Illustrations/Digital Models: Drawing Transformers: Part 1: The Basics

Discussion in 'Tutorials and How Tos' started by Blitz., Oct 7, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Blitz.

    Blitz. Well-Known Member

    Jan 22, 2009
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    So I finally after much thinking I've took the time to put together this basic tutorial on drawing Transformers. This first part will just cover the basics and will contain some tips I've accumulated over the past years. So (I hope) this will be of use to people who want to know how I do what I do.

    Future parts will cover colouring and maybe some more theory based stuff going into the design aspects rather then the actual drawing with the idea of covering things like how to deal with kibble and how to get an idea to begin with.

    Disclaimer: This is just how I draw it might not work for you so if you find that this isn't working for you that's fine.

    Also this style might not be to every ones liking, I've made no secret that I'm bias to the tin man look but even if you don't like it yourself their might still be some useful tips for you.

    The Tools

    Fine pens. I use 0.05, 0.1 and 0.5. you only really need one super fine pen and one to do thinker lines. Stay away from anything ballpoint it just wont give a quality finish and wont give you a fine line.

    Mechanical pencil. I use a 0.3 but 0.5 will be fine. I'd stay away from a normal pencils only because the size of the line can fluxes and theirs far less mess.

    Eraser. any type is fine just keep in mind you will be using it a lot.

    Ruler. Not every one will need this it just depends on how 1337 you feel when drawing a line.

    and finally a sketch book. you don't really need fancy Bristol board but IMO the smother the better and try and stay away from the thin cheap stuff to avoid ink bleeding and potential frustration when you try to rub something out and you crease the paper.

    Pt1. The Skeleton
    this is the first step when drawing any transformer. in this step we need to decide on the pose and the basic body shape. The details are not important and keep in mind that all of these lines will be gone by the final stage.

    So for my guy I want to have a fairly run of the mill standing pose with one arm on his hip and one with a gun


    The proportions are very exaggerated even more so then your typical super hero. So we have a head that's a bit on the small side and think neck and quite a built up body.

    Now with this being transformers you can really do just about what ever you want after all their machines... but keep in mind if your going to do something out of the norm you need to really exaggerated for it to work. The problem being other people could just think you've gotten it wrong when really you just might not of made your idea clear.

    here are a few variations for fembots and guys who are a little out of the norm if you need a reference.


    A few tips at this stage
    . A fembots Hips and shoulders should be the same width. While with a Male the shoulders should be wider
    . If your having issues getting the arms the right size try drawing the shoulders, then the hands and then place the shoulder joint in the area you feel is right. Also keep in mind your average arm and hand when your standing up reaches down to the side of your leg... But often with transformers the arms are a bit on the shorter side. (don't ask me why)
    . Keep in mind what the spine is doing this can often nip pose issues in the bud.

    Pt2. Padding

    If your making your own design this is really the stage to start thinking about what the transformation will be like and to get a general look. Also think about any clipping between the kibble.


    At this stage you should also keep an eye on the angle of the parts. A rule for the upper arm and leg for me is to have it at an angle that's between the forearm and lower leg's position and the angle of the body their conecting to. if you don't do this often arms and legs can end up looking broken.

    A few tips at this stage
    . weight bias. While back backs are fine and I love the giant guns keep in mind your guy has to look like he's standing with out any aid so putting every thing on a giant back pack might not be the best look if he's standing perfectly up right.

    Pt3. decision time

    At this point you really want to pencil in your ideas and really start to pad out your design. As you can see theirs a huge jump between stage 3 and 2 when it comes to the details but its not as huge as you might think once you get started.


    A few tips at this stage
    . This is really the point to make up your mind about how your guy transforms since this is the point of no return.

    When it comes to heads I've made this little step by step
    The best tip I have for this stage is to keep in mind that face mask's and goggles sit in front of the face not in place of the face. The easiest way to do this is to draw the centre line in front of the nose and then do the sides and then just connect the lines.

    For hands its just a case of drawing tubes for fingers and then adding lines
    Hands can often be the biggest pain in the ass IMO less is more when it comes to detail on the hands.

    Pt4. Inking
    Some people do this in programs like Adobe Illustrator I do it by hand with a pen. This is really the point of no return so anything you do here if you don't like... oh well that's what photo shop is for. Also before you scan it in make sure to remove your pencil lines.

    When scanning I go for 300 DPI but its really up to you and what you intend to use your art for. IMO 300 is just about the right number if you intend to print your work.


    In photoshop use the Levels tool to tweak the thickness and to get a crisp white back ground and then you can correct any little errors you made while drawing your transformer.

    A few tips at this stage
    . Think and thin line. This is really important with transformers since details can often be lost with so many lines.

    (The topic of inking with or without a lightbox came up during the discussion of this tutorial. Hopefully, some of the comments here you can find useful! ~Radicons Staff)

    Digilaut adds:
    I just want to add another small piece of advice: for the inking stage, you [may not] want to ink the same paper you drew your sketch on. A light table allows you to put another piece of paper over the sketch and ink that one instead [you will be able to see the sketch perfectly because of the lamp].

    This way you don't waste your sketch if you ink it wrong, or destroy your paper while trying to erase the sketch lines.

    You don't even have to buy a 'real' light table; you can make one by just getting a glass or plastic (preferably plastic; less prone to breaking = safer!), [and place] some stacks of books and a lamp to place under it!

    Another thing you could do if you don't want to use a light table is to sketch everything with light blue pencils. Why? If you scan your picture and fiddle around with the settings afterward, it's very easy to make the blue sketch lines disappear, [keeping] the inked lines intact without erasing anything on your paper.

    Blitz. replies:
    I've actually made my own light box . . . but I don't actually use 2 sheets of paper. I do it all on one sheet. It has more to do with saving paper.

    ^o^CORVUS^o^ adds:
    While I have a portable light table, I usually use it between the preliminary and final pencil stages. For inking, I actually scan in the final pencils, lighten them up, colorize them to turn them blue, then lighten them a LOT, and then print that on card-stock. This is what I ink.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 9, 2009
    • Like Like x 3
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.