How to Draw a Cartoon Snake in 21 Easy Steps!
In this tutorial, we are going to learn how to draw a cartoon snake!
Before we begin, if you need information on what equipment to use for cartooning, check out my Recommended Equipment page.
Also, if you are interested in more detailed step-by-step video lessons on how to draw cartoons, check out my Online Courses page.
So how do you draw a cartoon snake? It’s easy – you need to draw three main features: his head, his middle and his tail. For his middle, draw three layers of his body stacked one of top of the other. Then draw his head (and ‘neck’) poking out from the top of his middle. Finally draw a little tail sticking out!
This tutorial is broken up into three parts:
- the Pencil Sketch – laying down the foundation of our snake using basic shapes
- the Inking Stage – Once we have a confident foundation sketch, we will then get out our black pens and commit to some ink!
- the Coloring Stage – Once the inking is done, we will take things a little bit further and add in some color!
Let’s just quickly go over the important traits of the snake:
Traits: In a nutshell, snakes are long and thin. For this character, we’re going to coil him up into a more interesting pose! As mentioned earlier, he’ll be made up of three main parts – his head, middle and tail.
You can use whatever medium you like, but the materials I used here are as follows:
- Really boring and generic printer paper
- Pencil (HB or #2)
- Thick Black Pens (I used a Posca PC-3M and PC-5M)
- Thin Black Pen (I used a UNI Pin Fine Line 04mm)
- Colored pencils (Prismacolors and Crayola)
For more information on my equipment, visit my Recommended Equipment page
Okay, let’s do a snake!
How to Draw a Cartoon Snake Part 1: The Pencil Sketch
1. Draw the base of the snake – at this point, it is just a stretched out oval. This is the ‘middle’ of our snake, which we will start adding other shapes to shortly
2. Now put in the middle layer on top of the base (I added a temporary smiley face to the bottom layer because it kinda looked like a cute, stocky little snake – ya gotta have fun while doing these things!
3. Next draw in the top layer. Notice how each layer is getting smaller and smaller (and it’s kind of looking like a poop emoji at this point – but not for long!)
4. Time to draw in the snake’s head. He’s a curious little dude, so let’s give him a question mark shaped head. (Draw it in lightly because we are going to refine this shape a bit more soon)
5. Like a every good story, our snake has a beginning and an end. So let’s draw in his tail now, which is just an S shape popping out from his base.
6. In this step we are refining his head shape a bit more, making his head a little longer and thicker.
7. Now that the head shape is locked in, let’s now draw in his eyeballs! Draw one circle in front of his head and half a circle peaking out from behind his head.
8. Snakes can be scary little dudes, so we had better draw in a nice friendly smile! Draw in a semi-circle, which we will fill up with teeth in the next step!
9. Okay let’s add in his teeth and tongue. For his top teeth, simply draw five semi-circles popping out from the top of his mouth. Then draw in his tongue at the bottom of his mouth. (I decided not to add in any bottom teeth because I didn’t want to make his mouth too busy).
10. Let’s now finish up his eyes. In each eyeball, draw in a very short vertical line for each pupil. (I made his pupils pointing in different directions to eachother, mainly because it looks funny).
11. Okay, this step is completely irrelevant, but I really think this snake needs a top hat. So if you feel that your snake also needs a top hat, you can draw that in now! Simply draw in a long, thin rectangle for the hat’s base and a rectangle on top of that base for the main part of the hat.
12. For the last step of our sketch stage, let’s give him some spots! Don’t stress about where to put them, just draw in some random blobby shapes all over his body. We will refine these later in the inking stage!
How to Draw a Cartoon Snake Part 2: The Inking Stage
13. Okay, let’s do some inking! Get out your thick black pen and draw in the main outlines: His head, middle, tail, face and hat.
14. Before you put your thick black pen away, don’t forget to color in the dark area of his mouth (everything but the teeth and tongue). Also color in his top hat black
15. Time for some details now! Ink in his pupils and his spots. It’s important to draw in the details with a thin pen. If you use a thick pen, then the drawing will become too busy and crowded with too many things.
16. We are nearly done with the inking. Finally, draw in some snakeskin texture inside his spots. These are just a whole bunch of thin lines criss-crossing over each other. Also add in some little tiny blobs next to the large snakeskin patterns. Once that’s done, then we are ready to move onto the coloring stage!
How to Draw a Cartoon Snake Part 3: The Coloring Stage
17. Alrighty, let’s do some coloring in! Get out your light green colored pencil and color in his whole body green. This is our main base color, which we will add more color layers on top of.
18. Now with a dark green colored pencil, color over his snakeskin spots. (He is now looking super duper snakey).
19. Our snake is 95% green, so let’s now drop in a vivid, rich red color for his tongue. Red is the opposite of green on the color wheel, so this adds a nice bit of contrast to our character.
20. All of the important colors have been added. Now we need to give our snake some shading! Get out your purple pencil and add in some shadows to give his body a more three dimensional appearance.
21. Depending on your purple pencil, you might need to lightly shade over your shadow layers a few times, but once you’re happy with your shadows, then you have completed drawing your cartoon snake!
That’s the end of this tutorial on how to draw a cartoon snake! Once you’ve copied my drawing, try find some photos of snakes and see if you are able to come up with some drawings of snakes in different poses, with different patterns and sizes.
Remember to start your drawing with basic shapes. Once you are happy with your shapes, you can then refine them into more organic shapes. For inking, always draw the main shape of your character with a thick black pen, followed by details with a thin pen. For color, people often stop coloring after putting in one layer of color, but if you put in two or three layers of color, your character will look much more vivid and interesting!
I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial, if you are ready to get started with cartooning, feel free to check out some of my online courses here: https://www.discovercartooning.com/courses/
All the best and happy drawing!