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Monday, January 25, 2010

Doomhammer 2010: Drawing

Man vs. Machine.

I initially drew this image to be about the guy. Specifically about his left foot. The entire composition and action of the image was actually meant to revolve around that foot. But it was fundamentally about this guy leaping down at this assault mech. It was a cry against the tools that have turned into systems too vast to affect any longer and that slowly dehumanize us and demand that we become more and more dependent upon them.

But as I continued to sketch I got drawn in by the machine.

I began by thinking:

Idiot-machine computers... Absurd, plastic-jurassics built by sea monkeys out of bailing wire and kitty litter to be soma for the masses and flimsy replacement-brains... We must rise up, we must smash our television sets, hurl our phones into the sea and scream, "I'm a human being! Not some plastic toy, not just some number. MY LIFE HAS MEANING!"

But soon it changed to:

Hmm... If I was piloting a 15-foot mech, I would want a 30mm chaingun. And all kinds of communications equipment. Lights, computers, fiber-optics. And it would need to have smoke screen launchers, otherwise it would get chewed up by the air support. Yeah, ... and it would need to have a missle launcher. Laser guided... Something manageable though, maybe a javelein launcher to counter armor... And then it would need....Wow, I love the modern era...

And so on. Soon I forgot about the guy, who was the whole reason I started this piece. The audacity of some guy with nothing more than a pair of handguns, leaping out at a giant machine, at THE machine. I really liked that.

But now I began to see the image from the Machine's perspective:

Who is this anarchist leaping down at me?
I defend society.
I hold the line here.
I keep the torch of civilization lit.
I keep the forces of nature at bay,
and this bomb-throwing anarchist is attacking me.

I will crush him.

So now I identify with both of my characters, and it has seemingly become a matter of perspective on who exactly the protagonist is and who exactly the antagonist is.

In the end I found that anarchy was easier to draw. The guy was finished quickly with no problems. I felt like it just worked. Getting the forces of civilization together on the other hand, took a bit more.
I wanted to really make sure that this machine was convincing. That it looked usable, that it had been battle-tested. That it could survive full-scale war in densely urban environments.


  1. Really interesting post...I love all the insights into your thought process in this one, especially how your mind is slave to THE machine. You are a number afterall... :)

    Anarchy!! Yee-HahhH!

  2. Nice mech. I just re watched District 9 and am still on a geek high over the robot "splatter battle" scenes.

  3. Good reference material! The best mechs & robots that I've seen drawn are those based somewhat in reality. They're just more convincing. Can't wait to see the finished product!

  4. Thanks so much for showing your process. It is really inspiring. I like how you convert very raw 3-D blocks into such a great environment.

  5. I predict this will be the next wallpaper for my lappy. Looking forward to the end result!

  6. I cant wait to see it :) Its going to be awesome!!!
    I love how you explain the process and your thoughts!
    Really inspiring! I think ill make a Machine in my next illustration too :)

  7. Thoroughly enjoying the insight into your process Justin! I love how this is growing so organically into something slightly different than the start- but how the sincerity of the piece is never sacrificed. You make me want to think about my own work in a smarter fashion.

    Can't wait to see where this ends up!