6:4: “How to Draw the Dark Lord”, by Jon Hansen

6:4: “How to Draw the Dark Lord”, by Jon Hansen

The Dark Lord is the most important figure in the land and yet the hardest for artists to properly depict, be they great masters immortalizing the events of the age, or schoolchildren drawing a picture of their role model. And so, we present how to draw the Dark Lord in ten easy steps.

1. Draw a large oval for the body, with a second, smaller oval on top for the head. It is important to remember that, while the heart will be removed and hidden beneath the ocean or behind a star for safekeeping, in its place will be set a bellows of iron. Therefore there is no reason for the body to be slighted in size.

2. Draw two long joined ovals on one side of the body for the right arm. Draw another two on the other side for the left. It is widely known that the Dark Lord has a long reach across the land. Suggest this.

3. Add two longer pairs of ovals below the body for the legs. On the head, add two crossed lines to act as guidelines for placement of the facial features. It is true the Dark Lord’s eyes are everywhere, but remember this was originally a metaphor.

4. Add round circles at the end of the arms and legs for hands and feet. On top of the head draw a crown, tall with eleven spikes to represent each sacrifice made by the Dark Lord: a friend’s trust. A child’s innocence. A stranger, sleeping and unaware.

5. Begin refining the body and arms. Emphasize the raw brutality contained in the form, and erase unneeded lines, particularly any hinting at weakness.

6. Draw the beginning shapes for the face: the eyes, nose, and mouth, following the guidelines. Draw the rough outlines for the hands and feet, and begin adding major details to the body: the Armor of Night, the Behemoth Glaive, and of course, power. Remove any unnecessary lines, especially generosity and compassion.

7. Refine the hands, making them grasping. The feet are of lesser importance, but must convey the importance of bearing. Erase any lines suggesting humility or modesty.

8. Draw the rest of the facial features, and refine the armor. Cross-hatching shows the detail of the armor, the thickness, its scars. Shading provides darkness of character. Erase unnecessary lines, including mercy.

9. Add any finishing details needed: might, greed, ruthlessness. Eliminate lines showing self-doubt. Self-loathing may remain.

10. Draw an outline around the figure. Fill in completely, leaving a lighter oval to suggest a face looking out at what was left behind. Obscure any lines showing any hint of humanity. It is this that makes the Dark Lord universal, and may be seen in anyone: your father, your neighbor, your employer, your cousin, your grandchild.

Following these simple steps will help any conscientious artist render this figure in a way pleasing to the Dark Lord’s eyes, which are everywhere. And remember, this is now no longer a metaphor.


Jon Hansen is a writer, librarian, and occasional blood donor. Since the birth of his son Ian last summer, he is currently quite sleep-deprived. His wife Lisa thinks he’s adorable. His work has appeared in Realms of Fantasy, Strange Horizons, and most recently, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. His incoherent ramblings can be seen online.

I’m a new father, which finds me showing interest in children’s books. I came across one a while back that was a drawing book, with instructions for kids on how to draw dragons, knights, and so forth. Combined with that is an interest in children. Everyone starts out a child, crawling and sucking your thumb, but we all turn out different, growing into the person we are through our experiences and choices. It’s the same thing with Dark Lords in fantasy. They all become villains over time, so I thought the directions on drawing him should reflect that process.

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