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What You"ll be Creating

Snakes are one of the most-drawn animals, if no the most attracted animal. They"re taken into consideration to be really simple, with no legs or special muscles that have to be defined. There"s only a head (without ears!) and also a lengthy tail—what can go wrong?

So, welcome to the perfect start right into the human being of animal drawing: a guide to drawing snakes! I"ll present you exactly how to attract both venomous and also harmless snakes, and how to attract their scales and also patterns realistically. We won"t emphasis only on one species, however rather will certainly look in ~ the techniques you need to draw any component of any form of snake. Aafter going v this tutorial, you should be able to draw most varieties the snakes almost effortlessly.

You are watching: Snake head top view

1. Snake Bodies

Basic Anatomy

Let"s start with some basics around snakes" anatomy. We often tend to see think of snakes together made mostly of a lengthy tail, however the reality is, the majority of a snake"s human body is actually a long chest.

1—head, 2- chest, 3—tail

The outwardly harmless belief that a line body is largely made that a tail leader to totally incorrect drawings of snakes. Even as among the simplest animals, snake drawings still experience from a too-cursory knowledge about their makeup. Rather of see them as a continually tapered tail, it"s far better to imagine them together a string of beads—which confirms closer come the bent rib form that actually renders up the snake"s body. "Neck" beads room a little bit narrower than "chest" ones", and also then they obtain smaller and smaller, but not really rapidly. In contrast, if you think of a snake as just a long tail, you"ll most likely sharply taper its entire length.

The differences in human body tapering if you draw a snake together beads instead of simply a tail

The length and also width of the "neck" and "chest" segments count on the species. Part will have actually no neck in ~ all, when others room so slim the chest will not it is in noticeable. If you"re illustration a line without focusing on the species, you deserve to experiment here. Remember—snakes don"t need to be constantly perfectly slender, and sometimes castle look fat and also clumsy!

The cable of beads technique makes it simpler to attract snakes in motion

The "string the beads" method is very useful in producing 3D poses. If you have troubles with imagining the sides, you deserve to use cubes rather of balls.

Turning your bead line body into a 3D drawing

You deserve to make the 3D an extremely easy to attract by adding much more circles between those building the pose. This way you"ll gain a feeling of volume, and the sides will certainly be much easier to define.

An upright line body through the extra circles to offer its body volume

What about snake"s well known hoods, frequently seen in cobras? They"re actually a snake"s body, flattened by straightened ribs. That method the hood"s width is dependent on the typical width of the body, and it can"t it is in as large as you may like it come be.

A snake"s hood drawn proportionally come its body

Movement Types

To create a believable pose, we have to know how snakes move. 

1. Serpentine activity - the classic movement that a snake. The pet use its strong body to press on terrain crimps (or simply uses the terrain together a whole, if it"s rough enough to produce resistance).

Serpentine movement

2. Concertina activity - the motion where the snake folds and expands regularly, favor a concertina or accordion. Snakes usage this method when rise or coming through narrow tunnels.

Concertina movement

3. Caterpillar movement - this activity works similarly to a upright concertina movement. Slight horizontal concertina may occur too during this movement.

Caterpillar movement

4. Sidewinging movement - this an approach is really efficient ~ above slippery or hot surfaces (like desert). The snake pushes itself with a swaying motion of the increased coils, which renders it move somewhat sideways.

Sidewinging movement

2. Exactly how to attract a Snake"s Head


Step 1

I"m walking to present you 3 views the the snake"s head in ~ the exact same time: next (1), front (2) and also top (3). This way, you"ll be able to easily compare them to recognize this type in 3D.

Start with a planarization ball. In addition to the center line, over there should additionally be a line inserted at one third of the diameter.

Draw a line in the center and at 1/3rd diameter elevation of the circleStep 2

We next require to define the jaws and also cheeks. The arrows in the diagram below show you the flow of this shape.

Adding cheeks and jaws to the snakeStep 3

Add another, bigger sphere behind the main one. This way, we"ll elongate the skull properly.

Add secondary ball to the head.

How much larger should this second ball be? Generally, poisonous snakes have more triangular heads, through a clean neck endpoint, so you"ll desire a lot larger 2nd ball. Nonvenomous snakes typically have narrower heads therefore the second ball only requirements to be a bit wider.

Vary the broad of the second ball depending on the kind of snakeStep 4

You deserve to now conveniently outline the contours.

Outline the snake head contoursStep 5

The eye are inserted close come the narrower tip of the skull.

Step 6

Now, smile! The snake"s smile—or mouth, rather—should be large and fine defined. Add tiny nose holes accordingly as well.

Add the snake"s mouth and also nostrilsStep 7

With every the overview lines, girlfriend can easily sketch the remainder contours. Don"t forget around a tiny hole between the lips that lets the tongue slip out without opened the mouth!

Add the contours of the rest of the snake"s headStep 9

If you"re including a bottom watch to her snake, use the height view one to create the bottom one, and also just forget around the eyes and also nose.

The bottom that the snake head retains usually the same shape


If merely redrawing the scale at random doesn"t meet you and also you want to mental rules about their placement, here"s a couple of tips. Store in psychic that not all snakes space the same, and also their scales may vary as well. What I"m reflecting you is a general pattern, especially common for nonvenomous species.

Step 1

Let"s start with the greatly vertical lines. There"s one right under the eye, 2 on that sides, and three others near the nose. (Observe every the views to understand exactly what you"re drawing, so you"ll psychic it more easily).

The basic direction of the large head scales
The big head scales, outlinedStep 2

Now, let"s walk horizontal. Attract a heat from the sleep to the eye, then break-up it into four brand-new ones. The former of the head demands some small tweaks too.

The key horizontal range lines
The key horizontal head scales, outlinedStep 3

Now, back of the head. Right behind it consistent scale rows begin.

The direction the neck scales
Neck scale outlinedStep 4

The bottom see of the head demands a various treatment:

The standard scale synopsis on the bottom the a snake headStep 5

If friend don"t want to discover all these arrows by heart, here"s a vibrant scheme for you. Once again, keep in mind that every snake is different and also you deserve to modify these shapes accordingly.

1—side, 2—front, 3—top, 4—bottomStep 6

Venomous snakes (and part nonvenomous snakes—pythons, in particular, have them really distinctively) can have heat-sensitive pits on your heads. You can treat lock as big nose-holes do of scales. Girlfriend can uncover them somewhere beside the nose, and in a row on the upper or reduced lip (not necessarily anywhere at the exact same time, as presented below). They allow the snake see the temperature (infrared light) come spot the heat body of its prey.

Venomous line have also smaller, tighter scales on your heads, similar to the people on the rest of your body. They"re much easier to draw, due to the fact that they"re often quite chaotic. You have the right to make the head less "smooth", through high nose and strong brows, to specify the wild look the the snake.

Heat-sensitive pits on snake head


Time for part details. Generally, awful snakes have slit pupils, when nonvenomous snakes have round pupils. Their eyes themselves space round, however can watch sharper many thanks to a "brow" scale. Usage it for an angry look!

Nonvenomous, venomous, and brow-shaded venomous snake eyes

Snake eye come in unbelievably an excellent set the colors. Basically anything you can imagine will look good on your made-up species, as lengthy as friend stick come the round shape and also proper pupil.

Be an imaginative with your snake eye colors


Snakes have the most exciting jaws construction of any pet (except possibly for the moray eel). Let"s begin slowly. First, the fangs (if present) must be curved to inside, so the the line doesn"t bite itself (snakes are not actually immune come their own venom!).

Make sure your snake"s teeth space pointed inwards

Secondly, there is a bone in between the upper and lower jaw, loosely linked to both that them. It offers the jaws a tremendous range of motion. Snakes through long and also strongly curved fangs (like vipers) may be able to "retract" them—bend the pointer of the mouth to allude them straighter.

Snake jaws deserve to open very widely to allude the fangs straighter

But that"s no all: every jaw is break-up in 2 (connected by an elastic ligament), and also each deserve to move independently. Now it"s noticeable how snakes can swallow food much bigger than your head!

Snake jaws have actually a wide selection of flexibility


Let"s take a good look in ~ a close-up that the head:

- sharp as needles, regularly covered with a thick gum. Just venomous snakes have those!Venom duct - venom runs from its gland right through a hole fang. Then it deserve to be transferred right into the prey"s body during a bite. Some types are able come spit the venom v the fangs.Glottis—a feet that"s part of respiratory system. It lets the snake breath when it"s swallowing, and also is additionally able to develop the hissing sound.Tongue—it"s long, slim (but no flat) and shiny. A snake use it come "lick" the air, so it"s supplied as an additional sense. To process the "taste", the tongue must touch a special organ inside the mouth, for this reason the slipping in and also out. The pointer is forked to develop two independent tips, every receiving a slightly different signal native its side (just like two eyes). The posture shown listed below is impossible, because the tongue slips out of the sheath only once the mouth is closed.Cheeks—these solid muscles regulate the activity of the jaws. Draw them as they deserve, thick and solid.
Each that the part of the line head, as defined above

3. Scales and Patterns

Scales room where the simplicity that a snake ends. Currently the brave artist have to be patient and also draw every the scale one by one, and then the shade them the very same way. No, I"m not going to display you part magic method to stop the work—instead, I"ll show you just how not come waste this time by ending up v a level pattern.

Scales" Structure

We already described and sketched the scale structure all roughly the head. Beyond that, fairly regular and well-known scales take place in neat, orderly rows. The dorsal scales cover all the earlier and sides, when the remaining space is bring away by ventral scales—wide, elongated plates extending all the belly, parallel follow me the body. They have the right to be as broad as the body (covering whole belly"s width) or narrower. If they"re narrower, they might not be visible from the side.

1—side, 2—bottom

Of course, there is a ar where the ship ends and also the tail starts. It"s characterized by the anal plate (colloquially speaking, a snake"s butt). Here things go a bit different for a venomous (left) and nonvenomous (right) species:

venomous snakes have a single anal plate, and the scale under the tail are placed just behind itnonvenomous snakes have actually the anal key slipped, and then the other scales are divided too.
1—belly, 2—anal plate, 3—undertail

Drawing the scale themselves isn"t an extremely hard, and also you have probably viewed the mini-tutorial in the picture below. Cross part lines, them draw the scales in between them—we"ve every been there. The trouble is, this trick offers us an extremely flat laying scales, therefore we should modify it.

The default means to criss-cross lines and also turn them into scales

Here"s the procedures you have to make your scales contour to the snake"s body and appear more life-like.

Step 1

The cheat is to bend the initial heat a little, come an opposite direction in ~ both halves. So, instead of illustration an oblique line, you just need to attract an elongated S (or integral symbol), and also cross it through its copy reflection.

Draw a shallow figure S instead of a straight line...
...then overcome it v its copy reflectionStep 2

The other lines need to copy the bending. Simply repeat the shallow curved line pattern along the snake"s body.

Continue the bent line patternStep 3

If you draw the scales on the mesh now, you"ll view they get smaller when closer to the edge, which gives them the receding look that a 3D snake body must have. That"s all!

Your scales now will have the exactly curve

However, this method becomes rather problematic when it involves curves ~ above the snake"s body. Here"s a workaround for this problem. It may look confusing at first, but try to draw it and also you"ll see exactly how it works:

Draw the guides through the usual technique on the straight partsDraw a collection of parallel lines between the pink line from A and also blue line from BDo the same in between the blue line from A and also pink heat from BIf girlfriend did it correctly, the scales need to now follow the curve. The tightening the lines inside the curve have to now appear natural.
The steps to do the scales look exactly on a curved snake 


Generally, there"s two distinct species of scales—smooth (1) and keeled (carinate, 2). Smooth scales are shiny (but not wet) and usually rounder than keeled ones, which have actually a unstable look and also are sharper.

Smooth and keeled scales

There"s a special type of keeled scales, elevated in a method that renders them look at spiky.

Smoother and also spikey keeled scales

Scales aren"t linked to every other, however to the skin only. Therefore, as soon as the skin is extended (3—when swallowing a big prey or even when moving), the scales relocate away from every other. Some much less slender line may have actually the scales placed tightly top top the head and neck (1), and also down your body a little bit of distance in between them occurs (2).

The varying distance in between scales once tight (1), somewhat spread (2), and stretched (3)


Once you got the problem with scales sorted out, girlfriend can add colors to your snake. The sport of patterns room limitless! while most pets are dull colored because that camouflage"s sake, line proudly display their body to the world, announcing just how dangerous castle are—and the they"re not worth messing with. Girlfriend can finally use saturated, glowing colors without going far from realism.

Here"s the shade patterns that work well.


This can be a base for a sample or simply a sample on the own. Use any color you want for the whole body.

A simple plain shade can work nicely

The sport of this pattern is to blend it softly with various other colors. You can make the head darker, or the ship lighter, every little thing you want.

Blend two or much more colors softly for a nice shade effectRings

Rings go about the body. They deserve to be level or multiply fancy (stripes with borders).

Straight rings appear as bands

Crossbands are a sport of rings. They go approximately the body too, but without cross the belly.

Crossbands encompass multiple colorsSpeckles

These are small patches of color on individual scales.

Speckles offer snakes a much more camouflaged lookStripes

They run along the length the body, straight and regularly.

Stripes run along the length of the bodyBlotches

These can be very irregular, of assorted sizes, put randomly across the body.

Blotches give you even much more room for variation...

Almost every pattern allows a sport of contrasting boundaries to be added to it.

...with borders, shapes, and also sizes come play withDiamond

These room diamond-shaped blotches, put regularly, through contrasting borders.

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Snake diamonds should app have a constant size

That"sss All!

Today we"ve learned the snakes aren"t as straightforward to draw as one may think. This beautiful animals, so regularly feared and also hated through people, deserve some love! take a rest from illustration cute kittens and puppies, and also draw a snake from time to time. Eating a puppy.