Rat Creature (ratcreature) wrote,
Rat Creature
ratcreature

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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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...Okay, I'm here via a friendslist link, and (without context or a presence in the fandom) I got halfway down the page before realizing IT WAS NOT A SATIRE. Then I wanted to puke.
Sadly you really don't need satire to mock that drawing style. I mean, I'm not sure you could make it more extreme, for example in the same book Terry Moore *does* mock it, and his exaggerated examples aren't that different from the actual ones, only look even weirder because they stand next to Francine...
You can see those pages here:
http://pics.livejournal.com/ratcreature/pic/0003kf6z
http://pics.livejournal.com/ratcreature/pic/0003pp5h

sodzilla

12 years ago

ratcreature

12 years ago

xoverau

12 years ago

OK, so as a bisexual, I have to admit there were a couple of those pics I found sexy.

Especially the Mystique one. The one meant to illustrate that "even a blue woman with things all over her can be sexy". In other words, that it doesn't matter how a woman looks so long as she has the right curves.

Sometimes I'm disappointed in my libido.

Anyway... I think this should be pimped as widely as humanly possible, because it constitutes dead proof that at least the guys who drew these have NO ability to step away from their male privilege when relating to female characters.
As another bisexual, I agree that some of them were sexy.

I'm not sure that it's even the pictures themselves that bug me, so much as the commentary accompanying them. Males in comics pose unrealistically, buns clenched, fists thrust high and chests flexed to exhibit appealing pecs, their manhoods painstakingly shaded and outlined. If these guys acknowledged that they were drawing men that way not just to show their power but to make women and gay men want to nail them, I'd be able to say, "This is just an immature, adolescent-aimed medium." But that, via the commentary, men have the chief purpose of getting super things done and women have the chief purpose of attracting men? EW ICK EW.

This is how I assuage my own disappointment in my libido.

raptorinblack

11 years ago

I... I think I'm going to die.
You're not very sturdy? Or maybe just unfamiliar with US superhero comics?
Personally, I found the emphasis on giving women "cat eyes" in Balent's section... seriously weird. And I'm not even going to comment on how he apparently thinks that female characters should be able to arch their backs and torsos even when "running, jumping, or kicking through a brick wall."

Turner's women, on the other hand, struck me as very sexy and pretty (well, except for the contortionist underwear model pose in figure A). This may be because their breasts aren't quite so terrifyingly large, and their poses are only obviously posed and artificial instead of completely imposible for the female body to achieve (alas, bi-sexuality keeps me from ever being completely innocent when it comes to whole "women as objects of the male gaze," thing).

And I can't be the only comics fan who thinks that the ultra-super-muscles are grotesque-looking. Also stupid, and anatomically improbable. Why, why are so many super-heroes given the giant body-builder muscles regardless of whether or not it actually makes sense for the character to have them? Why isn't the Flash built like a distance runner, Nightwing like a gymnist, etc.

I am consistently denied my right to ogle a diverse selection of male bodies. Come on, Wizard! If women in comics exist only to be drooled over by men, surely men in comics ought to be there only to be drooled over by women. I insist that Batman be drawn only in arched-back, provocative, sexy poses from now on! With his shoulders and hips tilted toward each other!
Well, I'm a lesbian, so it's not like I dislike looking at women. I just like them to still have room for internal organs and a regular spine. Also Turner's proportions are just off in ways that I don't find attractive. I mean, since superheroes are larger than regular humans their proportions are wrong intentionally, but the way Turner just makes the legs extra long, combined with very slim waists but a larger ass doesn't do anything for me.

Also, since of course they don't assume that women read their comics the men are not for drooling but the power fantasy for identification (though why anyone would fantasize about looking like a the misshapen result of steroid abuse is a mystery) while the women are to be looked at. The intended reactions of the readership are explained to us by Linsner:
http://pics.livejournal.com/ratcreature/pic/0003ff38
http://pics.livejournal.com/ratcreature/pic/0003g190

elspethdixon

12 years ago

ratcreature

12 years ago

Hey! You've probably got enough comments already, so there's no need to reply to this one. I just needed to say...

Fuck. The. Author. The - the - I'm almost speechless with rage. This is why I will never take comic books very seriously - how can any medium that has such hideous misogyny as part of its templates for portraying women ever hold any interest for me? All this does is just make me want to write that book I've promised myself - the one where the women are the ones with all the power and status, and the men are SLAVES forced to look handsome at every waking moment.

Gah. /rant
There are a LOT of comics that don't hold to these conventions. Comic books are a medium, not a genre, and they have their own genres. Super hero comics, yes, are pretty consistently horrifying, but there are some truly excellent comics out there that have beautiful, well-drawn women in realistic poses, and that even have good writing and storytelling. Terry Moore's Strangers in Paradise has already been mentioned, Neil Gaiman's comic work is generally very well illustrated, there's a whole list. It's even possible to find female-friendly comic shops.

ratcreature

12 years ago

ratcreature

12 years ago

Hey. . .

pretentioustfu

12 years ago

Hey. I found this from bookslut and wanted to thank you for posting this. Honestly, and people wonder why so few women read comics.
Well, it's not as if all comics were drawn like that. Not even all superhero comics are (though it is far more common there). I mean, you get things like Witchblade or whatever with plenty of porn poses and T&A on one side, and things like Persepolis (you know that autobiography from Marjane Satrapi about growing up as a girl during the Islamic revolution in Iran?) on the other side, and anything in between, and it really has nothing to do with the medium or its possibilities.
Dear gods. Jim Balent is NO authority on Drawing Women if anything....
So very true. He should definitely review basic anatomy.
Found you through a friend, and wanted to be among the people saying thanks for posting these. Truly hilarious, in a really sad way.
Yeah, it would be funnier if it wasn't for so many superhero comics really looking that way. :/

jesskat

12 years ago

I like that he shows you how to draw different sized male bodies. But the closest he comes for women is different breast size. >.
Heh, yeah. These how-to articles are nothing if not straightforward...

Anonymous

12 years ago

I have to wonder if it's more of a "This is what you will find on the comic stands, and here's how to replicate it" article. Unfortunately, it's not presented as such, but comes across far too much as "Here is how to draw, there is no other way, don't think about what you are doing."
Not really. See, the styles overall in the book series are actually somewhat diverse. Not as diverse as comics as a whole, i.e. there's few humor/cartoon styles, no fully painted or abstract styles etc etc, but about as diverse as US mainstream comics superhero comics. There are, in other chapters, styles that don't look like the "typical superhero" comic, like one chapter by Edurdo Risso on Silhouettes, or in general the women in *other chapters* don't always look like the women in the chapters *specifically about women* either. I mean for example there's women in Steve Lieber's panels when he explains inking techniques: Fully clothed women, in normal posture with normal breasts etc. They don't try to represent just one style for drawing comics. They just chose the most sexist approaches to cover the chapters dealing specifically with women, not to mention that they way they delineated and titled those chapters is sexist as well.

raptorinblack

11 years ago

Thanks for posting this. I felt compelled to twist it a little.
I'm glad you had fun with the scans.

Brilliant!

Anonymous

10 years ago

For once could we have a superheroine who had the figure of, say, a gymnast?
Bart Sears' "How to Draw Burn Victims."
Huh?

prickvixen

12 years ago

disgusting, but not unexpected. socially engineering yet another generation of young boys to view females as sex objects. just as bad as the old lois lane comics... *blarf*

reminds me why i don't waste my time and money.

thought the don't emulate japanese anime / manga comment in the pro tips was great, cause they just must see too much of it...

...as if they don't get inundated with tits and ass all the time. how different can boobs look between artist to artist... and oh look! it's a semi realistic muscle explosion man in brightly colored spandex fighting another man who is also wearing spandex... we don't see that often at ALL... *sarcastic*

Anonymous

December 24 2009, 02:32:17 UTC 8 years ago

Can i give my opinion as a male aged 20 years of age? Most, and i emphasise MOST, males know these drawings are unrealistic. those who dont are obviously idioits. Its clear by looking at these works that the female spine doesnt bend that way, as it is also clear that they don't have super powers! it was mentioned that they were drawn this way so that another generation of males would grow up to view women as sex objects. i personaly dont apreciate the anti male sentament, this is 2009 not the 1950s. Its time to give the feminist man hateing agender a rest, right now you have far more rights than we do, so what the hell do you want from us? let us have our unrealistic comic women. we, like you, enjoy a fantacy and yes we know thats all they are! dont assume you have us worked out because that in essence is the deffinition of sexism!

Sam

viistar

8 years ago

Deleted comment

Yeah, what got to me also wasn't just the "fat is obviously ugly" aspect of that picture, but that she's a) eating and from the litter around her and the fact that it's not like she's sitting down for a meal it seems implied that she does so constantly (going with the cliche that fat people are fat because they have no self-control etc) and b) she's not even enjoying to eat, but looks very much unhappy. Combine that with the image that mocked the fanboy on the earlier page from Linsner's chapter which used "fat" among other things to evoke the impression of "ungroomed" and "unattractive"... and just... *flail*

raptorinblack

11 years ago

ratcreature

11 years ago

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