Metal is very fun to draw because you can achieve amazing results with just a few tricks. In this tutorial I will show you how to draw shiny metal (polished silver, chrome), and old/used metal (weapons, armor). I will use a silver goblet and an axe as an example, but you can use the same techniques to draw a metal texture on any object.
What You Will Need
- HB pencil
- 2B pencil
- 4B pencil
- 8B pencil
- Blending stump
- Pencil sharpener
- Eraser (preferably kneaded)
Before you start drawing, take a look at some references of metal, to get an idea of what you're trying to achieve:
1. How to Draw Shiny Metal
You can draw shiny metal texture on any object, but let me show you how to draw a metal goblet in a few steps.
Start by drawing the upper part: draw two ellipses and connect them with straight lines. Use the HB pencil and the ruler if necessary. Try to draw lightly, keeping the lines barely visible.
Imagine the stem of the goblet and draw some gradually smaller ellipses to create a gentle transition.
Connect the ellipses with lines, creating an outline of the goblet.
Draw the base of the goblet. I added some bulging in this area—a metal texture looks the best on detailed surfaces.
Draw lines along the goblet to see the perspective better. It's really important to see the goblet as a 3D object!
Take the eraser and gently clean the redundant lines.
Add some more details—again, this will give the metal texture a chance to shine.
Time for shading! Tilt your pencil and fill the inside of the goblet with shadow.
Take the blending stump and carefully blend the shadow to make it uniform.
Look at your object as if it were standing in front of you, and decide where the light source is. Then shade the parts that are not directly illuminated. Use the blending stump all the time.
Metal is all about that shine, and shine is created by contrast. Gently shade a side of the goblet to create a side of the "shine band".
Shade the other side as well, but this time don't create a sharp edge of the shine band. Instead, gently blend into it.
The basic shading is done, and now we just need to increase the contrast. Take the 2B pencil, tilt it, and shade the inside of the goblet some more. Use the blending stump again.
Use the same pencil to shade the very edge of the goblet's side. Make it sharp on the edge and then blend it toward the body of the goblet.
Do the same with the other side.
Use the same pencil to accentuate the sharp side of the shine band. Give it a sharp edge and a soft one.
Darken the other shadows to level the contrast.
Take the 4B pencil and darken the sides of the inside of the goblet to make it look 3D.
Take the 8B pencil and darken this area even more, blending it as softly as possible. This will be our point of reference for the darkest shade.
"Metallic" means reflecting in high contrast. Let's give the surface something to reflect to show it. Sketch an outline of a dark band on the other side...
... and fill it with the 8B pencil.
It looks very shiny already! Let's just add some minor details. The inside of the goblet is as shiny as the outside, so it reflects itself. Use this fact to create some interesting details. You don't need to be perfectly accurate, just make it look as if it's reflecting "something".
Because metal is so reflective, it also reflects... itself. That's what we needed all these bulges for—they take some shine from the surfaces around and reflect it in the shadows.
Use all the pencils to level the contrast in the whole goblet.
2. How to Draw Old, Scratched, Rusty Metal
Shiny metal is pretty, but a shiny sword looks unused and untested! Let's see how to make metal look more practical by looking at the example of a battle axe.
Draw the base of the blade—this part is attached to the handle. Draw one side of it, then the other, and connect them with lines. Use the HB pencil and the ruler.
Elongate the base to create a space for the blade and a spike on the back.
Draw the blade and the spike.
Add some details on the base. They will be useful in a few steps.
Take the eraser and clean the drawing.
Even old metal is reflective, so let's plan the reflections first. They will look the best on the edges of the angular base.
Tilt the pencil and shade the whole object, leaving white only in the highlight areas.
Take the blending stump and blend the shading. We don't need any bit of white outside of the shiny areas.
Take the 2B pencil and add some shadows on the base to accentuate its 3D form.
Shade the blade some more, too, staying away from the shine band.
Level the contrast in the base, making it uniformly dark.
Take the HB pencil again (make sure it's well sharpened) and draw quick scratches on the edge of the shine band. Give each of them a slightly different direction—these scratches come mostly from cleaning and sharpening.
Old metal tends to gather some dirt in the places that are hard to clean (details, deeper scratches). Use this effect to make your used weapons more realistic.
Old metal, especially neglected, will not be perfectly smooth—give it some slightly concave spots.
If you want to add rust, take the 4B and 8B pencils, and draw clusters of irregular shapes.
Today you learned how to draw a realistic metal texture, both new and shiny, and old and scratched. If you want to keep learning, check out other tutorials from this series: