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How to Draw a Dinosaur Skeleton

Updated March 23, 2017

Drawing a dinosaur isn't too difficult a task if you take the time to practice, but drawing the skeleton of a dinosaur can present a challenge. Depending upon the dinosaur you want to draw, there can be hundreds of bones that make up the overall skeleton. The detail you wish to achieve will impact the level of difficulty of your drawing, but with a reference photo and patience, you can recreate a dinosaur skeleton on paper.

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  1. Select two reference photos of the specific dinosaur you want to draw. One of the photos should be a skeleton and the other should be the same dinosaur with skin.

  2. Sketch the outline of the dinosaur you want to draw. This will give you a framework with which to sketch the skeletal structure. Use a 4 or 5H pencil to do this outline. This is harder lead and will result in a fairly light line.

  3. Refer to the skeleton of the dinosaur you want to draw. Begin at the tail or the head and work your way to the opposite end, recreating the bone structure you see in your photo. It may be helpful to identify parts of the skeletal structure that can be roughed in with general shapes and refined later. Work with two pencils to get the proper shading and depth. You'll draw the lines with an HB pencil and around the edges of the joints. In between the bones, you will add shading with a 4 or 5B to produce darker contrast.

  4. Smudge the lead shading between the bones with the corner of your eraser. The goal is to keep the tones there dark, but break up the solidness of the colour by letting a little of the paper show through. This creates space and depth between the bones and helps emphasise the bone structure.

  5. Erase the original guide outline of your dinosaur, leaving behind only the finished skeletal structure.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pencils
  • Eraser
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Sketch pad
  • Reference photos (a skeleton and live example)

About the Author

Carl Hose is the author of the anthology "Dead Horizon" and the the zombie novella "Dead Rising." His work has appeared in "Cold Storage," "Butcher Knives and Body Counts," "Writer's Journal," and "Lighthouse Digest.". He is editor of the "Dark Light" anthology to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.

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