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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I am actually quite surprised with how upset some people are;
I was surprised to see some of the comments made, even as a woman, I kinda noticed some of the slightly silly comments made by the artists, but, come on, it really isn't that big of a deal, and I'm saying this as a girl. I found this to be very helpful, especially as an aspiring comic artist. I take into consideration that, not only are these artists ridiculously famous in their business but also know what sells. And, thinking about it, just because they dress a little skimpy, they're still strong, intelligent and beloved characters by boys AND girls. Back in the day some little girls wanted to be Wonder Woman or Super Girl, just like little boys wanted to be Bat Man and Super Man. I guess what I'm trying to say is for everyone to not take what they said with so much weight. And to those who insulted "Artistic ability" so enthusiastically. That kinda has nothing to do with what you're upset about and it bothers ME when others outright INSULT talent, because they are talented. But of course everyone has their right to their own opinion. And I am expressing mine so I don't want to bashed for speaking my mind as freely as everyone else. Also, Michael Turner is one of my favorite artists, actually, and I admire his style. Sure, his women are quite skinny but all of his characters(men, woman, monsters) I find, are well-done.
I won't carry on with this, I just wanted to speak my mind...
1. Break it down like this: here, female characters have their sexual characteristics highlighted, while male characters have their muscles emphasized. Here, while women are depicted as sexual objects before all else, men are depicted as *just* fighters. But the characters are all fighters, aren't they? Then that's unequal, sexist treatment that depersonalizes (because they are all made to look the same) and objectifies (because the heavy, unnecessary concentration on the sexual characteristics) the female characters.

2. Why shouldn't people take umbrage at what these guys are saying? They're showing their asses - that is to say, they're exposing their sexist tendencies to the world.

3. I totally disagree that these guys are talented. I find these drawings aesthetically unappealing and unoriginal. Unoriginal isn't quite the right word - what I mean is, these drawings are very bland. If they're a genuine expression of the artists' aesthetic visions, well - they aren't very original, are they? They lack flavour. They're commercial, which is not necessarily a bad quality, but they also lack substance, which definitely IS. They're conventional without purpose or stylistic flourishes that might distinguish them. They're really boring, totally safe. I dislike them from an artistic - and an artist's - viewpoint, even without bringing all the problematic sexist shit into it.

I really hope I don't come off as bashing you, because that's not my intention. I just wanted to explain why I disagree, and probably why other people are upset. (I'm not - I'm not much into American comics, or even manga anymore.) To see this, day after day in something that you otherwise enjoy, that means something to you - well, I guess I'd be upset, too. That definitely sucks. :/


10 years ago


July 1 2008, 03:08:24 UTC 10 years ago

just another observation...According to this Balent guy women only stand on their toes...not an entire foot on the ground in sight....all of his proportions makes me question if he's ever truly seen a woman. I know I don't walk around on my tip-toes 24/7. How does this man get work?
I think he does it in the tradition of drawing books that have women naked but in high heels, only he leaves out the heels. There is a certain economy to that, i.e. to practice the changed stance, if you only ever intend to draw women wearing heels to draw them in that distorted posture right away.

Andrew Loomis for example does it in his classic drawing books as well. The books from the 1930s which are out of print but easily available as pdf scans online are actually quite good, even while having typical "period problems", like lack of racial diversity and so on (not that newer drawing books are all that much better), and I like his tips and tecchniques for dynamic postures and perspective, but he does the same thing (only he tends to indicate the shoes).
Lol at all the trolls here. I like how people think because -they're- not offended -nobody- has a right to be, omg! If we say there's no sexism here there's clearly not, and anyone who objects is just a fatty!!1

I can't say I'm enraged, but the blatant sexism in this is rather unsettling. Someone will probably chalk that opinion up to the fact that I "probably don't have a wasp-waist or an enormous chest", which is expected. (Also amusing that the guide says "size doesn't matter" but give ALL the women fairly large breasts that stay perky, even without a bra.) My opinion comes more from the presentation of the characters, though that's already been discussed in many earlier comments... women being presented as only sex objects, etc.
I'm not of the opinion there should be NO fan service, since most people like at least a little eye candy, but I don't particularly like how the women are portrayed ONLY as eye candy. There could stand to be more variance in body type on both sides, at least just from what I've observed in this guide. More lean, athletic looking men and more women who actually look like they could be superHEROES rather than supermodels would be nice.

Also props to whoever it was who said the fat Scarlet Witch makes an interesting character. I have to agree. :)

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The Wizard books actually do have some good tutorials on drawing comics, even if you don't want to draw superheroes or "busty babies", like stuff on pacing, on narrative tension and so on (I scanned some other excerpts and posted them in other LJ post). I mean, I didn't buy all four volumes of this to complain about their sexism on the internet...

Frankly, I have yet to find a drawing book on drawing humans (from imagination rather than books on drawing nudes or whatever) that is not highly problematic. The "classics" that get mentioned a lot in later books (Bridgeman, Hogarth, Loomis etc) are all fairly old and completely lack any ethnic diversity, and either look at male bodies as the default or are sexist in other ways, and even newer books that do have some variety have massive problems in their ideological framework, like "Figure Drawing Without a Model" by Ron Tiner is decent about body types, but uses for this racist "scientific" classification systems from the 19th/early 20th century and turns them into artistic tools without any reflection, for example the craniometry with its cephalic index (he talks about this as if it was "science" or a "neutral" anthropological measuring and classification tools to describe bodies, not invented to be central for a multitude of more or less racist theories). I mean, I actually like Tiner's book and found the tips on drawing less "perfect" bodies useful (he points out how fat is distributed for example), but it did come as an unpleasant shock to see body descriptors from 19th century racist theories pushed in my face in a book from the 1990s with no mention of their highly problematic origin.
women in general are here to keep the race going...men provide the sperm, food, work, strength, ideas and rational perspective, women provide the egg... now if a woman doesn't have ovaries she is useless. the reason comic artists draw these women to be sexy is so that the ugly ass nerds that read the comics have something to fantasize about when they are copulating with their significantly ugly woman...
now think
and think hard,
because if we didn't have ideals like this, no man would ever cum

and the race would die...

peace out inferiors
Why is it that the media has to portray the ultimate "MAN" as buff, meaty, athletic, square-jawed, etc. I don't look like that! I want to see more slack-jawed, pudgy, pimply, wannabe-tatooed nerds in comics!



July 27 2008, 01:39:32 UTC 10 years ago

you don't ever see superman lying seductively under a waterfall exposing his neck in a speedo. honestly, it's 2008 people, women aren't there for men to ogle at... makes me want to puke!
It would be awesome if he did, though.
Hahahaha this is funny. Very late reading it but hey.

Its funny how butthurt people get over things that don't matter like this. "Why so serious?" indeed.
I'll throw in my two cents to those who just don't seem do get it;

- It's a bloody comic! It's not SUPPOSED to be realistic! Men are also drawn unrealistically!

A: Read the blog. Nowhere does ratcreature mention anything about the characters being unrealistic. S/he merely points out that while the male heroes are portrayed as very athletic and strong, with firm, intimidating poses and with emphasis on their strength and superheroicness, the emphasis on female heroes is their sexual appeal. The chapters describe in painful detail how to make the women "sultry", how their eyes should slant and how thick their lips should be, how big their boobs ought to be, etc. Also, the ways the heroines pose in backbreaking, uncomfortable manners serve no purpose but to titillate the (male) readers. Even during battle, as illustrated by Jim Balent, the young artist is encouraged to “make sure to keep her feminine looking”, and thus always having the focus on her sexiness. The chapters teach that the men are strong and courageous and the women sultry. It has nothing to do with how attractive they look.

- I found the illustration tips VERY helpful, thankyouverymuch!

A: How is that even an argument?

- I’m a girl, and I didn’t find it offensive!

A: If you don’t think it’s offensive that the heroines’ - meaning the people who represent you and your gender - most important trait is their fuckability, then fine. The blogger and many of the commenters do, however.

-OMG, if u don’t like it then don’t read!!!!!!!

A: The blogger has made it perfectly clear that s/he likes comic books, and so do I. If I was to shun everything that is sexist/racist/homophobic/anti- Semitist then I would have to lock myself up in a chest. Shunning the problem doesn’t help, ignoring the problem doesn’t help, but complaining does. Whether it is just to vent out frustration or to force the comic industry to change.

- Why don’t you make your own comicbook then?

A: My job isn’t as a comics writer/ artist. Try applying that logic elsewhere; if you think the President is doing a rotten job leading the country, do it yourself! If you think the police aren’t doing enough to stop crimes, do it yourself! If you think David Beckham is a bad soccer player, then be a goddamn professional soccer player yourself and stop bitchin’!

- Sexualityisaverynormalpartofbeinghumanandsoonandsoforth!

A: We have porn mags/ videos for that. If the comic writer/ artist was so concerned with the characters’ sexuality, s/he would make sexual interactions between the characters in the comic, not try and arouse the reader (and only the male reader, that is).

-Girls don’t read comics! Most comic book readers are men, and that’s the reason comics are aimed at them!

A: That’s a very simple argument. If you appeal solely to one gender, the other gender is not very likely to fancy what you have to offer. A gender-neutral approach will increase the market – and it’s silly to believe that that would turn boys off.

- Sex sells!

A: Not necessarily. Try googling “sex doesn’t sell” and you’ll get plenty of articles, one like these; http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/04/14/1081838798087.html

- ur fat and smelly and smallboobed and jealous!1!!!!!!1! …. 1! You feel intimidated by their appearance and you should get in shape and stop eating, you noobs.

A: Ha ha ha ha. Oh, dear. I’m not even going to comment that one. Other than; Stop trolling and get back when you have read the blog, processed the information in it correctly and collected enough rationale to make an intelligent argument.

Excuse me, I’m going to make me some tea now.
i don't understand you people. i only read the first page of comments and personally, i'm disgusted by the commenters, not the writer.
this is the PERFECT guide if you ever truly want to get anywhere.

all of you know that i you saw some fat chick on the cover of a comic book you most likely wouldn't want to read it.
sex sells.
a lot of people can move their bodies like that. i don't even think that is an issue.

don't be upset b/c you know you'll never look like a comic book heroine or ever have a chance with one.



October 12 2008, 01:03:15 UTC 10 years ago

Great artwork! WOW.. BUT something is nibbling at me, the HIPS, Broad hips ARE very sexy! Look at beyonce, shakira (especially in beautiful lair ;D) and j-lo... they all seem to have this sexiness about them, eg. big hips, small waists and equally proportioned figures.Also women are supposedly ment to have big hips- why? simple- Big hips are a sign of fertility, or in other words the bigger the hips the more "capable" the female is of making healthy, strong babies, weird I know- basically a genetic factor of human attraction, like big breasts and big hips a genetically more "favorable" than small hips or breasts.
Just a clever way of accentuating sexiness in women.
I came here on a search for help on drawing comics myself, like many of these people that have recently commented irrelevant things. I thought these scans were going to be helpful... then I started reading them. I found myself verbally expressing my distaste for BOTH the men and women, but particularly the women, in the pictures. This is why I don't read comic books. I love many webcomics though, because most of the ones I read tend to draw real people.
Fortunately, as I started reading the comments, I realised that these scans were posted BECAUSE they were dehumanising to women. And that made me happy. Females that like comics need to take a stand on this. Men that just draw their masturbation fantasy woman and call it realistic need to take a good look at themselves.
This has galvanised my desire to make a comic that's actually directed more at girls than boys. Do you think there is much of a market for teenage girls to read fantasy comics?
I'm not an expert about comic markets, and not involved in comics or comic markets professionally in any way at all. I put these scans up because I like comics, and even superhero comics, and just think they could do so much better if female characters were just drawn (and written) as people. Actually overall even the Wizard series I posted excerpts from here was helpful and had decent info about drawing (I posted some parts of better chapters in other entries under the drawing book scans tag), I mean, I wouldn't have bought four volumes from them just to rant about their sexism on the internet. They just also show some of the massive flaws that plague many mainstream comics.

As for fantasy comics for girls, well, obviously girls like fantasy, and they seem to read manga at least, which are comics too after all, but the attempts to launch US comic imprints specifically "aimed" at girls (like that recent attempt by DC) didn't seem to have done well, iirc, though who knows why.



10 years ago



10 years ago

Re: ...what???


10 years ago

Jim Balent draws ludicrously small female noses in comparison to eyes and lips...
Yeah, there's a boatload of context to this too.

#1 Wizard Magazine is a well known caterer to the baser instincts of the fanboy community, moreso than the genre overall. They're deliberately trying to position themselves as the FHM of the superhero set. A lads mag for geeks.

#2 Michael Turner is a horrible turd of an artist, and no one sensible isn't glad he's dead.

#3 Lumping him in with the likes of Adam Hughes, merely because the two take their greatest muse in the female form, is simply wrong. It's like lumping in Fellini and Ron Jeremy because they both make movies about sex. Not that Hughes is a Fellini or Turner a Jeremy, but I think what Hughes does, "good girl art", pinup art, nosecone art, or whatever, has a reasonable argument to make about not being feminist thoughtcrime.
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