In this tutorial, I will teach you how to draw Kratos from God of War. This, easy to follow, step by step tutorial will guide you through the whole process of creating a cool rendition of the famous video game character. We will start drawing a dummy, that will serve us as a base over which we will draw our final sketch.
So, How to draw Kratos?
If you want to draw Kratos, you should follow this simple 7 steps:
- Step 1: Gather references so you can use them for inspiration.
- Step 2: Start drawing your dummy, starting from the torso.
- Step 3: Draw the arms.
- Step 4: Draw the legs.
- Step 5: Draw the head
- Step 6: On top of your dummy draw the outline of Kratos.
- Step 7: Add the final detail and shading.
Let´s Start The Tutorial
Now it´s time to elaborate on the steps I showed you before.
I think the latest edition of the God of War saga, GoW4, shows a new Kratos, older and with a more Nordic style, that is really cool. This is why I decided to go for this version of the character, with the beard, the axes, etc.. and not the oldest version, younger and with the flaming swords.
Step 1: Reference Gathering
This early stage is usually overlooked by beginners. If you are trying to draw an original drawing, is always useful to find all sorts of images we can use for inspiring ourselves.
I usually like to work with realistic photo references and I use them as inspiration for my creations. In this case, the character I´m going to draw is not an original concept. Kratos is a fictional character from the God of War saga of video games and you can find many artistic renditions of him. There are no photo references I can use in this case, so I gotta use other artists work as references and inspiration in order to draw a cool and recognizable Kratos.
For reference gathering I recommend you to open a Pinterest account where you can create some mud boards and pin the images you consider useful. Pinterest is a great repository of images and I’m sure you will find there tons of images. If you type Kratos and God of War 4 on Pinterest you will find lots of images you can use as references for your drawing.
Once we will have our references gathered, it will be time to start our drawing. In this tutorial, I will draw our character in a 3/4 standing position, with the head almost fully frontal and with a couple of axes crossed one over the other. The first 4 steps will be focus on how to draw the dummy I will use as a base over which I will draw the detailed sketch.
If you are drawing on paper, you can use any pencil brand you like. In my case, I always go for full graphite pencils, because I really like the feel and the look of the strokes.
Step 2: Drawing the torso
Remember to keep the torso and the waist separated from each other. The space in between them will be the abdominal area. The bottom of the torso will represent the lower ribs. Once both volumes are placed, create a curve line connecting both, waist and torso. This line will divide the front face of the torso ( where the chest is ). You can draw also a curved line under the chest area. Doing that you will define where the arch of the ribs will be placed.
The size of the torso will be over 3 heads or 3 heads and a half in height. Kratos is a semi-god and his anatomy is a little different from a regular human being. A good trick to make your character look more heroic is to use a body ratio of 8 to 8 and a half heads. Like I said before, the torso and the hips must be around 3 to 3 and a half in length and the legs over 4 heads. At the end of step 4, you will find a scale comparison between our Kratos dummy and the 8 heads ratio I´ve been speaking about, so you can have a visual reference on how this ratio works.
Drawing the hips will be the next step in our journey. I usually start drawing the hips and the crotch like if our character was wearing a short swimsuit or male underwear. It simplifies the process creation and makes things easier to understand.
Step 3: Drawing the arms
Next step will be to draw the arms. We will start with the shoulders. I’ve seen many people drawing the shoulder like a couple of egg-shaped spheres. In my case, I do the same and I´m looking to create a descending line starting from the traps and continuing on the deltoid muscles. The result is a more natural and fluid body line. The left side shoulder, which is almost totally hidden from the viewers perspective will be drawn as a short curve line coming out from behind the upper part of the torso.
The Biceps and Triceps
For the biceps and triceps area, I will draw two curve lines. The biceps line will connect the bottom of the shoulder egg shape and the other side of the curve will connect with the forearm. The triceps will be different. Like the biceps curve will start on the bottom of the shoulder but only will reach half the length of the biceps curve. On this point, it will become almost a flat line that will reach the elbow.
The left arm’s biceps will come out from behind the rib cage area. Take notice of the difference between the left arm shoulder, which is represented as a curve line and the biceps which is drawn as a straight line that ends on the elbow area.
The elbows will be situated on the same height of the floating ribs, on the sides of the torso.
For the forearms, we will draw a tube for each arm. This tubes will become narrower on the bottom part where the wrist connects with the hand. More or less, both wrists will be aligned with the crotch on the hips area.
Both hands will be drawn as fist because both hands will be grabbing something. The hand on the right will be grabbing a Viking type ax and the hand on the left a big executioner ax. I will draw them quite schematically. For the hand on the right, placed frontally, we will draw a big irregular square for the palm. The fingers will be drawn as little rectangles.
For the hand placed sideways, the main body of the hand will be an irregular pentagon and the fingers again will be drawn as simple rectangles.
Later on, you can define better the different parts of the hands when we will be detailing our drawing.
As you can see both axes are different. The big executioner ax has a bigger edge compare to the Viking type ax. This difference between both weapons will help us to create a more convincing and realistic character and also give us the chance two introduce two different weapon designs on our concept.
Step 4: Drawing the legs
Regarding the length of legs, the thigh will be almost 2 heads more or less and for the shin and the 2 and a half.
The thighs will be drawn as massive tubes, similar to the ones we drew for the forearms but 3 times thicker.
The shins and the calves will be drawn different one to the other:
It will present a curve line on top and another one under. The curve line on top will be longer than the one on the exterior side, but still shorter if we compare it with the curve line bellow that follows.
Will be drawn as a concave curve. It will starts on the knee and will end on the feet.
The knees will be almost hidden behind the axes. You can draw them as a couple of ellipses just to know where they should be placed behind the axes. This can help you to divide between the thighs and the shins and calves.
The feet will be represented as geometric shapes. Do to the pose of the character, the front feet will be drawn as some sort of weird rectangle. One of the short sides will be drawn flat and connecting with the shin( where the ankle should be). The other short side will be the point of the feet, where the toes should be. This part will be drawn rounded.
The other foot will be drawn in a 3/4 view and will look like a wedge with a flat part on top, where the feet connects with the shin( the ankle area).
Step 5: Drawing the Head
Drawing the head, at this stage, will be quite easy to do. Remember the ellipse we drew on top of our torso. Now it´s time to draw the head on to of the sphere. Just draw a sphere, flatten on the sides and draw a vertical line across it. Once you have this done, you gotta draw a horizontal line. Don´t draw the horizontal line across the middle of the vertical line. Try to draw it a little bit above.
The ears will be placed on the sides of the sphere, more or less at the same height than the horizontal line.
After this step, I will take our dummy and I will draw on top of it, but before I will start drawing I need to make my dummy less visible so it will not distract me and interferer with the final drawing. If you are drawing using paper and pencil you can use a kneaded eraser to reduce the visibility of the dummy sketch without removing completely the drawing.
In case you are drawing on a digital medium, you just need to reduce the layer opacity to 20% so you can leave just a thin trace of the original dummy´s sketch lines.
Step 6: Outlining the character
How it´s going so far? I hope your drawing is looking even better than mine :) . But, if you are struggling to achieve the results you were expecting, DON´T WORRY IT´S NORMAL! You probably need to work more in your artistic skills. As same as you, I used to be where you are now, trying to make my drawings look cool and impressing. Practice is the answer to your problem. However, there are things you can do for shortening your learning curve. For me, a game changer was to take action and to enroll in drawing courses. The one course I found very useful, was a simple but effective video course I took years ago, which helped me to understand better the fundamentals of drawing, not only people and anatomy, also perspective and composition. The lectures were easy to follow and I could feel my drawing skills were improving after each lesson.
Shoulders and arms
In this step, I will define the main muscles and the shoulder pads. One of the most identifiable elements of Kratos, is his brought shoulder. This is why I will start with the shoulder pad. The shoulder pads design will follow a layered disposition with 3 plates of leather armor, one over the other. The plates will be drawn as 3 layers of reinforced leather with some padding.
Coming out from under the shoulder pads, the biceps will be drawn naked and the forearm and the hand will be protected by a leather bracelet with some fur decoration on the borders, and a metal plate attached to it.
The arm on the right will have no shoulder protection. Muscles should be defined properly. The insertion of the shoulder on the biceps are and the line dividing biceps and triceps muscles need to be visible. The forearm will be protected by a leather wrapping. This protective element, different from the bracelet on the other arm, is another artistic license. The idea here is to create an asymmetry between both arms making our character’s costume more visually appealing.
Krato’s torso has a big barrel chest with prominent pectoral muscles and visible abdominal muscles. The main distinctive element is the leather band crossing across the chest. This band helps to keep the shoulder pads on place.
Another cool element is the thick lines painted across his body. If you remember Kratos background, his full body is covered with the ashes of his dead wife and son.
On the abdomen, right below the belly button, Kratos wears a thick leather sash, with a couple of belts across the waist.
The first garment piece we can see over Kratos legs is a long piece made of leather patches, all stitched together. He is wearing like some sort of loincloth. Bellow the loincloth, and covering the thighs, we can see some leather bands. These bands are a holdover from his old armor, Spartan’s hoplites used to wear, called Linothoorax.
Kratos also wears long pants with high boots. The shins are wrapped with leather bands, as a form of protection. The boots reach to the knees and cover them with some sort of leather padding. Again this is another form of protection, this time for the joint.
Drawing the face, we have to keep in mind 4 facial features that need to be clearly represented in order our character´s drawing will be recognizable as Kratos. This distinctive feature will be:
- Kratos is fully bold, so no hair on the head.
- He has a full beard. This is a new feature added in the latest edition of the game. The beard gives Kratos some seniority and makes him look more experienced.
- Kratos has a hooked nose that gives him this aggressive look.
- The mark crossing his face and his neck that continues through the body.
If you wanna learn more about drawing the human head, feel free to check my step by step tutorial “How to draw a face”. I think you will find it useful.
Step 7: Detailing
This is the last step of the tutorials and on this part, we will try to use shading for giving depth, volume and texture to our character. The way we are going to do that is using shading techniques like hatching and cross-hatching. If you are interested in knowing more about these techniques and other pencil shading techniques, feel free to check my article on “How to shade with a pencil”. Nevertheless, I will try to show you the basics here, so you can understand better my process.
In order to give volume and depth, we are going to draw a series of parallel lines, very close one to the other. This technique is called hatching. You can see how I used this technique all across Kratos body and outfit. If I wanted to dark an area like the pants, the fur, the boots, etc… I will use hatching for doing it. If I want to darken the same area a little bit more you can use cross-hatching for doing it. Basically, cross-hatching consist in a second, third or even more sets of parallel lines, one on top of the other. The only difference between sets is, each set has to be drawn with the group of lines following a different direction than the set below.
Another factor to take into account is, that in order to generate volume, you should do some of the hatching, following the direction of the volume of the body part over which this technique is applied. As an example, when shading the biceps, we can draw a series of curved parallel lines coming from the interior side of the arm and following the rounded shape of the biceps.
Now is your turn to draw your own Kratos. Try to follow the steps as close as you can, at least the first time you try. If you already finished your first drawing, try to draw another one, this time with a different posse or a different armor design. You can find lots of references on the internet regarding other outfits Kratos used to wear during the game.
I hope this tutorial was useful to you. If you have any doubt or question please leave it on the comment section, this will encourage me to keep working in new tutorials and articles.
If you wanna know more about our free tutorials don’t forget to visit our Drawing Tutorials section.
Writing and Art by Toni Justamante Jacobs.