Learn how to draw the Grim Reaper, the personification of death, with a scythe and hourglass. An easy spooky cartoon drawing for Halloween.
Today we will learn how to draw the Grim Reaper, the personification of death. He is usually pictured as a skeleton dressed in a long mystical robe, with two tools of the trade – an hourglass to measure when a person’s time is up and a scythe to cut the “thread of life” once their time is over.
While drawing a skeleton might be complex, our cartoon Grim Reaper drawing is actually very easy since he is all hidden in a simple to draw robe. For the head, we will use a variation on the simple skull drawing we have done previously. All just in time to expand your spooky Halloween drawings collection.
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How to draw the Grim Reaper: base sketch
Step 1: Sketch the Grim Reaper's head
Let’s start the Grim Reaper drawing with the base head (or skull) shape. This is the same sketch as in the skull drawing tutorial – only this time the entire head is turned sideways.
Draw a circle for the main part of the skull, with a curved rectangle that is attached at the bottom – that will be the jaw. Mark a vertical curved line through the middle of the head circle to help us place the facial features later.
Step 2: Sketch the long cloak
A Grim Reaper drawing would not be complete without a mysterious cloak to hide him – that is what we are drawing in this step.
Draw a rhombus that is a little larger than the head for the hood. Notice how it is offset, with more space to the left, to give the hood the right perspective.
The base shape for the cloak that hides the body is quite simple – two curves from the hood down, widening out as we get to the ground. Close the shape with a curved bottom line.
There you go, now our Grim Reaper sketch looks a bit like a chess piece.
Step 3: Sketch the scythe and hourglass
Let’s add the two tools of the trade that Grim Reaper needs – an hourglass that measures when time is up and a scythe to cut the “thread of life”.
Drawing a scythe is very easy. It’s made from just two shapes – a long, curved, pointed triangle for the blade attached to a long, curved handle.
Next, draw the hourglass. For the sketch, we will only mark out the basic shape. Draw a rectangle to indicate the overall size of the hourglass. Then draw two diagonal cross lines from one corner to its opposite to indicate the hourglass’ bulbs.
Step 4: Sketch the Grim Reaper's arms
Following on with the robes, let’s draw some arms to hold the scythe and hourglass. These are two triangle-like shapes – one to indicate the upper arm and one bending back or up to make the lower arm with nice wide robe sleeves.
Step 5: Sketch the hands and robe details
Let’s draw some skeleton hands next. Since this is a simple cartoon drawing, we only need three-finger hands. The fingers are drawn as three triangle or carrot shapes next to each other for each hand. The palms aren’t visible from this angle, so you don’t need to draw those here.
Next, add a little more detail to the robes by drawing the sleeve openings as simple curved lines.
Step 6: Sketch the Grim Reaper's face
The Grim Reaper looks very happy as he watches the last grains of the sand falling through the hourglass – so let’s sketch in the basics of that happy skeleton face (well, as it turns out cartoon skeletons can have happy-looking faces).
Start with two ovals for the eyes and a small upside-down “V” shape on the centerline for the nose.
The next part is trickier – drawing the jaw. Start by drawing three “teeth” on the bottom of the head circle for the upper jaw. Then draw the lower jaw “teeth” with a straight line as the top edge. Double up the line for the left jaw bone.
The final detail is to draw the small triangle peak for the cheekbone.
Step 7: Improve the robes and hood
Let’s add some detail and interest to the Grim Reaper’s clothes.
Widen out the robe at the ground by adding extra triangle shapes to the sides.
Next, add some extra folds to the hood. Draw the bent-down peak of the hood first. Then add two extra corners at the bottom of the hood. Finally, draw the two inner hood edges across the forehead, that will mysteriously shade and hide the Grim Reaper’s face.
Another spooky character in a long robe to draw:
How to draw the Grim Reaper: outline drawing
Step 1: Draw the Grim Reaper's face
Let’s start outlining the Grim Reaper drawing and improving on the roughly sketched details. Start by drawing up the face and the hood around it.
First, draw the two hood edges, rounding off the left corner. Then draw the parts of the eye ovals not hidden by the hood. Thicken out the nose, similar to the heart shape in the skull tutorial.
Use the sketch lines on the jaw to draw both upper and lower teeth as rounded bumps. Finish the face line and lower jaw, rounding off any sharp corners.
Step 2: Draw the hood
Next, outline the hood of the robes.
Follow the sketch lines, but note how we are jumping between the sketch lines for the outer shape and leaving gaps in the outline to suggest the folds in the hood.
And as usual, round off any sharp corners.
Step 3: Draw the Grim Reaper's hands
Draw the Grim Reaper’s fingers next. Just outline the “carrot” fingers and add two curved lines to split each finger into three bony segments.
Wow, that was an easy step.
Step 4: Draw the scythe and hourglass
Now it is time to draw the Grim Reaper’s tools properly.
Outline the blade of the scythe with straight curves as it was in the sketch. Then, draw the scythe handle with a bumpy and craggy line to suggest the rough wood, much like the witch’s broom.
Draw the hourglass next. Thicken the top and bottom lines and extend them slightly out over the rectangle sketch to draw the hourglass base plates. Then round off the glass bulbs as two “U” shapes meeting at the center. Finally, draw the two side lines to finish the frame.
Step 5: Draw the robe sleeves
Let’s draw the Grim Reaper’s robe next, starting with the sleeves.
The outer edges are a straight outline of the sketch. The small improvement here is the slight wobble added to the sleeve ends to suggest the fabric folds.
Step 6: Draw the rest of the Grim Reaper's robes
Finish drawing the robes. Add some wobble to the edge line on the ground to suggest the folded fabric again.
Then outline the robe edges, following the sketch lines, but not all the way. Leave out gaps at the lower part of the robe where it flattens out onto the ground as we are showing in the picture.
Step 7: Shade in the inside of the robes and add final details
Here come the final improvements to our Grim Reaper drawing.
Fill in the eyes, inside of the jaw, inside of the hood, and the inside of the robe’s sleeves in black.
Draw a few extra fold lines on the sleeves and going across the robe to show the way it moves. And finally, draw a light edge double-up line on the scythe to suggest the sharpened blade.
Another spooky character to draw:
How to draw the Grim Reaper: finished drawing
How to draw the Grim Reaper: finished outline drawing
And here is the cleaned-up final result of our “how to draw the Grim Reaper” tutorial – Death himself in his full glory and might.
Well, with that cheeky happy smile, our cartoon Grim Reaper does not look that scary – just spooky enough to expand your Halloween drawings collection.
How to draw the Grim Reaper: finished drawing coloured-in
And finally, here is the coloured-in picture to complete our “How to draw the Grim Reaper” tutorial.
The Grim Reaper’s robes are black, with some darker black for the already filled in areas. Leve out some white along the inner lines to make the robe folds noticeable. The bones – the skull and the fingers – are white. Hmm, can the black and white picture be called a coloured-in drawing…?
To add at least a bit of colour, we have drawn the scythe handle in warm wood brown, with light blue shading on the blade and the bulbs of the hourglass. The sand in the hourglass is yellow, and we also have drawn in a nice yellow moon shining through the black night to add some warm colour to the picture for contrast.
And that is the end of the tutorial – now you know how to draw the Grim Reaper!