Drawing a modern sniper is challenging for any artist. It requires one to understand how to sketch the human figure and draw the equipment and weapons used by modern-day snipers. Because of this, many beginning artists struggle to create a proportional body of a sniper. The best way to overcome these hurdles is to follow the foundational principles of figure drawing. Once an artist has a handle on these principles, he will be able to create realistic drawings of snipers.
Observe your reference picture of a modern sniper. You can find a reference picture by following the link in the resources section. Look at the equipment and weapons a sniper carries into combat. Take note of items that characterise a sniper such as the rifle, gillie suit, webgear and body armour.
Practice drawing individual pieces of a sniper's load-out. Draw items such as backpacks, knee guards and helmets quickly. Don't erase any of your mistakes; focus on understanding the structure of each piece of equipment.
Sketch the outline of the soldier's sniper rifle quickly. Use a ruler to create the basic shape of the weapon. Don't try to create a finished picture; press lightly with your pencil and focus on understanding the design of the soldier's weapon. Continue practicing until you feel comfortable creating a drawing of a sniper soldier.
Sketch the rough draft of your soldier's body. Draw a circle to map out the head. Sketch a vertical line down the centre of the circle to map the facial features. Draw a line extending from the bottom of the circle to create the spine. Create the torso and hips by drawing two boxes along the spine. Map out the arms and legs by extending two lines from the torso and two lines from the hips.
Pencil the facial outline of your soldier. Follow the edge of your circle to create the jawline and ears. Draw the outline of the soldier's helmet over his head and create the outline of the neck by following the spine as a guide. Do not draw any of the facial details; focus on creating a proportional outline first.
Draw the organic shape of the soldier's armour and clothing by following the spine, torso and hips drawn previously. Pencil in any shoulder straps, ammunition bags and protection pads found along the armour. Sketch the outline of the soldier's arms, and keep his hands open to draw his rifle. Use a ruler to create the basic shape of the rifle. If you are drawing a gillie suit onto your sniper, create its basic outline over the soldier's body. Erase any part of the soldier that is covered by the gillie suit.
Erase the markings of your rough draft. Draw details of the clothing, weapons and armour. Draw the straps found along the body armour pieces and ammunition pouches. Sketch the pattern found on the soldier's camouflage. Work slowly and follow your reference picture to create the pattern. Draw goggles and a microphone onto the helmet; allow the goggles to follow the shape of the helmet. If drawing a gillie suit, create its detail by sketching close vertical lines down its surface. Allow the lines to follow the sniper's body for a natural look.
Review your drawing and correct any mistakes. Draw visible facial details. Sketch the nose by drawing a triangle shape to map out its base. Extend a line from the base of the nose upward to map its bridge. Create the outline of the eyes using the bridge of the nose as a guide. Draw the soldier's eyes narrow for a sober look. Sketch his mouth equal to the jawline. Look over your drawing and erase any extra smudges and pencil markings found.
Shade your sniper soldier. Start by lightly pencilling in the darkest shadows. Develop the folds and bends in the clothing and armour by adding shadows into the outline. Gradually darken your shadows and middle tones to bring out your highlights.
- Dragoart; How to Draw a Soldier; Dawn; September 2010
- "Drawing People: How to Portray the Clothed Figure"; Barbara Bradley; 2003
- Specwar; Special Warfare Encyclopedia; U.S. Navy Seals
- Practice drawing people daily. This will give you a better understanding of the human figure.
- Use a reference picture when first starting to draw a sniper soldier. It is difficult to create one from memory.
- Look at other artists' work and the techniques they use to draw people and soldiers. This will give you inspiration for your own drawings.
- There are many different methods to drawing soldiers. Continue to explore new techniques and styles to see what works best for you.
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