Crossbows are kind of complicated, but once you understand the main pieces of the machine, you should be able to draw one from almost any angle. In this image, I've drawn the crossbow from the side, with the back end on the left. It does resemble a shotgun or some other firearm. Use the simple rectangles as a base, and build from there. The key details are the thumb hole, the trigger and the scope.
For the next section, Not-Daryl is going to pose for us as we draw the crossbow from a 3/4 angle. Start by drawing the outline of the butt of the crossbow and the top edge of the... what do you call that? The stock? Anyway, the next part is the front "shield" shape, which sits perpendicular to the stock. The overlapping outline becomes the arrow.
Next we tackle the sides of the bow itself. This is exactly like a bow from a bow-and-arrow, but it lays on its side, across the stock. At each end of the bow is a small wheel. With the bow drawn in, add the hand grip and some details to the stock.
Use Step 1 for reference when drawing in the scope. The main detail here is the drawn string, which runs from just in front of the scope to each end of the bow, around those small wheels, and then across to form a triangle. We can also add part of the arrow-carrier thing that hangs below the front end of the crossbow.
Here we'll complete the arrow carrier, with arrows. Add some more detail to the stock, and I think we can call this shot done.
Touched up Not-Daryl's face a bit for the finished sketch.
Ok, this is the main portion of this tutorial. We're going to draw the crossbow from a top-down perspective, as Not-Daryl holds it for us. The first thing to draw is a cross. Wait, like a CROSS-bow? It all makes sense now. Wait, the bow lies aCROSS the stock. Ho ho ho... Ok, moving on. After drawing the cross shape, draw two more sides to the triangle to complete the pulled string. A large curve will serve as a guide for the bow itself.
Start by detailing the bow first. You could simplify these details if you're in a hurry. A simple bow shape might get the job done if you're drawing an elf or Amazon character, but this is a modern, high-tech crossbow, so we'll try to add as much authentic detail as possible.
You want to keep things as symmetrical as possible. With the main curved details already drawn in, we can start adding the blockier components.
After bulking up the outline of the bow, we can add the main shape of the stock. It's much narrower from the top view than it is from the side view, just like a rifle or shotgun. At the bottom, we'll draw the metal wire shape where the arrow carrier thing connects, when in use. I wanted to use a thick outline to bring the overall shape together, but I used a thin line on the inner edge of the wire shape so as not to make it look too bulked out or heavy.
Here we'll add the scope and an arrow. Use Step 1 for reference again. The scope is just made up of simple, geometric shapes. The modern arrow has a small tip, but you could get a little crazier with the arrow design if you want. Indian arrowheads are always cool.
Bulking up the outline again. Now we can add the butt end of the stock. Finish it off with a triangle for the pulled string.
Here we'll add the arrow carrier on the front of the crossbow. It actually hangs below the bow, so it's partially covered here. This is an optional detail that probably wouldn't be necessary on a simpler crossbow design. I suppose a more medieval character would just use a quiver on his/her back.
Ink it up and you should have something like this. Now we have a side view, a 3/4 view, and a top view of this modern crossbow. From here, you can either simplify or embellish the design to suit your needs.
Not-Daryl makes his final appearance to pose with the crossbow. The crossbow I used for reference can come with a camouflage print. Here I just drew some dust and scratches. I used small hatch marks to shade below the arrow and the front of the bow section. A little shading and detail goes a long way to break up the geometric shapes and make this look a little more used and tangible. I guess that does it! Hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial. Maybe I'll do some more weapons in the 2013. Thanks for viewing!
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