Welcome to this tutorial about ” How to draw a sword in 10 steps”. In this article, I will show you how I draw and color a sword following a step by step and easy to follow process.
As a visual aid, here you will find, not only images on every single step, also you will find a video of my self-drawing and painting the sword. We will use basic shapes to help us to outline the sword shape.
You can use any medium you wanna use for drawing and coloring the sword. In my case I did it digitally, using Photoshop, so I could record properly the video tutorial.
Under this lines, you will find the video of my self-drawing and painting the sword. Below the video is the full step by step tutorial. If you are interested in more drawing tutorials, please check my drawing tutorials on ”How to draw a human full body” and ”How to draw an Orc”.
So, let’s start drawing!
” HOW TO DRAW A SWORD ” VIDEO
“HOW TO DRAW A SWORD” TUTORIAL
STEP 1: THE BASIC STRUCTURE
This first step is quite simple. Just draw a horizontal line. On the right end of the line, we will place the sword’s cross-guard. We are going to draw a medieval European sword, so the cross-guard will be drawn as a couple of short curve lines one on top of each other.
Don’t worry your lines are not very clean in the first stages. We will polish the final line before we move to the color stage.
STEP 2: DRAWING THE CROSS-GUARD
In this second stage of the drawing, we will define the cross-guard. In my drawing, I opted for a simple design, nothing to fancy.
My cross-guard is straight on the grip side and has a pointy side on the blade’s side, with 2 curves conveying in a pointy shape on the horizontal line.
Both sides of the cross-guard are ended with a sphere.
STEP 3: THE GRIP AND THE POMMEL
The sword’s grip consists on a tubular straight shape. Is wider on the side of the cross-guard and narrower on the pommel side.
As you can see on the guard, the connecting point between this part of the sword and the grip is the little rectangular shape. For us looks rectangular due to the perspective. In reality, has a circular shape.
This coupling part is usually an extension of the guard and surrounds a hole in the center of it. The grip gets attached to the guard, by introducing it through this hole.
The pommel has also a coupling part. You will be able to see it better in the next stages. The pommel’s shape looks like the blade of an axe on a small scale.
STEP 4: THE BLADE
In this fourth step, we will draw the sword´s blade. We will start drawing a couple of straight parallel lines on top and below of our original horizontal lines. This parallel lines will represent the edges of the blade.
Next step we will draw the point of the blade. We will do it drawing a couple of short curve lines, starting from both left ends of the edge lines and converging on the center line we draw on step 1.
As a final touch we will draw a parallel line close to the center line creating an indentation called fuller.
STEP 5: DRAWING FINAL TOUCHES
We will conclude the drawing part of this tutorial giving the final touches of our drawing and preparing it for the painting stage.
As you can see I draw a series of irregulars lines on the grip. I did it thinking about creating some sort of fabric wrapping, like the samurai’s swords have, for my sword. As you will see on future steps I change my mind regarding the wrapping on the grip. I decided to go for a single layer of leather covering the whole piece.
Also, you will notice I´ve shortened the point of the sword. I was checking some of my references and I realized medieval European swords had short and small tips. Basically, these swords were mended to be used as cutting type weapons, not piercing weapons.
STEP 6: CREATING THE COLOR BASE
Now I will describe in points, the process you gotta follow for this step:
- If you are painting using a digital medium, like Photoshop, Procreate, Painter, etc… I recommend you to use the Selection Tool or the even better Pen Tool to piece the sword in different parts. The reason is that you can create a good flat color base with hard and clean edges. This is key to obtain a solid and clean aspect of our sword.
- Once each selection part is created, fill it with the color of your choice with the Bucket Tool. You can make the grip brown for the leather, cross-guard and pommel grey for the steel and a lighter and slightly bluish grey for the blade.
- If you check the video on top of this article you will be able to see how I’m using the Selection Tool for piecing and isolating each part.
STEP 7: WORKING ON THE BLADE AND THE CROSS-GUARD
At this stage, we will create try to create some volume painting some light reflections and shadows on our sword.
My first recommendation is to use the Gradient Tool and the Soft Brush. If you followed the process we describe above, you probably have the different parts of the sword separated in layers. This is what you gotta do next:
- Go to the blade layer and use the Selection Tool to select the lower part of the blade.
- From the fuller on the center to the lower edge, once you have the whole area selected, use the Gradient Tool, drag from the fuller to the edge so you can create some nice and progressive shadow across the blade.
- For the upper side of the blade I recommend to follow a similar, but instead of using the Gradient Tool once the area is selected, use the Soft Brush.
- Open a new layer on top of the base color layer. Change the layer mode of your new layer from Normal to Linear Dodge.
- With the selection activated paint two or three lines across the selection. Use a light grey color for the stripes. Remember to vary the thickness of the strokes. The final result will look like reflections of light on the blade.
- Finally, we will draw a thick dark line across the center of the blade. This will be the cavity called fuller.
- Touching the lower edge of the fuller you will paint another parallel line. This time you will paint it using a very light grey. This line will be thinner. I will represent the border of the cavity of the fuller which is being hit by the light,
We are going to use the same techniques we used for painting the blade.
- Use the Pen Tool or the Selection Tool and isolate each part of the cross-guard. You are going to start our selection from the center of the cross-guard.
- Once each side is selected, use the Gradient Tool. Drag an drop, starting from the center to the sides of the cross-guard.
- Use a lighter grey for the upper side and a darker grey for the lower side.
- Both spheres on the side of the arms can be painted using a Circle Selection Tool and gradients to create light and shadow. Just remember to keep the lower sphere darker than the sphere above. Also, you can cast a little shadow coming from the upper sphere over the upper arm of the cross. This will help to create a 3D effect and will make the sphere pop up from the rest of the arm.
STEP 8: WORKING ON THE GRIP AND THE POMMEL
On Step 8 we will focus our efforts on the grip and the pommel. Also, we will darken a little bit the blade so it doesn´t blend with the background. This darkening can be done selecting the blade and darkening it using Levels.
- The first step will be to select the grip area with the Selection Tool.
- Once the selection is active we will create a shadow dragging the Gradient Tool from the bottom to the center of the handle.
- Use a dark tone of brown for the shadow.
- Because the grip is a cylinder we need to place our light across the center of the grip. This will create a progression from dark on the sides to light on the center.
- We will use a Diffuse Brush and we will create a straight line across the center for creating the lighted area.
The pommel is divided into two parts.
- One part that acts like a coupling part attached to the grip.
- The other part is the end of the pommel, shaped like an ax’s blade.
- Again we will select each part and use the same techniques we used for the blade and the grip.
STEP 9: FIXING THE POINT AND PAINTING HIGHLIGHTS
This stage is all about pushing the detailing and rendering of the materials to the next level.
The blade point:
- Select the whole sword an on a layer on top fill the selection with black color, using the Bucket Tool.
- Change the layer mode to Color Dodge Mode
- You will see the black color disappear.
- Start paint using a light grey tone and a The Diffuse Brush.
- Paint on the areas you already marked as hit by the light.
- Check the image I included on this stage. There you can see where I´m placing the light accents. The dot on the Pommel or the spheres on the cross-guards can be good examples. Other examples will be the highlighted areas on the blade or the center of the grip.
STEP10: ADDING THE FINAL TOUCHES
As a final step, we will add some glow on the blade and refining some shadows.
- Adding the glow effect on the blade edge is quite easy.
- Use the Diffuse Brush and lower the opacity.
- Pick a light grey tone.
- Put the brush on Linear Dodge Mode
- Create a dot on the top edge of the blade.
As I final touch I will darken some shadows on the sword. The areas will be in the border where the transition between light and shadow happens. I’m talking particularly about the gip, the coupling part of the pommel and the cross-guard.
Let’s take the grip as example:
- Go to the center area were the main highlight is.
- Just in the point where the shadow starts, draw a dark line, using the Diffuse Brush and very dark brown color.
- The line needs to blend with the existing shadow.
- The point of this is to mimic what happens in reality when we find a transition between an area hit by a light source and an area in shadows.
- The viewers will perceive this transition point, between light and shadow, as the darkest point on this particular surface.
- Repeat the process for the coupling part of the pommel and the cross-guard.
After all this information I gave to you on this article, together with the video and the images, I think you have enough information to start working on your own sword design.
There is many types of swords, like katanas, sabers, gladius, etc…. You can paint all of them following the same principles I gave you on this tutorial. My advice will be to start drawing a similar sword than mine and once you master the process, you can try with your own designs.
If you wanna expand your knowledge about drawing and painting I recommend you my article about ”The Most Affordable Art Courses Online”.
Like always, I hope this tutorial was useful to you. If you have any comments or doubts, please leave a line on the comment section and will be more than happy to answer you as soon as I can. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our page so I can keep you updated with new tutorials, articles, and courses.