Ask any sketch artist if they’ve drawn a key and you’d be hard-pressed to find one who hasn’t during their early days of learning how to draw. Key drawings can combine a number of different shapes and patterns that require an eye for detail. So, in today’s article, I want to teach you how to draw a key in a few easy steps.
One of the things that I pride myself on is creating drawing tutorials that are simple to follow.
Once you master the fundamentals, it becomes infinitely easier to draw more complex images.
Without further ado, let’s get straight into this tutorial on how to draw a key.
Every drawing tutorial requires a reference image which we can use to sculpt our drawing. I wanted something that looks unique and dated rather than a simple boring key.
So, I picked this industrial stainless steel key with a lot of rugged edges and elements to it.
Thankfully, in this design, we are not working with different perspective shots or details in the foreground so we can start with the top of the key and work our way down.
Steps For Drawing A Key
Let’s begin this key drawing with a circle that is quite fat in size. This will represent the outside ring so don’t worry about adding the inner detail for now.
Both our lines will extend downwards by about a cm at the bottom end.
In this step, we’ll add the first set of details to our key by drawing a thin rectangle that is about less than a cm in height.
This will connect directly to our two vertical lines that extend out of the circle above.
Things start to become more complicated from here on out so I’m going to explain exactly what I did.
From the end of the rectangle, you will need to draw two inwardly curved lines that start to curve outwardly and wider before curving back in.
Within the curves, you want to draw to curved lines from the point of which the outward curve starts and ends.
As your two lines start to curve inwards looking almost straight, add another rectangle that almost matches the dimensions of the very first rectangle above.
It can be slightly bigger but it should extend beyond the curved lines to which it is connected to.
Thereafter, draw two parallel lines that are within the rectangle that extend approximately 8 – 10 cm vertically.
They should both end at the same point and be connected to each other with a simple line that is slightly rounded.
Okay, we’re making significant progress in our key drawing and there are just a few more steps left. For this portion, you want to start about 2 cm from the end of your key.
Draw two horizontal lines of equal size that are separated from each other by 4 cm.
From the bottom line, add a straight vertical line that ends 3/4 of the way.
Now, proceed to extend the upper horizontal line by another cm or two, add a deep U-shaped line that is joined by a horizontal line of a similar length to the first one.
Thereafter, draw a vertical line that ends almost in line with your lower horizontal line.
This portion of our key design looks like we are drawing puzzle pieces.
You want to make sure to thicken the inner horizontal line like I have above.
This will add a layer of detail by creating what looks like a shadow from the thickness of our key.
Repeat the steps that I mentioned above until your key looks like it’s starting to take shape.
You don’t have to worry about it looking perfectly symmetrical because old and detailed keys often don’t appear that way. Especially for the unlocking mechanism.
They vary in the length, size and flow of grooves.
All that’s left is to add one more piece of detail to our key and it’s going to look perfect.
Refer back to the circle we drew earlier and let’s add two incomplete circles that meet at the center creating two pointed edges.
Draw the first half circle that on the right that curves in around the middle point of your main circle above.
Picking up from exactly where your first circle curves and stops, draw a second circle that looks identical to the one on the right. Connect the two points and you’re done!
You’ve successfully drawn a key! I’m so happy for you.
Now, all that’s left is to color it in and you’re done.
We can’t really opt for a black as this will erase some of our details so let’s go with two tones of grey.
For every portion of your key other than the three rectangle details at the top, color it in with a light grey.
For those three rectangles, choose a darker grey and color them in.
Trust me when I tell you that this will make your key look stunning!
This brings us to the end of our tutorial on how to draw a key. I really hope you had fun following this tutorial and the instructions were easy for you to follow.
If you would like for me to create a specific tutorial, head over to the comment section below and please let me know. I’d be more than happy to add your requests to my list.
Also, be sure to check out some of my other fun and simple drawing tutorials for beginners linked below.