in, when the skull curves in, when it starts to pop out.
Protrusions are the parts that pop out.
Cracks and crevices.
You know, trying to understand how deep they go, why they’re there, what possible anatomy
could be, you know, what muscle or tendon could possible attach there.
Why it’s important.
Why that little notches there like these guys.
I don’t 100% know what attaches to what, but I know muscles are here.
Lots of muscles are here.
These are just some things to note.
And you know, the more the draw, the more you realize, oh my God, there is a lot happening
here so you definitely want to be mindful and appreciative.
It really helps you to appreciate the skull with all the architecture and the structures
I’m going to try to finish this up.
In a lot of ways, even though I am drawing, yes; I’m shading, yes; but I’m still studying.
I still have my student hat on, my scientist hat on.
I’m also trying to go, oh, what’s going on here?
Why is there a little bump there?
How deep does that little bump go?
Those kind of things is what’s going on in my mind right now?
Definitely, I’m doing more than copying, more than copying what I see, more than trying
to make an art piece.
That’s not the point here, today.
It’s not an art piece day.
It’s more of an…
It’s more of a student of anatomy, student of form, student of the head.
The more you do these, the more you’ll be able to draw from imagination.
That’s the end goal.
That’s really the end goal.
It’s the whole point of this lesson.
I want to give you some tools so that you can do this on your own and repeat it on your
You can get your own reference.
Draw a skull from life and start to be able to have these memorized.
You want to be able to memorize these proportions and understand some of the big anatomy, obviously,
first, and then some of the subtle anatomy if you want to take it to that level.
Beautiful highlights happening right here.
Beautiful highlights happening on the brow ridge here.
Orbit—I mispronounce that word every time.
Orbital bone, slowly in English first.
Or little bone, right here.
Transitions to the zygomatic.
I’m going to try to pop this out like I did last time.
Let’s see if I can do that.
Yep, there we go.
I’m just like really in awe right now of that beautiful highlight that’s happening
I’m using a hatching technique.
Notice I’m kind of pulling your eye in, but that’s more technique.
Don’t worry about that right now.
That’s more technique.
Don’t worry about that right now.
So, for you guys watching at home, you’ll want to start to do your own skull studies…a
lot of times, one really good thing to do would be to copy medical illustration or a
proper anatomy book with some wonderful anatomy experts who wrote books.
Their drawings are quite good, so if you can’t find good photo reference, it’s also good
to study to copy a master drawing in a lot of ways, just like an old master drawing.
But, again, that would be more on the anatomical side.
If you want to do the minimal, I say grab a good piece of reference.
If you’re watching this, you have access to reference.
Follow along here and do your own study.
Spend as long as it takes.
I would say at least one to three hours.
Try to get the process.
Remember, review the process that I mentioned.
Start with the side view.
Review the process.
That way, if you’re new to it you don’t get too intimidated because it is a complex
thing, as you see here.
I’ll try my best to put down notes and details that are of importance.
I’m pretty much done here.
One last note I’d like to make.
Separate that bone there.
Make that come forward, and make this sit back with a little bit darker tone, basically
punching a hole.
There is a huge hole right here, so I’m going to punch that hole in.
There is a whole here.
There is a hole there.
See if I can separate this with a hard line.
Try to make that come forward.
Last bit here.
Also, too, when you’re shading you want to step away.
Make sure your values look good because, you know, I’m so close it’s difficult to gauge.
Let me put a little bit of tone on these teeth.
These teeth appear very bright because they’re reflective, but they’re not that bright
relative to the rest of the skull.
They’re about the same value.
They’re just more reflective.
It’s a different material in a lot of ways.
It’s more polished bone.
One more note here.
Separate these teeth from this space here.
Okay, so let’s wrap this up here.
I feel pretty good about the values so far.
Let’s quickly review the important things to note.
Again, this is not a rendering class so I don’t want to take up too much of your time.
So, important things to know: One, proportion.
Let’s take a look.
We know that this is foreshortened, so the backside normally should look huge.
Remember, our side view.
It should look huge.
Double the size, but because it’s foreshortened it doesn’t.
In this case, it looks about even.
If you’re following along, I want you to purposely make this a little bit bigger, like
I did and then correct if needed, and then the ratio of the jaw to the face feels really
The jaw in this case is going to be really, really big, so even exaggerate that because
the rest of the features will be foreshortened as they go back.
What else is there to note?
The key anatomy, the browbone.
Actually, the browbone needs to come out a little bit.
I feel like it’s a little, it’s missing that ridge, but the curve is there.
The curve is there.
That’s working for us.
The size of the sockets there proportionally are good.
The rule of thirds, brow to the bottom of the nose right about there and then to the chin.
Those proportions feel good.
Using some landmarks to help us find anatomy.
That worked out quite well.
Here is the earhole.
It ended up being right here.
The barrel of the mouth.
Notice how much the teeth really pop out in the beautiful overlap that’s happening,
between top and lower teeth.
I use tone in this case to suggest the overlap to help me sell the overlap to indicate it.
Then the angles are looking good.
Angles, angles, angles.
And the way that this cheekbone comes forward, connects to the brow bone, nice beautiful rhythm
there, and then slopes back into the skull and connects to the ear.
The jawbone fits nicely there.
I think we hit all the notes.
I mean there are a lot more notes that we can do.
We can spend more time rendering and adding detail, but I think as a skull study for a
head drawing student, someone new to portrait drawing or head drawing,
I think this is a success.
Thank you for watching.
Definitely follow along at home.
Review the process as much as you can.
I know this is an extremely complex piece of architecture.
I don’t mean to make light of it.
Obviously, I’ve done this so many times.
It looks relatively easy.
I do it fast, but take your time, please.
Take your time.
If you can, if this takes you a day, a 20-hour drawing, to get up to the shading then that
is a wonderful win.
That’s an accomplishment.
Take your time.
Focus on the observation.
Really, my goal here and the goal of this lesson is to get you to start to look at the
skull to start thinking about the skull and start to appreciate the skull and start to
get these shapes, sizes, and anatomy and things into your visual library into your memory.
So, once again, thank you for watching.
Okay, guys, what did you think.
I hope you enjoyed watching the drawing process.
I hope you learned a few things about the skull.
Just keep in mind that as you draw, definitely be mindful of the proportions.
Be mindful of the cranium.
Don’t forget we have this big thing called the brain back here.
Learn to appreciate the size of that.
Learn to appreciate the jaw and also start to become familiar with the key parts of the
anatomy that we do see on the face, also on the skull, and become familiar with how they
work and how they intertwine with other.
Definitely, draw as many skulls as you can.
If you have access to a real skull that would be ideal.
You know, get your hands on it, play with it, draw it from different angles.
The tough angles.
If you’re new and you’re following along, use the reference.
Draw the skull from the angles that you saw.
Start with the side view to get the process.
Three-quarter down, three-quarter up because those will be what you see in life-drawing
As you get more advanced, draw more difficult angles.
Worm’s eye, low angle, bird’s eye view.
That way you become really familiar.
The goal is to get this in you brain so you can eventually invent the skull from imagination.
That way if you’re an illustrator or you’re an illustrator student you’ll be able to
knock out and invent faces from almost any angle.
Then if you want to learn the skull for yourself you’ll be able to have more confidence when
you draw from life or from reference.
So, thank you for watching.
I’ll see you in the next lesson.
Free to try
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
20m 58s2. Proportions of the Head and Skull: Three Views
20m 43s3. Landmarks of the Skull: Two Views
38m 18s4. Explaining His Process, then a Thumbnail in Profile
32m 45s5. A More Detailed Thumbnail, Three-Quarter View
29m 37s6. Most Detailed Thumbnail, Three-Quarter View (From Below) - Part 1
25m 29s7. Most Detailed Thumbnail, Three-Quarter View (From Below) - Part 2