How to Draw Frogs and Toads

Understanding frog anatomy and structure will both help you observe and be able to draw what you see. Study and look for these important anatomical details in photographs and live frogs to help you learn how to draw frogs and toads. Frogs that are adapted for jumping will have a prominent sacral hump on their backs.

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As you make your preliminary sketch, align the eyes and the contours of the sacral hump. Click on the first image to enlarge and see the relationship of the preliminary lines to the compleated drawing.

Understanding the skeleton

There are four characteristics of the frog skeleton that are helpful for artists.

  1. The broad head has limited mobility and relatively no neck.
  2. The forelegs are internally rotated so that the toes point toward each other.
  3. The pelvis is elongated and hinged at the spine. This is what causes the sacral hump.
  4. The tarsus of the hind leg is well articulated and makes a distinctive angle before the webbed toes.

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Toad skin is covered with large warts. These are skin glands, not the result of a virus and are not contagious). The parotid gland is a large protective poison gland behind the eye and above the eardrum. Toads are less adapted to jumping and have shorter back legs.

toad faces blue gland

To suggest the skin texture, add a highlight on top of each wart. If it is surrounded by a dark ring, make the ring a little larger on the near side as the wart will partly block the view of the far side.

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