Less Tits n' Ass, More Kickin' Ass

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Jul 6

Is there a good reason to use a boobs and butt pose?

There’s a debate on tumblr about whether boobs-and-butt poses are doable or not, because they are labeled as impossible by some people. Photo reference was offered to show that it is a possible pose, and a lot of the backlash this post got was due to the actual overuse of a pose that is just that: a pose for the camera.  Sometimes, the pose is used simply as a pinup pose. It’s all over the place. It’s in comics, in movie posters, in ads to sell clothes or makeup or anti-cellulite cream, what have you. It’s not a natural pose and looks (and feels) obviously staged. The BNB positioning tactic is used as “action” when drawing a woman to show she’s turning to face another foe, or zomg is surprised by someone sneaking up behind her, or other such excuses the artist may make to cover the fact that he (or she) wanted to show the character’s sexual assets. It’s been argued that action poses that show boobs and butt are not practical or realistic (and yes, we’re talking about comics, take your pithy comments about asking for realism in comics out of here before I slap you).  

So I’ve been trying to figure out when a boobs and butt pose would be appropriate in action. The thing is, a lot of “how to draw comics” or “how to draw dynamic figures” books tell the reader that there needs to be a swivel between the hips and the ribs in order to make the drawing dynamic. They make it sound like an aligned pelvis and sternum make for a stiff drawing. I beg to differ, because dynamism isn’t just in the torso, and it’s possible to make even the stiffest of military attention poses dynamic. The problem lies mostly in “well if there needs to be a swivel at the waist to make the drawing dynamic, then more swivel means more dynamic, right?” No. No, it doesn’t. Too much swivel and you strain the pose, and a bit more sends you either in the snapped or rubber spine territory, the former making the drawing look like two separate halves of a person and the latter removing any form of tension in what should be an extreme pose

And that’s just it: the only reason for boobs and butt at the same time in action is a split moment of tension, the extreme at which the body will twist, before settling back into a more comfortable position. 

This brings me to those zomg surprise! poses. The thing is, when we turn suddenly to react to something behind us, we don’t twist at the waist. My physics teacher in high school liked to tell us that the body is its own physicist and will always try to remain in balance, which is why your right arm sticks out by itself if you’re carrying something heavy in your left hand, and why your foot and hands will throw themselves out to catch you from falling. When you turn to look behind you, yes, you will swivel at the waist, but you will also turn your pelvis in that direction, you will bend at the knee, one of your feet will turn on the ground to accommodate the movement that happened to the rest of your body and keep you balanced. So normally, in these poses, you may get side boob with your two butt cheeks, or side butt with your two boobs. 

So how could I get 2 boobs and 2 butt cheeks? I figured it out. It starts from the ground up. The only way it could happen realistically is if the person doing the body twisting needed to keep both feet firmly planted on the ground in a feat of strength. Like catching something heavy and throwing it over their shoulder. Something that already has momentum. Behold my quick chicken scratches! 

Clicking the image will show it bigger. 

So yes, using the momentum of the car on a collision course, She-Hulk (I guess) grabs it and tosses it around and back, using its momentum. It’s the extreme pose, and lasts only a split second before she recovers and steps back to catch her balance and de-swivel. I traced her feet from one pose to the next to make sure it made sense. Just like a storyboard artist or an animator.

I said before that I think about movement whenever I draw a pose. I think about the sequence of movements that go around the pose I’m drawing. Now that I think about it, I could have added the final pose of her recovery. My point remains that thinking of movement is what makes the pose make sense to the reader. Artists, don’t be afraid to get up and strike the pose. Make the movement that leads up to the pose, follow through to what happens after, to become conscious of where exactly everything actually goes and what the limbs, pelvis and torso actually do in relation with each other. 

Now, if I may come back to the usual “it’s a comic, duh, it’s not realistic” argument that keeps popping up: Good artists, the ones we viewers find good, are the ones who draw things that look like they could happen, regardless of style. Sure, it’s a cartoon mouse, or it’s a flying guy with a cape, but if you draw the flying guy in a cape with his feet flat, or his back hunched, or otherwise in a way that contradicts the notion of movement through the air, you won’t find it a good drawing. It’s the realism in the POSE, not in the CONTENT, that makes the viewer believe the story.