Friday, 7 October 2011

Character Design: Studying the Female Figure and its Distortions Today

The Normal and The Distorted Female Figure (Drawn by me :P )

Since my main character is going to be a female one I am going to study the female anatomy  and make sure I follow the basic rules in body shape and proportions. But first lets take a look at the way the female body actually looks and the way it's showed  in the outside world.
Throughout the years, the female figure has been depicted in the form of paintings, sculptures, drawings and even literature. It has been an item of admiration and it is displayed everywhere whether it is adverts or posters. Nowadays though, the female body is more distorted than ever- it is the modern days' victim. It's been illustrated into a distorted way, a way that encourages young women (and even men) to follow these fake examples which sometimes results into eating disorders and people nearly loosing their lives to follow these ridiculous role models. 
I want my character to retain normal proportions so the audience can identify with her. I am not aiming for something overly sexy but still make her feminine. I want to emphasize on her strong character and personality, mental and physical strength.   So a few rules on drawing a female figure and its distortions in the media: 

"For women, the ratios differ slightly as the average form is smaller then the form of an average man. The overall height is measured in 8 Head Units, but because the female head is proportionately smaller, the figure will be smaller.


  1. I would say the legs are way too long on the first image. Nine heads sounds a bit much too. There are cool techniques to make legs look a mile long when they really aren't. High heals definitely helps sell long legs, or camera angles and focal lengths that make them appear longer. The Proportions of the girls in the two pictures in The Human Body in Fashion Illustration section are too much in my opinion, you should find a happy medium between the two.
    Anime proportions are strange, the good anime's will always take their proportions from real life and just exaggerate; this is why the internet is plagued with poorly drawn anime. It's easy to call 'style choice' when your lack of anatomy knowledge is evident.

  2. Although I think its useful to stuidy actual proportions, I think there are no hard rules on this - characters can, like any person, be built on different proportions, and I think its often good to just sketch out a variety of shapes until it feels right, bearing in mind the characters age - larger heads, hands and feet for younger characters etc. Style has a large effect on this, so unless you want your character to look extremely realistic, you can loosen up these guidlines

  3. Hey Jon! Yes I see what you mean with the legs. I wasn't going to use heels for my character so I was thinking of a similar way to give the illusion of long legs. I don't want her to have ridiculously long ones but yeah a midium would be better.

    And Justin :) I am not aiming for a hyper-real character but one which has normal proportions. But I am going to look into this big head and big hands characteristics cause I want her to be quite young around 18?

    Thanks for your advice both of you :)

  4. I'm a big fan of legs; especially long legs. You should find images of women with legs that are perceived as long and figure out what their proportions are etc.