Learn to Draw Star Wars: Villains: Draw favorite Star Wars villains, including Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, and Darth Maul

Learn to Draw Star Wars: Villains: Draw favorite Star Wars villains, including Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, and Darth Maul

by Walter Foster Creative Team


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633226845
Publisher: Foster, Walter Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date: 11/06/2018
Series: Licensed Learn to Draw Series
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 967,009
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Founded in 1922 by artist Walter T. Foster, Walter Foster Publishing, an imprint of The Quarto Group, is the world's leading publisher of instructional art books and kits for adults and children. Walter Foster's diverse selection of drawing, painting, doodling, and mixed media art books and kits have created a foundation for millions of beginning, intermediate, and advanced artists looking to hone their talents, learn new techniques, and discover different mediums. From color mixing recipes and art tools to the fundamentals of drawing and painting, Walter Foster's books cover a wide variety of topics and mediums across a broad spectrum of traditional and eclectic subject matter for artists of all skill levels. Walter Foster Publishing continues to expand its offerings every year, producing cutting-edge art-instruction books and kits for a worldwide audience.

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To create graphite pencil portraits, all you really need are a few basic tools, Including the right paper and a few different types of pencils.

Drawing Paper

Paper can vary In weight (thickness), tone (surface color), and texture. Start out with smooth, plain white paper so you can easily see and control your strokes. Also, use a piece of paper as a barrier between your hand and your drawing. This prevents you from smudging your drawing and keeps oils from your skin from damaging the art.


Graphite pencils are labeled with numbers and letters — and the combination of the two indicates the softness of the graphite. B pencils, for example, are soft and produce dark, heavy strokes, whereas H pencils are harder and create thin, light lines. An HB pencil Is somewhere In between the two, which makes it a good, versatile tool for most artists. For the projects in this book, begin with a basic #2 pencil and a 4H pencil.


Erasers remove mistakes, but they are also effective drawing tools in themselves. You can use them to pull out light lines, add crisp highlights, subtly lighten areas of tone, and more. Vinyl and plastic erasers are usually white with a plastic feel. They leave behind a clean surface and are gentle on the paper's fibers. Kneaded erasers (usually gray) are pliable like clay, allowing you to form them into any shape. Knead and work the eraser until it softens; then dab or roll it over areas to slowly and deliberately lighten the tone. To "clean" it, simply knead it. The eraser will eventually take in too much graphite and need to be replaced.

Pencil Sharpener or Sandpaper Block

Sharpening instruments give you control over your pencil tips, which in turn gives you control over the quality of your lines. Handheld sharpeners shave pencil ends into cone shapes, exposing the lead and creating sharp tips. A sandpaper block is essentially a few sandpaper sheets stapled to a soft block with a handle. Holding the block in place, stroke and roll the pencil tip over the surface to sharpen.

Holding a Pencil

There are two common ways to hold a pencil: the underhand position (A) and the writing position (B). The underhand position is great for loose sketches, shading, and broad strokes, whereas the writing position is ideal for detail work.

Additional Materials

• Gesso

• Reading glasses with a powerful correction or a desk lamp with a built-in magnifying lens

• Ruler

• Toothbrush


With just a few basic shading techniques, you can render everything from a smooth complexion to a simple background. Shade evenly in a back-and-forth motion over the same area, varying the spot where the pencil point changes direction. Don't shade with a mechanical side-to-side direction, with each stroke ending below the last, as this can create unwanted bands of tone throughout the shaded area.

Blending Smooth out transitions between strokes and create a dark, solid tone by gently rubbing the lines with a blending stung or tissue.

Shading Darkly Create dark, linear areas of shading by applying heavy pressure to the pencil.

Hatching Make many parallel strokes close together. Crosshatching is adding another layer of hatching at an angle.

Gradating Apply heavy pressure with the side of your pencil, and then gradually lessen the pressure as you stroke to create a transition from light to dark.

Shading with Texture Use the side of the pencil tip to apply small, uneven strokes for a mottled texture.

Scumbling (scribbling) For more contrast in your drawings, include loose, circular strokes and squiggles. When used with hatching, these strokes create many interesting textures.


A texture should be rendered based on how the light source affects it. Don't confuse texture with pattern, which is the tone or coloration of the material. Use texture to build a shadow area and give the larger shape its proper weight and form in space. Think of texture as a series of forms (or lack thereof) on a surface. When using this book, you will draw a few different textures, including cloth, leather, metal, and a stonelike texture.

Cloth The texture of cloth will depend on the thickness and stiffness of the material. Thinner materials will have more wrinkles that conform to shapes more. Shading with choppy horizontal strokes and occasional scribbles will convey that a character's robes are made of some sort of rough, primitive material.

Stone To replicate the look of stone, use a variety of different strokes and angles. To avoid the appearance of crosshatching, do your best to stop the lines from overlapping. In addition to the pencil work, occasionally dab a kneadable eraser over the surface to add a blotchy texture. Finish by drawing some cracks across the surface with a sharp pencil.

Leather For stiff, highly polished leather, shade with a deep black and do minimal blending. For soft, well-worn leather, use a variety of pencil strokes to define the scratches and distressed marks.

Metal Polished metal is a mirrored surface and reflects a distorted image of whatever is around it. Metal can range from dull to incredibly sharp and mirror-like. The shapes reflected will be abstract with hard edges, and the reflected light will be very bright.


While you're drawing, try to remember that one of the grand themes in the Star Wars saga is that it's never too late to turn from the dark side. With some characters — Kylo Ren, for instance — the struggle between darkness and light is part of what makes them who they are. Conveying that inner conflict visually can really bring your work to life.

Here are a few visual cues you can use when drawing to indicate your subjects' allegiance to evil.

Lighting Kylo Ren's armor provides protection in battle, but its most important purpose is to intimidate. Accentuate Kylo's menacing look in your sketch by drawing him emerging from the shadows, light glinting off the silver around his eyes, which — like his heart — are shrouded in darkness.

Facial Features and Expression Facial expression is another important aspect to keep in mind when depicting bad guys. Darth Maul conveys danger by simply looking at the viewer intently from under furrowed brows. This is simply a portrait-there's no action or movement occurring-but because of his expression, the explosive tension within Maul is evident.

Posture and Camera Angle Supreme Chancellor Palpatine is, on the surface at least, still a good guy in this image, but the clues to his ultimate intent are there. One way to indicate a villain's true nature is to use point of view. In this instance, Palpatine, his eyes hooded, is looking down at the viewer, visually indicating ego and condescension, two of the future emperor's most prominent character traits.

General Appearance It's not necessary for a villain to be an evil genius bent on galactic domination. They don't come much dumber — or more evil — than Salacious B. Crumb, the Kowakian monkey-lizard and sycophant in Jabba the Hutt's palace. Crumb's face is as ugly as his disposition, and a successful portrait will emphasize his beady eyes and flea-bitten appearance.

Pose Grand Mott Tarkin, one of architects of the Death Star, looks almost skeletal in this image. His fierce, single-minded purpose is terrifying. When confronted by Tarkin's zealous intensity, Princess Leia took an involuntary step backward. A single light source illuminating Tarkin's angular profile will help your portrait zero in on this villain's sharp focus for fulfilling the Emperor's orders and wiping out the Rebellion.


A deadly, agile Sith Lord, Darth Maul wields an Intimidating double-bladed lightsaber and fights with a menacing ferocity. While Darth Maul is often a fan favorite because of his looks, he might not necessarily be the most fun or easy to draw, mostly because one of the things that makes him so cool: that jet-black costume. But don't worry; If this drawing of Darth Maul doesn't work out, you can always be like Obi-Wan and just cut it in half.


Begin by sketching Darth Maul's dramatic pose. He is twisting at the hips and waist and has both his back and front visible. Begin by locating the spine and drafting some loose, dynamic linework.


To keep the drama and energy demonstrated in this pose, be a little freer than usual as you draft a tighter version of the figure. The lines are angular and choppy. Lightly erase some of the initial underdrawing.


Begin adding the internal linework using four values: black, white, dark gray, and light gray. This will make shading easier. When drawing with this technique, you're defining shape by light and shadow and using shapes — as opposed to pencil strokes — to model the figure. Because Maul's costume is such a dark matte black (and like the dark side of the Force, it basically absorbs light), many of the folds and wrinkles won't be visible except on extremely close inspection, so don't worry too much if you make a mistake there.


This step is all about texture. Maul's costume looks like it's made of tightly woven twill or linen, and because it's fairly non-reflective and contrast-free, use mostly horizontal strokes. The boots are dirty and matte. As you work, make up some surface detail and occasionally alter the direction of your pencil strokes. If you work from the bottom up on this piece, Darth Maul's fascinating face is your reward for doing the rest of body first.


Darth Maul's head is covered with black tattoos, so pay close attention to your reference and note their placement. He also has horns bursting out of his skin, multi-colored irises, and dirty teeth, which he is baring here.

After you add value to the rest of Darth Maul's snarling face, his head is almost complete. During the final polish, go back and add tiny drops of gesso for eye shine. Gresso is a liquid, chalk-based medium used for prepping canvas. It's inexpensive, matte, and you can draw directly on top of it, so if the eyes seem a little too bright after that, tone down the contrast by lightly penciling over the dried gesso with a 4H pencil.


Begin working on Darth Maul's face, using a very sharp pencil and a magnifying lens. As usual, work with four basic values, ranging from deep black to bright white.


Now add Darth Maul's double-bladed lightsaber. Use choppy, loosely blended pencil strokes against a white core.


The final polish for this piece includes a general smoothing; soften and darken the costume. Also add a gleam to Maul's eyes with gesso, and splash a little bit of gesso (by dipping a toothbrush and running your finger along the bristles) around the lightsaber's ignition point. Now that you are finally done, the shine in his eye, snarling face, and in-motion pose should convey Darth Maul's eagerness to exact revenge and destroy the Jedi.


Trained by Count Dooku in the art of lightsaber combat, the four-armed Separatist General Grievous is one of the Jedi's deadliest opponents. Grievous is a cyborg and has an external skeleton made of a blaster-resistant, marble-like material. Underneath that skeleton, however, is an organic being, complete with watery eyes, a hacking cough, and a beating heart.

The dichotomy between the organic and technological-between the hard and the soft-is what makes Grievous an interesting and fun-to-draw character. For this portrait, draw Grievous in close-up so that you can spend some time on details, such as the cracks in his armor and the moist, shiny areas around his catlike eyes.


Rough out Grievous's basic head and shoulder shape. Draw him inside of a three-sided container that you've created with a ruler. One effective way to create tension in your composition is to have your subject's body facing one way, with the head looking in the other direction. Adjusting your subject's shoulders so that they're on a diagonal is also effective. This portrait of Grievous uses both of these methods.


Refine your initial sketch, and begin adding some details. Don't worry too much about the areas in deep shadow; rough out some basic shapes and move on.


Continue adding detail, and erase any extraneous linework from your initial rough sketch. There are not a lot of straight lines to worry about here, just a bunch of gradual curves. Commit yourself to drawing them in one sweeping movement. You will not want shaky, sketchy lines in your completed image.


Now focus on the eyes. Using the completed drawing for reference, draw the shapes you see. One of the keys to Grievous's look are his catlike irises and pupils. It's interesting that the shapes of the grooves above his eyes are basically replicated in the eyes themselves.


The surface of Grievous's armor is stonelike. It's smooth, but there's some texture there as well. Begin shading this portrait by laying down a base value on the left-hand side. Leave the top of Grievous's right shoulder alone because it's the lightest area in the portrait and is nearly white.


Dive into the detail using four basic values. In this drawing, black is the deepest, darkest shade, and white (the color of the paper) is the lightest. In between, there are two shades of gray, one about 25 percent darker than the other.


Begin experimenting with the marblelike, scratched surface of the General's armor. See the sidebar (opposite) for details on creating this texture.


To create the marblelike structure on general Grievous's armor, you will need a #2 and a #4 pencil and a kneadable eraser. Start with an underdrawing. Use a variety of values to create a blended, cloudy-looking surface. Do not use your finger to bland your values together. Combine your #2 and #4 pencils, and carefully blend lightly, using the sides of the pencils. Don't worry about the shadows or the hard-edged scratches at this point; you'll lay those down once your base surface is complete. You can, however, use your kneadable eraser to lightly dab at areas in which you'd like to see a little more contrast.

After you've completed your surface (keeping in mind that you can always return to it in your final polish), lay down the shadow and a few jagged scratches. Use a sharp pencil for this, starting with a light touch, gradually applying more pressure, and then, finally, lightening up as you complete the scratch.

Lastly, knead your eraser into a point, and draw it along the armor's edge, lifting some graphite to add a mildly reflective edge.


Begin shading in the shadowed areas. To prevent smearing sections you've already completed, lay down a clean sheet of paper and rest your hand on it.


Continue working in the shadowed areas, carefully blending values as objects disappear into and re-appear from the shadows. At this point, have some fun with Grievous's collar, adding some scratches and texture.


The tissue around the eyes is moist and irritated, so it should have some shine. Also depict some of the cracks around the eyes and on the right side of Grievous's head. Look closely at your reference; the location of the scars and battle marks are integral to the character.


Continue working on the head. Take your time, as this is the most important part of the piece. Use a gentle touch when shading the helmet. There are very few hard edges here. Your shadows should softly blend.


Excerpted from "Learn to Draw Star Wars Villains"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Lucasfilm Ltd..
Excerpted by permission of The Quarto Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Tools & Materials, 4,
Basic Pencil Techniques, 6,
Adding Texture, 7,
Depicting Villains, 8,
Darth Maul, 10,
General Grievous, 20,
Count Dooku, 34,
A Closer Look: Lightsabers, 45,
Emperor Palpatine / Darth Sidious, 48,
Darth Vader, 62,
A Closer Look: The Masks of Darth Vader & Kylo Ren, 68,
A Closer Look: The Face Behind the Mask, 70,
Bib Fortuna, 72,
Jabba the Hutt, 82,
Boba Fett, 90,
A Closer Look: Boba vs. Jango Fett, 96,
Kylo Ren, 98,
Captain Phasma, 106,
A Closer Look: Trooper Helmets, 114,
Supreme Leader Snoke, 116,

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