How to Draw Snakes

Study the shapes of snake facial scales to help you identify and draw what you see.

Thamnophis elegans terrestris

Snake bodies are covered with overlapping scales (see previous post for tricks on drawing body scales). The scales of the head of many snakes are larger and important clues to identification. Study the shapes of these scales to help you draw them in the field.

Lets learn the major facial scales. The specific shapes and numbers of these scales will vary between species.

Facial diagram

Chart the patterns of scales on a snake’s face. If you do not know what species you are looking at, these scale shapes can be used to later identify the species. Note: only try this if you are confidant in identifying all of the venomous species in your area.

Gopher Snake sketch