Draw a Skull with these 3 Easy Procreate Tutorials (Front, Side, and 3/4 View)

Learn the anatomy of the human skull from a front, side, and 3/4 view with this easy step-by-step Procreate tutorial.

This tutorial will teach you how to draw a skull from the front, the side, and ¾.

I’ll be guiding you through the whole process step by step.

Understanding how to draw a skull is a vital part of understanding how to draw realistic portraits.

This is because the skull is the framework of the head, and all the features of the face are related to the bones, not the skin and flesh around them.

Here’s a quick overview of this tutorial.

  • Tools needed
  • How to draw a skull from the front - step by step
  • How to draw a skull from the side - step by step
  • How to draw a skull from a ¾ view - step by step
  • Extra tips
  • Final words

So, without any further delay, let’s jump right into it.

Tools needed

I’ll be using my iPad Pro, Apple pencil, and the Procreate app for this tutorial.

I’ll also be using my set of 23 Nifty Brushes for Procreate.

However, you can easily follow this tutorial using a pencil and a piece of paper, just avoiding the steps that might not be relevant.

With that in mind, let’s start the step-by-step process.

Drawing a skull from the front - easy step by step for beginners

How to draw a skull from the front step by step

Skulls come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, however, actual measurements tally very closely.

Step 1 - Let’s start with a circle

Using a sketching brush, draw a circle.

I’m using my gesture pencil from the Nifty Brushes Pack.

Find the center of the circle and draw a vertical line that goes through it.

draw a circle

To finish this step, use the center of the circle to draw a horizontal line.

add a vertical and horizontal line

Step 2 - Divide it by 3

Using the size of the radius of the circle, add an extra section from the bottom point.

divide this in 3 parts

This will help you create 3 equal sections on the vertical line you drew before.

Step 3 - Let’s build a grid

From the sides of the circle, draw two vertical lines that reach the line in the center.

build a grid

Now, draw two horizontal lines to build a grid for your skull.

complete the grid for the skull illustration

Divide the middle section in half.

divide the middle section in half

And the lower section in 3 equal parts.

divide the lower section of the grid in 3 parts

Step 4 - Draw the nose

Make a new layer.

In the middle section, draw the shape of an inverted heart with a dull point.

draw the nose

The top of the nose hole should reach the middle point of the middle section.

Let’s build the nasal bone.

To do this, draw a soft line that follows the inverted heart shape you made before.

draw the nasal bone

Step 5 - Draw the eye sockets

In the top part of the middle section, draw the shape of aviator sunglasses for the eye sockets.

draw the eye sockets

A common mistake for this part is to draw them touching the top line of the middle section.

However, the top of the eye sockets shouldn’t reach the top line and should only go a bit higher than the nasal bone.

Step 6 - It’s time for the cheekbones

In another layer, draw two lines that go down from the center of each eye socket.

add the cheekbones

They should reach the first segment of the lower section of the grid.

Go back to the layer where you were drawing before.

From this line, draw an “S” shape where the lower curve of it almost touches the first circle you drew.

add the cheekbones

Continue this wavy line to finish the cheekbone and create the temples.

draw the temples

Step 7 - The skull is not a perfect circle

From the cheekbone, draw a line that connects to the first circle you drew to create a more realistic shape for your skull drawing.

the skull is not a ect circle

Repeat steps 6 and 7 for the other side.

do the same for the other side

Draw a line that connects the two sides from the top, this line should follow the first circle you drew but not perfectly because the skull is not a perfect circle.

finish the top of the skull

Step 8 - Let’s put a smile on that face

Find the middle point of the lower section of your grid and create a curved line for the teeth.

measure where the teeth will be

DIvide that section in two, to create the top and bottom teeth.

divide that section

After you’re done with this, start to draw the teeth, to do that, start by drawing an inverted “U” shape with a soft curved line to close it.

start drawing the teeth

Continue to draw teeth, each of them should be a bit smaller than the first two you drew.

continue to add the teeth

Now the canines.

Keep drawing teeth

After you’re done with the canines, you’re going to draw 5 “J’s” to the side to create the rest of the teeth.

draw more teeth

Close the top of the “J’s” with a curved line.

finith this side of the teeth

Do the same for the other side.

Draw teeth for the other side

Now you finished the top of the skull, let’s work on the bottom part of the jaw.

Step 9 - The jaw

Following the same steps, start drawing the bottom teeth.

start drawing the bottom teeth

Repeat for the other side.

draw teeth for the other side

From the bottom teeth, draw two curved lines that reach the cheekbone.

start to define the jaw

Now, draw a small curved line from the cheekbone to the top line of the bottom section of the grid.

start to define the jaw

Continue to draw the jaw by drawing a wavy line that reaches the middle point of the bottom section.

continue to define the jaw

Draw a wavy diagonal line.

draw the bottom side of the jaw

The chin in a skull doesn’t end up at a point, so draw a wavy horizontal line at the bottom to create the chin.

Repeat the same steps for the other side.

continue the jaw on the other side

Add a line on the inside of the jaw to add some details.

add details to the jaw

You can also add a light inverted “Y” shape to the chin.

Add details to the chin

To finish up your skull drawing, draw two small curved lines in between the top part of the skull and the jaw.

This is the back of the skull showing through.

And two small wavy lines at the sides of the jaw.

draw the back of the skull

Step 10 - Final details

Add some small cracks to your drawing to add to the realism.

add some cracks

Turn off the layer where you have the grid.

turn off the grid

Add some finishing details in the eye sockets.

add some final details to the eye sockets

And this is your finished drawing of a skull from the front!

Step 11 - Time to throw shade

I like to start this process by selecting the area where the graphite will be at the end.

use the selection tool

So, using the selection tool on freehand, select the area where you’ll add the shadows.

Fill that area with a base color by drawing and dropping the color from the color circle at the top right corner of your screen.

Once you do this, click on that layer and press “select”.

select that shape

This will make it so you can’t go out of the selected area and it allows me to add shadows without worrying about staying in the lines.

I like to make a new layer and on top of this layer, start adding very soft shadows.

start to softly add shadows

I’m using the “pencil fill” brushes from the Nifty Brushes Pack.

Use a 90 or 80% black, this way you’ll have more range of values.

For this step, I go very softly and slowly, just starting to build up the layers of shadow as I go.

Pro tip: The more range of values you have in your illustration, the more realistic and 3D it looks, so start building the values slowly.

Step 12 - Add darker values

Using your reference, start observing where there are darker shadows.

where will the darker shadows go?

Start to add darker shadows to your illustration.

start to add soft shadows to your skull drawing

Take your time during this step and refer back to your reference image constantly.

Softly add shadows

Continue to add darker values to your skull illustration.

continue to add shadows

Keep doing this until you like how it’s looking.

keep adding soft shadows

Remember to have fun and take your time during this step.

Step 13 - Add texture and finishing touches

Add deeper shadows to the cracks you drew, plus add some texture to your skull.

add textures and finishing touches

You can do this with a texture brush or just softly adding cross-hatching to different areas of the skull.

To finish your drawing, take a darker color than the one you’ve been using and add deeper shadows where they should go.

use a darker value to deepen the shadows

And you’re done, you just drew a skull from the front!

How to draw the side view of a human skull - easy step by step for beginners

How to draw a skull from the side step by step

Step 1 - The grid

Using a sketching brush, build a grid that is 3 squares in height and 2 in width.

start by building a 3x2 grid

Add half a square to each side of the grid.

add half a suare to each side

From those half squares, divide the one where you want the front to be in half.

divide one of those sections in half

Step 2 - Build the skull guidelines

If you break down the skull from the side to the most basic shapes, you’ll find that an oval shape is more accurate than a circle for the top of the skull.

So, draw an oval shape that goes from one side of the grid to the middle of the half-square of the grid.

Draw an oval

In the middle section of the grid, draw a line that resembles a mountain from the side for the nasal bone.

start to draw the nose

From the nasal bone, draw the shape of the maxilla and where the teeth will be.

add the maxilla and where the teeth will be

Now, for the chin, take the same measurement of the half half-square and place it under the grid, divide that in half.

where will the teeth be

You’ll draw a straight line from the end of where the teeth will be to that point.

Then continue this with a curved line to create the chin.

draw the chin

From there, draw a line that reaches the middle point of the grid and continues to touch the oval shape.

define the jaw

This will be the jaw.

Step 3 - Make it look a bit more like a skull

Divide the middle section of the grid into 3 parts.

divide the middle part in 3 sections

Using this measurement, define the jaw.

draw where the jaw and the top of the skull meet

Continue working on the jaw.

continue working on the jaw

Draw a line that will be the bottom section of the teeth.

add a line for the bottom of the teeth

Add the guidelines for the teeth.

add the guidelines for the teeth

Continue that line to add more to the skull.

define the skull

Add the eye socket.

draw the eye socket

Now, create a wavy line for the temples.

draw the temple bone

Continue this line to create the top of the cheekbone.

draw the top of the cheekbone

Underneath this, add another wavy line to create the cheekbone.

define the cheekbone

For the top of the skull, let’s remember that the skull is not completely smooth.

It has some humps, some lovely little lumps… check it out.

For the humps, add some waviness to the oval shape.

add humps to the top of the skull

Continue this line to create the back of the skull.

draw the back of the skull

Add some cracks and details.

add cracks and details

Step 4 - Clean the sketch

Turn off the layer where you have the grid.

turn off the sketch

Following a reference image, start marking the areas where the shadows will be.

add shadows

Lower the opacity of this layer and make a new one on top.

lower the opacity of the sketch

Using a more detailed brush, trace the sketch to clean it up.

trace the sketch

I’m using my main pencil from the 23 Nifty Brushes set for this.

Step 5 - Add dimension

Start by using the freehand selection tool to select the area of the skull.

use the selection tool to select the area of the skull

Make a new layer and place it underneath your sketch.

Fill this selection with a base color.

fill the selection with a base color

Click on that layer and select it.

click the layer and press select

This will make it so anything you draw, stays inside this selection.

Make a new layer on top of your base color and start to carefully and softly add shadows.

For this part, use a softer fill brush and a dark gray.

start to add soft shadows

Continue to add shadows softly, don’t make anything too dark yet.

keep adding soft shadows

It’s important to have lots of different values in your drawing to make it look more realistic.

continue to add shadows to the kull illustration

Continue doing this until you like how it looks.

Take your time for this step and make sure to have a reference image to help guide you.

Step 6 - Darker shadows

Now, use a darker version of the color you were using before and add darker values to the darkest shadows of your skull illustration.

use a darker value to deepen the shadows of your skull drawing

Step 7 - Final details

Add a bit of darkness to the cracks.

add a bit of darkness to the cracks and details

As well as some light and texture to your skull drawing.

Continue doing this until you’re satisfied with how it’s looking.

And you’re done!

keep working on the final details

That’s how you draw a skull from the side view.

Easy tutorial to draw a skull 3/4 view - step by step for beginners

how to draw a skull in a 3/4 view step by step

Step 1 - Let’s start with a circle

Draw a circle.

draw a circle

Draw a curved line to define where the center of the skull will be from this view.

draw a curved line

Add a curved line that crosses the first one.

Draw an oval shape standing to the side of the skull.

cross the curved line with another curved line

This will help you define the side easier.

Draw a vertical line inside that oval shape.

draw the side of the skull

Step 2 - Measurements

Take the measurement from the point where the two curved lines cross to the bottom of the circle.

You’ll draw a straight line from the end of where the teeth will be to that point.Then continue this with a curved line to create the chin.

Use this measurement to create 3 sections.

create 3 sections

From the middle of the bottom left quadrant of the oval shape, draw a soft straight line.

draw a soft vertical line

Draw some loose guides for the jaw.

add a soft line for the jaw

Step 3 - The features

Let’s start with the nose.

start to draw the nose

From the point where the two curved lines cross, make the top of the nasal bone.

The nose doesn’t reach the bottom of the circle.

Draw the eye sockets a bit higher than the nasal bone.

add the eye sockets

Using the oval shape as a reference, draw where the temple that is closest to you will be.

draw the temple

Underneath that, draw a wavy line to create the cheekbone that is closest to you.

draw the cheekbone closest to you

On the other side, draw a line that loosely resembles an “S” to create the other cheekbone.

draw the other cheekbone

Continue this line upwards to create the other temple.

draw the other temple

Continue this line to draw the top of the skull.

draw the top of the skull

Step 4 - The jaw

Divide the bottom part of the grid into 3 parts.

divide the bottom part in 3 parts

Use the first section to create a curved line.

draw a curved line

This will be where the top teeth are.

Divide that first section in half using a curved line.

divide that section to create the teeth

Add the top teeth.

draw the top teeth

Draw a soft line to create the jaw.

begin to draw the jaw

From the cheekbone that is closest to you, draw a curved line to define the jaw.

define the jaw

This line will show you where the bottom teeth will be.

define the line where the bottom teeth will be

Add the bottom teeth.

draw the bottom teeth

Step 5 - Where will the shadows and details be?

Use your reference image to define where the shadows will in your drawing.

define where the shadows will go

Also, take the time during this step to ass some cracks and details to your sketch.

Turn off the grid and that is the loose sketch for your skull illustration.

turn off the grid

Step 6 - Clean up the sketch

Lower the opacity of the layer where you drew the sketch and make a new layer on top.

lower the opacity of the sketch

With a more detailed brush, trace the sketch you create your linework.

clean the sketch

I’m using my Main pencil from the Nifty Brushes Set.

Step 7 - Add the shadows

To start this step, just like in the two previous tutorials, you’re going to use the selection tool in freehand and select the area of your skull.

use the selection tool to define the area of the skull

Make a new layer and place it underneath the linework.

Fill this selection with a base color.

fill the selection with a base color

Click on that layer and press “select”.

use the selection tool

Now you can add shadows without worrying about staying in the lines.

On a new layer, start to add values to your illustration.

start to add soft shadows

I like to keep my reference image close by during this steps.

I’m using the pencil fill brush from the Nifty Brushes pack because it’s a soft filler brush.

Keep slowly building the values for your illustration until you’re happy with how it’s looking.

continue adding soft shadows

Step 8 - Details

Using a more detailed brush, add a bit of darkness to the details of your skull.

define the details of the skull illustration

Using a darker color, add more contrast to the darkest areas of your drawing.

use a dark value to deepen the shadows and details

With the eraser tool, bring out some highlights.

use the eraser to add highlights

To finish up your skull illustration, add some textures.

add some texture to your skull drawing

For this I’m using the textured brushes in the Nifty Brushes pack.

And there you have it!

thats how you draw a human skull from a 3/4 perspective

An easy way to draw a skull from a ¾ view.

Extra Tips

Though you don’t get to see the bones in detail, the skull is the foundation of the face.

This seems pretty obvious, however, most people don’t realise how important it is to understand the skull in order to draw a realistic portrait.

Understanding the measurements in the skull will give us the correct placement for the features of the face.

Which, can be even more important than the features themselves.

One good thing to remember is that the skull is fixed into position and is immovable, with the exception of the jaw.

Once the skull reaches maturity, it will stay the same through life.

The skin and flesh on top of the skull however, is ever changing and evolving with time and age.

You can see that we can place the same grid of 3 squares of height and we’ll find the features of the skull in the same positions.

easy ways to draw skulls from the front, side, and 3/4 views

Once you understand where these go, and roughly how the skull looks, you’ll be able to draw realistic portraits easier.

Another thing to keep in mind is to add a great variety of values when you’re shading.

This will help your illustration look more realistic.

It all comes with practice of course!

Final words

I hope you found this tutorial useful.

If you end up drawing the skull, shoot me a DM on instagram.

I would love to see the work you create and would be more than happy to give you a shoutout on my stories.

Also, if you have any tutorial you’ll like to see me do, drop a comment below!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and found it useful.

Until next time.


Written by Claudia Riveros