Step-by-step: Painting a battleaxe that’s seen action
Start by loosely sketching out the image as you imagine it, without getting too caught up in any detail or perspective nuance. Then, using that rough sketch as a guide, draw out the shape of the axe and any decorations in a flat, top- down planar view. Use the Pen tool for smooth, precise curved lines.
Focus on drawing just the left half, then when it’s finished simply copy the layer, flip it horizontally and line it up. This way you know the two sides match. Now figure out what the sight lines and vanishing points are doing in your rough, then use Free Transform and Skew to lay the flat design down in the right perspective.
Paint the axe using the sketch as your guide, and always take into account how the light will be reflecting from the metal. You can use the eraser or the colour of the background to paint some chips into the blade. Show the stains of war and the dirt, along with scratches that catch the light with dark reds and browns.