Got any advice for drawing a scary skull that’s not too fantastical in appearance?
Jakob Ellis, Australia
Painting a scary-looking skull begins with painting an accurate skull, and then exaggerating its shapes and features. I start with a lot of the same landmarks that I use to construct a face, and look for the major plane changes that occur along the edge of the face, from the ears along the border of the edge of the cheek, down to the corner of the mouth.
Once I have a relatively solid base I start to craft the negative space to give the skull’s various features a menacing, barbed look. Mark-making is also important, because the abrasive usage of brushes adds to the sense of viciousness to the skull’s character. I make sure that any further rendering reinforces the jagged elements that I continue to infuse the piece with.
Finishing the painting with spooky lighting enhances the sense of dread.