Robot Masters Collab: Plug Man

After having so much fun drawing that fin piranha, I decided to go ahead and join Justin Hill’s Robot Master Collab. Robot Masters are the bosses in the Mega Man series of games. Some are really cool, some are pretty quirky, but they’re all really fun and creative.

Colin Abel beat me to my first choice (Magnet Man), but I consider that something of a “happy accident,” since it meant I got to draw Plug Man… a quirkier character probably better suited to my style.

Sketch

I work at Cloud Four, home of the Mobile Portland Device Lab, so inspiration wasn’t an issue. He had to be waiting for his phone to charge.

One of the benefits of sketching with a tablet is that you can create new layers for certain portions of your sketch and adjust them as needed. In this case, the character’s arm was giving me some trouble, so I started sketching on a separate layer and used purple (instead of the usual blue) so that portion would be visible without erasing whatever’s beneath.

Inks

One challenge with drawing cartoony robots is to strike the right balance of precision and character. If your lines are too wobbly, it won’t feel mechanical. If your lines are too stiff, it won’t feel expressive. Instead of relying on the steadiness of my hand, I used three simple tricks to help maintain that balance:

  • I used the Rotate View Tool to make sure I was always drawing at a comfortable angle. This helped steady some of my lines a tad.
  • I held down shift while drawing straight lines. (Totally cheating, I know!)
  • For things like the power prongs that come in pairs, I would draw one, then make a copy and re-draw portions of it so it wouldn’t look xeroxed.

Flats

When I can, I like to avoid simply color-matching the source material (unless I’m trying to do a really literal homage to the original game sprites or something like that). I chose a more blue-based gray and saturated fuchsia, which I thought would compliment the chunky lines better.

Final Touches

I think it’s fun how the robot masters are typically rendered kind of like they’re made out of plastic rather than chrome, so I maintained that simplicity in my shadows and highlights. I felt the previous version of the word balloon and battery indicator competed too much with the figure, so I changed it to something closer to the original sketch.

You can see the finished collaboration here. (My favorite piece is definitely Frog Man by Eric Kubli.)

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