Rat Creature (ratcreature) wrote,
Rat Creature

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how to draw female comic characters (according to Wizard)...

brown_betty asked for examples "to illustrate the exactly how and why female comic characters are illustrated differently than the male." And I thought, really, what's better to illustrate these things than the books teaching the style in the first place?

A while ago I posted some scans from Wizard How To Draw series on drawing female superheroes (here and here), and I thought I'd post a bunch more from the first book of the series on "How To Draw: Heroic Anatomy".

There's 19 large page scans behind the cut...Collapse )

ETA (11 April 2010): Thanks to LJ's new comment option I can now freeze the post without deleting previous comments. I'm sorry I'll be missing out on some interesting comments, but I'm sick of getting offensive, sexist drivel dumped in my journal in a years old post.
Tags: books about comics, comics, comics: how to draw, comics: meta, drawing, drawing books, scans, scans: drawing books
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This is a lesson in how to draw women BADLY.
Let me just point out that opinion... riiiiiiight... no wait, yep. Right there.


9 years ago

Gosh you lot are hard to please!!! I'm sorry, but if you can do a better job at teaching people how to draw comics then why don't you go and start up your OWN website instead of complaining about this one? Oh whats that you have no artistic ability hense you finding this website to begin with? Um these comics are awesome, who cares if they are superimposed and exagerated what comics arn't????
If you don't like whats on show here thenfind a new website, I'll be taking all of the tips from here on board for when I start my own comic, personally, I found this site really useful!!! (O:
It's called a life-drawing class. Take one.



August 21 2009, 07:43:07 UTC 9 years ago

For those who critic this kind of drawing:I agree with you in some way.But that's how comics are drawn.There a lots of other kinds of drawing a comic.It doesn't have to be with superheroes.It could be with animals and has like Pif or Mikey Mouse,it could be manga or it could be a with magic like W.i.t.c.h.
What I'm trying to say is that there are lots of styles and ways to draw,and that superheroes comics have to be drawn this way(they have always been drawn this way).So I agree with everybody.By the way I enjoyed this article.


August 24 2009, 23:47:31 UTC 9 years ago

why do you guys bitch so much?

this has helped me rough out the basics of comic drawing a lot, thanks for posting it.
Very nice and interisting. Thx. I`m always want to know how the people draw comics


September 17 2009, 00:31:07 UTC 9 years ago

I loved the eye styles in this. I find them very appealing. And yes, the comics do portray all women as tall, svelte, curvaceous vixens and men as buff Adonises, but that is how the industry is. I like this style, I think it is rather pretty. I don't read comics to get a sense of 'realism' out of them (I read them for the, uh, er...plot. Yeah, that.) I don't understand the RAAAAAGE against the style, but I do understand the annoyance brought on by Kevin's "Ladies are beautiful, no matter what. Now, let me draw these ladies with oversize lips and the skeletal structure of a circus contortionist and call them sexy..." I think the women he draws are pretty, but I also have seen plenty of other styles that can be utilized to create sexy women. Also, remember kiddies, it could be worse: At least it isn't the "lolkawaiibishojoecchilolineko" style used in anime XD
I would like to *thank* the OP for actually posting this. Surfing the web, this is exactly what I was looking for- references for fairly standard Western Comic stylization. Thank you for providing me with the materials I need to get my project doing well. I'm looking forward to creating a audition comic for an online original character tournament.

On the rational of Western Comics and their view of women-- it has always been, and always will be about the materialization of the western woman. The industry has always used cliches to bring females into the comic scene, and is, dare I say, almost frightened to step out of it.
When catering originally to young adults and younger mid aged adults, they marketed to what caught on, which is always sex appeal. Men see women as a general goal (whether its to have, to hold, to marry, to make babies, to cook, to clean, to whatever they assume the woman should do) and as such it is always assumed in comic books that the woman should follow the expectations place upon her by her role and gender. (Aunt May, Spiderman. She was the caretaker, and never fell from that role.)
Do I agree with this? No. Do I see it as morally, ethically, or in other terms right? No. But the point is: this is the way the industry functions, and it has always been this way. Just the same, we're not all crusading around trying to get women out of the porn industry, are we?
"Sure it's horrible and wrong, but that's just the way it is so we might as well propagate it ourselves, right?"
Pfft, not really. This is just one way to draw. Go back to very early superhero comics and the muscles and curves were never so in-your-face. So stop trying to put this off on some outdated sensibilities. Captain Rocko and Atomic Boy were never so muscle-bound, and female characters were not shown punching the baddies in spandex, so if anything you could argue that modern comics have gotten worse in this regard.

Oh and if you want to establish the new pot-bellied (Mad Men?) male archetype as the new hot alternative to comic art then start by impressing the world with your technique.

And that doesn't mean some low-level, no-skill Doujin Teen Titans rip-off. Something unique.
Alright. I went back to very early superheros, and grabbed the first cover of Wonder Woman. The First Female superhero.
Go ahead and say this isn't scantly clad for the 1940s.

On the note of men, I also went back to the first offical superhero, Superman, and trudged up his first cover.
And this isn't super muscular for the late 1930s, either?

While I can agree that the industry has definitely worsened in that regard, I wouldn't say they "weren't shown punching baddies in spandex" (which is technically speaking impossible, because it wasn't even invented until 1959) but more akin to "were shown punching baddies in what they could relatively get away with *at the time*". Comics have always tried to make the superhumans seem more than regular people, their physiques included.

Re: I'm enraged!


9 years ago

Re: I'm enraged!


9 years ago

Great instructions!
What cracks me up is how everyone commenting is all "OMG!!! THIS IS SO SEXIST!!!!"

Sure, the women are unrealistic, have massive chests, tiny waists...basically anatomy that wouldn't even 'work' in real life...but have you looked at the men on this page?

Everyone's saying it's sexist that the women are so unrealistic and their 'feminine' features have been exaggerated to ridiculous proportions...but the guys are treated in exactly the same way.

Look at Daredevil in the first image. For a male to look like that, he'd have to spend every waking second in the gym and overdose on steroids. Also, comic book women's clothes tend to be skimpy, but most of them wear nothing but spandex.

This is how to draw people from comic books...and comic book characters are exaggerated, extremely stylized representations of humanity. That's why comic book women all look like victoria's secret models and why superman's forearms are as big around as my thigh.

Here's my point. Who wants to read a comic book about superheroes who are fat, unattractive and fight crime in sweat pants?
Shouldn't you be using bones and muscle groups as a guide to drawing people, rather than squares or cylinders?
Several points have to be addressed here:

Firstly, we live in an age of mediocrity where everyone wants to feel special, everyone wants to feel unique, well here's news for you, most of us are not and never will be. People are not born equal, and quite frankly, ugly and average women far outnumber the attractive ones out there. It's life, let's be realistic here.

It seems to me many of you posters out there have body issues of your own. That you actually feel you have to own up to some image that's presented before you otherwise you're inferior. That is what you're saying when you express anger over this, that "I feel inferior and I have body issues," whenever you rant on and on about the women depicted in these comics. Yes, you'll never look like that, most guys aren't extremely attractive either. Get over it. Yes, being unattractive presents barriers in finding somebody you'd prefer to date, or it creates barriers in creating friends. This is all true. Well, fact is, you just have to work harder for what you want girls. That's the sad truth and as cold as I sound now, I honestly do think it's a pitiful thing indeed that this is the way the world works.

What I find absolutely deplorable and sickening is that anymore in our culture in the United States, if you're too much of anything people ostracize you. You can't be too intelligent, you can't be too attractive, you can't be too talented or this or that simply because it makes others feel inferior. Well shove it up your asses. For thousands of years man has made the distinction between what's ugly, what's average, and what's beautiful or sublime. Otherwise everything would just be one homogenized state of being. Nothing would be ugly, sure, but nothing would be beautiful or awe inspiring. You can't tell me you don't prefer bright, warm, and sunny late spring days to dark, dismal, and cold mid-winter nights do you? There has to be a line drawn. I think this is all a result of the trend in raising children from the 1980's onward that we're all special, that we all should be valued. Well in real life girls, it's not the case.

Now here's a hypothetical situation I'd like to propose to you girls. Now don't go trying to tie in your personal lives or your own thoughts in what I'm about to say, or your own experiences. This is a forced answer question. It is either/or. The answer is going to be an easy one.

Suppose there are two people, equal in every way. These people are the ideal mate to you. They're both smart, intelligent, funny, creative, personality wise they have everything you ever wanted. However, person B is a knockout, absolutely gorgeous. While person A is only average at best. Now, otherwise these people are the exact same person, let's say their minds were carbon copied so they posses all the same talents and thoughts and what have you. You cannot tell me you would not chose the more attractive person to be with. You'd be lying to all those reading this and to yourselves. It's human nature to appreciate beauty and rarities in life over the completely average or mundane. It's what art is based upon.

The comic book demographic is geared towards young men. Sorry to burst your bubbles here girls, it's true. I'm surprised you didn't pick up on this in the first place. Of course there are going to be knock out bombshells depicted as the heroines. Why would anyone want to see any average girl in their comic book that they can easily walk our their door or go to school and see any day of the week?

((continued on next post...))
The issue goes both ways girls, it just manifests itself in different ways according to sex. You can't tell me out there, that unless you have a power trip, that you would want to wear the pants in a relationship, or would want to be with a man who doesn't stand up for you when let's say another man gets in your face. How many of you would marry a man of a much much lower class or inferior education? Go to hell for what you're all saying. You're all just complaining because you have unresolved body issues with yourselves because you're all stupid enough to actually consider the image that the media says you should adhere to. This has been admitted to numerous times in this thread by many many posters. You wouldn't want to see average Joe in what you read. Romance novels don't depict the supportive male figure as some meek wiener unable to defend himself or his woman. You're hypocrites for what you're saying.

All comic book art, just like any art depicts, is the ideal beauty. There's a history of depicting ideal beauty in art for thousands of years. So when a comic book artist says,"I just draw what I'd want to date," all he is saying is he's depicting his ideal beauty. Art and comic books are fantasy. Why would anyone settle for the average in their fantasies when they could have the best or ideal? I'd have to say for those who want the realistic, average majority, you're quite unimaginative and certainly lack imagination.

I am just absolutely sick with all this worship of the average or mediocre in our society. That's what this is about to me. It all comes from an instinctual feeling of inferiority to something that we perceive to be more, or posses more than ourselves. It happens to all of us. We all would like to be perfect, but we're not and never will be. Not a singles human being in the history of mankind has been perfect as much as some may believe in their own minds to be so.

It sickens me because all this worship of mediocrity is watering down all our arts. It is watering down human expression as a whole. Art, music, writing, all these are nowhere near the paradigm that was once achieved in the past. Everything in our society has no substance behind it. It is all simply artifice. People are not as well read or articulate anymore. What was considered common knowledge is no more. There are people who can't even name all 50 states within their own country because they no longer have to think or memorize or create anymore. They can just go onto their computer and get the required information in the blink of an eye. The gears that once spun frantically, that once spun so intricately in the human mind have degraded into nothing more than a monkey cranking a music box.

One last bit of information here. I am male, yes. I am a very attractive male at that. I do not sleep around, hell, I've not had a girlfriend in years. I treat women with respect and expect them to be my equal as I have 3 very strong willed sisters and a very alpha female mother figure in my life. That's what I expect a woman to own up to and without fail, I'm always disappointed. That's also what I'm attracted to; owning up to being my equal. She doesn't have to be drop dead gorgeous, though I have to be attracted to her, I have to want to jump her bones every time I see her. Otherwise why the hell would I want to be with some one I'm not sexually attracted to and yet still have sex with them? That's what friends are for.
And for you nerdy girls who read comic books (I'm an artist/musician/writer interested in drawing comic book art to better my anatomical drawing skills myself. Still interested in the art as when I was younger I was obsessed with them), this is the bit of advice I can give you from some one who is attractive. I'm only being realistic here as I'm only aware of how I look. Attractive people can be deeply insecure, like me, or suffer from deep depression, like me. Conversely, much like the nerdy, smart stereotype, they can posses 175 IQ's and have varied interests and be talented in many things, like me. This hits home with me because as I said, if you're too much of anything, you're ostracized. I've suffered a lot of physical and emotional abuse when I was young. I was bullied, I was demeaned, I was psychologically raped as far as I'm concerned. And for what? Because I represented something in people that they lacked or would never posses? Not that I can complain really that I'm attractive and have a high IQ or many aptitudes, but I've had my fair share of bullshit for simply being the person I am and always have been. I've been ostracized ever since I was little. To this day I don't have many friends and I'm met with out right hostility ON THE STREET by strangers. Nice girls think I'm a player as well because of how I look or how nice I am. So that leaves crazy, bitchy, uptight, and arrogant girls who know they're attractive and treat men as playthings.

It's true attractive people do have it easier in life to a very minor degree. And I must emphasize that; A MINOR DEGREE. They are just like you, only look nicer (as assholish as that sounds. And honestly, I feel fucking awful for typing that, like I'm less of a human being, but it's true. Girls, you feel the same way when presented with a hot guy and an ugly or hideous guy). I'm some one who used to get modeling scouts coming up to him, who people think I am a model today, but I have image and body issues myself. I feel I'm unattractive, I feel I'm an ugly, horrible person at times, even though, now I never pay any mind to it, I'm told girls check me out when I'm out. They even pinch my butt or grab my junk. And you think men can be awful? Women can be just as bad. Just giving you some perspective from the other side of the spectrum; it's all just the same God damned thing.

I guess what I've been trying to say this entire time, and I think I've covered the issue from a lot of viewpoints here, is to just get over yourselves. It's just art. It's just beauty. Appreciate it. Just because it exists does not imply that you must own up to it or adhere to it or that men expect you to do so. Gain some much needed fucking confidence in yourselves.
To: Everyone


Hello there!

Let's see.. women offended by men, men offended by women, women offended by other women, and men offended by other men. Strange world we live in.

Criticizing and voicing your own opinion is OK as long as it's done right. Apparently, half of the comments I've read contain several F- words and the like, unnecessary bashing and laughable internet slang that makes such arguments difficult to take seriously.

I'm not an artist, professional-wise, but I do draw. Whether my works are good or not, I would love to improve on them. I've read a few comics here and there, but only a few, so I guess my opinion would matter less.

Personally, if I had to recommend just one single comic book series for anyone to read before they die, I'd say go with The Sandman by Neil Gaiman. The characters in it are people. No sexualized women or men, or stereotypical personalities either. If you don't like unconventional reading, then I'll just shrug and leave you alone with whatever comic book you have on your hands.

I don't know any of the artists featured here, so I'm not even going to comment on them.

As for their drawing style, not my thing. It is obvious in my previous paragraph that I prefer something a bit different.

Odd I've actually spent almost 2 hours reading half the comments on this page. Pointless maybe, but I find humor in internet bashing. Whenever I need to confront someone, I do so face-to-face. I believe it's more effective that way, don't you think?

I apologize for my dark sense of humor.


From: Mr/Ms K.

P.S. I didn't find the tutorial that offensive. Try surfing for How To Draw Bishonen (which I also don't find offensive). Different people sexualize different people. Remember, straight men love naked women, gay men love naked men, straight women love naked men, and gay women like naked women, in whichever form they prefer, and each of which has their own literature.
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