Drawing Snakes - How to Draw Snakes For the Beginner

Drawing a figure with obvious planes (flat surfaces) is easily perceptible by short observations because the details are laid flat and the sides are polygonal,But snakes are basically cylindrical which makes the prints and body embellishments harder to convey, adapt and place accordingly. Aside from the challenge of figuring out the cylindrical shape of snakes, another challenge is the way the snake bends and moves. The patterns on its body are either slightly stretched or compressed, changing the shapes of the details and slightly rearranging the distinguishable form  of the prints. 

The easy solution to this is to convey the cylindrical figure of its body first, map the shape and draw reference lines/curves.

Draw a cross- contour on the basic figure to easily fix this problem. Draw another set of reference lines to establish the distance/gap between each print. When the complete mapping of the form (contour form of the snake) is established, the bends and curve of the figure can be easily observed and the embellishments on its skin would be much easier to locate and establish properly.

Imagine a fishnet wrapped tightly on a snake figure. The spaces around each diamond-shaped scales increase as the area it covers become bigger, like the Fishnet is being stretched further when it’s covering an area with a wider mass. But remember that the sizes of each scale are consistent, only the little gaps or spaces between each one are adjusted when it bends or turns.

It may take a while when drawing the details of a snake’s body, but you should remain patient and initiate the detailing properly to avoid sloppy hand strokes. 

Skins of snakes are basically scales with diamond shapes or semi-ovals, the manner of how each rows of scales flow around the entire shape of the subject depends on how the snake twists its body while in motion. The rows are usually horizontal if the body of the snake is not curled or bent, but it changes into diagonal rows when the body is turned, which makes the pattern of the scales similar to fishnets.

There are few ways to easily establish the rows of scales. The reference marks applicable depend on the current motion/gesture of the subject and how the shape of each scale, including other unique prints that  some snakes are known to have,  should be established.

Loops that cross the entire figure is effective for seeing the entire mass of the figure. In this way, you can easily decide how the certain prints and scales should wrap the shape of the snake (how it should fold or bend) and how far the details should be apart from the other.

Proper gradation is vital when you visually describe the texture in black and white.

Keep in mind that these reference marks are mere guides to easily visualize the body details of the subject. There are cases (usually because of a certain body gesture) which some portions are better conveyed by close observations to an actual subject or at least a photo.

A thorough explanation and easy to follow step-by-step instructions are available in the book "Drawing Snakes - How to Draw Snakes For the Beginner".


Examples are also included in "Drawing Snakes and Lizards" 





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