How to Draw SteamPunk Machines
The purpose of this web page is not to teach you how to draw. I will not be going though the technique, perspective, color, line weight, software, or any of the stuff you can easily surf up. This page is to inform artists who want to draw steampunk machines but don’t quite understand how steam works. The focus is to add enough elements to your drawings, to make your steampunk machines more believable.
I feel that too often, steampunk designs are too fancy. They go too cool and end up loosing the all important look & feel of old tech steampunk. I think that it is important to state that I make real working steampunk machines / robots for a hobby. My steam site: Crabfu SteamWorks, contains lots of miniature, real working, live – steam machines. There has been overwhelming media coverage of my work, probably because I took it from the fake sci-fi movie magic, into the real world. Through experience and trial and error, I’ve learned not only to make something look like it would work, but actually does work.
我觉得很多时候一些蒸汽朋克题材的设定太过幻想，它们酷过头了，以至于丧失了蒸汽朋克本应具有的那种散发古旧科技味道的外观和感觉。我想说明一下，我的一 大爱好是制作真实可动的蒸汽机械和机器人，这点很重要。我的蒸汽主题网站：Crabfu SteamWorks,里面有很多可实际运作的小型蒸汽机械。新闻媒体曾大量报道过我的作品（囧一个，老外真懂推销自己），我想可能是因为我把这些玩意儿 从软科幻电影的魔法中带入到真实世界里了吧。通过试验和反复实践，我所学到的不仅是怎么让它们看上去能运行，而且还有它们是如合真实运行的。
I am an animator and concept artist by trade. However, I don’t think my art is really so great that it deserves a “how to”. My devotion to my live steam hobby however, lends my steampunk designs a level of authenticity that often lacks in steampunk art. Therefore, this is just a quick explanation of parts, and how to draw and design a machine that “looks” convincing.
Please keep in mind that these are super simple explanations of different components of live steam, and steam buffs will probably will tear these descriptions to pieces I feel that it is important to get the basic idea without having to go into dry and boring detail. By no means am I an expert in steam engines. This info is taken from my personal experience working on small scale live-steam engines. Most of the examples below are found on model engines, which works off of the same basic principle as the big ones. This is also just a guide. There are no set rules for concept art. You just make whatever appeals to you. In other words…. this is steam for artists, not really to educate you in details of steam power! However, it is important to understand some fundamentals of steam power, in order to make your drawings look believable, as something that could have been built in Victorian times.
First you have to understand steam, and how it works by looking at each part of the machine.
我的职业是动画师兼概念艺术家。但我自愧自身的艺术功力不足以让我的作品能够教人“怎么做”。但是，由于我对蒸汽机好爱的一贯坚持，使得我在蒸汽朋克题材 的设计上到了一个接近真实的水平，而这类艺术作品通常所缺乏的便是真实感。因此，本文仅仅是对蒸汽机部件作了简要说明，以及教你设计看上去真实可信的机 械。
请记住下面对真实蒸汽机各部件的解释都是极其简略的，真正的蒸汽迷要是看到了这些描述可能会直接把它撕碎：）我觉得一点很重要，我们掌握基本概念即可，没 必要细究枯燥乏味的细节。我可不是蒸汽引擎专家。这些信息都是从我制作小尺寸蒸汽机的个人经验中获取的。下面的大多数例子都是取自模型引擎，它们的基本原 理和大尺寸的家伙是一样的。这仅仅是个指南。对于概念艺术来讲没有太多的规则，你创造任何吸引你的东西就好了。换句话说，这是让你以艺术家的眼光来看待蒸 汽机，而不是真把你教得通晓蒸汽动力的每一个细节：）尽管如此，为了让你的作品更可信，比方说（你想做的）东西只能在维多利亚时代（的技术条件下）制造 出，那么了解蒸汽动力的一些基本原理还是很必要的。
The boiler is usually cylindrical and long. The purpose of it is to boil water, pretty simple concept Most boilers have flues, which just means inside is a bunch of tubes for the fire to heat & boil the water fast. Sometimes they have a camel dome looking thing on top. Steam pipe should be drawn on top of the boiler, where steam comes out. However, sometimes the steam pipe comes out of the boiler, and get fed through the fire again, this is called superheater. In this case, the steam pipe can come out elsewhere visually. Anyway, to keep it simple, make pipes coming out of the top of the boiler. The “smoke stack” usually comes out of the boiler to one end. The reason for the stack is to vent the fire, as one end of the boiler is fired. Often steam exhaust from the boiler goes into the stack, the force of the steam shooting out of it, helps drawl the fire more inside the flues. Boilers usually have a stack somewhere, size and shape of the stack varies a lot…. another words, sketch whatever shape and size stack looks best, to balance out the design.
锅炉通常是长长的圆柱体。拿来烧水用的，简单的常识：）大多数的锅炉有火管，也就是说有很多管道在锅炉里，火（烟气）由内部通过，更快地把水加热至沸腾。 有时锅炉顶部有个用于观察内部的驼峰状圆顶。蒸汽管道应该画在锅炉顶部，蒸汽从那个位置出来。但是，有些锅炉的蒸汽管道出来后又返回加热，这种叫做过热 器。这样的话，蒸汽管道随便从哪里出来都可以。总之，为了保持简洁，让管道从锅炉顶部通出即可。通常“烟囱”从锅炉的一端伸出。由于锅炉另一端在加热，所 以烟囱用来排出烟气。通常锅炉排出的蒸汽会进入到烟囱，喷涌出的蒸汽由于气压差的引力，会把更多的火（烟气）带入火管。锅炉通常都有个烟囱在上面，大小和 形状多样，换言之，画出形状和尺寸最顺眼的烟囱，平衡一下设计。
Burner / Fuel
Heat / Fire can be generated in a variety of ways. This usually evolves the fuel source being coal, gas, or anything that can burn really hot. With coal, you need to design an area which the coal is fed into, with a door. You also need to design an area for someone to fed the coal/wood, as well as a supply of coal / tender. With gas, you need to draw up some design of the burner mechanism, usually sticks out of the burner a bit. The fuel supply for gas can be a container, of any shape (although most everything is cylindrical), with pipes going into the burner, connected to the bottom of the boiler. Gas mixes with air in the process, and the amount of fire can be controlled by valves on the gas tank, as well as the amount of air is mixed for the fire.
热/火可由多种方式生成。这通常和燃料是煤、油气还是其他任何可以产热的东西有关。如果是煤，你就需要设计一个送煤的带门进口，同时还要给燃料工设计一个 工作区域，以及供煤设备。如果使用油气，你就要设计一个相关的机械装置，它通常突出于燃烧器一点点。油气的供应设备可以是任何形状的容器（尽管大多时候是 柱体），有管道通向燃烧器，连接到锅炉的底部。油气在输送过程中与空气混合，火力可由储气罐的阀门以及混合的空气量来控制。
There are a variety of different types of steam engines. They basically are just pistons in which steam pushes, and in a variety of ways via linkages, all end up with an axle spinning in a circular motion.
Without going into steam engines in detail, here are the basics of how to draw them. Draw a cylinder, (piston is inside and not visible). Shapes is basically a big cylinder with a small long cylinder coming out of it. Steam is piped through the cylinder to push the piston in and out. If it is double acting (pushes both in and out) then it usually contains a box like shape on the cylinder. This is for another link connected to the shaft to open and close valves to allow the steam to fed though each end of the cylinder – pushes piston out, and pushes in when it gets to the end of the travel. So to put it simply, cylinder, with a box on the side.
Some steam engines can be reversed. There are three ways that this can work: 1) Engine can be reserved by linkages to change how the steam is piped in by a Stephenson’s linkage, which usually looks like some sort of lever, complex looking linkages, with an arc piece that guides the lever. 2) For double cylinders, a valve can reverse the direction of the steam flow, and therefore the engine runs backwards. 3) clutch driven, the engines only runs in one direction, but with the use of gears, the drive shaft can be reversed.
这里不对蒸汽机作细究，只讲些怎么画的基本法则。画出一个柱体（注：汽缸也可叫cylinder）（活塞在里面，不可见）。形状基本是大柱体，里面还有个 细长的柱体出来。蒸汽经管道通过汽缸，推动活塞进进出出。假如是个双程汽缸（同时推动活塞进和出），那么它通常会带个盒状的东西。这个盒子里装有另外的连 接主轴的装置，可以开启和关闭阀门，使蒸汽能作用于汽缸的两端——即蒸汽进入一端时推出活塞，当蒸汽到达另一端时把活塞推回。所以简单点，画个柱体加上旁 边有个盒子即可。
有些蒸汽引擎可以反向。通过3种方式可以这实现：1）通过史蒂芬森连杆机构，引擎可以改变蒸汽进入的方式，这种连杆机构常常看上去像杠杆，外观复杂，还有 个弧状部件引导杠杆。2）对于双程引擎来讲，阀门能反转气流方向，因此引擎会前后运动。3）离合器驱动，引擎只能在一个方向上运动，但是利用齿轮可使驱动 轴反转转向。
This is usually a large heavy wheel, and it does have a purpose. The flywheel keeps the momentum going, otherwise the engine runs sporadically and can stall. Flywheels are always attached to the shaft that the pistons drive. You don’t absolutely need a flywheel, but it makes the engine run a lot smoother.
Oiler/ displacement lubricator
These things are just what it sounds like, they lubricate. They are usually attached, or very close to the engine. They can be right on the cylinder area or on the pipe going into the engine. They provide oil & lubrication for the pistons inside of the cylinder. They can be cylinder shaped container, or a manual hand pump.
None of this is all that important in drawing steampunk machine, all you have to remember are these shapes: Cylindrical for the cylinders (duh), boxes attached to cylinders with pipe, levers & valves near the engines, and flywheel.
Cool looking device…. usually 2 spinning balls powered by the main shaft of the engine. The purpose to control the amount of steam going into the engine. Usually a pulley is attached from the engine shaft to this device. When the engine spins up, it spins the governor, and the centripetal force makes the balls fly out. This action causes a mechanism to pull up a linkage, which restricts the amount of steam that is piped into the engine. This device is must be straight up in order to function properly, and connected between the engine shaft, and the steam inlet to the engine.
很酷的设备，通常由两个旋转的球构成，球由引擎的主轴驱动。它用于调控进入引擎的蒸汽量。通常有一个滑轮由引擎轴连到上面。当引擎运转时，它带动调节器旋 转，在向心力的作用下球就飞转起来。此运动使机械装置将约束引擎进气量的连杆拉起。这个装置必须竖直放置才能正常运转，它被连接在引擎轴和引擎和进气口之 间。
The condenser traps the oily steam exhaust from the engine. Engine exhaust is fed into it, allowing oily water to be trapped inside and condensed, only letting clean steam out. The steam exhaust from the condenser can then be fed into the main stack on the boiler, giving it that classic look – steam out of the main stack, however, it can be fed into any stack. This is not absolutely necessary component, but without it, things could get quite messy and covered in oil. Anyway, another easy part to draw, just another cylinder.
压缩机阻碍从引擎排出的油腻的蒸汽。引擎排气通入压缩机，使得带油的水在那里被阻碍和压缩，只让干净的蒸汽出去。从压缩机从排出的蒸汽然后可以进入锅炉的 主烟囱，赋予它经典的形象——蒸汽从主烟囱中出来。但其实蒸汽可以流入任意一个烟囱。压缩机不是必备部件，但假如没有它，事情会变得很糟糕，东西会蒙上油 腻腻的一层。这个部件同样好画，多画个柱体而已。
Valves are just cool, especially when there are lots of it. Hand operated valves controls a variety of things, but basically it stops or lets steam through.
This is just a safety mechanism, so when the pressure within the boiler gets too high, it will vent out steam to prevent an boiler explosion. This is attached to the boiler, up high as it needs to let steam out, not water It can be vented to the stack.
Water Sight Glass
This is just a way for you to see how much water is in the boiler. If the boiler runs dry and still firing, it will fail. Sight glass can either be a window, or a glass tube.
Water pump / tank
Water pumps and water tanks are used to pump water into the boiler while it is steaming. Pumps can be manual hand pumps, or connected to an engine (uses the power of the engine to pump the water). It takes water from a reservoir, and feed it into the boiler…. hopefully at the same rate that the engine is using up, maintaining water level. This is not absolutely necessary, but prolongs the duration of the run, especially if the boiler is small.
Pressure gauges shows how much pressure is present. These are little analog dials, pretty easy to draw, and doesn’t have much variety. They are basically sensors for pressure within the boiler, or how much is feeding though etc.
Insulation is most commonly found with marine applications. Insulation is just ways of trying to minimize heat loss. These can be applied to boilers, pipes, and cylinders. Wood lagging is the coolest looking, and I draw them often, they just give it a old tech look and feel. Of course modern insulation can be used, almost anything that can retain heat. Pipes are often covered with rope or coated with a white substance, in which I have no idea what it is made of
Gears, lots and lots of them. Small engines needs to be geared down quite a bit. Lots of gears just looks cool anyway, but make sure that you are gearing down by drawing little gears to big gears. Old gears are usually spoked, sometimes curved spokes. High pressure can drive pistons straight to wheels, as with locomotives.
Sprockets and chains are good for driving something far from the engine. They are also more forgiving than gears, as they don’t need to be exactly right on to work ( I use lots of it in my steambots). However, sprockets and chains are easier to fail, they can derail.
There are a variety of linkages…. for a drawing to be convincing, they just need to look right, not really work right. To make linkages look right, you need to put in some thought, especially the if the linkage is big and a focal point. Linkages basically just transfer circular motion to something else The master of linkages can be found at mechanicalspider.com
Levers can control a lot of things. Clutches, engaging and disengaging gears, steam flow, etc. Draw lots of them for the operator…. remember, just make them look right, don’t worry about what each lever might do.
Steam whistles are attached to boilers, or at least some piping coming off the boiler. Steam is forced through it via some sort of a lever (often a pull chain type) and makes that classic steam whistle. The bigger it is, the deeper it sounds, but the more steam is used up.
Remember the basic shapes and design of the parts above (most everything is cylindrical in shape). Surf up each part above, and collect images of components, as well as old steam locomotives & vehicles for reference. Once you are familiar with the parts, you can then free sketch at will, but always use the references to keep it authentic and believable.
Fist, come up with ideas. Plan out what you want it to be, a biped robot? a car? a tank? a multi legged walking machine? Don’t under estimate “character”. Add some personality or character to you machines, even if it is inanimate. The #1 goal should be a well designed, balanced, and eye catching machine. Worry about how it works after you have some rough sketches and shapes of something compelling, otherwise it’s not worth the effort. I can’t stress this point enough.
首先，构思一下。你想让你设计的东西是个什么样子的，双足机器人？汽车？坦克？还是多足步行机械？不要低估 了“特征”，为你的机器添加些性格和特点，即便它是无生命的。首要目标应该做到让机械设计优秀、结构平衡并能引人目光。当你有些有趣的草图和形状后，再考 虑它是如何运行的，否则就白费力气了。这点我十分强调。
Work loose first, even if you decide the finish project will be detailed and well rendered. I usually prefer the loose and lazy way, just flop it down and call it good, as long as you get the feeling and idea across, you don’t always need to carefully draw out each teeth of a gear – the human mind is really good at connecting and making sense of just a couple of lines. However, you can go as detail as you like, it is only a stylistic choice.
一开始随意点，就算你希望最终作品要细节丰富并且效果很棒。我通常更喜欢随便点的方式，就是把东西往纸面上一放然后自我感觉良好。。只要你把这个感觉和想 法讲清楚了，你不需要总是画的很仔细乃至细到齿轮的每一个齿。人类大脑善于联想，就算只有几根线条也能搞懂意思。但是，如果你喜欢你可以画的很细致，这个 属于个人的风格不同。
For the purposes of demonstration, I have provided simple mechanics, of a wheeled steam machine below. What is it? heck if I know….
Lay out the boiler first as it is the biggest, and heaviest part. Pay attention to weight and center of gravity. Boilers are filled with water, and well constructed, therefore they are very heavy. They can be vertical, horizontal, or even at an angle. Make room for some sort of a firebox or burner. Whatever chassis you have, should support the weight of something really heavy. Next, draw up some cylinders…. almost everything on steampunk machines are cylindrical in shape…. from gears, condensers, fuel tank, water reservoir, shafts, axles etc…. Learn how to draw cylinders in all angles, it comes in handy. Next, draw up main axles, provide where power needs to be directed to for locomotion.
锅炉最大个儿，先画上它。注意重量感和重心。锅炉里满是水，而且结构坚固，所以很笨重。它们可以竖直、水平 乃至以任何角度放置。给燃烧室或者燃烧器留些空间。不管你用什么样的底盘，要能支撑这么个庞然大物。然后，再画些柱体，蒸汽朋克类机械上的几乎所有东西都 是柱体的…齿轮，冷凝器，邮箱，储水槽，连杆，轮轴等等等等…学会画任意角度的圆柱，迟早派的上用场。接下来，画上主轮轴，动力由机车头传到到此。
Then decide where to lay out the engine(s). Engines can be at any angle, they function just fine however they are positioned. Lay out some gears or sprocket/chains that will be visible. The pistons must power directly to the main drive shaft, or geared to it. The easiest is to just make the piston shaft in the same direction as the drive shaft, however, you can route it however you want using beveled gears (i.e. 90 degree from engine to axle)
Work out the locomotion…. if you get confused about how something works (as I often do) you can cover it up with body work. However, I think the compelling part of steampunk is in how open and simple things are, so I like showing all of the mechanisms as much as possible.
然后考虑把引擎放在哪个部位。它们可以以任意角度放置，由于是活塞原理所以依然可以运行良好。画上写可见的 齿轮和链条。活塞必须直接作用在主驱动杆上，或者经由齿轮与其作用。最简单的方法是让活塞连杆与驱动杆方向一致，当然，你可以运用锥形齿轮（它可以将动力 扭转90度传送）自己设计动力传送路线。
Design out the body work, try to keep the old tech feel. At this point you can cover up any mechanical detail that you can’t, or are too lazy to figure out
Lay down basic shading or color, working out shapes and define planes & edges as you go
Add strong shadow and shading.
Add accents such as Victorian inspired scroll work, rivets etc. As well as add detail with valves, levers etc.
One last comment about design…
You have to pay attention to the limitations of simple mechanics, usually a single boiler can power one or two engines. Unlike electronic motorized robots, where you have the luxury of having a motor per joint, and electronic / computer controlled on how and when each motor runs. Even if you have lots of engines, powering each joint, you are still limited to having no electronics to control how each one operates (if you wish to stay totally low tech steampunk). The best way is to limit the number of engines, and use linkages to transfer from circular motion to a…. say…. walking motion. Don’t go hollywood on me folks, I think a good steampunk design is in part looking really dorky, or really stupid. When you try to make them too cool, then you loose that steampunk flavor
So that’s it…. hope that this can be an inspiration for you to tackle on some steampunk sketches.
你不得不注意下简单机械的局限，通常一个锅炉能带动1到2个引擎。不像设计电力驱动的机器人，你可以很奢侈地在每个关节都安一个马达，并且电脑控制每个马 达如何以及何时运行。就算你设计了很多引擎，给每个关节都配上了动力，你依然受限，因为没有电子控制设备来操控每一部分的运转（假如你想一直走低科技的蒸 汽朋克线路的话）。最好的方法就是限制引擎的数量，使用连杆机构把圆周运动转变成…呃，就是…步行运动。别让设计太“好莱坞”化了。我想优秀的蒸汽朋克作 品应该看上有有点笨重有些傻气。如果你想把它搞得很酷，那就没有蒸汽朋克的味道了