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Lesson 16: Drawing a knight in Full Plate Armor

When You think of Medieval Armor you are probably thinking about Platemail. This is the armor shown by the knight in the picture here. This platemail was not instantly available to knights of the middle ages. It was the culmination of metalworking arts and blacksmiths knowldge and skill over a period of several centuries. The full suit of armor came from the development of individual pieces over these centuries. Eventually all these pieces were put together into one complete set. Note: If you have not yet done the lesson on how to draw the human figure you may want to do that lesson first. This lesson is an extension of that one. The Drawing I made to go along with this lesson is further down the page.


A drawing of a knight

The Major Parts of A Knight's Medieval Armor:

  • The helmet: This is the piece that covers the head and face. This piece developed over the centuries being first more like a hat then eventually becoming something called a Bassinet which was almost like a basket that covered all of the head yet kept the face open. Eventually the helmet became a self-contained piece with a visor that could be slid up and down.
  • The gorget: This is the piece around the knight's neck. It protected the area of the body between the helmet and the chest piece. These were made from various materials including sheets of metal or chainmail.
  • The Chest Plate: This is the most impressive part of the knights armor. It was two pieces of plate molded to fit the knight's body and it was usually in two pieces (front and back() that were buckled together.
  • The Shoulder pieces: These could be very specialized with lparts that stuck out as a way to guide weapons away from the body. These shoulder pieces were also sometimes part of the arm pieces.
  • Arm pieces: Covered the arms from shoulder to wrist. They had to be flexible at the elbow and were often assembled at this point with multiple sheets that could accordion over each other.
  • Gauntlets: These are the gloves that protected the hands and fingers. The fingers were often made of consecutive sheets riveted together much like the shell of an armadillo.
  • Leggings: Covered the legs and were jointed at the knees. Leggings were very important to a knight because when he was mounted on his horse his legs were very vulnerable to strikes from opponents on the ground.
  • Foot Wear: Was also important to the knight because of its proximity to the opponent on the ground. The foot wear was often made from several sheets of plate jointed together so they could flex and fit into the stirrups.
  • The Shield: This was a very important part of a knights protection and shields came in very many shapes and sizes.


Continue on with the lessons


Black Knight Suit of Armor This Darkened and Aged Knight Will Make a Bold Impression Anywhere Where it is Displayed or Worn. Hand-Made by Skilled Craftsman in Italy! This Black Suit of Armor is a stunning piece of craftsmanship.


book: Draw Knights, Castles and Dragons

1-2-3 Draw Knights, Castles and Dragons -


John Howe Fantasy Art Workshop

John Howe Fantasy Art Workshop

John Howe is one of the world's most renowned fantasy artists and has for many years worked as a leading illustrator of Tolkien's works and periphereal products.

John increased his extensive fan base working alongside Alan Lee as Conceptual Designer of The Lord Of The Rings movie trilogy.


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