Robots in Disguise

Yes the title is very apt, I do feel like I spent the next two hours of my life developing the next Transformers character (and loved it)!

We were tasked with pulling an image of a vehicle off the net and using the techniques learnt from the silhouettes last week to create a robot. Using random selections or specific ones if you see potential in part of the image and slowly building them up into a full character using transforms.

The image I chose for the exercise. I figured I could get some rather sleek looking shapes from a modern motorbike.

I wish I could say I sat staring at the bike and thought AHHA, then immediately saw a potential robot and got to work, quite the opposite. I spent the first half an hour pulling the bike apart seeing what shapes would deform into what before I found a piece I liked which became a leg.

The all new BMW Transformer!

The legs took on a very slender almost spindly approach which set the theme for the rest of the ‘bot. I kept the image of the motorbike on its own layer and toggled it on and off when I wanted to look for new body parts. I’m fond of the end result but overall it looks a little flat because I went for a symmetrical front view. Eventually it would be nice to try and draw the character more dynamically and flesh it out.

Much like the last exercise something nagged at me in the back of my head and the spindle legs seemed familiar. After digging through some google search results I found what I was looking for. This is a mecha design from Hideo Kojima’s Zone of the Enders.


It’s nice to think that creative exercises like this can produce results similar to designs that have already been used in the industry. Proof this kind of free flow creativity can produce interesting results.

Tony introduced us to Swedish artist Simon Stalenhag, known for his realistic paintings of robots in the mundane world (his words). He uses a wacom to paint over photographs before adding his sci-fi/fantasy elements into the scene. I picked two personal faves to show.


I love the juxtaposition of the far future design machines somehow old and ruined paired alongside regular modern life. The decaying humanoid ‘bot being investigated by the blue tits is just beautifully eerie. Stalenhag, you have a new fan!


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