This tutorial shows how to draw a katana in eight steps with illustrated examples and a detailed breakdown of the various parts of the sword.
A katana is probably is one of the most commonly seen weapons in anime and manga. Drawing one is not very difficult but it can be even easier if you know the right approach and the parts that these swords generally consist of.
In addition to helping with the above the tutorial also presents the example in an easy to draw from side. You can see this in the preview of the main drawing stages in the image above.
Unless drawing digitally start the tutorial in pencil. Keep your lines light as you will need to erase a bit of the drawing in one of the steps. This will also make it easier to correct any potential mistakes. You can trace over them with a darker stroke once you feel that things look good.
Step 1 – Draw the Outline of the Katana
Start by drawing the combined shape of the katana’s blade and handle.
The blade portion of this shape should be slightly curved towards the fairly long and pointy tip. Other than the tip the blade and the hand should be of the same width.
Step 2 – Draw the Hand Guard
Dividing the handle form the the blade draw the hand guard. As the name suggest it protects the hands from slipping onto the blade.
The hand guard on a katana is generally fairly thin and not very wide. Draw accordingly and erase the part of the sword’s outline that it overlaps once done.
Step 3 – Draw the Blade Collar
The blade collar is used to lock the sword in the sheath. From this view it will pretty much be the same width as the blade so you can just add a simple divider line to show it’s length.
Step 5 – Draw End Cap/Pommel
The pommel is located at the very end of the hilt and is basically a cap on it. In katanas the end cap is generally about the same size as the handle part. You can simply define it with a line same as the blade collar.
Step 5 – Define the Blade Edge
In this case we will add a very large edge found in some types of katanas. Draw the curve of the edge tracing the curve of the blade.
Step 6 – Draw the Hilt Wrap Braid
Katanas usually have a braid like wrap along their hilt. To draw this pattern first draw a set of evenly spaced rhombus shapes.
If you are planning to make a fairly small drawing then you can omit the rest of the details of the handle wrap and stop at this stage. Animators and manga artists can also sometimes do this to just to save time.
If you want to make a more detailed drawing of the braid then you can move on to the next step.
Step 7 – Draw the Handle Braid Folds
The braid of the hand wrap will generally create some folds.
You can show the folds as in the example above by adding some lines from the middle edges of the rhombuses. Draw the line on each end going in the opposite direction of the other.
Step 8 – Finish the Katana Drawing
Finally to finish the hand wrap and the drawing add some split lines from the top and bottom edges of the rhombuses.
These lines will finish the “wrap effect” as shown in the example above. Once done with this last set of details you can go over your drawing to make sure everything looks right. Make any corrections if required and then trace over it with darker lines to finish.
Above you can also see an example of the katana drawn on an angle in case you would like to draw it in that position instead. All of the same step of course still apply.
Katanas are a very common weapon in anime and manga. This tutorial shows the basics of drawing one by providing a detailed breakdown of it’s various parts. There are also other types of katanas that look somewhat different from the example used in this tutorial. However, generally these swords consist of the blade, handle (with the wrapping along it), collar, guard and pommel. So you can usually apply a similar method to drawing them.
For a tutorial on hands holding various objects (including a sword) see:
For more tutorials on drawing anime style weapons see: