How’d you learn to draw mechas? I’ve been wanting to try that myself for a while, and I know as an artist that the only way to learn is to just Do it, but it’s so daunting! I have no idea where to begin. Do you have any advice or tips? Thank you for your time!
Okay first of all, sorry to take so long to answer. I really wanted to draw some pics for this, and the last weeks have been quite busy.
1. Draw from the reference
Drawing is like learning a new language: You can’t say you wanna learn English and then just start making up your own words because you think that finding words in the dictionary is cheating - It doesn’t make sense. Find a super cool robot picture and try to copy it. These are called “studies” for a good reason. You’re studying the vocabulary of those drawings. Many times people don’t share their studies since it’s only for the practice. But don’t study just one person. You don’t want to become that person - you want to become better! And if you post your study online, don’t forget to credit the original artist!
2. Try different techniques
One of my favorite techniques is something I call color blocking - I’m not sure if it’s an actual term or just something I came up with. I kind of carve the silhouette of the robot with one color and then I add a second color and carve the details in. I do this also if I have a picture with lots of characters and I want to make sure everything reads correctly. But these are all personal matters. Try different techniques until you find a one that works for you. And remember to flip your canvas!!
3. Try different brushes
My favorite brushes vary, but these three are the ones I keep using more than the others. Kyle’s brush I got used to while I was working on my freelance work - it just feels good to draw with. The square one is really fun to work with in mecha designs, and the basic one also feels surprisingly good while drawing. Sometimes I just grab a new brush, start doodling, and end up with a decent piece.
4. Symmetry vs. asymmetry
This one I included especially because I’m talking about robots. Breaking up the machines with asymmetrical parts gives them more character BUT it’s important to keep the symmetry in mind. If I do a robot that has a one big arm and one small arm, I later make sure that most of the other parts are symmetrical. This way the asymmetry is the choice rather than a mistake.
5. Draw from the reference (!!!)
Yes, I added this the second time because I really feel it’s important! I use Pinterest all the time - I have a board with over 1000 pins of robots! There are paintings from my favorite robot artists, 3D models of super cool robot designs, and even photos of real robots all collected in one place. And for anyone who feels “wrong” doing this: Finding reference DOESN’T mean copying - it can be just an idea or inspiration: It’s finding the language you want to use. Sure you won’t need the reference as much later on as you build your own “shape-vocabulary” - just like you won’t need your dictionary after you have learned the words you use.
6. It doesn’t have to be perfect
I’m never 100% happy with my work. But I have learned to say “oh well” and move on. Next time I’ll do better.
7. BE PROUD!
Don’t talk down your own work no matter how much you’d like to. If you’re not standing behind your drawings, who will? Sure you do see the mistakes, but it’s still a great piece of art you made!