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July 5, 2009
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Elven Sword Evolution by Merlkir Elven Sword Evolution by Merlkir
Another "evolution" diagram-thing. Of course I could put in some more links and maybe set dates for all of them, but that would be too much work. ;)

1. One of the first swords the Noldor made. Solid piece of metal for the blade and a wooden handle. The blade has a spine/ridge to make it stronger.
2. As the technology got better, the swords would get longer and the decorations nicer. Swirly floral ornaments for the hilt. Still has a ridge on the blade.
3. The hilt became less fancy and the blade is one piece with two ground-out fullers to make it lighter (this way it can be wider).
4. New technology - pattern welding for the blade. In a nutshell, you twist a few rods of iron with different features together and beat/weld them flat. That gives you the core of the blade - it makes the sword flexible and stress-resistant. To that core you weld two edges from hard steel that can take more punishment than iron and cut well. Then you grind a fuller - a groove in the whole blade to make it lighter. If you want to learn more about this, google pattern welding or damascene steel (even though pattern welding is not real damascene steel, the name is still used). The sword has a more straight bulky feel, the technology is still too new to go wild on the blade's shape. Floral ornaments on the hilt feel slightly heavier too.
5. Pattern welded blade with a more elven leaf-like shape. Still with a fairly wide fuller. The hilt is heavily ornamented with swirly floral shapes - trying to renew some of the older designs.
6. Probably a dwarf-made sword. The blade has a very elven shape, but the fuller is less deep and the sword feels a bit heavier. Dwarven hand is more obvious from the shape of the hilt. It still incorporates some leaf shapes though so the owner was probably an elf.
7. A "modern" elven sword. There could probably be one more link to this one from number 5, but I didn't have enough paper. ;)
The hilt has some elements of the movie Glamdring which I didn't realize when I drew it. I thought: "Look at that, that came ou really nice! Weird how easy that was." And obviously, it hit me later. It's not that bad though. ;)
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:iconwintersoldier7020:
Wintersoldier7020 Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Very nice!
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:iconbrothermonk:
Brothermonk Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
what paper did you use? or is this digital?
Reply
:iconmerlkir:
Merlkir Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Real pencil, I think. Just a piece of sketchbook paper I found around the house, iirc.
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:iconbrothermonk:
Brothermonk Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
huh, I wish I had antiqued paper lying around 
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:iconbramblestar15:
Bramblestar15 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013
Those all look so cool! 3 & 5 are my favorite of these, though they all look great.
Reply
:iconcerberus116:
Cerberus116 Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2013
Very beautiful... nicely done.
Reply
:iconspikedpsycho:
spikedpsycho Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2013
The second looks like a good Valentines present.
Reply
:iconpendragonmagicfairy:
PendragonMagicFairy Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Beautiful drawn! My favourite is number five.
(sorry for my crappy English)
Reply
:iconamandarini:
AmAndArInI Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012
I featured your really interesting drawing in my journal
[link]
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:iconmerlkir:
Merlkir Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Ah, thanks!
Reply
:iconagacora:
Agacora Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Does this fit into the context of, perhaps, Middle Earth, or is this for your own created world? Either way those are some awesome swords.
Reply
:iconmerlkir:
Merlkir Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
It was made to fit Middle Earth.
Reply
:iconagacora:
Agacora Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Nice.
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:iconsurrealpunishment:
Surrealpunishment Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Like it, my favorite is #2
Reply
:icontabby786:
tabby786 Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011
Hi, i love your work im designing a game and i need people like you to help me would you be intrested, if you are inbox me thanx
Reply
:iconthoradonrohirrim:
THORADONROHIRRIM Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2010
good work where do you research this elf style of sword? does Tolkien actually draw some swords? i don´t find it, but how do you think could be the "GURTHANG" (ANGLACHEL remade by dwarves and then is the sword that kill Melkor by hand of Turin)? and "ANGUIREL"? the original sword of Eöl; I draw one anguirel based on the movies principally but i,m not entirely sure and not have your drawing skill. Eöl dislikes the elves (but was one of the firsts elves), and was very good friend of dwarves of Nogrod and Belegost, so have to be a combination of the special style of dark elf Eöl (galvorn and flaming iron of a meteorite) and some techniques of dwarves. I´m think some kind of precious stones inspired by dwarves or not?. i will upload
Reply
:iconmerlkir:
Merlkir Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
The only information Tolkien gave on swords is that they're straight, some of them are leaf shaped and are often engraved with runes, or made of metal with a swirling pattern.

Do upload your drawings, I've never really tried drawing gurthang of anguirel. :)
Reply
:iconthoradonrohirrim:
THORADONROHIRRIM Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2010
done bro, im, new so check my version of anguirel :) i do gurthang in a few weeks, but your opninion could be useful.
Reply
:iconfirewhisky-black:
Firewhisky-Black Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2010  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
This makes me want to watch Lord of the Rings. Awesome Job!
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:iconsidran:
Sidran Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2010
This is awesome
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:iconmerlkir:
Merlkir Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconfanatic-of-the-few:
Fanatic-of-the-few Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2010
Nice--Insta-Fav!
Reply
:iconfinnwulf:
Finnwulf Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2010
just amazing! *add to fav*
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:iconmerlkir:
Merlkir Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconfinnwulf:
Finnwulf Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2010
i think these swords are very cool, especially these fine brightwork, how did you do this? with photoshop and tablet? As you can see i did my start with these things today..
Reply
:iconmerlkir:
Merlkir Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Nope, this is a pencil drawing on paper.
Reply
:iconfinnwulf:
Finnwulf Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2010
oh ok, but do you use the tablet too?
Reply
:iconmerlkir:
Merlkir Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Yeah, recently I've been drawing mostly on a tablet.
Reply
:iconfinnwulf:
Finnwulf Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2010
ok,cool.
Reply
:iconbrzrkrbob:
BrzrkrBob Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2009
I really like all the detail. Pretty good.
Reply
:iconbunjicourd:
BunjiCourd Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2009
Do you think you could blacksmith a sword with the concepts you discussed or is this all fantasy theory?
Reply
:iconmerlkir:
Merlkir Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Not quite sure what you mean, if I wanted to make a sword, I would need a larger and more detailed drawing than these. But the technology I described is 100% real/historically accurate, you can google it if you want. ;)
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:iconbunjicourd:
BunjiCourd Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2009
That's pretty cool
Reply
:iconavanima:
avanima Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2009
Very nice i really like it. Would i be able to use this with a 3d model when i finish the model more for practice sake.
Reply
:iconmerlkir:
Merlkir Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
If it's not to make money and if you credit me for the designs, feel free to make 3d models out of this. ;)
Reply
:iconavanima:
avanima Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2009
Well im still working on a model to go with them so when thats done ill start on weapons depending cause im tossing around ideas for what i want her to be but i will if i end up using them.
Reply
:iconshadowdragon22:
ShadowDragon22 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2009   Digital Artist
Those are some very nice sword designs, i like all the details. I also liked reading the descriptions you made of them ^^ Great work!
Reply
:iconmerlkir:
Merlkir Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
I'm glad! :aww:
Reply
:iconalskling:
alskling Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2009   Digital Artist
I like these kind of works, they show transformation, movement, life-force.
Reply
:iconmorionquetil:
Morionquetil Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2009
Excellent diagram of progression - I like how you've carried over the subtle Greek and Indo-Corinthian inspiration for the Noldor of the films (such as in the crested, high tapered helms, and the very xiphos-esque look of the first sword in this 'evolution.'

It's all very realistic, and easy to imagine a lesser Elf-lord slashing and cutting (not thrusting very often, hehe) through a mob of Orcs.

Good show /thumbs up
Reply
:iconmerlkir:
Merlkir Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, I'm glad you think so. It's interesting how the "xiphos" one evolved into a very celtic-like sword. And it looks fairly natural. Bronze age swords do look alike after all.
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:iconmorionquetil:
Morionquetil Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2009
Well there isn't too much you can do with a Bronze Age sword west of Eurasia, hehe.

I, personally, would be interested to see your take on the Elves of Doriath. But that's just me, hehe.
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:icongoat89:
goat89 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2009
VERY NICE!!!
Reply
:iconmerlkir:
Merlkir Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
;)
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:icongoat89:
goat89 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2009
:D
Reply
:iconjon-snow:
Jon-Snow Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2009
Beautiful designs. Even though I'm not one to go for fancy hilts, these are very tasteful, plausible, and as far as I've seen, unique. :)
Reply
:iconmerlkir:
Merlkir Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
I had to restrain myself a bit on the hilts. ;)
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:iconjon-snow:
Jon-Snow Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2009
Hehe, well, glad you did, but that's me. :)
Reply
:iconspectorknight:
SpectorKnight Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2009
Absolutely fantastic work! The organic feel is clear in each one, and each feels like the natural step up from the last. :)
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:iconmerlkir:
Merlkir Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
I hope so! ;)
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