Catwoman, why does your butt stick out like that?
Oh HAI tumblr! I apologize for my prolonged absence from this part of the interwebz, which was mostly due to being in pre-convention mode (art show and commissions and art for the con itself and being GOH and all that) and job finding (woohoo! Back to storyboards in August!), which all gets in the way of sitting down and finding + correcting bad T&A comic book art. I’ve received some questions and submissions from you guys, and I will get to them, thanks a lot for sending them my way!
Okay, back to … well, this thing.
It was tweeted to me by Lar de Souza who found it from Faith Erin Hicks. This is an extremely clear example of hypersexualised art, complete with requisite both breasts and both butt cheeks be not only visible, but highlighted, the spine twisted in such a way to accomplish the previous demonstration, and unfortunately no thought whatsoever in the logic of the pose as to how possible it is to perform.
That said, overhead views are extremely difficult to draw because we are not used to seeing people from above. They take a lot of work to figure out if you don’t have a model (and even if you do, but it is easier). I didn’t have a model and there are things I know are wrong in what I did, but I don’t know how to fix them since I lack reference.
Anyways… The original drawing, aside from being a big squashed bubble of butt and boobs, also has the head really off center, and the side of the face squished in while the right shoulder is elongated out, which exaggerates that off-center state even more. Artists, flip your drawings over once in a while when you draw. Things that seem okay in one direction may be skewed, so by flipping the drawing (either using “flip horizontally” if you’re drawing digitally or turning your page over and light-boxing your drawing) will allow you to notice those skewed and crooked things, which you can fix in flipped mode and turn back to the original way to continue drawing.
The original’s pose is also all squished up, and there’s foreshortening on the arms but not on the hips. I tried to place the structure underneath, but it didn’t fit. So I did a sideways pose to try and figure out where everything was. That box at the top is shorthand for a camera. I’ve put some notes on the drawing, as you can see.
So what should that pose be? If she’s jumping, there should be some extension. If there’s extension, there should be some contraction. And for interest in the pose, a twist at the waist is not a bad thing (it is if it’s exaggerated, but by now you know what that means and looks like). Contra posto means counter position, a thing the body naturally does to keep its balance. One hip rises, the corresponding shoulder lowers to compensate so you don’t fall over.
Translating this into an overhead shot means figuring out first the general body direction, then where the shoulder to hip relationship is. And that’s where the problem often lies, in drawing poses like this: how do I show a narrow waist if my character’s ribs and hips hide it? So we try to smudge things, shift things, move pieces of the body in order to show that small waist because otherwise she’s going to look fat, no? Yes, it’s hard. It’s hard to overlap shapes and show volume. I fought with this drawing and redid the lower half of the body about five or six times before I finally dropped the stylus and declared it good enough for this purpose. I wished several times I had a model. Yet… I managed to place the head right, include the shoulder blade on the left arm, take in account that the left breast is pushed forward while the right one is pulled back with the right shoulder (and thus is less round, more stretched sideways); I made the left butt cheek rounder because it is flexing to pull the leg back and is pushed up by the back of the thigh muscles, and the right butt cheek is flatter because the muscle is relaxed since the leg is forward. These are all things to think about when you’re drawing a character, even a simplistic, stylised or cartoony one. You want the curves on the flexing muscles, and the straight lines on the relaxed, extended muscles.
Anyways, enough from me for now. I still have a pile of commissions to finish; I’ll get to some of the questions and submissions later this afternoon or tonight.