They might be taking people's jobs and threatening to overthrow us one day, but robots aren't all bad. If there's one thing robots are good for, it's sparking the imagination of talented artists during the illustration challenge March of Robots.
Created by self-taught illustrator DaCosta!, March of Robots tasks you with sketching a new robot every day during March. As with similar illustration challenges, such as MerMay and InkTober, March of Robots is all about having fun. So if you can't create a new picture every single day, that's no problem either. It's all about setting goals and sticking to them.
It wouldn't be a month-long drawing challenge without a hashtag though. And thanks to #marchofrobots you can easily sift through Twitter and Instagram to find marvellous mechanical creations. We've rounded up some of our favourites, which you can explore below.
01. Jarlan Perez
When he isn't busy working for Google and Lockheed Martin, 3D artist Jarlan Perez loves to make digital illustrations of robots. And while he hasn't quite been able to keep up with the daily grind of the challenge, Perez has managed a steady output of colourful droids and drones.
We particularly like how Perez experiments with shape and form to create robots that have both a distinctive appearance and an individual personality. His illustrations showcase how robots give artists freedom to experiment with character concepts in a way that isn't always possible with organic creatures. Be sure to check out his profile for more one-of-a-kind robots.
02. Pascal Blanché
In a case of quality over quantity, senior art director at Ubisoft Montreal, Pascal Blanché, has created three images over the course of the month. Knocked up with the help of box mapping, the Bot hunter Bot – pictured above – gives you a taste of Blanché's stylistic take on robots.
With a blend of slender human shapes and bulky sections usually found on your more hardy mechs, Blanché's robots are at once slightly creepy yet also elegant. What's more, you can also buy his March of Robots creations as prints.
Another artist who takes robots in a new and imaginative direction is a 16-year-old German illustrator on Twitter who goes by the username L0reon. While L0reon's Twitter and Instagram feeds have been taken over by Transformers art during March of Robots, the illustrator has also experimented with mechanical versions of marine life.
Take the robotic shark and leviathan in the illustration above. We love how the imbricated metal plates give the impression of scales, it's a clever way of meeting halfway between the animal kingdom and the world of robotics.
04. Jack Viant
Plymouth-based illustrator Jack Viant brings his doodle-like art style to the March for Robots challenge. His droids have a child-like goofiness to them, with some wearing pants on the outside of their metal casings, and others appearing to have mohawks and moustaches.
Despite having their own little quirks, Viant's robots all have a uniform colour scheme which leads us to wonder how they're all connected. With so many distinctive characters in this set, we'd love to see them all interact in a book or comic.
05. Alan Blackwell
Freelance concept artist and illustrator Alan Blackwell has truly taken up the March of Robots challenge and run with it. For the majority of the month he's been uploading sketches and sculpts of imaginative robots.
Some of Blackwell's mechs have a human shape (two arms, two legs, and some rocket launchers here and there for for good luck) while others have more bizarre forms. On days where he hasn't been able to upload a finished piece, Blackwell has been generous enough to share some work in progress images that give us a glimpse into his creative process.
This robot rat by an illustrator who goes by the name of MihailoML on Twitter is indicative of the unusual directions in which the artist has taken the sketch challenge. As well as a robotic rodent, Mihailo has also created wooden mechs and droids with a soft spot for bouquets of flowers.
Despite taking the opportunity to push the boundaries of the challenge, Mihailo's robots have a realistic bulk to them. We love, for example, how there are lots of exposed wires and gears, which help to make a strange concept feel all the more believable.
Just like Pascal Blanché, Sylvian Boussiron hasn't managed to upload art regularly throughout the March of Robots challenge, but the images he has had the time to complete have a certain level of sophistication about them.
Made with free digital painting app Krita Painting, the image above, titled "Robot's Initiative", gives you an idea of the calibre of his work. As well as creating a distinctive character design and a beautifully lit environment, Boussiron has also managed to sneak some humour into his art as the robot feeds its eel a handful of batteries. Maybe that robot uprising isn't as close as we feared.