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 Post Posted: Fri May 21, 2010 7:13 pm 
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Okay, needed to write this before I left town for the weekend.

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:
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...!

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.

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:

Thematic:

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
Wing Zero
Deathscythe

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
Kaempfer
Zeta

*ahem* >,>;

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.

=o

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Last edited by Seraphic on Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post Posted: Sat May 22, 2010 7:55 pm 
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I would have to say that I like the more stylistic or as you say thematic form more. Both are equally creative but in different ways. For stylistic its about figuring out how to represent the design aesthetic. I also think it would be easier for me, because I've only recently been able to pin down human proportions, it might be a little harder if I were to then mix in mecha proportions as well. Also I've some experience in costuming ant tailoring so I have some knowledge of how fabrics and cloth hang off of the human body.

All that said, I hadn't thought of trying to make a Mecha Musume, but with the advent of this thread the thought of trying does occur to me. I've got some time to kill before my Dr. Who Episode, so I might as well try.

For my approach, I will try first by making a human form, and then since I'm planning a cloth design, I'll make the fabric portion flow around that form.

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 Post Posted: Sun May 23, 2010 10:22 am 
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Here is a 5 minute sketch showing exactly why I don't do this too often. my designs should lead themselves rather easily to being transformed into mecha musumes due to their rather slender bodies but some how...it just doesn't work out too well when I do it. anyway in case you can't tell yoshimoto's armguards/blade generators are attached via an exoskeletal arm to the shoulder guards and booster array.

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 Post Posted: Mon May 24, 2010 1:54 pm 
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Well here's the other pic to go with Sera's Red Frame (I've never seen the Red Frame one so I'm just returning the favor)

http://hongfire.com/cg/showfull.php?photo=106159

Now in response to the actual thread.. My personal style choice for Mecha Musume is Thematic (Or some variation of it), as I like to take the mech and turn it into something more stylish (and elaborate when I get better.)I prefer not to go into "Strict Construction" though because it just doesn't seem fun to draw and I'd rather just go all mecha when I have to be mechanically precise. I also tend not to use "lolis" not only because I don't have a taste for that sort of thing, but drawing them isn't really within my ability.

And what Sera said before about human joints being easier to draw isn't just something that happens to be true.. I prefer to not use any of the mech that would look like it restrains the actual girl too much. But this isn't to say you can't do that if you want. I don't really have an established technique of going about Mecha Musume but I tend to focus on the mecha and how complimentary its aesthetic design is to the girl.



Not to say I'm a pro at Mecha Musume though (or drawing in general.) I just enjoy the challenge of finding a way to connect a lump of metal into some piece of clothes or a cool hairstyle. I'm also just babbling..

and thanks sera for using one of my terms :P I feel special now xD

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 Post Posted: Tue May 25, 2010 1:43 am 
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As someone who's done a lot of this stuff in the past, I've always preferred the Mika Akitaka rigid component approach since it poses, for me, a greater design challenge than the thematic approach (not to mention letting me indulge in two of my favorite subjects: mecha & cheesecake).

For me, one of my biggest concerns is keeping the mechanical components as close to their original source as much as possible, while compensating at the same time for normal female anatomy. To this end, I generally follow in Akitaka's footsteps.

I usually spend a good deal of time of what may be described as pre-production. Most mecha of the blocky-esque mobile suit kind don't really convert well to female anatomy as is; it requires deconstructing the mecha into its individual components, and identifying which of these components give the mecha in question its distinctive appearance. Then there's figuring out what poses are possible, given the limitations to movement that the mecha components impose on the female wearing them. The poses themselves are also an opportunity to 'cheat,' by having one component cover up something else and leaving the details to the viewer's imagination.

In my experience, having an understanding of body armor helps, but only to a very limited degree with the 'strict construction' approach. The differences between mecha components/anatomy, personal armor and human anatomy are such that knowledge of shell & compression articulations, faulds & plackarts, etc. doesn't really factor much into the design. It's very useful, though, if you're going for the more freestyle 'Thematic' approach. A study of Gothic, Italian & Maximilian armour styles from the 15th century onwards can be very rewarding in this respect.

Here's some old stuff:
Gelgoog Jaeger Girl
Strike Gundam Girl
Baund Doc Girl

Note that Baund Doc Girl's left arm is a gigantic 'cheat.' It covers up the entire rear AND her actual arm. Same with the skirt armour.

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 Post Posted: Mon May 31, 2010 6:46 pm 
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Here's crap for you: ZGMF X2000 GOUF Ignited-I liked that dude; he was cool.
Gack, should've looked the Gouf up first-I got it mostly from memory from 2 episodes of Gundam Seed Destiny spaced across 2 weeks.

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 Post Posted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:33 am 
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Personally, I've never held any personal preference as to whether a Mecha Musume is done in a stylistic manner or following more the "strict construction" theme, as Seraphic so put it. No matter what way it's done, the idea of personifying a robot as a girl has always appealed to me. Much of that appeal comes from simply observing the various creative ways in which artists translate the design aesthetic of any particular robot into an outfit or a suit of armor. A single mobile suit can be moe-personified in any number of different ways -- the best are those that manage to do so in a way that comes across as unique or interesting, regardless of whether or not they stay perfectly true and accurate to the original design or not.

And just for the sake of show, here are a couple of my shoddy attempts at dabbling into the genre. Presenting: Exhibit A, Exhibit B.

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 Post Posted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:52 am 
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I worked on this right after my last post in the thread, just a quick little attempt at developing a style. YFX-200 CGUE DEEP Arms Girl I suppose some colour would help re-enforce the theme, but I haven’t gotten around to that.

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 Post Posted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:06 pm 
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Needs more shoulder cannon. Seriously, the DEEP Arms girl needs those guns otherwise it's just a CGUE with a fancy sword. It might clash a little with the armor style you've got going here, but some indication of there being shoulder beam guns there is needed.

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 Post Posted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 4:35 pm 
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I was trying to do that with the cloth parts that drape over and hang off the arms, again, colour would help make those stand out. And after all, it was my first try, I’m surprised I got the proportions as well as I did.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 05, 2010 12:29 am 
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I really have no preference as long as there is enough moe appeal in work. That's...it's the girl who's main factor (bonus point for panty shot :mrgreen: ).

Still, I found that the ones that catch my eyes are often based on non-human mech. Guess it's because artist must use more creativity to transit vehicle's trait into girl's costume.
Example
Bonus point when the result doesn't look like girl in armor, yet you known she's mecha musume.
Vic Viper

In the end though, one with careful detail can leave good impression (Komatsu Eiji's Wing Ver.Ka girl is prime example). It's just that they're harder to catch viewer attention at sight when you dumb in mass thumbnails. So it's moe appeal of the girl that's need...geez, I walk in full circle...

*EDIT*
That being said, I found that I don't like Otomedius design much. I do like the girls (expect nothing less from Yoshisaki Mine), but the mechanic part not really add anything to the appeal.

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 Post Posted: Sat Aug 14, 2010 7:05 pm 
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Kuruni wrote:
I really have no preference as long as there is enough moe appeal in work. That's...it's the girl who's main factor (bonus point for panty shot :mrgreen: ).

Still, I found that the ones that catch my eyes are often based on non-human mech. Guess it's because artist must use more creativity to transit vehicle's trait into girl's costume.




Well, speaking of Panties, I've been watching Strike Witches 2 and I couldn't help but give an attempt at the leg airplane style of mecha musume. I found it fairly harder to do with the more modern planes that get away from the shape of older WW2 prop planes.

http://strikerougemk2.deviantart.com/#/d2we4n2

It actually looks very generic now that I look at it.. I hate that I only found this after I put some thought into the design because it allows you to put more the actual planes characteristics onto the girl. And for panty shots... I avoided that on purpose.. >.>"

*EDIT* Also, sorry for the necromancy

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 Post Posted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 6:51 am 
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Strike_Rouge_Mk2 wrote:
*EDIT* Also, sorry for the necromancy

I don't think this really counts as necromancy since discussion threads in the art section really don't get that much activity and drift down quite a bit between posts. Also, contributing something to discuss in the topic doesn't necromancy make.

I really haven't bothered with Strike Witches, the whole premise of “Lets strap things to the legs of little girls with no pants on so they can fly around and fight things” just doesn't appeal to me. But I do agree that modern fighters don't seem to be too distinctive in Strike Witches form. With modern fighters the defining design elements are often things like the nose cone, cockpit, air intakes, wing configuration and tail fins. Not very easy elements to work into two little leg things.

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 Post Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:35 pm 
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First off, the way I think is insane. For me to do anything well I have to make it into a competition for myself. So when Heretic agreed with me and said modern fighters would not be distinctivve in the Striker Format, I said to myself "PROVE HIM WRRRONNNNGGG!" That also what drives me to draw something in general. When I see someone else on dA, or even here in MT draw something (anyone from Ryujin DX to Strike Zero and the such) I go "BEAT THEMMMM!!"

Nothing personal xD

Anyways, I put some thought into the redesign or the F-14D Striker and that alone cause the musume is easy.. and came up with this. This Striker is a Knee-high revolutionary design that (Get this!) allows for shorts or a skirt to be used at the same time (Gasp.) .. Er I suck at describing my thought process on my drawings.. So yeah, if theres anything specific you guys want to know, just ask >.>"

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 Post Posted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:39 am 
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You made the tomcat elements much more prominent, I like. You have the sweeping wing, twin tail fin, intakes and hard points.

Your work is tempting me to try making a Strike Witch style design myself. I'm thinking either the Avro Arrow or the CF 18 Hornet

I understand the competitive approach to drawing. I used to look at things that way but kept loosing faith in my abilities by trying to be competitive and emulating the styles of others. Finally, after dealing with motivational issues and such, I found a new way. I take inspiration from the work of others but don't think of things in a competitive light anymore. It doesn't matter if my artwork isn't at the same level as others. I do my best for me, in my own style. And since then the quality of my artwork has gotten better.

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 Post Posted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:08 am 
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If you're gonna try one, I'd say that Avro Arrow. It looks like a MiG Foxhound and a F-4E Phantom put together with a delta wing :D The Hornet gets much love already, and I've never seen more obscure fighters that have been.. "Mecha Musume'd" :P And I'd love to see what weapon pair it'd get, since I know nothing of Canadian Aircraft xD

Heretic wrote:
I take inspiration from the work of others but don't think of things in a competitive light anymore. It doesn't matter if my artwork isn't at the same level as others. I do my best for me, in my own style. And since then the quality of my artwork has gotten better.


Well, it's better to look at things whatever way helps you do things better, I like the competitive way so I can give myself a pat on the back when I finish drawing, whether it actually matches the other artists skill or not. I guess it varies from person to person.

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 Post Posted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:35 pm 
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RIIIIGHTTT...was walking around when I came up with an incredibly stupid+idea for a project...doable?

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 Post Posted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 11:00 pm 
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tehprognoob wrote:
RIIIIGHTTT...was walking around when I came up with an incredibly stupid+idea for a project...doable?

DO EEET.

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 Post Posted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:35 am 
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try the sword impulse instead. matches the pilots more.

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 Post Posted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 7:27 pm 
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wait...
look at sword impulse's pilot's last name...

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