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How to Draw an Anaconda

A member of the boa constrictor family, anacondas are the largest snakes in the world and make their home in the Amazon rainforest of South America. If you are illustrating a book of jungle stories, making a rainforest mural to decorate a wall of your home or simply practicing sketching your favourite animals, you may want to learn how to draw the anaconda. Besides mastering the perspective required to render the body of the anaconda correctly, its intricate patterns must be demonstrated as well.

Collect various photos of the anaconda. Image searches on the Internet or magazines such as National Geographic are good places to start.

Draw a line that represents the body of the anaconda. To depict an anaconda on the ground, sketch a line that bends back on itself like a slow-flowing river. To depict an anaconda in a tree, draw the tree branch first and then draw the anaconda draped over it. Use a photo of an anaconda in its natural habitat to draw the form and shape of the snake accurately.

Lightly sketch the body of the anaconda. Make sure that the anaconda widens in the middle and tapers very slowly to the tail. The anaconda also slightly tapers a bit toward the head.

Pencil in its final borders, using dark marks, after you have the shape and form of the body looking lifelike and proportional. Erase all light sketch marks and body shape lines that you do not need.

Draw the head. The head of an anaconda has a particular triangular shape that widens in the back and tapers toward the snout. The head has a pair of ridges that run along the top edges just above the eyes. Draw the small black eyes just below the ridges and the small nostrils at the tip of the snout. Draw the line for a mouth below the snout and draw the forked tongue protruding from it.

Draw the pattern on the snake. Anacondas have a distinctive semi-geometrical pattern that looks similar to a leopard's skin. Draw rows of oblong dark patches that have spaces between them but still look like they could fit together if pushed together. Next to the row of oblong shapes, make zigzag marks that create border designs along the anacondas side.

Shade the drawing. Using the side of the pencil, lightly shade in areas where the snake's skin overlaps and casts a shadow, giving the snake a three-dimensional look.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Photos of anacondas
  • Eraser
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About the Author

Based in San Francisco, Ocean Malandra is a travel writer, author and documentary filmmaker. He runs a major San Francisco travel website, is widely published in both online and print publications and has contributed to several travel guidebooks to South America.