How To Make Steampunk Art: The Work Behind the Work of Art
I love making art. I love how it comes together in its own special way as I’m creating it. I also love how the viewer experiences it and evokes a different response with each person. That’s why Steampunk art is so great! It can be interpreted so many different ways, that everyone’s version of what they see is completely unique to them and the way their mind works.
I am going to show you an easy way to make your very own Steampunk art. All you will need is some embroidery floss and a needle, a blank canvas and some images from old books. This art technique goes by many names; Tête-à-tête, tête-bêche, double-face or conversational embroidery. The basic idea here is to use two pieces of fabric sewn together, with one side showing through the other. Just like in regular embroidery, when done correctly, no one can see where one piece ends and another begins. Keep this in mind when you are choosing your fabrics or papers for your project; you want them to coordinate but not necessarily match perfectly.
The female form has always been an inspiration in art and can be seen throughout the history of art. In the Renaissance period women were often portrayed as angels, goddesses, muses and even as Venus herself. The male form has also been a popular subject in art since ancient times with the first nude studies being created in ancient Greece.
Towards the end of the 19th century and into the early 20th century, the female form was once again a popular subject for artists with their own unique take on it. During this time a new genre of art was developing that was heavily influenced by science fiction and fantasy. This new genre was called “Steampunk”. Steampunk has it’s roots in literature but quickly developed into a full blown aesthetic that fully embraced all aspects of life including fashion, architecture, music, film and of course art.
With fans from all walks of life, steampunk inspired artwork is quite literally everywhere. But what is steampunk art? And how is it created? In this blog post I will be taking you behind the scenes to see how steampunk artwork is put together.
Many of today’s best Steampunk artists have never received any formal artistic training and they still create amazing artwork. Some of these artists have taken it even a step further and have become self-taught makers and inventors, using the skills they’ve learned in their art to drive them to learn more and do more.
This blog is about how we work, what we use to create our artworks, and how you can get started doing it yourself.
There are many ways to create Steampunk art. Some people, like me, use machines to create their art. Others use a computer and digital art programs. Many artists use a combination of techniques: photo manipulation and traditional art techniques.
Steampunk art can be created in any medium. Painting, photography, sculpture, graphic design, jewelry making, doll making, and more can all be used to create steampunk art.
If you want to start creating steampunk art, remember that it is okay if your work isn’t perfect or looks like everyone else’s. Your style will develop the more you create. Also there is no one way to make steampunk art. Whatever works for you is the best way for you!
I hope this helps you on your journey to creating steampunk art. If you have any questions feel free to contact me!**
I’m not a scientist and I’m not an engineer, but I am a tinkerer. I’ve repaired many things and made several things from scratch. If you need to know how to fix something or how to make something, my experience is that you can find out. You may have to do some research, but if it’s been invented already, the information is out there.
Tinkerers are makers of things. Sometimes they invent new uses for old things, sometimes they invent new things out of old parts and sometimes they build new machines from the ground up. Inventing and making are closely related activities. When you invent something, your first prototype will be hand-built.
I think steampunk art comes from a combination of inventing new uses for old machines and building new machines from old parts. It seems to me that steampunk artists must think about both: what I might call “presentation” and “function”. Presentation is how the object looks; function is what it does. Both are essential to the art form because they are essential to our lives in general. We live in both worlds at once: we use existing objects every day – vehicles, computers, phones, etc – and we build objects for our own purposes every day
I’ve been asked many times lately how I create my art and what materials I use. I’ve decided to write a blog about the process. So here goes…
I start with an idea of what I want to make, but it doesn’t always start out looking like that when the project is finished!
The picture above is a piece I did called “The Gullywhumper.” It was created for the Steampunk World’s Fair in Piscataway, NJ in 2011.
The original idea of this piece was to make something that looked like a robotic lobster that could be used as a handbag. I started by finding two plastic lobsters and cutting off the claws at the joints, then hinged them together with brads (those little spikes you hammer through paper to hold things together). The claws became handles for the bag. Then I made mechanical legs and an undercarriage for it out of gears and old watch parts, and attached two wings from a dragonfly to make it look like it was flying.
I also created three more pieces for SWF 2011:
“Sister,” which was a bust on a wall sconce that lit up when you moved toward it (kind of like the one in Harry Potter where he finds his name