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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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