In this challenge, we’ll draw one of the most vicious snakes around – the cobra.  It might seem that drawing a snake like this is pretty easy, but it is a bit more complex that it looks.  We’ll take a step by step approach to make the drawing process a little easier, but it will still require a bit of “visual trickery” to pull it off.  We’ll draw the cobra so that the body extends back into space to make the image a bit more interesting.

We’ll also be sure to add a bit of texture to create the illusion of scales.  And in the end, we’ll vary the line quality to further the illusion form.  Let’s get started.

Step 1 – Draw a Shape for the Hood of the Cobra

We’ll begin by drawing the basic shape of the hood of the cobra.  To make the head look like it is protruding, we’ll wrap a line around the front, but avoid connecting it the outline.  The base of the shape is not the bottom of the snake.  Instead, it is the part that touches the ground.  The rest of the body will extend outward behind this shape.

Step One - Cobra

Step 2 – Draw the Shape for the Rest of the Body

Since we’re drawing the snake to look as realistic as possible, we’ll need to make the body look natural.  To accomplish this, we’ll draw the shape of the body so that it extends from bottom of the shape of the hood.  Some of this shape is visible from the right side of the hood.  The rest of the body extends to the left and overlaps itself before tapering.  It’s okay to make the outlines a little rough.  This adds a bit of realism to the drawing.

Step 2 - Cobra Drawing

Step 3 – Draw Lines for the Underbelly and Add the Eyes

Next, lines are drawn horizontally across the front of the body.  These lines should follow the contours of the body.  They may be closer together where the body protrudes or recedes to help create the illusion of  form.  We’ll also draw the eyes and a small line for the mouth of the cobra in this step.

Step 3 - Draw lines for the Underbelly

Step 4 – Add the Scales and Dimension to the Body of the Cobra

At this point in the drawing, things become a bit interesting.  This is the stage where the cobra really comes to life.  We’ll add a few marks to the body to create the illusion of scales. These marks do not need to be made everywhere.  A few groupings will do the trick.  More marks are visible in areas where the value is darker (shadowed areas).

We’ll also add a few markings to the hood of the cobra.  These markings can be random, but should be somewhat symmetrical.  A few lines are also drawn on the face to indicate the location where the mouth meets the snout.

Step 4 - Add the Scales

Step 5 – Finish the Drawing of a Cobra

The only thing left to do now is to go over the lines with a dark medium like ink or soft graphite. You can enhance the line quality (thickness or thinness) to make the drawing a bit more realistic and erase any stray lines.

How to Draw a Cobra - Finished


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