To start off, this is a specific art discussion thread. I would like it if it did not devolve into a gallery without any meaningful talk. As you might understand, much of the artwork that falls under the mecha musume category can be rather racy, so please read or participate in this thread at your discretion. I expect all of you to be respectful and mature. You have been warned.
Before we begin, I feel an obligation to put this out in the open:
This is to say that the genre it itself can be demeaning or exploitive, but the practice occurs in both parties, and we are all guilty. I suppose men have historically personified their favorite machines, and mecha musume is a literal extension of this. You can appreciate good mechanical design and a good lookin' woman in one neat and tidy package. That must be a good thing.I wrote:I just had a sudden realization.
Girls drawing bishies with cat ears is the same as men drawing mecha musume. It's like combining those people with your favorite stuff.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is objectifying the opposite sex. A lol-worthy realization. At least we're even...!
However, I do dislike it when the artwork is "graphic" or distasteful. I once came a across an Elmeth that completely lacked any substance. Basically, somebody just stuck the MA on this poor girl's head as a helmet. The Elmeth was just a poor excuse for a loli panty shot. I was gravely disappointed in my fellow artist. I hope this thread can bring some substance with it.
Historically, I am not sure where the theme of mecha musume originates or if it existed before MSG. For me, it began with Akitata Mika's MS Girls book. There is word of a new one, or so I hear. If anyone is better informed than myself, please enlighten us. =o
As for mecha musume as an art, I would say it's very interesting in how it is very open to artist interpretation, and that's probably what I appreciate the most about it. You always have to decide how much "girl" or how much "mecha" will go into each work, and there are varying degrees out there. I think StrikeR will be better equipped to discuss this than I am. I think I'll touch upon a sub-category he may have not written about though:
These don't necessarily borrow the mechanical design of the mecha but instead draws upon its style or themes. These are usually the more elaborate and artistic ones, but have more cloth than metal. Here are my favorite examples:
Astray Red Frame
Personally, I am a fan of "strict construction" which pays the most attention to the detail of the mechanical design. I think this takes the most work and is the best sort of tribute to the mecha in question. This tends to use metal instead of cloth.
Wing ver. Ka
As you can see from some of those examples, I personally find that the best works do not ignore the mecha musume's feminine qualities. I mean, they should be readily apparent because otherwise it becomes a mech with a person's face, and that causes the work to lose pretty much half of its potential. Remember, there are TWO halves and each should be brought out.
Otherwise, my personal advice is to put in a lot of work and diligence. Be original and have a sense of humor.
Outside of Strayed I have not dabbled much into the genre. I found that human joints are much easier to draw than mecha joints, so that made the project much easier for me. And I spent such a god damn long time studying the mechanical design and trying to get it accurate. If you're going for strict construction, try to pick a mech that will not kill you. I don't have the time today, but I will post the WIP for Strayed later so you can see the process I used.
I never meant to go too far into mecha musume myself, but I'm in the midst of working on a new project. I'm still designing the base mecha (about 20% complete) and only afterwards can I really start the mecha musume.
Oh, and so to make completely sure the thread doesn't become a random image thread, here is the link to Sandrum's "Gundam Girls" folder on flickr. Along with other things, it contains pretty much any mecha musume you can find out there. Be forewarned, the entire collection can be rather racy. I don't know how Sandrum does it, and I don't know whether he should be arrested or given a medal. Anyway, there's that. So don't post an image unless you are making a point.
Anyway, some points of discussion before I go:
Is there a specific technique for drawing these projects?
Do you find the mecha-human transition difficult? (as in human and mech anatomy)
Would an understanding of body armor be helpful?
And whatever else.