Weapons vary from sharp metallic objects to dull-edged staffs. (Modern weapons excluded...) The most important info you need to know about weapons is that they are mainly rigid. If you look at the lineup above, most weapons are can be drawn using a ruler. Of course, there are some blades that are curved and for the machete, it's practically the whole thing!
The basic shapes of these weapons are as shown above. They aren't extravagant for a reason - they show the basic makeup of their type of weapon. From left to right: wooden staff, sword, axe, (magic) staff, rapier, machete, scythe (or sickle), and spear.
Weapons not drawn to scale with each other, btw. :)
From these basic shapes, you can add your own creative touches and embellishments. I recommend that you are at least familiar with these basic shapes before you begin changing them.
Regarding the size of a weapon, if you change and play with it, you get a different look for the same item. Look in part A on the right. The sword is much wider and and is a lot shorter than in the previous page. Considering it's new size, it would be called a "short sword" than just "sword" as they are much longer. The axe next to it also is more in the line of your average garden axe. The distance of the blade from the handle and its design was redone. Even though they are the same weapon, they are different.
I must mention that one of the most popular trends these days is to "supersize" small weapons into big, huge hunking ones. If you've never seen one before (^_^;;) just think of a shuriken drawn much larger and is basically the same height as the person wielding it.
Design is one of the most obvious effects that seperates your own weapons from another artists weapons. Section B in the drawing above shows various designs based on the base weapons in the past page.
The scythe, for example, is much more stylistic and has more character than the base weapon. With just a few bends on the blade, an attachment from the blade to the handle, and even the slight bend of the handle gives it that distinct look.
You don't have to make something as completely different from the base form. Even simple additions as the grain and wear of the wood to a staff adds character. Just a slight change of a swords handle from cloth wrapped to coil wrapped adds that slight difference. The end of a magical staff is all you really need to change, for instance, to make that difference.
Go to Part II