Today’s practice is devoted to body variation. A plethora of well-written essays exist examining the lack of variety in body types in comics, especially concerning female characters. I have noticed that a great many artists tend to develop a personal ideal body type, and use this for all the women they draw. While there is nothing wrong with having preferences, I feel letting those preferences override the opportunity for rich diversity among characters is doing a disservice not only to readers, but to the creator.

An extension of this problem is creating a small group of archetypes and building characters from this as a sort of template. The top row (1) is an example, more or less, of four typical archetypes - chubby, athletic, skinny, curvy. While this is certainly a better approach than simply having one type, it can still limit the variety of a comic cast.

To combat this, I reproduced the row and made adjustments to their proportions (1B). I did this by a combination of the transform/warp tools and redrawing elements. What I found is that a few tweaks to proportions can drastically change a supposedly archetypical character, giving them a quite different appearance. For example, the “athletic” type becomes a short, stout, compact figure, and the tall, thin girl becomes petite and almost childlike.

Row (2) continues the same drill, this time attempting to create figures that adhere less to any archetype, save for the basically supermodel-esque lady on the end. Row (2B) is an attempt to push the variety farther and to reduce the stereotypical appearance of the lady on the end.

The end result is a page full of unique female bodies, with some similarity but enough variation that skin tone, hair, facial details, and clothing would create a cast that did not rely wholly on costuming for variation.

tl;dr - Practice variation in body types. It’s good for you, it’s fun, and it makes your work more relatable and interesting.

  1. dovingbird reblogged this from bickpen
  2. bickpen posted this