How to Draw a Chain

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“Every chain has got a weak link.”
– “Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin (1968)

Chains are a ubiquitous part of popular culture. Chains are used both literally and figuratively in songs such as Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools” and Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang.”

Chains are used to make jewelry ranging from delicate to robust. Hip hop and rap musical artists have popularized large chain necklaces.

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The chain also lends itself to common maxims. For example, the phrase “the weakest link” references the links of a chain. Sometimes this phrase is rendered “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” This is usually used to refer to groups of people or things that can fail if one member does not succeed.

Chains themselves have been a common tool since antiquity. The coil chain is the oldest and most common type, having been in use since at least 225 B.C. It is made from straight metal bars that are wrapped around one another and bent into oval shapes. This tutorial represents this type of chain.

Chains have a variety of uses. since medieval times, chains were used make jewelry, to decorate clothing, or to indicate rank or office.

Others were used for restraint, such as the “ball and chain,” which was used to keep a prisoner from escaping. This type of chain often appears in older cartoons, such as the Looney Tunes. Handcuffs today serve a similar purpose.

Other chains were used connect anchors to ships, to connect train cars or other vehicles, to lift heavy objects, or to restrict access to objects or places.

Would you like to draw your own chain? This easy, step-by-step chain drawing tutorial is here to show you how.

All you will need is a pencil, an eraser, and a sheet of paper. You may also wish to color your finished drawing.

If you liked this tutorial, see also the following drawing guides: Hammer and Saw, Golf Club Bag, and Basketball Hoop.

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Step-by-Step Instructions for Drawing a Chain

How to Draw Chain: Step 1

1. Begin by drawing an oval. Then, draw a smaller oval within the oval. This is the first link of the chain.

How to Draw Chain: Step 2

2. Draw another set of ovals – one slightly smaller and located within the other – overlapping the first set of ovals. This will form the second link of the chain.

How to Draw Chain: Step 3

3. Erase the guide lines from the links where they overlap. Notice that the links seem to be locked securely together.

How to Draw Chain: Step 4

4. Draw another oval overlapping the last link of the chain. Draw a smaller oval within it, forming another link.

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How to Draw Chain: Step 5

5. Erase the guide lines from the last two links of the chain.

How to Draw Chain: Step 6

6. Draw an oval overlapping the last link in the chain, and a smaller oval within it. Then, draw yet another oval overlapping this link. Draw a smaller oval within it. The chain is now five links long.

How to Draw Chain: Step 7

7. Erase the guide lines from the overlapping sections of the last three links of the chain.

How to Draw Chain: Step 8

8. For the next link, you can try a different technique. Draw the overlapping oval within an oval, but allow it to stop rather than intersect the previous link of the chain. Erase guide lines as necessary.

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How to Draw Chain: Step 9

9. Draw another link of the chain, erasing guide lines as necessary. This completes our drawing guide, but you don’t have to stop there – you can continue drawing links until your chain reaches any length you desire.

How to Draw Chain: Step 10

Color your chain. Notice how two different shades are used to give the chain a shiny appearance. Will it be gold, silver, or metallic grey? Will it become a necklace, secure a prisoner, or protect a treasure? Use your imagination, because the choice is yours.

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The Complete Chain Drawing Tutorial in One Image

How to Draw Chain

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