Human Skull project

Oblique View of the Human Skull
A carbon dust illustration depicting the features of a skull


Anatomical Illustration


Carbon dust, Crescent 310 Illustration Board, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator


Prof. Dave Mazierski (MSC1001Y)

Target Audience

Anatomy students and undergraduate students learning anatomy

Date completed

October 22, 2021


To render the human skull realistically using carbon dust technique


To create a realistic and proportional rendering of the human skull, I used a drawing grid along with a plastic skull model, propped to the position desired, to hone down the proportions of the anatomical features.

To start, I drew a sketch on paper which was then transferred using carbon transfer paper onto the Crescent Illustration Board. This board provided a warmer white tone along with a more textured surface that will be handy in catching the fine carbon dust later.

Using a combination of brush and tortillon application I was able to slowly add layers of carbon dust to continue to increase the contrast of the illustration. The darkest areas of the illustration were added using a Mars Lumograph Black 8B Pencil. Something that I found very helpful was using a fine-tip eraser to add finer highlights that were difficult to apply otherwise.

After the layers of carbon dust were added, an opaque white gouache paint was used to add specular highlights. 

After the carbon dust illustration was scanned, the image was then edited in Photoshop by using a mixture of Burn and Dodge tools to increase the contrast of the skull’s overall shape. Finally, the text overlay was placed in Adobe Illustrator.


  1. Agur, A. M. R., Dalley, A. F. (2017). Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy (14th ed, pp. 522-526). Wolters Kluwer.
  2. Majid, A., Majid D. (2016). M&M Essential Anatomy. (3rd ed, pp. 55, 76). Pearson Learning Solutions.
  3. Netter, F. (2019). Netter Atlas of Human Anatomy (7th ed, pp. 498-506). Elsevier.