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Design

How to Draw a Castle

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:MediumLanguages:
This post is part of a series called German Week.
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We're honouring the German language and culture this week in celebration of the launch of the German version of Envato Elements

The Neuschwanstein castle in Germany is one of the most popular castles in the world, and for a good reason—it was built as an ideal, romanticized castle, designed for looks rather than functionality. Its fairytale look was an inspiration for both the Sleeping Beauty Castle and the Cinderella Castle, and we'll use it in this tutorial, too!

I will show you how to draw a Disney-like castle, commonly called a fantasy castle—based on real medieval fortresses, but modified to simply look cool, often at the expense of actual defensibility. I'll show you how to draw every tower and every window, using as little perspective as possible to keep it easy.

neuschwanstein castle stock photo
Neuschwanstein castle photo on Envato Elements

1. How to Draw the Outer Walls and the Gatehouse

neuschwanstein castle gatehouse

Step 1

First, draw a hill that our castle will be placed upon. Castles were mostly built in hard-to-reach places, so that they were easier to defend. Leave a lot of space for the actual castle on your canvas.

hill base for a castle

Step 2

Place a foundation on this hill, just to level the ground.

foundation of a castle

Step 3

Draw a rectangle on the foundation. Its height will be the height of the outer wall.

height of the outer wall

Step 4

Draw the diagonals of this rectangle to find the middle line.

how to find middle line of a rectangle

Step 5

Add two symmetrical rectangles on the sides—a base for the towers. Mark their middle line.

two towers base

Step 6

Add a triangular roof over the gatehouse.

roof over gatehouse

Step 7

Add a rectangle over each tower.

rectangle on top of tower

Step 8

Cross each rectangle with a horizontal line, crossing their borders. Keep it symmetrical.

cross top of tower with horizontal line

Step 9

Build a wider rectangle upon it.

draw a wider rectangle

Step 10

Connect both rectangles with tilted lines.

connect two rectangles

Step 11

Draw a conical roof on each tower.

conical roof tower

Step 12

Draw a thick border inside the gatehouse wall.

gatehouse wall border

Step 13

Draw the arch of the gate.

arch of the gate

Step 14

Draw the small walls protecting the gate from the sides. This will require a little perspective, but not a lot.

gate side walls
gate side walls perspective

Step 15

Draw a little balcony over the gate.

balcony sketch
balcony support

Step 16

Two mini-balconies can be placed on the sides.

mini balconies on sides

mini balconies support

Step 17

Cross the tops of the walls with horizontal lines to leave space for the crenellation (the "prongs" of the castle walls and towers). Add a fence in front of the gatehouse.

prepare base for crenelations

2. How to Draw the Castle Keep

neuschwanstein castle keep

Step 1

We're going to draw a big, thick tower now. Place it on the right.

base of a thick tower

Step 2

Draw the top of the tower the same way as before.

top of the tower drawing

Step 3

Draw a narrower tower over it.

make the tower narrower

Step 4

Extend the top a little with multiple levels.

extend the top of the tower

Step 5

Draw a short, even narrower tower on top.

short tower on top

Step 6

Use it as a base for a conical roof.

concil roof drawing

Step 7

Not all towers must be round—some can be made on the base of a square or a hexagon. If you want to create a hexagonal tower, draw one of its sides in the middle.

hexagonal tower

3. How to Draw the Main Building of the Castle

neuschwanstein castle main building

Step 1

The main difference between a fortress and a fantasy castle is that the latter was a residence. Therefore, we need a "normal" building too, outside of all these walls and towers. Sketch it as a thick rectangle around the middle.

main building sketch

Step 2

Draw its roof. It's not a conical roof, just a normal roof seen from the front.

roof seen from the front

Step 3

Add two towers to its sides—mostly for aesthetic purposes.

aesthetic towers

Step 4

Draw the top and the roof on each tower.

draw top of each tower
draw roof on each tower

Step 5

Make the bottom of each tower thicker.

make bottom of tower thicker

Step 6

Add a decorative base for each tower.

decorative base of tower

Step 7

Draw some decoration on the wall under the roof.

decoration under roof

Step 8

Draw another balcony.

balcony with arch

4. How to Draw the Castle's Watchtower

neuschwanstein castle watchtower

Step 1

Let's draw the highest tower now—it will look cool, and it can be justified as a watchtower for the whole castle. Place it between the keep and the main building.

watchtower sketch

Step 2

Draw the top of the tower... just a little lower than normal.

top of watchtower

Step 3

Draw another "shelf" below.

shelf of watchtower

Step 4

And one more on top.

top of watchtower

Step 5

Draw a slightly narrower tower here.

narrower top of watchtower

Step 6

Add the conical roof.

conical roof base
conical roof on watchtower

Step 7

Add a turret to this tower—it will look nice as a decoration, too!

watchtower turret
turret roof

5. How to Draw Other Castle Towers

Step 1

To fill the rest of the space, let's add another tower in the background.

tower in the background
top of tower in the background

Step 2

Give it another level.

another level of tower

Step 3

A little widening will look cool, too.

widening of a tower

Step 4

Finish it with a roof, as always.

roof of a tower

Step 5

Add another, even smaller tower in the distance. There are never enough towers in a fantasy castle!

tower in a distance

Step 6

Add the roof of a building hidden behind all these towers.

roof behind tower

Step 7

Add a smaller building—maybe a stable?—somewhere on the ground.

small builidng

6. How to Draw the Castle Stairs

neuschwanstein catsle stairs

Step 1

Let's create nice, long stairs leading to the castle. Sketch their curve first.

curve of stairs

Step 2

"Copy" this curve to the other side.

copy curve to other side

Step 3

Once again copy the curve, this time below, creating the height of the stone balustrade.

prepare height of stone ballustrade

Step 4

Mark the rhythm of the posts placed along the balustrade.

mark rhythm of posts

Step 5

Extend them to the other side.

cast location of posts to other side

Step 6

Draw the height of the posts.

height of the posts

Step 7

Extend them to the other side.

cast height to other side

Step 8

You can now draw the curve under these side posts.

finish the curve of stairs

Step 9

The balustrade has some thickness. Copy each pair of curves a little to the sides to leave space for it.

add thickness to the balustrade

Step 10

Draw the posts. Some perspective must be involved here, but the guide lines should support your intuition.

draw the stair posts

Step 11

Draw the base of the stairs.

draw base of stairs
stairs support

Step 12

Time for the actual steps! First, mark the distance between the steps. Because the castle is so huge, they must be very small!

mark castle steps

Step 13

Extend the steps to the other side.

draw castle steps

Step 14

Finish the stairs. You only need to draw them to the point where they get covered by the balustrade.

If you want to make the castle more realistic, add one more wall around the hill, with one more gate (a barbican)—this time you can add a defensible drawbridge instead of wide, inviting stairs.

finish the stairs

7. How to Draw the Castle Details

Step 1

All the structures are drawn, but they're quite empty. Let's fill them with details! Draw the crenellations on each tower. Draw them as rectangles that get narrower and denser as they get closer to the edge (this applies only to the circular towers).

sketch crenelations

Step 2

These crenellations have some thickness that is revealed when they're rotated by perspective. Mark it by adding some length to the side of each merlon (the prong)—the narrower the merlon, the greater the length.

draw side of merlons

Step 3

Draw these sides now.

merlons in 3d

Step 4

Because the crenellations are extended, they need a support—the corbels. You can draw them by extending the merlons.

draw castle corbels

Step 5

If you want to draw decorative arches between some corbels, you can define their middle this way first.

define middle of arches
draw castle arches

Step 6

Draw a line between the crenellations and the corbels to create some more wall space. You can also turn the conical roofs into hexagonal roofs.

add detail to roofs

Step 7

Time for the windows! Normally a castle wouldn't have too many of them, as they're a vulnerability, but a fantasy castle is supposed to have a lot of them, like a cathedral. Let's make a compromise: put tiny slit-like widows in the fortified structures, and big, decorative windows in the main house and/or high in the towers.

Because windows must be placed regularly, you need to plan their location first. Both horizontally...

plan windows horizontally

... and vertically.

plan windows vertically
draw castle windows

Step 8

You can now add any decorations/additional structures you wish.

decorations of castle
finish the castle

8. How to Finish Your Castle Drawing

Step 1

Let's finish it now! Time to look at this mess of lines and find the structures we wanted to draw. You can outline them in the same order as we were sketching them, but it's not necessary. I started with the gatehouse and the outer walls.

draw the gatehouse

Step 2

Draw the main building.

draw the main building

Step 3

Draw the keep.

draw the keep

Step 4

Draw the watchtower.

draw the watchtower

Step 5

Draw the other structures.

draw other castle structures
draw castle roofs

Step 6

Draw the stairs.

draw the stairs

Step 7

Finally, draw some trees and clouds to finish this scene.

finish the scene

Step 8

When you're done, erase/remove the sketch and darken the lines of the buildings in the front, to create a sense of depth.

outline the castle

Good Job!

Now you know how to draw a castle step by step! If you want to try other castle-related tutorials, we have some you may like:

castle drawing step by step
how to draw a fantasy castle
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