Sketching a Skull – 30 Minute Drawing Exercise

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Gettin’ Sketchy – Sketching a Skull in 30 Minutes

A practice of regular sketching should a part of very artist’s routine. Sketching, a looser and quicker form of drawing, helps to train our brains to see the world as an artist. There are other benefits to regular sketching such as relaxation, improving concentration and focus, and improving hand-eye coordination. But for artists, perhaps the most important benefit is the drawing improvement.

It can be hard for some of us to make time for a practice of regular sketching. Luckily, sketching doesn’t require a big time commitment and you can accomplish quite a bit in a short period of time. Spending as little as 30 minutes a day sketching in a sketchbook or on “scratch paper” can make a huge difference in your drawings skills.

A New Segment for You

In this first episode of a new segment called “Gettin’ Sketchy”, we create a quick sketch of a skull. Some folks may look at a subject such as this and become intimidated by the details. But even a complex subject like this can be broken down into basic shapes and forms.

We’ll set the timer for 30 minutes and then look for the most basic of forms – a cube and a trapezoid. If we begin by drawing these basic forms and then turn our attention to the contour lines, the process becomes much easier. Starting with basic forms also helps us with our accuracy and speed.

After drawing the basic forms, we can then draw the contour lines with more confidence. We can adjust the line quality to add a bit of variety and then add as much shading and value in the remaining allotted time.

Here’s the photo reference for you to use with this exercise…
Skull Photo Reference

I hope to make “Gettin’ Sketchy” a regular event on the YouTube channel. If you enjoy it, I’ll continue to bring it to you. It should make a nice addition to all of the lessons that we produce for you each week.

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Lesson Discussion

  1. I absolutely love your site! Thank you for doing these videos! I have in the last couple of years re-started my art. I am self taught, and you are an excellent instructor! My husband has a membership and he is also learning so much from you also. I am interested in acrylic ink painting. I have watched your gouache painting (another interest of mine), but really, not too many people are making videos for acrylic ink. Thanks! I use the Liquitex acrylic ink.

  2. Brilliant lesson Matt, thanks. I would really love to see lesson/s on how to draw birds.

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