Sketching Animal Skulls

I’ve always loved skeletons and skulls so I thought it might be fun to sculpt some mythical creature skeletons and cast them. That way I can make multiples in plastic to sell. My first idea is mainly just to do the skull, but with extended plans to do an entire skeleton once I work out the technical bits. Maybe for Christmas I will make them with little Santa hats included. You know, to be festive.

I like to be fully prepared and do my research before starting any project so I have been staring long and hard at rabbit skulls for the past couple of weeks. I’ve done some rotation drawings to try and get a grasp of all the different shapes and sutures involved. While I don’t expect to include every single bone in the body, I do intend to keep them as accurate as possible. I fully intend on counting ribs and vertebrae to acheive a realist feel.

Here are some of the sketches I have come up with so far. Can anyone guess what the first mythical animal is going to be?

Yes, it is the majestic jackalope of North American folklore. The fluffy bunny rabbit with antelope horns. One of the more well-known hoaxes of the 1930s, the “authentic stuffed jackalope” was made by grafting horns to a stuffed taxidermy rabbit. For a full description of the origin of the jackalope and its role in popular culture a very informative wiki page can be found here.

Yes, I will admit I am doing this one simply because I wanted an excuse to draw bunnies (and bunny skulls). The jackalope is truly the cutest of all mythical creatures.

As far as construction for my purposes goes, the references are rabbit and deer. The placement of the horns is a little awkward as a rabbit skull is not sloped in the same way as a deer. I also discovered I actually hate drawing antlers.

As of right now I have started blocking out a miniature skull in monster clay. If nothing else it is good anatomy practice.

The casting process for this project is going to be a major hurtle. Either this will have to be strategically posed, or this will have to be cast as separate pieces and glued together later. Regardless, the antlers of this project will be done separately. Having it be hollow verses solid plastic is also something to consider seeing as the ribs will be delicate if cast as a hollow sculpture.

These are all things to consider. I simply wanted to share my thought process as I go along so I have a record of each step. As I go along I will share was does and does not work, and I will post updates when (and if) I decide to include this in an Etsy store. If I can figure out a way to make these with any sort of efficiency you can bet I will make it available in a variety of fun colours! That is festive, right?



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