Robot Character – Thumbnails (part 2)

I’ve begun work on the robot character designs we were asked to produce for our next lesson with Tony – we should have around 10 thumbnails that we can then show in a small group criticism (or a couple of group criticisms, as I will likely ask external friends not associated with the course and not just see what my fellow students think).

In any case, I’m not the most artistic person, but sometimes it’s nice to get your ideas down on paper when you’re trying to flesh out several ideas at once. You also have more control over manipulating the lines and shapes than you would if you were, say, using the “piece together” creation method we did to create our first robots. This doesn’t mean I’m not going to use the other techniques we’ve learned in class to produce some robot design ideas; I merely thought this was a good method to start with.

While I wasn’t present for the class Tony introduced this method in, I did hear about it from other students and thought I could apply it to some robot ideas: take an unusual shape and try to create something outwards from it.


I sat with some of the concept art books I have available to me (namely the Borderlands one on the shared drive and a Fallout 4 one I just recently purchased). I also had the blog post I originally wrote about my sources of inspiration open in front of me. With all of this art around me, I started with some odd shapes and tried to create 5 different robot designs.

The first one (top-left) started with a warped square, while something like the one below it (bottom-left) started with an hourglass-shaped body. The bottom-right robot was a combination of a quadrupedal creature and a spaceship (with its burner/engine out the back).

I currently like all of them (except maybe the top-middle one), however my preference is leaning towards the bottom-left robot, if only because of the body shape and crab/spider-like legs. I think it would be an interesting design to continue onwards with, but I’ll have to wait and see what others might think. Practice is key when trying to get a concept across through drawing and they will all need a lot of refinement if I move forward with any of them, however I’m looking forward to making more. I am also eager to hear some constructive criticism during my feedback phase.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the rest of the tumbnails prepared yet, but I will update this post as soon as I do. The more options I have, the more likely I will find one that I will be able to take to full design development. I’ll also be using the silhouette method we learned in class, since it’s a more organic and random method of creative art and I think it could work quite well for further designs.


I’ve continued working on my robot thumbnails. This further drawing/designing has been more difficult than the first half I did, if only because I decided to use a computer instead of a sketch pad. While I have a drawing tablet, I’ve not done very much with it and I find it far less intuitive to draw while looking up on the screen than on a piece of paper. Despite my issues, I wanted to have a mixture of mediums to choose from and I need the practice for future projects.


Above is the “clean” version of the characters I’ve come up with. I actually think I like the ones on the right-hand side more than the two on the left, which were loosely drawn using the silhouette method we tried in class. Perhaps I had further problems seeing beyond the scribbles and I felt more constrained to what I was seeing, rather than drawing an idea from the top of my head.

Below are the same robots, however behind the two are the shadows/silhouettes that I made using the hoop/fill technique Tony taught us. I think that this technique can be good for more organic or fluid designs, like humanoids or aliens, but I think many of my robot characters were made of solid, flat lines and more angles.


I feel that limitations in my own drawing skills have caused me a lot of headaches, trying to get the right angles and designs for my robots. Perhaps I should have used the copy/paste technique to come up with some further ideas (for example, when I made a robot from the War Rig in Mad Max and I think it turned out quite well).

I’ll bring these thumbnails in to class and see if there is anything I could do to improve on my ideas, as well as start to decide which one I would like to take to the next step of the project.


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