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How to Draw a Skeleton Step by Step

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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 sectionsdraw five sectionsdraw five sections

Step 2

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

draw twelve sectionsdraw twelve sectionsdraw twelve sections

Step 3

Outline the discs between the vertebrae.

draw spinal discsdraw spinal discsdraw spinal discs

Step 4

Give a shape to each vertebra.

draw shape of verebradraw shape of verebradraw 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 squaresdraw two squaresdraw 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 ribcagedraw shape of ribcagedraw shape of ribcage

Step 7

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

cut sides of ribcagecut sides of ribcagecut 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 ribsdraw shape of ribsdraw shape of ribs

Step 9

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

draw sternumdraw sternumdraw sternum

Step 10

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

divide sternum into partsdivide sternum into partsdivide 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 sternumdraw ribs connected to sternumdraw 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 ribdraw ribs connected to seventh ribdraw ribs connected to seventh rib

Step 12

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

outline the ribsoutline the ribsoutline the ribs

Step 13

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

cartilage ribscartilage ribscartilage ribs

Step 14

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

add neck to skeletonadd neck to skeletonadd neck to skeleton

Step 15

Draw the circular cranium.

add craniumadd craniumadd cranium

Step 16

Draw the skull using our separate tutorial:

draw the skulldraw the skulldraw the skull

Step 17

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

divide neck into vertebraedivide neck into vertebraedivide neck into vertebrae
draw neck discsdraw neck discsdraw neck discs
draw neck vertebrae shapedraw neck vertebrae shapedraw neck vertebrae shape
draw full neck vertebraedraw full neck vertebraedraw 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 skeletonwaist length in skeletonwaist length in skeleton

Step 2

Draw two squares similar to the ones before.

pelvis width proportionpelvis width proportionpelvis width proportion

Step 3

Cut their sides.

simple pelvis shapesimple pelvis shapesimple pelvis shape

Step 4

Attach a "bow" to the last vertebra.

first lumbar vertebrafirst lumbar vertebrafirst lumbar vertebra

Step 5

Attach two big circles to the sides of this bow.

iliac crestes simplified to circlesiliac crestes simplified to circlesiliac crestes simplified to circles

Step 6

Draw a big oval below.

pelvis openingpelvis openingpelvis opening

Step 7

Draw a little circle below the oval.

public bone simplifiedpublic bone simplifiedpublic bone simplified

Step 8

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

simplified pelvis roundnesssimplified pelvis roundnesssimplified pelvis roundness

Step 9

Turn the small circle into a narrow oval.

simple pubic symphysissimple pubic symphysissimple pubic symphysis

Step 10

Draw half of a heart below.

simple ischium shapesimple ischium shapesimple ischium shape

Step 11

Add two circles on the side of the narrow oval.

simplified pubic crestsimplified pubic crestsimplified pubic crest

Step 12

Add "openings" in the shapes below.

simplified ischium openingsimplified ischium openingsimplified ischium opening

Step 13

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

more pelvis  guide linesmore pelvis  guide linesmore pelvis  guide lines

Step 14

Outline the pelvis using these guide lines.

outline of pelvisoutline of pelvisoutline 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 sections of sacrum 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 sacrumsimplfied fused sacrumsimplfied fused sacrum

Step 17

Add the tiny "tail" vertebrae.

simplified tail vertebraesimplified tail vertebraesimplified 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 holessimplified sacrum holessimplified 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 shoulderstrapezoid measurement of shoulderstrapezoid measurement of shoulders

Step 2

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

basic shape of claviclesbasic shape of claviclesbasic shape of clavicles

Step 3

Add two ovals at the ends of the clavicles.

clavicle guide linesclavicle guide linesclavicle guide lines

Step 4

Outline the clavicles to give them thickness.

outline of claviclesoutline of claviclesoutline of clavicles

Step 5

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

simplified scapula socketsimplified scapula socketsimplified scapula socket

Step 6

Draw a tilted oval on its side.

simplfied scapula frontsimplfied scapula frontsimplfied 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 protrusionssimplified scapula protrusionssimplified scapula protrusions
outline of scapula detailoutline of scapula detailoutline of scapula detail

Step 8

Draw the shoulder blades now.

simplified scapulaesimplified scapulaesimplified scapulae

Step 9

Draw the ball of the humerus attached to the socket.

simplifed ball of humerussimplifed ball of humerussimplifed 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 humeruslength of humeruslength of humerus
length of forearm boneslength of forearm boneslength 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 wristssimplified wristssimplified wrists

Step 12

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

three fingers lengththree fingers lengththree fingers length

Step 13

Add the other fingers now.

little finger and thumblittle finger and thumblittle finger and thumb

Step 14

Draw the arm bones using a few simple guide lines:

simplified humerus detailssimplified humerus detailssimplified humerus details
humerus outlinehumerus outlinehumerus outline
humerus fossahumerus fossahumerus 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 jointsimplified elbow jointsimplified elbow joint

Step 16

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

radius and ulna headsradius and ulna headsradius and ulna heads
radius top shaperadius top shaperadius top shape
radius lengthradius lengthradius length
ulna top shapeulna top shapeulna top shape
ulna lengthulna lengthulna length
radius and ulna outlinedradius and ulna outlinedradius and ulna outlined

Step 17

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

location of finger jointslocation of finger jointslocation of finger joints

Step 18

Add the oval joints.

simplified finger jointssimplified finger jointssimplified finger joints

Step 19

Outline the finger bones.

finger bones outlinedfinger bones outlinedfinger bones outlined

Step 20

Add some small bones in the wrists.

simplified wrist bonessimplified wrist bonessimplified 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 femursimplified head of femursimplified 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 femurlength of femurlength of femur

Step 3

Add some space before you draw the tibia.

space etween femur and tibiaspace etween femur and tibiaspace etween femur and tibia

Step 4

Draw the tibia.

tibia lengthtibia lengthtibia length

Step 5

Add some ovals to create the shape of the femur.

detail of femurdetail of femurdetail of femur

Step 6

Outline the femur.

femur outlinedfemur outlinedfemur outlined

Step 7

Add the patella.

simplified patellasimplified patellasimplified patella

Step 8

Add the guide shapes of the tibia.

simplfied shape of tibiasimplfied shape of tibiasimplfied shape of tibia
simplified anklesimplified anklesimplified ankle

Step 9

Outline the tibia.

tibia outlinedtibia outlinedtibia outlined

Step 10

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

fibula headfibula headfibula head
fibula lengthfibula lengthfibula length
fibula outlinedfibula outlinedfibula outlined

Step 11

Add some detail to the knee.

knee detailsknee detailsknee details

Step 12

Draw the bones of the ankle.

more ankle bonesmore ankle bonesmore ankle bones
simple ankle bonessimple ankle bonessimple ankle bones

Step 13

Draw the toes with their full length.

toes full lengthtoes full lengthtoes full length

Step 14

Mark the joints.

joints in the toesjoints in the toesjoints in the toes

Step 15

Add ovals to the joints.

simplified foot jointssimplified foot jointssimplified foot joints

Step 16

Outline the toe bones.

toe bones outlinedtoe bones outlinedtoe bones outlined

Step 17

Add the heel at the back.

simplified heelsimplified heelsimplified 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 drawingskeleton drawingskeleton drawing

Step 2

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

learn how to draw skeletonlearn how to draw skeletonlearn 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 stephow to draw skeleton step by stephow to draw skeleton step by step
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