Emma is indisposed today so it's my turn to step into the breach.
What I want to chat about today is how to draw mecha. I draw a lot of it. It's fun, but it's not that easy.
What is “mecha”? Mecha usually refers to futuristic looking robots that have a human pilot, but can also be normal robots, aeroplanes, tanks, guns or whatever.
This can be tough! But don't let it be. There are some shortcuts to help you. Here are a list of things to consider:
* What is the purpose of the mecha? Military, fire and rescue, space faring, undersea whatever. All those inform the design. Then there are other things to consider, for example, what is it used for in the military? Scouting, Frontal assault, Transport etc.
* Is it old technology or is it supposed to be brand new?
* Make sure you can draw it over and over.
* Look at examples in other media (film tv, games, other comics), but do NOT copy! Take what's cool and use it to inform your designs, put your own spin on it.
* Copy from real world examples! Look at photos of real hardware, models, touch the real thing (not real robots, but rather real heavy machinery tanks, guns and so on). It helps a lot!
For the Trompers in Pinky TA they went through many design revisions. I started with two major influences: the popular two legged “chicken leg” mechs (Star Wars, Robotech, RoboCop, Mechwarrior etc): and Mil-Mi “Hind” D attack helicopters. I wanted the mecha to have an organic, insectile look and the Hind certainly has that!
They had to look cool for the viewer, they had to look like they could work and they had to look like their purpose. But what was their purpose apart from looking cool?
The more I worked with the Hind design the more I realised that it wouldn't work for what I needed. It was too futuristic for the diesel punk look of the Pinky TA universe, the helicopter part was too recognisable, and it was also far too fragile with its big open double cockpit and wings to be involved in the action that the Pinky TA story required
A total rethink was needed. I decided I wanted the Tromper to look old and dieselpunk, but also a bit futuristic. It had to be tough looking and heavy. I needed it to be a long range scout vehicle, capable of crossing rough terrain (too rough for mere tracks), but also capable of undersea travel,so it need to be somewhat streamlined. It had to be small and compact enough to be easily transported, rugged enough to survive battle against troops, able to inflict damage on armoured or fortified targets, but not to survive a tank battle.
You can see where I went in my designs: heavy armour plates, big rivets, chunky tank hatch, old water jacketed Vickers heavy machine guns, and rocket pods for heavier targets: fixed and unguided, primitive weapon setup, but still very effective.
I decided that most of the machinery was in the legs, which would drive struts that move the main pod. This would save space on the rest of the machine, allowing me to make it smaller and more compact.
Making it look real:
How do you make your mecha look like it fits? Should it be old, new, used, what? This is the most fun part! You get to give your machine a fancy paint job and then dirty it up with mud, dust, and rust! Don’t forget the little surface details like logos, warning decals, labels, rivets, dents, scratches, and bullet holes either!
Have you any advice on making mecha?
Ozoneocean at 12:00AM, March 2, 2018
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