Red touch yellow, hurt a fellow. Red touch black, friend of Jack.

Generations of campers have memorized this little rhyme to help them distinguish harmless snakes, like the milk snake here, from the similarly colored but poisonous coral snake. It's hard to tell the difference in the wild, so it's best to keep your distance from all snakes that have red, yellow, and black bands.

Today we are drawing a milk snake, so there's nothing to fear.

Follow the directions below to draw your snake, and you'll have a chance to see your artwork published in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News on Sept. 1, 2018. Details for submission are below. Happy drawing! We'll post another art lesson next week.

1. The oval that forms the snake’s head tilts upward. The eye touches the top of the head. A series of curves will make the body loop around. Notice how the snake gets fatter in the center and is thinnest at the tail. Don’t be afraid to erase and redraw a line if necessary.

2. Finish the snake’s body and tail with the curves highlighted in orange. Notice that the head is much higher than the tail. Add a bump over the eye.

3. From this angle, we see some of the snake’s belly. The scales on the belly are shaped like the rungs on a ladder. The crosshatching represents the body scales. We needn’t cover the entire snake with crosshatching.

4. Now you are ready to add color. We have given our snake bands of yellow, red, and black in watercolor. Yours can be one solid color, if you prefer. Give your snake some grass or an entire environment.

How to submit your artwork

Children are invited to send or email copies of their work to us at the address or the email below. Phone pictures are fine. One drawing weekly will be selected for publication on Sept. 1 and the selected artists will receive a prize.

Be sure to include your name, age, mailing address, and email or phone number.

Send to:
Arts Editor Becky Batcha
Philadelphia Inquirer
801 Market St.
Phila., PA 19107