How to draw robots

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I picked up a fun full-color book on Saturday called Robots! Draw Your Own Androids, Cyborgs & Fighting Bots, by well known animation designer and comic book cartoonist Jay Stephens. It's only 64 pages, but it's packed with tips and examples of whimsical robots, with lots of examples of limbs, bodies, heads, control panels, sensors, etc.

Stephens-Style-Bot Using his examples as a guide, I quickly drew a robot of my own. It doesn't capture the charm of Stephen's work, but I plan to keep working at it!

I also learned that Stephens has two similar books for sale: Monsters!: Draw Your Own Mutants, Freaks & Creeps and Heroes!: Draw Your Own Superheroes, Gadget Geeks & Other Do-Gooders. They are a bargain at just $5.95 each. I just ordered both of them!

Robots! Draw Your Own Androids, Cyborgs & Fighting Bots


  1. Cool, Mark is going to learn to draw! ;-)

    I wish stuff like this was around when I was a kid. I remember how to draw books, but they were pretty “straight.” Landscapes and horses and kittens. Stuffy lame stuff.

  2. This is awesome. I love robots & have never seen a “how to draw” book that’s this cool. Going to have to snatch that up!

  3. Mark, care to share what you are drawing with? Are you 100% digital, or are you drawing on paper, scanning in and then coloring?

    I like your robot. It needs a name.

  4. When I was young, I was drawing robots from the top of my head. Didn’t need any “howto” books. At the very least, I’d see a robot in a book, or cartoon, and try to copy it, or draw something similar. A good book on drawing people or kittens is actually a more useful one, in my opinion – teaches you anatomy, which you can then use to draw humanoid of feline robots.

  5. These books are some of the best How To Draw books for kids. They use the shapes of letters (something eveyone knows how to make) and applies them to drawing. Like how googly eyes are Os with periods inside and a C can be used for an ear. Highly recommended!

  6. Anyone else recall the robots from the early personal computing classic BASIC Computer Games from the late 1970s? I remember there being two volumes. They were compilations of the legendary Creative Computing magazine, which was published near where I grew up in NJ. The robot illustrations from those books were long my favorites because at least some of them looked technically plausible for the time but still exuded character and personality. There seem to be few illustrators of plausible robots. The Japanese do better than most, with artists like Masamune Shirow being outstanding, but still relying on a presumption of distant future tech and a high degree of anthropomorphism or zoomorphism.

  7. I’d like to point out that these aren’t really traditional ‘how-to-draw’ books. Though there are a few step-by-step demos, I tried very hard to focus on the act of ‘creating’. In all three books there are history lessons on Monsters, Heroes, and Robots, and pages that are meant to spark personal creativity, asking the artist *why* we should draw what we draw. I hated most drawing books when I was a kid, and I was loathe the repeat the mistake of trying to force anyone else to draw like me, instead of like them.

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