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sanch3x

Drawing robots

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sanch3x    483
Here's a weird problem I have and I'm not quite sure how to define it properly. I can't draw robots. I'd like to develop the skill to draw robots similar to megaman, astroboy or Robo in Chrono Trigger (you know the cartoony). I like the cartoony style that has a lot of detail (although Astroboy is pretty plain). I can draw men/women pretty well even though the anatomy is usually a little bit wonky but I can never get robots quite right... I think it's due to the fact that their shape isn't always human-like (triangular head). Do you guys have any tips on how you proceed, maybe a link to a tutorial, or how to help me define further what's keeping me from drawing them well? I don't think it's a psychological fear of them or anything :P Thanks for any help

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Oluseyi    2114
Do you understand robots, visually speaking? Do you understand their component shapes and parts, and how the functions of those parts should define their form?

Run through a (word exercise of) robot design. Decide on a type of robot - say, a robot for mine disposal, or a national monument tour guide - and pick a temporal era (modern day, anachronistic steampunk, cyberpunk future utopia/dystopia, etc), then describe the robot in as much detail as you can.

Alternately, pick a well known cartoon/tv robot and describe it in as much detail as you can without looking at a picture.

Remember, drawing is seeing. If you can't really see robots, you can't draw them, either.

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sanch3x    483
Never thought of bringing in functionality into it. I think I was looking to much for a "how do I draw in the style of robot x" instead of really tackling the bigger issue.

Kind of a silly question but is there some kind of source for how fictional robots work? I don't really want to look up modern robots because they're all bloated with stuff but say... something along the lines of:

Theoritically this is how Astroboy works. (I'll just google it)

Thanks for the tip :)

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Oluseyi    2114
Quote:
Original post by sanch3x
Never thought of bringing in functionality into it. I think I was looking to much for a "how do I draw in the style of robot x" instead of really tackling the bigger issue.

Well, there are style issues as well, but I find that style is best addressed after fundamentals. For example, Rosie the Robot Maid from The Jetsons is basically a heavy-set woman, with only cosmetic regard to functionality (her lips are sliding doors; she has screws at her elbows and her forearms are hinged on the transverse outsides of her upper arms), but the robotic elements are frequently distorted for emotive effect (her eyes are represented by oven knob-like indicators/guages, which allow the pointer to be oriented as eyebrows; her tri-wheel balance foot is apparently on a curved rail, allowing her to recoil and bend over).

Quote:
Kind of a silly question but is there some kind of source for how fictional robots work? I don't really want to look up modern robots because they're all bloated with stuff but say... something along the lines of:

Theoritically this is how Astroboy works. (I'll just google it)

Unfortunately, not so many, mostly because the majority of cartoon robots disregard function, ultimately. Astroboy, for example, makes absolutely no sense (and why is he shirtless?!). [smile]

I was mostly talking about function for you to design and draw your own robots. Then, once you have a design you're happy with, simplify and "anthropomorphize" - substitute certain robotic elements with components that afford emotive opportunities (again, Rosie's eyes!)

Quote:
Thanks for the tip :)

Glad to help.

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geolycosa    217
If you want to draw well, start by drawing from life. Really good artists that produce stylized cartoony work always have some real-world bases for the simplifications they are making. If you live near a college that has an art program, see if you can sit in on some life drawing sessions. Carry a sketch book with you, and make quick gesture drawings of people when you have a spare minute or two. The better you get at the figure from observation, the better your robots will be - I promise.

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Salsa    1146
I always start drawing robots in a very mechanical, but abstract sense. I'll get a thin marker and start drawing thick lines and circles and connected areas, basically building up a loose form until I really start to like how it's shaping up. Once I get the idea down, I'll redraw it with pencil and start blocking in fundamental areas, then add the details in later.

Like Oluseyi said, it should be functionable (to an extent -- in the sci-fi realm you can do whatever the hell you want). If you ever look at great artists' depictions of robots, you might wonder where the hell they thought up all of those ridiculous amounts of details. Open up some engineering books. If you're illustrating the torso of a robot, think to yourself, what would this robot need to make him rotate on an axis? Just fill in the details.

A great, and super inexpensive way to visualize robots is using plain old legos. Seriously, it's more fun than modeling in 3D and it's a much better reference.

Flickr lego mechas

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Qitsune    186
Can't say I really agree with geolycosa. Life drawing will improve your general ability to draw but knowing the functionality is essential to drawing robots (might be why I have so much problems, I'm a poor mechanic.)

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