Home Tutorials Learn To Draw A Samurai In 9 Easy Steps (With Pictures)

Learn To Draw A Samurai In 9 Easy Steps (With Pictures)

Hello art lovers. So, for those of you who have at some point showed some interest in medieval and early modern Japan, you must have come across characters known as Samurais. These individuals were particularly useful for protecting and waiting upon those in the upper ranks of the society, like the nobility. What’s more, these Japanese warriors were well famed in Japan for being very swift with the sword among several other things.  So, if you have ever been in awe of samurais, then in this drawing tutorial you are in for a fun ride.

We will be showing you how to draw a perfect image of a samurai from start to finish and we would be doing this in nine easy steps. The drawing would capture his armor and sword. How amazing is that?!. You should also note that the more familiar you are with each step, the more likely your final draft would be flawless and the more likely it would appeal to an audience.

Before we continue, I´m sure my Recommended Art Supplies and Gear page will be very useful to you if you are searching for honest reviews on art supplies. In there, I describe which art supplies and gear I use for drawing and painting.

That said, we would start up by drawing a dummy. The manikin would serve as a foundation for our final sketch. Ready?. Let’s rock and roll!.

How To Draw A Samurai

Getting a great drawing of a samurai would need you following nine basic steps. These are;

  1. Drawing the Rib Cage
  2. Drawing the Hips and Abdomen
  3. Drawing the Legs
  4. Drawing the Arms And The Handle Of The Katana’s Blade.
  5. Drawing the Head
  6. Drawing the Katana´s Blade
  7. Drawing the Armor
  8. Drawing the Armor Plates
  9. Drawing the Final Line art

Step 1: Drawing The Rib Cage

Using the above picture as a guide, the Samurais rib cage should be drawn using a 3/4 perspective. This just means that the right side which faces the viewers would be drawn bigger in size than the left side.

Going on, the rib cage should be started off by drawing two curved horizontal lines. The lower line should have a deeper arc than the top line. Then you should draw two curved out vertical lines that connect the earlier drawn horizontal lines at their extremes. Having done that, divide the rib with a vertical line using the 3/4 perspective. When that is done, as seen in the picture, draw another curved vertical line at the right side of the rib cage. This would serve to highlight the underarm area  Having drawn it, go on to highlight where the head will be by drawing a small circle at the top of the rib cage. Flowing from that, draw another circle at the top right side of the rib cage. This would be where the right arm would emerge from.

Step 2: Drawing The Hips And Abdomen.  

For the abdomen, you should draw two pretty short vertical lines that extend down from the rib cage. Then an outwardly curved horizontal line should connect those vertical lines. For the hips, you should draw them to take the form of a man’s underpants as depicted in the image. This is where the legs of our character would emerge from.

Step 3: Drawing The Legs

Our samurai character would be drawn standing with his legs far apart. Each leg should be started off as a big tube and then you should gradually reduce them as you get to the knees. To highlight the knees, draw two horizontal lines on each knee and then draw a circle in between them as seen in the above picture. When you’ve done that, the continuation of the leg should then extend out a little and should narrow down as you get to the ankles. Then draw the feet as seen.

Step 4: Drawing The Arms And The Handle Of The Katana’s Blade

The arms of our character should be sketched slightly extended from the body and they should be drawn using a 3/4 perspective. This entails the right arm being bigger in size than the left arm because the right side faces the viewers.

Having laid that out, the upper arms should be started off in the form of big tubes and should reduce in size as they get to the elbows. Then they should extend out at the point of drawing the lower arms and should further reduce as you get to the wrist. Having drawn that, draw the hands as seen in the picture. When drawing the hands, draw the fingers of the left hand clenched as it holds on to the handle of our characters sword. The katana handle should be drawn by using two short and slightly distant from each horizontal lines. Then a short vertical line should be drawn at the tip of the handle. Finally, draw the arms biceps and triceps by drawing the horizontal lines seen in the image.

Step 5: Drawing The Head

For the head, first, draw a small neck that extends from the circle at the top of the rib cage. Then draw the head as a medium sized oval. Flowing from that, draw a vertical and a horizontal line that intersects within the oval. These lines would be useful for drawing facial features later.  Lastly, highlight our characters collar bone by drawing two slanted horizontal lines that meet at the middle of the rib cage.

Step 6: Drawing The Katana’s Blade

The blade is one of the most important features of our characters outfits and according to what’s depicted in the above picture, the katana blade should be drawn using two long horizontal lines with a small distance between them. The blade should connect to the handle earlier drawn and its tip should be pointed as seen in the above-attached image.  

Step 7: Drawing The Armor

Well, a Japanese samurai armor is made up of small protective parts from wood steel and leather. These parts are attached together by silk cord or leather. So, having referred to the above picture, go on and draw our samurai’s armor part by part. To avoid being overwhelmed, you can pick a body part and draw the armor pieces on it and then proceed until you’re done with every part.

Step 8: Drawing The Armor Plates

Here’s where we get things to look a little more realistic. We would include the armor plates into our characters drawing by sketching all the lines as shown in the image. Majority of the lines are horizontal and are closely placed. This means that when you are drawing, you should be sure to draw horizontal lines that are not too distant from each other.

Step 9: Drawing The Final Line Art

For this stage, you would need to fade out the dummy already drawn. This is to prevent the manikin´s sketch from interfering with your final sketch. Using traces lefts of the original manikin´s sketch, you would then go on to draw the final lines. It should comprise of well-detailed features, a well-drawn helmet, armor plates and a  wakizashi ( or small sword ), on his waist, among several other things. With that done, you should then throw in some shading effects to your drawing. Shading has an easy of making drawings appear so real and flawless. So go on and make the strokes of your drawing darker. You can then shade places like our characters belt, underarms and his neck region. If you are interested in knowing more about how to shade with a pencil, you can check my free tutorial clicking here.


Right here is where we call our drawing tutorial of a samurai a wrap. You can go on and express some satisfaction at what you have been able to put together on your drawing pad. However, you should not hang up your drawing tools just yet. We advise that you repeat the procedure a couple of times more. This would enable you to have a better grasp of character drawing and soon enough you will be able to polish up on your skills and draw without seeking the assistance of a drawing tutorial.  

For more tutorials click on the Drawing Tutorials section on the menu bar on top.

Toni Justamante Jacobs.

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