Skull Drawing References for Artists

Skull Drawing References for Artists

There are two main reasons to use skull drawing references: first, to draw a skull realistically. Second, skull references are vital tools in mastering facial anatomy because they reveal the underlying structure of the head. Whether you’re drawing a skull for a pirate-themed piece or simply wish to improve your anatomical knowledge, the skull drawing references we’ve curated below will kick-start your journey to better results.

1200+ Turnaround Skull Collection Refpack

With this diverse collection, you’ll be equipped with multi-angle shots of dozens of different creature skulls. The turnaround view offers complete freedom to explore various perspectives around the skulls. These reference photos especially assist in 3D modeling and traditional sculpting, making them a perfect addition to any multimedia artist’s library. The set comes in three ZIP files, including over 1200 high-resolution, full-rotation animal skull drawing references.

Artist Sculpted Skull Reference

Want to hold a reference skull in your hand like Hamlet? 3D print your very own using this model! This sculpted skull draws realism from anatomy books, pictures, and scans of real human bones. With its simplified and optimized design, printing and rendering with this reference is a breeze. You’ll receive two formats: colored VRML and OBJ. The skull includes three pieces, including the cranium, jaw, and a miniature stand for posing. 

Skull by Stephen A.

This aptly named “skull-pture” is a more stylized variant of the human skull, with slightly exaggerated features and a more pronounced jaw. With its weathered textures and creative design, this skull reference is perfect for artists trying to achieve a more fantastical result. Like the previous skull, this OBJ is print-ready and stands at 50mm tall. The bundle also includes a couple of renders for your reference.

Skull by Behr Bros. GmbH

On the higher end of the skull render spectrum, this high-definition model combines 3D scans of an anatomically correct skull with several textures. The bundle provides high-poly and SubD versions, with the high-poly variant incorporating all the details without using displacement and normal maps. Conversely, the SubD version creates these specifics using textures. The skull model includes many texture options, including diffuse, displacement, normal map, scatter, and specular. The set also provides 3ds Max 2013 and 2014 versions, with the 2013 file ready for rendering in MentalRay. The 2014 version is ready to render with V-Ray 2.0.

1000+ Skull Reference Collection (Pt. II)

Continuing from the 1200+ skull drawing references above, this set boasts many subjects, including human, warthog, rhino, camel, wild boar, hippopotamus, and lion skulls. With an emphasis on capturing multiple angles, you can easily draw these skulls as-is or spend time studying the underlying bone structure. Once again, the full turnaround view provides unparalleled visual freedom, giving you the power to view each skull in the collection from virtually any perspective. 

Basic Skull Construction for Artists

While most skull drawing references in our list are images or models alone, this set features a helpful tutorial to walk you through the rendering process. In this narrated lesson, the creator provides six simple steps to construct a skull for sculpting and drawing. This guide teaches you the primary forms that make a skull, how to connect them believably, and ways to minimize effort when drawing portraits. The module also shows you how to find the major plane breakups and landmarks to assist in blocking, setting you up for realistic character art. The set includes a video, GIF, anatomy diagram JPG, and head construction JPG.

Bone Pack - Smart Material & Meshes

Created using scans as a reference, this pack includes a human skull, a fox skull, and a single bone. They are viewable from any angle, and even teeth and cavities are rendered in precise detail. The artist created the jaw as a separate model with a pivot that’s simple to adjust. This bundle includes bone smart material for Substance Painter, 3 baked-down and optimized meshes, and 1 texture sheet shared by all three meshes.

Skull - Reference Pictures

These straightforward but highly effective human skull drawing references highlight the subject in various lighting environments. The collection features a single human skull on a simple platform, nestled in vibrant lights and from various perspectives. With a high resolution of 4480x6720 px, you can capture every tiny detail on the textured skull model. This bundle includes over 700 images using dazzling angles and colors.

Discover More Skull Drawing References

Capturing the textures and shape of a skull, whether human or animal, can be a tough challenge operating solely from memory. Artists rely on pro-quality references to guide us through our subjects' real-world lighting scenarios and unique characteristics. However, not all references hold high standards, so stick with those vetted by marketplaces or other artists.

Cubebrush’s artist-first marketplace features professional-grade references and tutorials for drawing skulls. You can easily find tools, assets, and resources for mastering anatomy. Our creator-made guides can help you tackle the most daunting drawing hurdles, from understanding skull structure to harnessing the lighting characteristics of windswept bone.

Ready to take the next step on your artistic journey? Take advantage of the Cubebrush weekly freebies, or dive into one of our expert-led tutorials now!