To draw a medieval fortress, it's best to start with the horizon line as a point of reference. Simply use a 2H or harder pencil, and with the help of a ruler, draw a horizontal line across the lower portion of your page. Draw lightly so that the lines are easy to erase later on after we ink.
Let's start from the ground up with this fortress. Our fortress is going to be well protected in that it is built on top of a small rocky island in the ocean. Draw a low level island that is covered with jacked, pointy rocks.
Next, draw two tall towers on the right side of the island. These towers will serve as outer supports for the entrance into the fortress. Use your ruler to draw the vertical towers. I wanted to make things a little interesting by making the towers have 6 sides, which means that we can see 3 sides on each tower. The tops of the towers should have a circular look-out platforms with cone shaped rooftops. You can make the rooftops pointy, but I like to cut the tips off and make them blunt.
Next, draw the main entrance into the fortress. Think of it as an edge of a cube protruding slightly from between the two towers. Draw a series of arches along the bottom of the cube and a decorative ledge just above the arches. Also draw a section of platform in front of the arches.
People can't fly or be expected to climb up those rocks just to get inside the fortress, so let's draw a wide staircase leading up to the entryway from the water level. You don't have to draw every single step if you don't wish. At this distance, the human eye can't see that much detail anyways. You can draw a few clusters of steps and that will be enough to suggest an abundance of them.
Being that this fortress is in the middle of the water, boats have to be able to dock at the entrance. Draw a square dock at the base of the staircase. The dock should be held up by a series of small arches that disappear into the water. The front of the dock should have a few short pillars for boats to be able to tie onto.
Now draw a few more towers along the rest of the island. These ones can be simpler than the ones by the entrance. They can simply be cylindrical with round lookouts on the tops. The lookouts should have small triangular shaped supports beneath them.
The most important feature of a medieval fortress is its outer wall. The wall should be very tall and is connected by each tower. The section of wall above the entryway can have an extra segment that rises higher than the rest, just for the sake of making it look more interesting.
A key feature of the wall is the notches along the top, called crenellations. You'll need to use your eraser to erase notches along each portion of the top of the wall and tower look outs. Then draw a square notch inside each erased segment. You should then have a series of cubes resting at the top of the walls and towers, but you need to make them three dimensional by draw the sides of each cube.
Let's move on to the inner structures. These can be as simple or as complex as you wish. In this case I drew a cluster of tall cube shapes that connect to one another. To make things interesting, I gave a few of them rounded edges and others square edges, and I made some short and some tall. The section of structure directly behind the entrance of the wall should be the most unique looking. I draw a series of vertical slits through this portion of the structures.
Like with the wall and towers, we should draw some crenellations along the top edges of some of the inner structures. You don't have to put notches on every structure, but doing it to a few will add to the uniqueness of the image. It will help make it look more militarized.
We can really add to the image by drawing yet another cluster of structures atop our existing structures. Make these structures taller and thinner than the lower ones. Notice the large notch taken out of the front structure. Add a portion of a cylindrical tower taller than all the rest of the structures peaking up from behind them.
Some of the structures, especially the towers, should have rooftops. The rooftops on top of the cube shaped structures should have 4 sides, whereas the rooftops on top of the cylindrical shaped towers should be cone shaped, similar to the tops of out entrance towers.
To really add character to the fortress, you can add a couple of bridges connecting the structures together. The bridges should have arched supports holding them up.
Add windows to the structures as you see fit. You can be as structured or as random with it as you'd like. It may be a good idea to insert taller windows for the face of larger structures. Do not at windows to the outer wall, as it should be totally solid to protect the fortress from invaders.
Revisit the entire image and add more details. In this case, I added random bricks to the outer wall and towers, texture to the inner structures, and a flat at the peak of the tallest tower. I also drew more rocks on the island resting against the sides of the outer towers.
We can add to our sense of distance by inserting random small islands and rocks in the water surrounding the fortress. Draw a large section of island in the foreground on the left side of the pages. Draw clusters of rocks sticking out of the water wherever you wish. It's also a good idea to draw a cliff-face across the water way in the background. This will help give the image depth.
Now add ripples in the water and some waves crashing against the backs of the rocks. The ripples should be squiggly lines, but they should generally run parallel to one another. However, there should be occasional rings of water circling some of the rocks.
Next, fill the sky with storm clouds. The right side of some of the clouds should be fluffier than the left side so as to suggest that they are being blown in by heavy winds. The clouds in the distance do not need to be as detailed as the ones closest to us. To imply the dramatic height of the fortress, draw a few puffs of mist floating across the front of the upper structures.
Now that we are done penciling the image, we can ink it using a Micron marker or a brush and India ink. Carefully go over each line with patience. Use your ruler to help you wherever needed. When the ink is dry, erase your pencil marks with a kneaded eraser.
You can add more depth to the image by giving it heavy shadow. Establish your light source and use black ink or a fat tipped black marker to do your shading. In this case, the light is coming from the left side of the page, so black out the opposite side of each structure, tower, and wall. Also shade the left sides of the rocks that form the island. It's also a good idea to almost completely black out the piece of land in the foreground.
To help ease the transition from light to dark on the cylindrical towers, we can add a series of hatch lines along the outer edges of the shadows. Simply use your marker and ruler to draw vertical lines next to the shadows. The lines should thin out and disappear as the wrap around towards the front of the towers.
If you need to make any corrections, use white ink or opaque white paint. You can also use it to redraw any small details that may have accidentally been blacked out when shading. And that's how you draw a medieval fortress! Thanks for reading!
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