Swords are so much fun to draw. And they also represent a great subject for creative freedom, since you can vary the difficulty, details, and style almost infinitely to suit your own taste and style.
In this lesson, I will show you how to draw swords with a very simple approach. I’m keeping it simple and relatively easy, and you should be able to follow along without too much difficulty.
Afterwards you can simply follow the same basic steps and simply change or add whatever details you feel like, to make it your own.
For this drawing, I am using a mechanical pencil 0,5 mm, and standard copy paper A4 size (8,5 x 11 inches, for the Americans). At the end I am using some fineliners for the outlining, and some simple felt tip pens for the colouring.
For an overview of the process, here is a (short) video of me drawing a different (but very similar) sword.
So if you’re ready, grab your pencil, and let’s get started!
Step One: Guidelines
Make a cross.
These are your guidelines, so make sure to draw them nice and light, as you’ll be erasing them later on
I used a ruler in this case, since I drew this particular sword big enough to fill the entire page (an A4 size), but that is absolutely not necessary. In fact, I am usually not a big fan of rulers and templates. I think drawings become much more lively when drawn in free hand. If you check out the video, you’ll see that it’s done in free hand.
Step two: Blade and handle
Using your guidelines, draw a shape for your blade, and your handle.
In this case, I’m drawing a sword that’s kind of adventure-ish in its shape, so my blade is a bit on the dramatic side! Feel free to shape your own blade anyway you want!
As you can tell, I am no longer using a ruler. From here on out, it’s completely free hand, since that’s the way I prefer it. But you should absolutely not feel bound to do it that way. If you find it exceedingly difficult to get your blade relatively straight, feel free to use a ruler! (OR… Go practice your straight lines… Go HERE for some exercises.)
(Oh, and I’m not sure what happened with the guideline to the handle, I must have cut it of during scanning 😉 )
Step three: Handguard
Still using your guidelines, draw a shape for your handguard.
I am lining the handguard up with the bottom part of the actual blade (where it meets the handle). I am also using the original guidelines to get the handguard relatively even.
(The handguard is one of the obvious places to get creative, and add your own personal touch!)
Step Four: Contour Lines
All the way down the handle I am now drawing contour lines.
These will add shape and a 3D feel to the handle. I’m still drawing lightly, as I’m still working on the basic shape of the sword, and will be drawing over these lines.
I have also erased the guidelines in the handguard, to clean that part up a little bit.
Step Five: More Shape to the Handle
Using the previously added contour lines as new guidelines, I add some more fill and shape to the handle.
What I’m doing is simple drawing small curves on top of the contour lines from step four, and continuing them in towards the middle of the handle. This also adds to the 3D effect.
I also erase the guideline in the middle of the handle, which will give a nice effect later on, when I start adding the shading.
Step six: The Pommel
Yes, that is what it is called… The knob at the end of the handle…
Bonus History lesson: The name Pommel is derived from french “pomel” which means “small apple”. Originally it was added as a means to prevent the sword from slipping out of the warrior’s hand during the fight. In certain types of big and heavy swords, it also had an effect as a counterweight, making the sword easier to control.
Now as far as drawing it. What I’m doing in this case, is actually adding two pointy shapes at the end of the handle. The smallest one first, as an extension of the handle. And then using that as a guide to add the bigger shape around it.
Step seven: The Pommel Continued
At this point, I erase the original rounded shape from my handle, and I clean up the lines a little bit.
The Pommel is also one of those places, where it’s easy to get creative.
In this case I’m keeping it very simple for clarity’s sake, but you can certainly add many details to this. You can also vary the shape and size as much as you want.
Step eight: First Details to the Blade
Fortification of the attachment to the handle.
This part is absolutely optional, I just found it fun to add… That’s one of the beauties of drawing. You can do what ever you want! 😉
Step nine: More Details to the Blade
Working off of the fortification I drew in step eight, I’m adding a shape to the middle of the blade.
I’m almost copying the shape of the actual blade.
Again, I’m keeping it simple, but this is another obvious spot to add your own artistic vision. There are lots of artists, far more skilled than me, who draw swords, and add incredibly detailed patterns and artwork to this particular part.
Step ten: Adding Sharpness to the Blade
Two diagonal lines at the end of the blade.
This way I’m adding a bit more “pointiness” to the sword, giving it a sharper look.
I also erase the guideline from the shape in the middle that I drew in step nine.
Step Eleven: Shading
As always, the shading adds so much depth to the drawing, and lifts it to another level.
Shading is something that you can always work on, and it can be done in a hundred different ways. Honestly I am not particularly good at it, and it is one of the areas, that I am working on. (I’ll be adding some tutorials specifically about this. I just feel I need to hone my own skills some more first, before I actually teach this technique).
But basically this is crosshatching. And what I am trying to do is this:
1) keep my light source coming from one direction, adding the hatching on the opposite side.
2) Adding the actual lines of the hatching in the shape of the object that I’m working on, to underline that particular shape. What this basically means is this: On the blade, the lines are straight, and on the handle and the handguard, the lines are curvy. This adds to the shape of those objects, and adds to the 3D effect of the overall drawing.
Step Twelve: Outlining in Ink
With a fineliner, I draw over every line I’ve done.
I used two different sizes for this. A 0.5 mm for the edges, and a 0,3 mm for the shading. You don’t have to do this, though. You can definitely use one size for everything.
Another option is to just leave it in pencil! Pencil drawings have a very cool aesthetic to them. In that case, I would do a similar thing. Going over the lines again, and adding some more darkness to them.
Step Thirteen: Adding Light Reflections
To add to the life of the drawing, I am adding some areas with are going to be left white, when I colour the drawing.
I am drawing them lightly in pencil first, and then I’m outlining them with a 0,1 mm fineliner.
This is a bit of an experiment on my part. I know the effect works, but whether I’ll be able to pull it off, remains to be seen. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right…?!? 😉
Hopefully this will look cool, when I add the colour around it afterwards.
Rounding it off.
I’m keeping a very simple colouring scheme, consisting of grey, yellow, orange and brown. And then, of course, the white areas that I drew in step thirteen, representing light reflections.
Colouring is definitely something I’ll try and do more of. I haven’t done it too much, as I’m a big fan of pencil drawings, and ink drawings. I just think they have a very cool aesthetic to them. But colouring can also add an awesome dimension. It’s just different expressions, I guess. And ultimately. I want to be able to work within as many as possible.
So There You Have it
A simple lesson on how to draw swords. I hope it made sense to you, and that you got something out of it. I also hope you’ll be drawing lots of swords, and trying your hand at different variations.
I know I learned a lot from this. So I am a happy camper. As you may or may not know, this is a journey towards learning or relearning to draw. I am learning as I go, and I am sharing what I learn with everybody who come to my sight. All of it for free!
I’ll also be sharing what I learn about resources, and materials, and any thoughts I may come up with along the way regarding these things.
So if you’re interested in learning to draw, you’ve come to the right place.
Thanks for visiting, and feel free to join me on The Drawing Journey. I’d love to hear from you, so comments are very welcome.