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Lesson 15: Drawing Sword Shapes


Some Medieval Sword Shapes. This is a lesson that will help you with your basic drawing skill of seeing and understanding shapes and it will help you to understand some of the basic sword shapes as they occurred in the real world.


An important part of fantasy drawing is Research

A Little Bit about researching your subject - If you are serious about your fantasy art you should always consider doing a little bit of research for your drawings. Of course, what you are drawing is fantasy which means you can draw anything you want. But even fantasy has rules of thumb and people have certain expectations for fantasy art and drawings. It isn't too often you see a dwarf wearing a three piece suit or an elf driving a Hummer! See what I mean? Even if you are drawing a single character the way the character looks, the kinds of armor it has and the kinds of weapons it wields are important. Things have to make a certain amount of sense.

For this lesson I researched swords a bit and came up with some basic information.

Draw medieval swords

SevenBasic Sword Types:

Here are seven major sword types and they are drawn in approximate relative size. From left to right they are:

  • Katana (samurai) Standard weapon of the samurai warrior. Sharp only on one side
  • Rapier sharp on both sides and very thin as far as swords go, good for stabbing, finding weaknesses in enemy armor and for slicing
  • Scimitar - Typical middle eastern sword. Also very popular among sailors and pirates - Because of the curve and the thickness of the blade it was good for cutting ropes - this is why pirates like it
  • Bronze Centurion Sword - Shorter than the average sword because of the limitations of bronze and predominantly used for stabbing - sometimes edged and used for slicing but not often
  • Standard Middle Ages sword
  • Two handed Sword - larger and better made -
  • Flamberge - unique thing is the leather wrapped section where the wielder could choke up on it and swing it in shorter arcs.

Practice Drawing these swords - two things to think about: Think about the variety of shapes and think about the function and use of them. Try to convey how they were used and who would use them. You may want to research other weapons. Here is a nice site called the Medieval Armory; it has pictures and information about a variety of Medieval Weapons like flails, maces, polearms and more. Medieval Armory

Continue on with the Art lessons- Drawing a Knight in Full Armor


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