Wednesday, May 16, 2012

NSFW- Guestpost- Sarah Benkin- Tips and tricks for drawing women of various body types

My friend Sarah Benkin has kindly written a guide to drawing women in a variety of sizes.  Her experience really shines through with her current Kickstarter project- Star Power.  This post is in NO WAY SAFE FOR WORK and is rated MATURE.   If this is a problem, don't click through.  If it isn't and you are over 18, please do.

Hello again, Nattosoup readers! Some of the tutorials I’ve done for this blog in the past have been very long, wordy and involved, so I thought I’d keep this one a little more concise. (Warning: This one contains some cartoon nudity.)



Recently, I launched a project on Kickstarter—Star Power, A Body-Positive Erotic Comic, inspired by the girl-positive erotic comics of Erika Moen and Slipshine. (Which, by the by, is in its final four days and so, so close to its goal. So if you like sexy ladies, mad scientist, and bawdy girl-friendly erotica told entirely in rhyme, please check it out and consider backing! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2098090584/star-power-a-bawdy-body-positive-erotic-comic For Mature Audiences Only, of course.)

While working on this comic, I learned a lot about drawing different female body types. Star Power has a ton of different body types in it, and I had to plan them out beforehand to make sure they formed a nice variety.

Now, I have a fairly cartoony style, and if you draw more realistically obviously you won’t have as much variation of height, weight, shape etc as this. But you’d be surprised how much REAL people can vary in these qualities, even in what you would think of as one body type. (For a great example of how, see this list of http://ninamatsumoto.wordpress.com/2010/12/18/athletic-body-diversity-reference-for-artists/ different athletic body types. It wouldn’t be that hard to pick a lineup that varies as much as my cast from these people, would it?)


Varying the body types of your characters does a lot for you. It makes the world of your comic feel more like our world, populated by people of all shapes and sizes. It gives your character designs more personality. It gives your comic more visual variety, so you can avoid the common problem of people confusing one character for another. Finally, it just makes you look like a more experienced and well rounded artist.

A lot of artists like to focus on beauty, which is fine. But as Scott McCloud wisely said, it’s important to remember there are many different types of beauty. And that beauty stands out more when it’s given something plain or ugly for contrast.
Looking at references of all shapes and sizes is an essential start, but there are also a lot of tips and tricks that can make it easier. The most important thing to remember can be summed up in one word.




FLESH.


Flesh. Whether your character is fat, skinny, or in between, she has flesh on her body. That flesh responds to gravity, it shifts around when she moves, it presses against itself and it is what makes her look three dimensional and real. Flesh is what gives her motion weight and gesture. Even if she’s skinny as a rail and flat chested, she’s going to have a little fat on her boobs and butts, a little muscle in her arms and legs and a teeny bit of jiggle to her wiggle. If she’s a heavy gal, her flesh is going to have a lot of weight to it. It’s going to form folds and creases when she moves, and it’s going to noticeably shift when she sits or lies down.


Breasts are something a surprising number of cartoonists, even female ones, have trouble with! The most common problems are treating them like they’re a couple of potatoes, or not letting them respond to gravity and motion. This can be hidden by clothing to some degree.

Ooooh, do your breasts hang low, do they wobble to and fro, can you tie em in a knot, can you tie em in a bow?


Hopefully this gives you a little bit of a leg up when drawing women. And if you like the way *I* draw women, you will love Star Power!

Star Power is the story of two competing strip clubs turned upside down by the sinister Delilah Dragon and her Marvelous Surgery Wagon. Bawdy, body-positive and told entirely in rhyme, Star Power is an erotic comic inspired by Slipshine that needs backers! Give it a look! There are all kinds of great rewards, and when we get close to our goal all the backers get MAD SCIENTIST PAPER DOLLS!
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