How to Draw Soldiers


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STEP 1. Ok, let's start off with a side view of a modern soldier's helmet and camera gear. To begin, draw a circle in the middle of the image area. Bisect the circle with a straight line. Draw a semi-circle shape on the bottom of the image for the torso, and connect it to the head with a curved line. Draw a straight line for the face, and a curve for the lower jaw. Mark the location of the eye and we're done with the guide lines.   STEP 2. We're going to draw the basic shape of the helmet now. The shape is generally a half circle from the side, but there are a few extra curves that help it fit the shape of the human head. The helmet hangs a bit lower on the back of the head.   STEP 3. Draw in a face of your choosing. I went with a masculine character, so I used strong shapes for the nose and chin. A section of padding hangs over the ear. Draw a strap connecting from here to below the chin.   STEP 4. Add a few more straps to make sure this guy's helmet stays put on his head. Go ahead and draw in the eye, cheek and other facial details.   STEP 5. Though the helmet is undoubtedly hard, it seems to be covered with fabric. That gives us some seams to draw. Keep in mind the round shape of the helmet when you draw these lines. The seams on the left will curve out to the left. The same goes for the right side. The seams in the middle will appear more straight because they're actually curving toward the viewer. There are some extra flaps and patches to draw on the helmet. After that, draw the poor guy's shirt collar so he's not just a floating head.   STEP 6. Draw in the rest of the shoulder, thinking about wrinkles and seams that define the shape of the cloth. The clothing is heavily padded, so think of a pillow, almost. Draw in part of a backpack as well. You can add a buckle to the chin strap and a few wrinkles to show tension. Then draw in the microphone for the soldier's headset. You'll have to imagine the earpiece under the helmet, and the "arm" of the microphone comes out from there. Dont' be afraid to draw over your existing lines. You can erase or paint over it later.   STEP 7. Draw some pouches on the back of the helmet. There's also a box that sits on top of the helmet, held on by what looks like a velcro strap. This is either a battery pack, a digital relay device, or both.   STEP 8. Now we'll outline the mounted camera. Begin with the parts that lock on to the front of the helmet. Draw the attachment point, and then outline the camera itself on top of that. This is basically a cylinder shape, but a little fancier. Unless you're a camera expert, it's probably a good idea to grab some reference any time you're going to draw something like this. That goes for anything, really. You have a little freedom with organic things, hair and fabric, but rigid objects like this need to be drawn with a bit more precision.   STEP 9. Using reference, draw in the details of the camera, including textured bands and whatnot. Add screws and additional details to the mounting arm, and draw the eyepiece hanging below. This will be covering the soldier's right eye, so part of this will be covered by his nose. At this point, go ahead and bulk out the front of his chest.   STEP 10. You can't have electronics mounted on your head without having some cords. There are cords running from the camera to the eye piece, to whatever relays the images back to base. There are cords running from the audio headset. There are cords everywhere, but don't just draw them totally at random. Try to make sense of what's going where and why. Cords can look cool, but drawing them at random can make your image look silly. Draw in some more details to the camera's mounting parts, and sketch in details all over the helmet. Add texture and stitching to the straps. Add dust and scratches to the surface of the helmet.   STEP 11. At this stage everything's drawn, but you have to go in and find all the overlapping lines that need to be cleaned up. The biggest offenders here are the microphone and power cords. If you're using a computer, zoom in and use the eraser to clean this up. If you're using pencil, I recommend an electric eraser for tiny spots. If you don't want to spend too much money on that, a cheaper alternative is a kneaded eraser. They come as grey squares, but you can shape them however you want. Shape yours to a point and use that to erase in tight areas. If you've already inked your drawing, grab a small brush and some white acrylic paint or gesso. Just use a bit so you don't risk warping your paper.   STEP 12. The finished artwork.   STEP 13. Now we're going to move on to the full body figure. For the underdrawing, start off with a pillow shape for the torso, and add the head and legs. Our soldier will be holding a gun, so indicate that with a triangular shape, and place the hands using circles.   STEP 14. For the actual line art, it's best to draw "covering" items first. That means the helmet and gun. For a hand gun, you can probably draw the palm and lower fingers of the hand first. For a rifle, though, it's better to draw the gun itself and figure out where the hands go later.   STEP 15. ...and that's exactly what you can do here. Also draw some straps on the helmet. These will outline the shape of the face, and from there you can draw the neck.   STEP 16. This may seem like a big jump, but it's not as hard as it may look. Start by drawing the collar of the shirt/coat, and the cuffs around the wrists. From there, just use curves to outline the fabric on the arm. Remember the fabric on the inside of the elbow will be pinched, so all curves will fan out from there. Grab some reference for the gun and start to add details. Like the camera above, guns are something that require some reference. I took a few liberties with the gun here, but the main parts should be fairly close to being accurate.   STEP 17. Now you get to draw some fun pouches. Military characters tend to carry a lot of gear, so they need a place to store it. Sometimes the number of pouches becomes ridiculous, but that's just how it works. These pouches cover the entire stomach area, but the rest of his shirt/coat hangs down from there.   STEP 18. Here you can just draw the outline of the soldier's pants. They're extremely baggy, so use a lot of intersecting curves. Wrinkles will fan out from the crotch area, and will also form below the knee where the fabric bunches up on top of the boot.   STEP 19. Speaking of which, it's now time to draw the boots. Start with the basic outline, and then add the details. Show wrinkles at the ankle, and draw seams on either side of where the laces will be.   STEP 20. Now it's time for some serious wrinkles. The drawing is pretty simple overall, but these lines will really transform it. The best way to understand how to draw folds in clothing is to observe people wearing clothing. There are some books you can learn some basic rules from, though. Try to get a copy of "The Seven Laws of Folds" by Bridgman, or maybe Burn Hogarth's "Dynamic Wrinkles and Drapery." When you're done with the folds and wrinkles, lay down some drop shadows beneath the pouches, helmet and gun. You can also indicate a backpack and some straps in silhouette (all in black). Looking at the gun, a good way to avoid drawing every little detail is to lay down a lot of black. Here's a little rule most art teachers would consider to be blasphemy: "When in doubt, black it out." There are limits, of course, but there are times when you can use darkness and shadow to obscure hard-to-draw objects. Of course, that's the lazy way of doing things, but it can come in handy if you're in a pinch.   STEP 21. Working from the top of the drawing, let's add the mounted camera and all its cords. When something technological is this small in a drawing, you can simplify it a bit. You don't want to spend forever drawing every little detail if nobody's going to be able to see or appreciate it when you're done. Draw in a face of your choosing, and finish up drawing the collar area. From here on it's just a matter of adding more wrinkles, seam lines, shoe laces and an assortment of scratches. As always, there's a danger of getting carried away in the final detail stage. Always take a step back and try to feel the overall balance of the drawing. If there are large areas that seem blank or flat, add some detail. If you find you've gone overboard with details, start taking some out with an eraser or paint.   STEP 22. The finished line art. Check up at the top for the colored image.   STEP 23. Just for fun, let's take a look at how US soldiers used to dress. Although a lot has changed, the basics are still pretty much the same. Start off with a basic underdrawing using the pillow torso and skeleton arms and legs. Then, (after getting some reference material) draw the "covering" items. These include a strap for his rifle, another strap connected to a side-hanging bag, and a belt of pouches along the stomach. The pouches sit rather high, above the hip bones if I'm not mistaken. The helmet is basically a single piece of... steel, I believe. In any case, the striking feature is the flat rim that sticks out all the way around. The helmet basically looks like an old flying saucer.   STEP 24. There's a ring of padding inside the helmet, and chin straps that outline the face. The shirt is basically just a standard men's shirt. The difference between this and the modern military wear is that these are much more form-fitting. I guess the poor guys didn't really have anything in the way of body armor. One bullet and it was over. The pants are loose-fitting, and made from a smoother fabric than the modern pants (from what I can tell). There seem to be fewer wrinkles overall. One detail I don't quite understand is the sock-things these guys seem to have worn. There's some sort of wrinkly fabric covering the top of the boots. Very interesting. Very dated.   STEP 25. Grab some reference and draw in the rifle hanging over the soldier's shoulder (tongue-twister). Follow that by drawing the chest pockets on his shirt. After that, it's time for wrinkles and seams again. I tried to give this guy an old, pre-modern cartoon look -- almost like a Popeye-type character. The helmet was looking rather flat, so I used some tapering dashes to try to give it some dimension. I think it looks more rounded now. Experiment with different textures for giving objects more realism.   STEP 26. The final greyscale image. The actually uniform would have been olive drab, which is to say it was mostly green. Think of those little army men toys... they still make those, right? Anyway, I used an old photo texture from deviantART. Check out the link below, and be sure to browse the rest of the guy's gallery. I hope this tutorial was fun and helpful. Now get to drawing!   Step 1. Step 2. Step 3. Step 4. Step 5. Step 6. Step 7. Step 8. Step 9. Step 10. Step 11. Step 12. Step 13. Step 14. Step 15. Step 16. Step 17. Step 18. Step 19. Step 20. Step 21. Step 22. Step 23. Step 24. Step 25. Step 26.