How do I add an aged look to an axe or similar weapon?
Answer Tony replies
Before you can paint an old, worn battleaxe, you’re going to have to design a new one. As always, spend some time looking at designs from the time period you’re working from – unless it’s fantasy, of course, in which case just look at everything. Your workflow should start with the axe design, then figuring out a composition. Once you’ve got the composition, decide on your lighting and then finally paint and wear down the weapon. Use a perspective grid to make sure every part of the axe that should be symmetrical is actually symmetrical.
When you do start sketching the blade and embellishments, just focus on one half and copy it over. This is especially useful with little design motifs on the blade, which can be hard to match up. You can then copy this layer and drag it down a few pixels to create the bottom plane of the axe, controlling thickness with distance.
Once your sketch is done, you can get down to painting. Silver metal (and any colour that’s close to neutral) will tend to take on the hue of the surroundings. Ensure whatever colours dominate the background are also in the axe. Chips in the blade and scratches along the surface imply previous battles. Spots of rust can show age and give you places to change up the textures a bit. Keep adding on the wear and tear until you feel there’s too much, then start trimming it back.
You can also use the background to explain more about why the weapon is in such a state of disrepair.