How to Draw a Skeleton

Easy, step by step Skeleton drawing tutorial
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The skeleton is the "supportive framework of an animal body." The human skeleton is comprised of many different bones, held together by cartilage.

Skeletons have long been used in art and fiction as symbols of death, the afterlife, and the paranormal. During the Middle Ages, a style of art called danse macabre or the dance of death, employed dancing skeletons. This allegory taught viewers that everyone, from child to king, had the same eventuality of death.

In modern times, skeletons may be used as anatomical teaching tools in a classroom setting. Skeletons that "come to life" also appear in video games, movies, and television shows. Examples include Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas and Achmed, a puppet used by comedian Jack Dunham. Skeletons are popular Halloween decorations. They also factor in other celebrations, such as the sugar skulls which commemorate the Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead.

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Would you like to draw a cartoon skeleton? Follow the step-by-step instructions found in this easy cartoon drawing tutorial. You'll use geometric shapes to outline the basic shape, and add the details later. All you'll need is a pencil, an eraser, and a sheet of paper.

If you liked this tutorial, see also the following drawing guides: Ghost, Jack Skellington, and Skull.

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Step-by-Step Instructions for Drawing a Skeleton

Skeleton drawing - step 1
How to Draw a Skeleton : Step 1

1. Begin by drawing a circle. Then, draw a rectangle overlapping the bottom of it. The circle outlines the cranium and the rectangle the mandible of the skull.

Skeleton drawing - step 2
How to Draw a Skeleton : Step 2

2. Draw two small ovals overlapping the upper corners of the rectangle. These are the orbits or eye sockets. Then, draw curved lines between the bottom of the circle and the rectangle.

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Skeleton drawing - step 3
How to Draw a Skeleton : Step 3

3. Erase the guide lines of the original circle and rectangle. Shade the orbits. Then, shade a small triangle for the nose and a crescent moon shape for the mouth.

Skeleton drawing - step 4
How to Draw a Skeleton : Step 4

4. Below the skull, extend a curved line. This will become the spine. Draw two short straight lines across it to mark the shoulders and the hips.

Skeleton drawing - step 5
How to Draw a Skeleton : Step 5

5. Draw a narrow rectangle at each tip of the upper straight line. Then, at the end of each rectangle, draw another rectangle diverging at an odd angle.

Skeleton drawing - step 6
How to Draw a Skeleton : Step 6

6. Draw a circle between each set of rectangles, forming the elbow. Then, draw a small circle around the corners of each rectangle.

Skeleton drawing - step 7
How to Draw a Skeleton : Step 7

7. Draw a small rectangle at the tip of each arm to form the hand. From each hand, draw five short straight lines. From each of these lines, draw another straight line at an odd angle. These form the skeleton’s fingers.

Skeleton drawing - step 8
How to Draw a Skeleton : Step 8

8. Draw an alternating series of small squares and circles along the spine. Erase the original line.

Skeleton drawing - step 9
How to Draw a Skeleton : Step 9

9. Draw straight lines from the hips to the arms to enclose an inverted trapezoid shape. Then, draw pairs of curved lines from the spine to the straight lines to form the ribs.

Skeleton drawing - step 10
How to Draw a Skeleton : Step 10

10. Erase the guide lines of the trapezoid and hips, as well as the original rectangles of the arm bones.

Skeleton drawing - step 11
How to Draw a Skeleton : Step 11

11. Use curved lines to enclose the peanut-shaped hip or pelvic bones. Below this, draw two narrow rectangles to form the upper leg bones. Then, draw two more narrow rectangles at odd angles from the first.

Skeleton drawing - step 12
How to Draw a Skeleton : Step 12

12. Draw circles between each pair of rectangles to form the knees. Draw small circles over each corner of the rectangles, erasing as necessary.

Skeleton drawing - step 13
How to Draw a Skeleton : Step 13

13. Draw a circle at the bottom of each leg, erasing as necessary. Then, draw a small triangle overlapping the circle to form the foot. Draw small ovals to form the toes.

Skeleton drawing - step 14
How to Draw a Skeleton : Step 14

14. Erase the guide lines from the legs and feet.

Skeleton drawing - step 15
How to Draw a Skeleton : Step 15

Color your cartoon skeleton. Dry bones are often white, but we’ve shaded ours yellow to indicate decay.

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