How to Draw a Dagger Tattoo | Procreate Tutorial

Daggers are a popular design for tattoos. They can be challenging because they require perfect symmetry and lots of long, straight lines. If they are off even a little bit, it’ll be noticeable in the tattoo.

That’s why, in this article, we’ll be breaking down how to draw a perfect dagger, including how to:

  • Build up your dagger design in three layers
  • Put “breaks” in your tattoo design so you don’t have to tattoo super long lines
  • Use Procreate to draw perfectly symmetrical designs faster

Dagger Tattoo Design Tutorial

Layer 1: Draw Basic Shapes with Procreate’s Symmetry Tool

Like every tattoo design, you’ll want to build it up in layers. We recommend using a red sketching brush on Procreate. You can also use a red colored pencil if you’re working on paper. 

Procreate’s Symmetry Tool

If you know you’re going to be drawing a symmetrical design - like a dagger - on Procreate, we recommend using your canvas’ drawing guide to select the “symmetry” option. 

This will add a middle line right down the middle of your canvas so that whatever you draw on one side will appear on the other. Being able to “mirror” your work like this will make sure your design is perfectly balanced.

Mapping Out the Basic Design

In this first layer, you’ll want to start drawing the general shapes that will later form your dagger. We recommend lightly sketching out circles and ovals to get the placement of everything. Then, you can go through with darker sketch lines as you have a more clear idea of what the design will look like. 

This layer is not very detailed, and it’s the best time to erase and try different ideas before you spend a lot of time perfecting the design.

Layer 2: Edit Your Design and Decide on Final Placements

In your second layer (we recommend using blue), you can go through and make any changes to the design that you like. In the video, for example, Brandon made the blade of the dagger thicker. 

Additionally, you can use Procreate to make sure the long lines in the blade are perfectly straight. 

During this time, you’ll want to make final design choices so that in your third layer you just need to create a cleaner image. 

Add Unique Design Elements to Your Dagger

In the video, Brandon shows a basic dagger design. If you are following along, you can add extra details and design elements to make your own unique design. For example, changing the pommel can give you a more decorative and intricate design.

Breaking Up Long Line Work

Lonner snake and dagger tattoo
Shannon Hodgkin woman and dagger tattoo
daniqueipotattoo dagger tattoo

While Procreate will make it easy to make perfect long lines, it will be difficult to tattoo them. If you’re not confident in tattooing super long lines, you can break up the line work of the dagger by using something like a skin break. This adds more visual interest and makes the design easier to tattoo.

In other dagger designs, you might see artists use roses, snakes, etc.

Layer 3: Final Line Work

In this layer, you’ll go through with a black brush to make your stencil. Make sure you keep the symmetry tool on until you get to areas that you will need to turn it off (like erasing the area inside the skin break). 

Layer 4: Shading and Color

If you’re working in Procreate, you can erase your sketching layers and merge down your final line work to make it all one solid piece. This will be your stencil.

Create a new layer in Procreate and use a black shader brush to go through and pick what you want to shade.

Color

You can now go through the whole design and add color to your design. You’ll use this as a reference when you’re tattooing to know where your shading goes, as well as which colors you want to use in each part of the design.

In Procreate, highlight the area of the design you want to add color to before coloring it in to keep everything as neat as possible. 

Become a Tattoo Artist With the Artist Accelerator Program

student work from the Artist Accelerator tattoo artist training programs

Having a career in tattooing is not only fulfilling, but it’s also the most stable way to make a living as an artist. However, for decades, the process to become a tattoo artist has been notoriously difficult. 

The apprenticeship process requires aspiring tattoo artists to work 50-60 hours a week without pay for 2-4 years. That, combined with the toxic culture of abusing apprentices, makes getting into the industry almost impossible for newcomers. 

That’s why we created the Artist Accelerator Program. Our online course provides a simple, structured way of learning to tattoo that has been proven to work by over 2500 successful students, with many of them having gone on to open their own shops all around the world. 

Inside the program, we’ll take you through every step of the tattooing process in 9 clear, easy-to-follow modules and support you along the way within the Tattooing 101 Mastermind online community.

In the Mastermind group, you’ll collaborate with other students, get answers to your questions, and receive personalized video feedback on your artwork and tattoos from professional tattoo artists. With this friendly community of both new and experienced tattoo artists, you’ll never be stuck again. 

When you join the Artist Accelerator Program, you’ll have instant access to the full course and the Mastermind community, as well as our 30-Day Flash Challenge and recorded interviews with tattoo artists from all over the world. 

Click here to learn more about the Artist Accelerator Program.

Looking for a tattoo apprenticeship?

Tattooing 101's Artist Accelerator 90 day program is the closest thing to a real apprenticeship

  • 500 video modules
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  • Private mastermind community
AUTHOR
Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain.

When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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