of an Armor
First of all, a run down of parts of the armor starting on the head: (a) helmet, (b) shoulder guards, (c) breast plate, (d) guantlets a.k.a. arm braces, (e) thigh guards, and (f) boots. Note: Technically, each piece of armor has various other more rightful names - shoulder guard is a pauldron for instance - but for this tutorial, I'm keeping the names simple so as it is reconizable instantly. For a more detailed look into armor, check out Pictorial Glossary of Armor Terms.
How Much Armor Does Your Character Need?
This is the crux of every fantasy character that you make wearing armor. The more armor the character is wearing, the slower he/she becomes (unless the character is superhuman or in the case of Slayers Gorgeous ::spoiler:: - the armor is made of paper!!) ::end spoiler:: and the better fit (think muscular) he/she becomes as well.
Here is a rundown of some combinations you may use when putting together an armor:
(1) Full Armor - all parts a to f
(2) Heavy Armor - all parts except a
(3) Moderate Armor - b, c, e, and maybe d too
(4) Light Armor - b, c, and maybe d too
(5) Minimum Armor - d alone, b alone, or c alone
(6) No Armor - no piece from a to f
Of course you can make your own combination of armor but these are the usual combos.
The best advice I can possibly give you is to make sure you draw armor that will actually work! Armor is for protection not for show! There are special armor made fancier for the more important people; gold plated, etc.; for kings and nobles but otherwise - keep it simple for the ordinary folks.
Unlike popular belief that armor was heavy and cumbersome it was not. A well trained knight will wear a full armor and fight in one easily. Also, knights usually know how to use various weapons besides the sword; they can also use bow and arrow, spears, axes, hammers, lances, knives, etc. If your character is not a knight - then show it via less armor, less knowledge of weapons, etc.
Now for the fun part: designs on the armor. OK, I know I said don't get fancy and that's what I meant. You may put some decoration on the armor just as long as it does not interfere with the wearers ability to fight! Anything else looks too impractical, and out-of-place don't you think?
Things to Change or Not
(1) Emblem on breast plate
(2) Grooves on shoulder guards
(3) Jewelry on armor
(4) Fancy color: gold, green, silver, black, red, etc.
(5) Shape of the armor piece
You may also check out fantasy anime like Magic Knight Rayearth and Lodoss Wars or even films like Lord of the Rings.