Who says robots can’t be girly?

I would like to draw a simple comic book / manga robot.  I have been fascinated with robots since I first started reading Iasaac Asimov’s books as a child.

Now I have difficulty imagining things from scratch.  I try to do this a lot but my imagination doesn’t really work that way.  So, when I want to make something original and new I first look at all the great robot-type designs that are already out there.  Often there are bits and pieces that I like and don’t like in each design.  There are also design elements from other characters and objects which also seem to help.

Here are some of the super robot designs I found today which other artists have come up with:


The immortal C3PO and R2D2 from Star Wars


More brilliant Star Wars droids.


Wall-E from the film of the same name.


Robots from the animated film ‘Robots’


Robots fro the game ‘Machinarium’ – here painted by ‘big thumb’


This is actually Spectreman by the artist ‘Dreamflux1’ from Deviant Art but I think he would make a cool robot design.


This is a lovely SteamPunk Robot by the artist Ziom5 on Deviant Art

I think that looking at a range of representations of robots helps me learn the visual language of my subject.  Once I’ve got a feel for it then ideas start to flow – not always the best ideas but it’s a start.

Here are some of my sketches:


Looking at these designs I can see elements of C3Po in the first one and elements of a Star Wars Storm Trooper’s helmet in the second one.  However I felt that the first one was too comical and the second I just didn’t really like very much.  One of the things I love about robots is when they don’t have eyes in the way that we as humans might recognise them.

My second set of designs reflected this:


These two were following along with the Steampunk kind of theme.  I imagined part of the hemet being metal and part of it being made of leather – like a robot version of a pair of goggles.  I quite like both of these designs but my favourite is the bottom one – but only just.

So, I decided to make a big version of the one I liked the most in a few days time and to ink the other three now as they are.

Here are the other three robots inked:


I used three different pens to ink these three robots.  On the top left I used a new Kuretake pen.  I loved the way it allowed me to vary the line width by just using pressure on the tip.  It also had a beautiful stark black ink which really shows up wonderfully on the page.  Because it was so different in terms of feel to my usual inking pens (Staedtler 0.1, 0.3, 0.5 and 0.7  Liners) I found it hard to control.  It also took longer to dry than my normal pens which resulted in some minor smudging, but it wasn’t too long – just not ultra quick.  There was also some bleed of ink into the paper.  I think this probably says more about the  poor quality paper I’m using than about the pen. Overall the ink quality and width control were so good that I am going to practice a bit more with this pen to see if I can get some mastery over it.

On the top right I used an Italian Dip Pen with some calligraphy ink.  It was clearly NOT a success!!!! LOL  I didn’t find dipping my pen into the ink every now and again too onerous, (in fact it made me feel like I was at Hogworts!!!)  However, the actual nib was MEGA scratchy.  It did give me a good variable line width and had more strength in the nib than the Kuretake pen which I liked but the ink took about 20 minutes to dry!!!!  I totally couldn’t work with this.  I’m going to modify things and have another go with dip pens at some point in the future using a better nib – I’ve got some good ones somewhere – and some quick drying ink.  The dip pen nib holder was lovely to hold and felt comfortable and natural in my hand.

The final ink was done in my normal way with my Staedtler 0.5 liner.  It was easy to use although there is no way to vary the width of the line with pressure.  I also found that the ink wasn’t very dark compared to the Kuretake pen.

Then I scanned the ink pictures into my PC and had some top Manga Studio fun…



Who says robots can’t be girly?!




2 thoughts on “Who says robots can’t be girly?

  1. I understand what you mean. I guess we all draw inspiration from somewhere, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously. When I see some of the wonderful work out there, I get so inspired but I still want to come up with something new. Seeing what others have done kind of teaches me the visual language for my subject. Thanks for your thoughtful comment!


  2. I think you are going about this in exactly the right way. It’s not a question of copying. Rather, it’s creating inspiration from various designs you like. Probably most art is descended from work that has come before, but presenting it in a new way or a new style can obscure its origins to those who have not taken a lot of time to study it. You will come up with something that is uniquely you as you experiment with different ideas that come to you as you observe others’ work.

    Liked by 1 person

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