Drawing mechs is fascinating for many designers.
I am a fan of Transformers, Gundam, Star Wars… but drawing the mechs was crazy hard!
“How to draw mechs?”
Asked Josh (one of my students at “Sketch Like The Pros“)
His job as a designer may require him to create mechs and robots,
and he would need some drawing tips to start :).
To make it short, a mech is somehow animated like a human or animal.
Even though it is about concept art,
we share the same articulated structure type made of bones and joints.
Draw the skeleton first!
I invite you to watch the short video below and train on existing mechs, organic bots, robots… you like.
(I’m using a creation from Alberto Petronio to illustrate my point)
- Step 1 – Spot the articulations, the joints
- Step 2- Link them.
- Step 3- Block the torso, the arm, and the muscles… simplify the forms.
Your drawing will start having a sense of animation!
If you start drawing the robot without the structure, you might end up with an awkward result.
Think of adding the metal wire structure to a sculpture made of clay.
As soon as you complete that, you will have completed 50% of the hard job!
The rest will be “detailing”.
TIP: The same structure can be used as a base to create an infinite number of mechs!
Drawing and understanding the skeleton from a side view will be precious information to draw it in perspective.
Below are some reference drawings of Japanese mechs and robots Josh gave me.
Let me share with you some creative tips below.
Come up with a story!
How to create interesting mechs?
That will help you if you have no idea or inspiration to start.
- Get inspired by humans, insects or animals…
to find specific features that will describe your character personality and skills.
- Translate the features within your forms.
A turtle might be covered with a shield and be more compact, and rounded for a better defense.
However, it might be slow to attack or escape.
While a grasshopper will have long legs, be agile, and be ready to jump to attack!
However, it may be more vulnerable!
Use reference pictures
Nature is a beautiful source of inspiration.
One of my teachers (Nicolas Weiss) in my design school used to tell me: “Nature never lies”.
– Get plenty of reference pictures of mechanical pieces
(Planes, machinery, sewing machines…)
I love studying them to improve my concept art drawings.
– List the trait of character you are looking for
(good side, enemy? Kind, angry, nervous…?),
and which weapon, or armor style you may like.
– To get more ideas faster, sketch with thumbnails.
Don’t worry about drawing in details. And don’t try to control everything.
You want to drop many rough ideas.
When you got a nice proposal, you can draw it bigger, with more details. 🙂
Remember to draw the skeleton first,
add in some major shapes without many details,
and sculpt along the way.
TIP: Add some numbers or codes on your mech’s surface.
You could add some scratches eventually.
These are the crispy details you add at the end.
Heck yea! I’m glad my question ended up making it as a full post! Hope it helps others as it helped me! Chou-Tac is a great teacher!
Thank you for being an inspiration
for the Design Sketchbook family
and all the readers of the blog!