How to Draw a Steampunk Machine

Written by jennifer volino
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How to Draw a Steampunk Machine
The steam-fuelled engine of an Industrial-era train sparked the imagination of many inventors. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

The steampunk culture has become quite popular, as evidenced in current styles of clothing, accessories, tattoos and art. To draw a steampunk machine, take a visual step back into the 19th century, where steam-fuelled gadgets were created by Victorian-era dreamers. Today, technology has merged with our industrialised past, and an assortment of steampunk "machines" have been artistically created. Some move, tick, hiss and sputter, but they all have one thing in common: imagination.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Drawing paper
  • Graphite pencil
  • Reference images

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  1. 1

    Gather several photographic images of various objects from the Victorian-era that interest you. These can be pictures of pocket watches, gears, a phonograph player, sewing machine and definitely something operated by steam. Engines and radiators are good choices. Assemble them on your computer and print them, or locate them within books at your library and refer to them during your drawing.

    How to Draw a Steampunk Machine
    Gears are necessary in the movement of most steampunk objects. ( Images)
  2. 2

    Choose a bottom-heavy object from your photo reference inventory. This will be the base of your drawing, as it is the heaviest part of the machine and needs to support everything surrounding and on top of it. Decide whether you'd like to give it legs, such as the claw feet of a radiator or bathtub from the 19th century.

    How to Draw a Steampunk Machine
    Old radiators hissed out steamed heat and make a great energy source in a steampunk machine. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)
  3. 3

    Duplicate, with your graphite pencil, your chosen mechanism for the bottom portion of your drawing. Be sure to take care in the details and shade the lowest, heaviest portion of the object with your pencil, pressing firmly to give it depth and weight. If you have chosen to include mechanical legs, be sure they look sturdy enough to support your machine. They should not be spindly or intricate, but solid-looking, like iron.

    How to Draw a Steampunk Machine
    This old sewing machine already looks robotic and as though it has a life of its own. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)
  4. 4

    Choose the remaining parts of your steampunk machine by referring to your images again. You can borrow bits and pieces from several of these parts, merging them into your own unique creation. Decide which parts you will be using, and where you will be drawing them on your creation.

    How to Draw a Steampunk Machine
    The phonograph creates a very interesting shape, and makes the viewer think of music, the ears and listening. ( Images)
  5. 5

    Draw the next part of your machine by rendering duplications of your chosen objects and gadgets. Keep building and adding to your drawing until it appears as though it could operate on its own.

  6. 6

    Detail any knobs, handles or textured surfaces with a series of cross-hatching and dense lines. Where there are darker, recessed surfaces, shade them within your drawing appropriately.

    How to Draw a Steampunk Machine
    You can add a variety of knobs to your steampunk machine drawing. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)
  7. 7

    Finish your drawing by tracing over all the lines with heavy pressure. Add modern-day touches such as wings or horns, to give it some of your own personality. You can also draw some animated steam coming out from one of the machine parts.

    How to Draw a Steampunk Machine
    Possibly the most recognisable steam-fuelled object of today is the hob kettle. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Tips and warnings

  • If you really enjoy steampunk imagery and also love to draw, try collecting actual parts and pieces and building your own real-life steampunk machine. You can photograph it fully assembled and draw it from different angles.

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