Ornamental wrought iron gates were popular in the 19th century. During the Second World War, most of the iron railings in Europe were taken down and turned into ammunition to aid the war effort. Iron gates and railings are still used today to guard the entries to stately mansions, graveyards, public parks and monuments, however. The highly decorative style of these gates makes a very interesting subject for any artist to draw.
Find a variety of pictures of ornamental gates from magazines, books and the Internet or take photographs of gates in your local area. Observe the differences and similarities between the many styles of gates and pay close attention to the ornate, patterned detail in each gate to give you ideas for your own gate drawing.
Draw a symmetrical gate shape in your sketchbook, using a pencil and a ruler. Start by drawing a rectangle as the basic shape. Develop the shape by curving the top of the rectangular into an arch.
Decide whether you are going to draw a single or a double gate. Divide the shape into two for a double gate by drawing a vertical line down the centre.
Insert the gate railings. Measure the width of the gate and decide how many railings you wish to draw. Divide the gate width by the number of railings to ascertain the actual space between each railing. Draw a series of vertical lines separated by that space from the top to the bottom of the gate shape. Beside each line draw a second line close to it to form the narrow bar of the railing. Alternate the length of each railing so that one railing is longer than the other, if desired.
Include horizontal bars in your gate drawing.
Add ornate detail to your gate. Add circles, arabesques, plantlike forms with leaf details and spiked, forked or spear-topped railings. Experiment and be creative with different patterns. Refer to your images of other gates for ideas.
Practice drawing gates by copying from your images of gates before drawing your own ornamental iron gate. Try drawing with a computer program (see Resources) for a less-conventional method of ornamental gate drawing.