Home Art Learn to draw a Roman soldier in 7 easy steps

Learn to draw a Roman soldier in 7 easy steps

In this seven-step tutorial, I will teach you how to draw a Roman soldier. This step by step tutorial will not just guide you through the whole process of drawing a Roman soldier, you will also learn about Roman´s Centurion weapons and armor pieces. The better acquainted you are with these pieces, the more realistic your drawing will appear. We will start by drawing a dummy that will serve as a base over which we will draw our final sketch.


If you want to draw a Roman soldier, you should use the following simple 7 steps:
Step 1: Drawing the torso and the hips
Step 2: Drawing the legs
Step 3: Drawing the arms
Step 4: Drawing the head
Step 5: Drawing the weapons
Step 6: Drawing the final clothing on top of the dummy
Step 7: Adding the final details to your drawing


As shown in the image above, the torso of our character will be divided into two parts by a vertical line. This line will help you to better understand the positioning of the torso and it will also make drawing the rest of the body easier. The Centurion will be drawn from a 3/4 view so naturally, one side will be bigger than the other. In this case, the Roman soldier’s right side ( of the drawing) is nearer to the viewer’s perspective than the left so it will be bigger. A curve line will divide the torso into two parts, the upper torso will represent the rib cage area while the lower part will represent the abdominal muscles.
I will also draw another curve line on the right-hand side of the drawing with an ellipse beside it to indicate where the arm of the Knight will be placed. Remember to put an ellipse on top of the torso to indicate where the head will go. The next step will involve drawing the hips. I like to draw the hips to look as if our character is in a short swimsuit or some type of underwear. The size of the torso will be about 3 heads in height.


Our character will be drawn standing. This pose is nothing too spectacular or exaggerated, just a Roman Centurion in a relaxed stance. The legs are drawn apart and because of the 3/4 view, we do not get a full-frontal view of both legs.
• The thighs of our character will be drawn as huge tubes which gradually decrease in width as they get to the point where the thighs are connected to the knees.
• The calves
We will draw the calves using two curved lines for each calf. The curved line on top, the one connected to the knees will be slightly shorter than the curve line below that connects the calf to the ankle.
• The Shins
We will draw the shins as one curve line extending from the knees to the feet. In both sides, these curved lines will be drawn on the exterior side of each lower leg.
• The knees caps will be drawn as ellipses. Our Centurion will be geared in full Roman soldiers armor so the ellipses will indicate where we will draw the top of the shin pads.
• The feet
The two feet of our character will be drawn in a slight 3/4 angle because of the Centurion’s stance.


Next, we will draw the arms of our Roman Centurion. Our Centurion is standing in a relaxed pose so the arms are just casually placed on the side of the body. Due to the 3/4 view, the left arm, from the viewers perspective, which is further from the viewer is slightly hidden behind the body while the right arm remains in full view. I took time to clearly defined the different parts of the arms, separating the biceps and triceps from the forearms and the forearms from the wrist so you can get a better understanding of how they are placed. The main difference will be from the elbow down. On the right side, the forearm and hand parallel the torso, hips and upper leg. On the left side, the forearm and the hand are placed in a 70-degree angle and will be holding a spear( we will draw the spear in step number 5).
• The biceps and triceps
I will draw tubes for both arms. The tubes will become progressively thinner at the bottom where it is connected to the elbow. The biceps will be represented by a straight line that ends at the elbow while the triceps will be drawn as a shorter curve line close to the point of connection with the shoulder. Notice that the leftt arm is slightly bent and the tubes are wider than the right arm which is slightly concealed behind the torso.
• The forearms
We will place the elbow at the same height as the floating ribs, on both sides of the torso. The forearms, just like the upper arms, will be drawn as a tube for each arm. The tubes become thinner on the bottom part where they are connected to the hand at the wrists. More or less, the right wrist will be aligned with the crotch on the hips. Like we mentioned before, the left forearm will be placed on a 70-degree angle.
• The hands
For the hands, the right hand will be drawn as a fist, with the knuckles and fingers drawn facing the viewer. For the left hand, I will draw a big irregular square for the back of the hand and small rectangles for the fingers. This hand will be drawn somewhat open like it is resting on top of something and grabbing it at the same time. This “something” will be the pommel of a sword. We will speak more about how to draw the weapons on step 5.


We will draw the head of our Roman Centurion as an egg-shaped sphere slightly flattened at the sides and bottom. The head will be drawn at a 3/4 angle meaning the right side of the squared bottom will be slightly shorter as it is farther from the viewer compared to the left side. Next, we will divide the head with two vertical lines, ensuring that neither line passes through the center of the shape. A horizontal curve line will also go across the face, drawn above the center of the head. These lines will help us define where the eyes of our character will be placed.


For the next step, we are going to draw our character’s weapons. The Centurion is holding a spear on the left. The Roman spear also know as Pilum, was generally about 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) long overall, consisting of an iron shank about 7 millimetres (0.28 in) in diameter and 60 centimetres (24 in) long with a pyramidal head.

The sword is your typical Roman sword known as Gladius. The Roman Gladius was a short type sword, perfect for close combat. It was the standard sword of the Roman Legionnaires. Depending on which type of Gladius we are speaking about the sword´s length could range between 60–85 cm (24–33 in), with a with between 5–7 cm (2.0–2.8 in).

When it comes to drawing the weapons, it is important to ensure they are drawn in alignment with the hand that is holding it. In the picture above, you can see that the hand holding the Pilum is in a 3/4 angle while the sword is standing, with the right hand resting on top of the pommel.


Now for the fun part of this tutorial, we get to dress up our character in a full Centurion’s armor. We will now draw the clothing on top of the dummy.
• The head
For the head, we will draw a Galea helmet over our Centurion’s head. The Galea is a type of spherical helmet which covers the head and sides of the face with the front face open. We will draw the head from a 3/4 view angle so one side will be slightly bigger than the other. In this case, the left side of the outer character’s face is bigger than the right side which is smaller and farther from the viewer. The type of Galea our Centurion is wearing is the Imperial Gallic helmet. This type of helmet was the standard centurion helmet from late 1st century BC to early 2nd century AD.

• The torso
The torso of our Roman Centurion is covered by a Lorica segmentata was a type of body armor primarily used in the early Roman Empire. The armor itself consisted of broad ferrous strips (‘girth hoops’) fastened to internal leather straps.

• The shoulders and arms
The Roman Centurion will wear a hooded cape over the shoulders. Below the shoulder pads, we will draw a rerebrace, a protective plate covering the upper arm, the area between the shoulder pads and the elbows. The forearms will be protected by a segmented steel bracelet.
• The legs
We will draw the shin protection depending on the position of both legs. The right leg is fully frontal while the left leg will be drawn from a 3/4 angle. The thighs are completely covered by the lower part of a tunic that reaches almost to the knees.


Before we begin to draw, you will need to make your dummy body less visible so that the lines from the underlying structure does not interfere with the cloth drawing.
In case you are drawing on paper with a pencil, you can make use of kneaded erasers to reduce the visibility of the underlying sketch. If you are working on a digital medium, all you have to do is reduce the layer opacity to 20%. This way, the sketch is still visible enough to help you trace the sketch lines on the dummy without interfering with your drawing.

This is the last step of our tutorial. This step is easy, here we will focus on adding the final details to the drawing of our Roan Centurion. I will shade the drawing in certain areas to add some shadows to the drawing. Shadows create the illusion of depth and volume and bring a sense of three dimensionality to the drawing. My favorite shading techniques to use when creating shadows are hatching and cross-hatching.
As you can see in the drawing, I shaded some parts of the feet and arms. Beyond creating depth and volume, adding shapes also helps to create a hierarchy of relevance in drawings. The darker parts are left in the shadows while the unshaded parts are brought forward. Feel free to check my tutorial on “How to shade with a pencil” if you are not familiar with my shading styles. The tutorial will provide an in-depth review of shading techniques you can use when drawing with pencil.

As you can see in the final image below, I added some clouds, smoke, and flags. Everything is very loose in purpose. I added no shading to the background so it looks flat and doesn´t steal the viewer’s attention from the character.


That brings us to the end of our tutorial on how to draw a Roman Centurion. Now you can go ahead and practice your drawings on your own. Try to follow the steps as closely as possible if you want to achieve results similar to mine. You are free to try out different armors and poses, you will find lots of historical references online if you need inspiration for other types of medieval armors. I hope this tutorial was useful for you.

Writing and images done by Toni Justamante Jacobs. Professional Concept Artist and Illustrator.

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