how to draw a snake head front view

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Snakes are one of many most-drawn animals, if not the most drawn animal. They’re thought-about to be quite simple, with no legs or particular muscle tissues that have to be outlined. There’s solely a head (with out ears!) and an extended tail—what can go fallacious?

So, welcome to the proper begin into the world of animal drawing: a information to drawing snakes! I’ll show you the way to attract each venomous and innocent snakes, and the way to attract their scales and patterns realistically. We received’t focus solely on one species, however fairly will take a look at the strategies it is advisable draw any a part of any sort of snake. Aafter going by means of this tutorial, you need to be capable to draw most styles of snakes nearly effortlessly.

Studying: how to attract a snake head entrance view

1. Snake Our bodies

Primary Anatomy

Let’s begin with some fundamentals about snakes’ anatomy. We are inclined to see consider snakes as made principally of an extended tail, however the reality is, nearly all of a snake’s physique is definitely an extended chest.

snake basic anatomysnake basic anatomysnake basic anatomy
1—head, 2- chest, 3—tail

The outwardly innocent perception {that a} snake physique is usually fabricated from a tail results in completely incorrect drawings of snakes. Whilst one of many easiest animals, snake drawings nonetheless endure from a too-cursory information about their make-up. As an alternative of seeing them as a continually tapered tail, it’s higher to think about them as a string of beads—which confirms nearer to the curved rib form that really makes up the snake’s physique. “Neck” beads are a bit narrower than “chest” ones”, after which they get smaller and smaller, however not very quickly. In distinction, should you consider a snake as only a lengthy tail, you’ll doubtless sharply taper its whole size.

Snake as a tail versus snake as beadsSnake as a tail versus snake as beadsSnake as a tail versus snake as beads
The variations in physique tapering should you draw a snake as beads as a substitute of only a tail

The size and width of the “neck” and “chest” segments rely upon the species. Some could have no neck in any respect, whereas others are so slender the chest is not going to be noticeable. In case you’re drawing a snake with out specializing in the species, you may experiment right here. Bear in mind—snakes don’t have to be all the time completely slender, and generally they appear fats and clumsy!

moving beads in snake bodymoving beads in snake bodymoving beads in snake body
The string of beads technique makes it simpler to attract snakes in movement

The “string of beads” technique could be very helpful in creating 3D poses. When you have issues with imagining the edges, you should utilize cubes as a substitute of balls.

3d bead snake body3d bead snake body3d bead snake body
Turning your bead snake physique right into a 3D drawing

You may make the 3D very straightforward to attract by including extra circles between these constructing the pose. This fashion you’ll get a way of quantity, and the edges can be simpler to outline.

upright snake with bead bodyupright snake with bead bodyupright snake with bead body
full upright snake bodyfull upright snake bodyfull upright snake body
An upright snake physique with the additional circles to present its physique quantity

What about snake’s well-known hoods, usually seen in cobras? They’re truly a snake’s physique, flattened by straightened ribs. Meaning the hood’s width relies on the conventional width of the physique, and it will possibly’t be as huge as it’s possible you’ll prefer it to be.

snake hoodsnake hoodsnake hood
A snake’s hood drawn proportionally to its physique

Motion Sorts

To create a plausible pose, we have to know the way snakes transfer.

1. Serpentine motion – the traditional motion of a snake. The animal use its sturdy physique to push on terrain crimps (or simply makes use of the terrain as an entire, if it’s tough sufficient to create resistance).

serpentine movementserpentine movementserpentine movement
Serpentine motion

2. Concertina motion the motion the place the snake folds and expands recurrently, like a concertina or accordion. Snakes use this technique when climbing or coming by means of slim tunnels.

Concertina movementConcertina movementConcertina movement
Concertina motion

3. Caterpillar motion – this motion works equally to a vertical concertina motion. Slight horizontal concertina might happen as properly throughout this motion.

Caterpillar movementCaterpillar movementCaterpillar movement
Caterpillar motion

4. Sidewinging motion – this technique could be very environment friendly on slippery or scorching surfaces (like desert). The snake pushes itself with a swaying movement of the raised coils, which makes it transfer considerably sideways.

Sidewinging movementSidewinging movementSidewinging movement
Sidewinging motion

2. The right way to Draw a Snake’s Head


Step 1

I’m going to indicate you three views of the snake’s head on the similar time: aspect (1), entrance (2) and high (3). This fashion, you’ll be capable to simply evaluate them to grasp this way in 3D.

Begin with a flattened ball. Along with the middle line, there also needs to be a line positioned at one third of the diameter.

circle for snake headcircle for snake headcircle for snake head
Draw a line within the middle and at 1/third diameter peak of the circle

Step 2

We subsequent have to outline the jaws and cheeks. The arrows within the diagram under show you the movement of this form.

Adding cheeks and jaws to the snakeAdding cheeks and jaws to the snakeAdding cheeks and jaws to the snake
Including cheeks and jaws to the snake

Step 3

Add one other, larger ball behind the primary one. This fashion, we’ll elongate the cranium correctly.

additional head balladditional head balladditional head ball
Add an extra ball to the top.

How a lot bigger ought to this second ball be? Usually, venomous snakes have extra triangular heads, with a transparent neck endpoint, so that you’ll desire a a lot bigger second ball. Nonvenomous snakes sometimes have narrower heads so the second ball solely must be a bit wider.

second ballsecond ballsecond ball
Fluctuate the width of the second ball relying on the kind of snake

Step 4

Now you can simply define the contours.

adding snake head contoursadding snake head contoursadding snake head contours
Define the snake head contours

Step 5

The eyes are positioned near the narrower tip of the cranium.

drawing snakes 2 1 head2drawing snakes 2 1 head2drawing snakes 2 1 head2

Step 6

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Now, smile! The snake’s smile—or mouth, fairly—must be huge and properly outlined. Add small nostril holes appropriately as properly.

snake mouthsnake mouthsnake mouth
Add the snake’s mouth and nostrils

Step 7

With all of the information strains, you may simply sketch the remaining contours. Don’t neglect a few small gap between the lips that lets the tongue slip out with out opening the mouth!

outlining snake faceoutlining snake faceoutlining snake face
Add the contours of the remainder of the snake’s head

Step 9

In case you’re including a backside view to your snake, use the highest view circles to create the underside one, and simply neglect in regards to the eyes and nostril.

bottom of snake headbottom of snake headbottom of snake head
The underside of the snake head retains typically the identical form


If merely redrawing the scales at random doesn’t fulfill you and also you need to keep in mind guidelines about their placement, right here’s a number of suggestions. Remember the fact that not all snakes are the identical, and their scales might differ as properly. What I’m exhibiting you is a basic sample, particularly frequent for nonvenomous species.

Step 1

Let’s begin with the primarily vertical strains. There’s one proper underneath the attention, two on its sides, and three others close to the nostril. (Observe all of the views to grasp precisely what you’re drawing, so that you’ll keep in mind it extra simply).

large scales 1large scales 1large scales 1
The final path of the massive head scales
large scales 2large scales 2large scales 2
The big head scales, outlined

Step 2

Now, let’s go horizontal. Draw a line from the nostril to the attention, then cut up it into 4 new ones. The entrance of the top wants some little tweaks too.

horizontal lines 1horizontal lines 1horizontal lines 1
The primary horizontal scale strains
head horizontal 2head horizontal 2head horizontal 2
The primary horizontal head scales, outlined

Step 3

Now, again of the top. Proper behind it common scale rows start.

direction of neck scalesdirection of neck scalesdirection of neck scales
The path of neck scales
neck scales outlinedneck scales outlinedneck scales outlined
Neck scales outlined

Step 4

The underside view of the top wants a unique remedy:

bottom scalesbottom scalesbottom scales
The usual scale define on the underside of a snake head

Step 5

In case you don’t need to study all these arrows by coronary heart, right here’s a colourful scheme for you. As soon as once more, remember the fact that each snake is totally different and you may modify these shapes accordingly.

snake scale color schemesnake scale color schemesnake scale color scheme
1—aspect, 2—entrance, 3—high, 4—backside

Step 6

Venomous snakes (and a few nonvenomous snakes—pythons, specifically, have them very distinctively) can have heat-sensitive pits on their heads. You’ll be able to deal with them as massive nose-holes fabricated from scales. You’ll find them someplace subsequent to the nostril, and in a row on the higher or decrease lip (not essentially all over the place on the similar time, as proven under). They let the snake see the temperature (infrared mild) to identify the nice and cozy physique of its prey.

Venomous snakes have additionally smaller, tighter scales on their heads, much like those on the remainder of their physique. They’re simpler to attract, since they’re usually fairly chaotic. You may make the top much less “easy”, with excessive nostrils and powerful brows, to outline the aggressive look of the snake.

heat-sensitive pits on snake headheat-sensitive pits on snake headheat-sensitive pits on snake head
Warmth-sensitive pits on snake head


Time for some particulars. Usually, venomous snakes have slit pupils, whereas nonvenomous snakes have spherical pupils. Their eyes themselves are spherical, however can look sharper due to a “forehead” scale. Use it for an evil look!

snake eye shapessnake eye shapessnake eye shapes
Nonvenomous, venomous, and brow-shaded venomous snake eyes

Snake eyes are available unbelievably nice set of colours. Mainly something you may think about will look good in your made-up species, so long as you stick with the spherical form and correct pupil.

snake eye colorssnake eye colorssnake eye colors
Be inventive along with your snake eye colours


Snakes have essentially the most fascinating jaws development of any animal (besides maybe for the moray eel). Let’s begin slowly. First, the fangs (if current) have to be curved to inside, in order that the snake doesn’t chew itself (snakes aren’t truly resistant to their very own venom!).

snake teethsnake teethsnake teeth
Ensure your snake’s tooth are pointed inwards

Secondly, there’s a bone between the higher and decrease jaw, loosely linked to each of them. It provides the jaws an incredible vary of movement. Snakes with lengthy and strongly curved fangs (like vipers) might be able to “retract” them—bend the tip of the mouth to level them straighter.

snake jawbonesnake jawbonesnake jawbone
Snake jaws can open very extensively to level the fangs straighter

However that’s not all: every jaw is cut up in two (linked by an elastic ligament), and every can transfer independently. Now it’s apparent how snakes can swallow prey a lot bigger than their head!

snake jaw motionsnake jaw motionsnake jaw motion
Snake jaws have a variety of flexibility


Let’s take take a look at a close-up of the top:

  1. Fangs – sharp as needles, usually lined with a thick gum. Solely venomous snakes have these!
  2. Venom duct – venom runs from its gland proper by means of a hole fang. Then it may be transferred into the prey’s physique throughout a chew. Some species are capable of spit the venom by means of the fangs.
  3. Glottis—a gap that’s a part of respiratory system. It lets the snake breath when it’s swallowing, and can also be capable of create the hissing sound.
  4. Tongue—it’s lengthy, slim (however not flat) and glossy. A snake use it to “lick” the air, so it’s used as an extra sense. To course of the “style”, the tongue should contact a particular organ contained in the mouth, therefore the slipping out and in. The tip is forked to create two unbiased suggestions, every receiving a barely totally different sign from its aspect (similar to two eyes). The pose proven under is not possible, for the reason that tongue slips out of its sheath solely when the mouth is closed.
  5. Cheeks—these sturdy muscle tissues handle the motion of the jaws. Draw them as they deserve, thick and stable.
snake head anatomysnake head anatomysnake head anatomy
Every of the sections of the snake head, as described above

3. Scales and Patterns

Scales are the place the simplicity of a snake ends. Now the courageous artist should be affected person and draw all of the scales one after the other, after which shade them the identical method. No, I’m not going to indicate you some magic technique to keep away from the work—as a substitute, I’ll show you the way to not waste this time by ending up with a flat sample.

Scales’ Construction

We already described and sketched the dimensions construction throughout the top. Past that, fairly common and well-known scales happen in neat, orderly rows. The dorsal scales cowl all of the again and sides, whereas the remaining house is taken by ventral scales—huge, elongated plates masking all of the stomach, parallel alongside the physique. They are often as huge because the physique (masking complete stomach’s width) or narrower. In the event that they’re narrower, they is probably not seen from the aspect.

snake body and belly scalessnake body and belly scalessnake body and belly scales
1—aspect, 2—backside

After all, there’s a place the place the stomach ends and the tail begins. It’s outlined by the anal plate (colloquially talking, a snake’s butt). Right here issues go a bit totally different for a venomous (left) and nonvenomous (proper) species:

  • venomous snakes have a single anal plate, and the scales underneath the tail are positioned simply behind it
  • nonvenomous snakes have the anal plate slipped, after which the opposite scales are divided too.
snake tail scalessnake tail scalessnake tail scales
1—stomach, 2—anal plate, 3—undertail

Drawing the scales themselves isn’t very arduous, and you’ve got in all probability seen the mini-tutorial within the picture under. Cross some strains, them draw the scales between them—we’ve all been there. The issue is, this trick provides us very flat laying scales, so we have to modify it.

basic scalesbasic scalesbasic scales
The default solution to criss-cross strains and switch them into scales

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Right here’s the steps it is advisable make your scales contour to the snake’s physique and seem extra life-like.

Step 1

The trick is to bend the preliminary line a bit, to an wrong way at each halves. So, as a substitute of drawing an indirect line, you simply want to attract an elongated S (or integral image), and cross it with its mirrored reflection.

snake scales curve 1snake scales curve 1snake scales curve 1
Draw a shallow determine S as a substitute of a straight line…
snake scales curve 2snake scales curve 2snake scales curve 2
…then cross it with its mirrored reflection

Step 2

The opposite strains want to repeat the bending. Merely repeat that shallow curved line sample alongside the snake’s physique.

remaining curved linesremaining curved linesremaining curved lines
Proceed the curved line sample

Step 3

In case you draw the scales on the mesh now, you’ll see they get smaller when nearer to the sting, which provides them the receding look {that a} 3D snake physique ought to have. That’s all!

finished curved scalesfinished curved scalesfinished curved scales
Your scales now could have the proper curve

Nonetheless, this technique turns into fairly problematic in terms of curves on the snake’s physique. Right here’s a workaround for this drawback. It could look complicated at first, however strive to attract it and also you’ll see the way it works:

  1. Draw the guides with the same old technique on the straight components
  2. Draw a set of parallel strains between the pink line from A and blue line from B
  3. Do the identical between the blue line from A and pink line from B
  4. In case you did it appropriately, the scales ought to now comply with the curve. The tightening of strains contained in the curve ought to now seem pure.
scale curves on curved bodyscale curves on curved bodyscale curves on curved body
The steps to make the scales look appropriate on a curved snake


Usually, there’s two distinct sorts of scales—easy (1) and keeled (carinate, 2). Easy scales are shiny (however not moist) and often rounder than keeled ones, which have a tough look and are sharper.

smooth and keeled scalessmooth and keeled scalessmooth and keeled scales
Easy and keeled scales

There’s a particular type of keeled scales, raised in a method that makes them look spiky.

spikey keeled scalesspikey keeled scalesspikey keeled scales
Smoother and spikey keeled scales

Scales aren’t linked to one another, however to the pores and skin solely. Due to this fact, when the pores and skin is stretched (3—when swallowing a giant prey and even when transferring), the scales transfer away from one another. Some much less slender snakes might have the scales positioned tightly on the top and neck (1), and down their physique a little bit of distance between them happens (2).

scale placementscale placementscale placement
The various distance between scales when tight (1), considerably unfold (2), and stretched (3)


As soon as you bought the issue with scales sorted out, you may add colours to your snake. The variations of patterns are limitless! Whereas most animals are uninteresting coloured for camouflage’s sake, snakes proudly show their our bodies to the world, saying how harmful they’re—and that they’re not price messing with. You’ll be able to lastly use saturated, brilliant colours with out going away from realism.

Right here’s the colour patterns that work properly.


This could be a base for a sample or only a sample by itself. Use any coloration you need for the entire physique.

plain colorplain colorplain color
A fundamental plain coloration can work properly

The variation of this sample is to mix it softly with different colours. You may make the top darker, or the stomach lighter, no matter you need.

blended plain colorblended plain colorblended plain color
Mix two or extra colours softly for a pleasant coloration impact


Rings go across the physique. They are often plain or multiply coloured (stripes with borders).

snake ringssnake ringssnake rings
Straight rings seem as bands

Crossbands are a variation of rings. They go across the physique too, however with out crossing the stomach.

snake crossbandssnake crossbandssnake crossbands
Crossbands embrace a number of colours


These are small patches of coloration on particular person scales.

snake specklessnake specklessnake speckles
Speckles give snakes a extra camouflaged look


They run alongside the size the physique, straight and recurrently.

snake stripessnake stripessnake stripes
Stripes run alongside the size of the physique


These could be very irregular, of varied sizes, positioned randomly throughout the physique.

snake blotchessnake blotchessnake blotches
Blotches provide you with much more room for variation…

Virtually each sample permits a variation of contrasting borders to be added to it.

blotch boardersblotch boardersblotch boarders
…with borders, shapes, and sizes to play with


These are diamond-shaped blotches, positioned recurrently, with contrasting borders.

snake diamond patternssnake diamond patternssnake diamond patterns
Snake diamonds ought to app have a daily dimension

That’sss All!

Immediately we’ve realized that snakes aren’t as straightforward to attract as one might imagine. These lovely animals, so usually feared and hated by individuals, deserve some love! Take a break from drawing cute kittens and puppies, and draw a snake occasionally. Consuming a pet.

Good luck!

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