In this tutorial, I will teach you how to draw Thanos from The Avengers. This, easy to follow, step by step tutorial will guide you through the whole process of creating a cool rendition of the famous comic and movie character from the Marvel franchise. 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 THANOS?
If you want to draw Thanos, you should follow this simple 9 step by step process:
- Step 1: Gather references you can use as model and 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 Thanos.
- Step 7: Add the final detail.
- Step 8: Paint the base colors of the character.
- Step 9: Paint the shadows and the lights.
LET´S START THE TUTORIAL
For this tutorial, I decided to draw Thanos following the design of The Avengers movie. Maybe I will create a future tutorial teaching you how to draw Thanos wearing his armor. If you like this idea, let me know on the comment section below.
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 you can use for inspiring yourself.
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. Thanos is a fictional character appearing on Marvel comics and on The Avengers movies. You can find many artistic renditions of him if you surf the web. There are no real photo references I can use in this case, so I gotta use other artists work and CGI renderings from the movie as references and inspiration in order to draw a cool and recognizable Thanos.
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, in there, tons of images. If you type Thanos on Pinterest you will find lots of images you can use as references for your drawing.
Once we will have our references gathered, it´s time to start our drawing. The next first 4 steps will be about creating a dummy that will serve us as a base on top of which we will draw our character line art. The next step will be about character outline, detailing, and coloring.
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. Thanos is a galactic villain, so he is not like any other regular human. A good trick to make your character look more heroic, or in this case more intimidating, 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 like to draw the shoulders like a couple of egg-shaped spheres. I start creating a descending line starting from the traps and continuing on the deltoid muscles. The result is a more natural and fluid body line. The right 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
On the left arm, the position of the forearm, bended and with clenching fist, will hide almost completely the biceps from the viewer. The short triceps or also known “Lateral Head of the Triceps” will be visible.
The right arm’s biceps will come out from behind the rib cage area, but it will not be as visible as the short triceps head.
The elbows will be situated on the same height of the floating ribs, on the sides of the torso.
The right arm´s forearm will be drawn as a tube for each arm. This tubes will become narrower on the bottom part where the wrist connects with the hand. More or less, the wrist will be aligned with the crotch on the hips area.
The left hand´s forearm is covered by “The Infinity Gauntlet” which is a superpowerful weapon Thanos wears. But, at this stage, we will draw the basic shape of the forearm, so we can draw the Gauntlet on top on a future stage.
Both hands will be drawn as clenching fists and both will be drawn in a schematic way. The palms will be drawn as squares, the fingers rectangles and the knuckles like little spheres. In later steps, you will be able to define better the different parts of the hands, detailing each finger, knuckle, palm, etc… properly.
STEP 4: DRAWING THE LEGS
Regarding the length of legs, the thigh will be almost 2 heads more or less and another 2 for the shins.
The thighs will be drawn as massive tubes, similar to the ones we drew for the forearms but 3 times thicker. The short side connecting with the hips will be wider, and the thigh will become narrower on the opposite side connecting with the knees.
The shins and the calves will be drawn different one to the other:
It will present a concave curve line on top that will continue in a descending line towards the ankle. In both legs, the calve connects the knee with the ankle.
The shin will be drawn as a concave curve. It will start 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, almost sideways, 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. If you are interested in knowing which kneaded eraser I use you can visit my Recommended Art Supplies section.
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. If you work in digital, maybe you will find interesting my “Buyer’s guide of Drawing Tablets for 2019”.If you wanna learn m
STEP 6: OUTLINING THE CHARACTER
Now it´s when the real fun starts. We are going to draw on top of the dummy we created on the previous steps. For this purpose, we will need to have our references pretty close so we can be as accurate as we can when drawing Thano´s features and clothing.
SHOULDERS AND ARMS
In this step, the most important thing we can do regarding the arms is to draw ” The Infinity Gauntlet” outline on the left arm. We are going to keep the ellipses we drew on the dummy so we can use them like the gems of the gauntlet. The right hand will be drawn like a regular hand.
On the torso, Thanos is wearing a long vest with some platting on the chest and the shoulders. We will detail this metal plates in the next steps. Also, remember to add to the vest a high neck.
The main focus point on the legs is the high boots our character is wearing. The knee pads are divided into a couple of plates parallel to each other. The boots will be also reinforced by more platting near the tip of the boot.
The second point of interest will be Thanos belt. It is mainly a metallic type item with an intricate design we will develop in the next step.
The third and last element will be drawing the pants. The pants are quite tight, so we will not deviate too much from the original leg outline of our dummy. More or less, is using the line art we draw on our dummy´s legs and add some wrinkles and creases to it.
For drawing the face, we should consider 4 distinctive factors that will make our character recognizable as Thanos, let´s see them one by one:
- Thanos is fully bold, so no hair on the head.
- He has a prominent chin with some markings or creases on it. I don´t consider them scars because they look more like he was born with them and not the consequence of a fight or an accident.
- Thanos has also prominent forehead and eyebrows, giving him the appearance of a brute.
- The marks on his chin, continue on the upper lips and reach almost the nose and the chicks.
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
In other tutorials, I usually like to detail and also add some shading using pencils. In this case, because I will color the character, I will limit my drawing to just cleaning the line art and detailing Thanos. I want to keep my line art as clean as I can, so when adding the color, the final result will be similar to what you can find in comics.
In order to give a nice sensation on depth, you can play with the thickness of the lines. Pick where the main light source will be coming from, and make the lines closest to this light source thinner. On the opposite side, the lines further away or hidden from the light must be thicker. This change in the volume of the lines, depending on where they are placed in reference to the main light source, will give to your drawing a more organic feeling.
STEP 8: BASIC COLORS
This step is quite simple. Pick the colors you see on the image above and paint each area with solid colors. For the face, I recommend leaving the eyes without color and using the white of the paper as their base color.
Don´t pick colors too saturated, so you can decide if you want to add more vibrancy to your colors in the next step, once you have a full-color view of the character.
STEP 9: ADDING SHADOWS AND LIGHTS
Ok, we are almost done! Now it´s time to make our character stand out and give him some volume and depth.
My first recommendation will be to not complicate the shading of your character. For this reason, I will advise you to use a darker version of the local color( meaning the base color) of the area we are working on. As an example, let´s say you want to shade Thanos skin, the only thing you should do is to use a darker purple color and start the shading process.
Like I said, using a darker tone of the local color will avoid you complications. Of course, you could try to add warmer tones or cooler tones to your shadows, depending on the type of illumination you want to achieve, but because the character is against a white background, so no external color is affecting him.
Regarding how should set up your lighting, I will recommend you to do something similar like you did for the shading but in reverse. So instead of using a darker tone of the local color, you should use a lighter tone.
Of course, not all surfaces are equal. You will not paint the skin the same than the Infinity Gauntlet. Both surfaces are different and light will behave differently. For metallic surfaces, like the gauntlet, I recommend you to create a highlight, almost pure white, that mimics the point of maximum light refraction. You can see this on the gauntlet, paint as a line going along the bracelet area.
As a side note, If you want to add a trim light, like the one you can see on Thanos left side of the head, arm, and boots, you can do it in different ways. If you are coloring Thanos using markers, the best way to proceed is to leave the area or areas where the trim light will be placed without blank and use the white of the paper as your lighting. Another thing you can do is, once you have all the parts of the character colored, you can use some acrylic or gouache white to paint the trim light.
Well, now is your turn to create an amazing rendition of this popular comic and movie villain. My recommendation is to follow closely all the steps so you can try to achieve similar results than mine. Once you have completed your Thanos drawing you can try to create your own version. you can change the pose, the attitude and even the clothing Thanos is wearing in my version.
If you are interested in more free step by step drawing tutorials similar to this one, feel free to visit the Drawing Tutorials section.
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.
Toni Justamante Jacobs.