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Design

How to Draw a Skeleton Step by Step

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:ShortLanguages:
This post is part of a series called Science Week.
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What You'll Be Creating

If you want to learn how to draw a skeleton, I can show you how to do it step by step. Together we'll draw the spine, the ribcage, the pelvis, the arms and legs—every bone simplified and explained!

1. How to Draw a Ribcage

Step 1

Draw a vertical line and divide it into five parts—these will be the lumbar vertebrae. Remember to keep these first lines light, so that you can cover them later with the final lines.

draw five sections

Step 2

Draw 12 more sections, making them smaller as you finish.

draw twelve sections

Step 3

Outline the discs between the vertebrae.

draw spinal discs

Step 4

Give a shape to each vertebra.

draw shape of verebra

Step 5

The ribcage will start three vertebrae from the bottom. Here, draw two squares, with a side five vertebrae long.

draw two squares

Step 6

From this place, draw a curve going right over the whole spine. This will be the basic outline of the ribcage.

draw shape of ribcage

Step 7

"Cut" the sides of the ribcage to round its shape.

cut sides of ribcage

Step 8

Draw the back part of the ribs now: 11 long and one short. Add pseudo-ribs to the rest of the vertebrae, too.

draw shape of ribs

Step 9

We're going to the front of the ribcage now. Draw the sternum.

draw sternum

Step 10

Divide the sternum into quarters, then the bottom quarter into thirds.

divide sternum into parts

Step 11

Add the front side of the ribs now. Seven of them should be connected directly to the sternum...

draw ribs connected to sternum

... and the other three to the seventh one. The last two ribs are "free" and not connected to anything.

draw ribs connected to seventh rib

Step 12

You can outline the ribs now, giving them some thickness.

outline the ribs

Step 13

The ribs are attached to the sternum with a cartilaginous part. Separate it from the rest with a curve.

cartilage ribs

Step 14

To add the neck and head, draw two lines on top using this measurement:

add neck to skeleton

Step 15

Draw the circular cranium.

add cranium

Step 16

Draw the skull using our separate tutorial:

draw the skull

Step 17

Draw the neck, using the same technique as with the other vertebrae.

divide neck into vertebrae
draw neck discs
draw neck vertebrae shape
draw full neck vertebrae

2. How to Draw Pelvis

Step 1

Mark the distance between the ribcage and the pelvis. It should be about two vertebrae long.

waist length in skeleton

Step 2

Draw two squares similar to the ones before.

pelvis width proportion

Step 3

Cut their sides.

simple pelvis shape

Step 4

Attach a "bow" to the last vertebra.

first lumbar vertebra

Step 5

Attach two big circles to the sides of this bow.

iliac crestes simplified to circles

Step 6

Draw a big oval below.

pelvis opening

Step 7

Draw a little circle below the oval.

public bone simplified

Step 8

Draw a curve inside the tapered sides, connecting at the small circle.

simplified pelvis roundness

Step 9

Turn the small circle into a narrow oval.

simple pubic symphysis

Step 10

Draw half of a heart below.

simple ischium shape

Step 11

Add two circles on the side of the narrow oval.

simplified pubic crest

Step 12

Add "openings" in the shapes below.

simplified ischium opening

Step 13

Add more circles that will help us create a detailed shape of the pelvis.

more pelvis  guide lines

Step 14

Outline the pelvis using these guide lines.

outline of pelvis

Step 15

Let's add the sacrum, too. It's made of five fused vertebrae, but one of them has already been used in the "bow", so add only four sections.

sections of sacrum

Step 16

Draw the sides of the sacrum and connect them to the rest of the pelvis (the big circles).

simplfied fused sacrum

Step 17

Add the tiny "tail" vertebrae.

simplified tail vertebrae

Step 18

Although the sacrum vertebrae are fused, there are still some spaces visible between them. Draw them as simple circles.

simplified sacrum holes

3. How to Draw Arms

Step 1

Draw a trapezoid around the ribcage to set the width of the shoulders.

trapezoid measurement of shoulders

Step 2

Draw the curves of the clavicles, attached to the top of the sternum.

basic shape of clavicles

Step 3

Add two ovals at the ends of the clavicles.

clavicle guide lines

Step 4

Outline the clavicles to give them thickness.

outline of clavicles

Step 5

Add a circle under the end of each clavicle. This will be the socket of the shoulder blade.

simplified scapula socket

Step 6

Draw a tilted oval on its side.

simplfied scapula front

Step 7

The clavicle is attached to the shoulder blade in a special way. Draw its back part and a protrusion in the front.

simplified scapula protrusions
outline of scapula detail

Step 8

Draw the shoulder blades now.

simplified scapulae

Step 9

Draw the ball of the humerus attached to the socket.

simplifed ball of humerus

Step 10

Sketch the position of the arms. The upper arm should be longer than the forearm. The elbow in the neutral position lands exactly in the waist area.

length of humerus
length of forearm bones

Step 11

Draw the oval wrist. The right hand will be directed palm towards us, and the left one will be rotated, showing the side.

simplified wrists

Step 12

Add the three fingers first, as they have similar lengths, with the middle one being the longest.

three fingers length

Step 13

Add the other fingers now.

little finger and thumb

Step 14

Draw the arm bones using a few simple guide lines:

simplified humerus details
humerus outline
humerus fossa

Step 15

There's cartilage between the arm and forearm, with a special shape that allows for rotation of the forearm bones:

simplified elbow joint

Step 16

Draw the radius and ulna. Pay attention to their rotation in the left hand.

radius and ulna heads
radius top shape
radius length
ulna top shape
ulna length
radius and ulna outlined

Step 17

Cross the fingers with a "web", marking the placement of the joints.

location of finger joints

Step 18

Add the oval joints.

simplified finger joints

Step 19

Outline the finger bones.

finger bones outlined

Step 20

Add some small bones in the wrists.

simplified wrist bones

4. How to Draw Legs

Step 1

Draw the heads of the femur attached to the sockets in the pelvis.

simplified head of femur

Step 2

Draw the length of the femur. These bones should be slightly tilted towards the middle line. Make them about as long as the ribcage plus the waist.

length of femur

Step 3

Add some space before you draw the tibia.

space etween femur and tibia

Step 4

Draw the tibia.

tibia length

Step 5

Add some ovals to create the shape of the femur.

detail of femur

Step 6

Outline the femur.

femur outlined

Step 7

Add the patella.

simplified patella

Step 8

Add the guide shapes of the tibia.

simplfied shape of tibia
simplified ankle

Step 9

Outline the tibia.

tibia outlined

Step 10

There's one more bone here, the fibula. Draw it in a similar way:

fibula head
fibula length
fibula outlined

Step 11

Add some detail to the knee.

knee details

Step 12

Draw the bones of the ankle.

more ankle bones
simple ankle bones

Step 13

Draw the toes with their full length.

toes full length

Step 14

Mark the joints.

joints in the toes

Step 15

Add ovals to the joints.

simplified foot joints

Step 16

Outline the toe bones.

toe bones outlined

Step 17

Add the heel at the back.

simplified heel

5. How to Finish a Drawing of a Skeleton

Step 1

Now it's time to finish the drawing! Take a darker tool, or erase most of the guide lines, and add all the crucial outlines.

skeleton drawing

Step 2

You can add some detail here and there that wasn't included in the guide lines:

learn how to draw skeleton

So Spooky!

Now you know how to draw skeleton from scratch! Do you want to draw other fun things? Check out our other tutorials:


how to draw skeleton step by step
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