Saturday, April 14, 2012

Taboo Women's Body Types, Part 2

I don't really think of art as political.  I know past and present, art is often used towards politics ends,  but, ideologies aside, whenever any artist draws a figure? An opinion or a 'version of reality' is being suggested by the artists, don't you think?

Is the figure i draw Cute? Ugly? Plain? Average? Healthy looking? Emaciated? Pleasantly plump?   Obviously my version of  what's 'beautiful' may leave you scratching your had, and visa versa.

So what's my point?

Here's a portrait of a woman.  Really just a rough sketch.  Flawed. Her right leg is awkwardly placed at the hip, her left knee is off.  Heads too big.  All stuff i could fix, but i left it rough, unfinished. Because, the point isn't my rather modest figure drawings skills ( or,  ahem... lack there of.)

She's an imperfect woman.

I ask myself this question? What happens if i draw some women in the same pose... but CHANGE their body weight, skin texture, and even the style their drawn in?

Funny what we artists *edit*... whenever i draw a figure. All us artists do.

So what do we have here? Strip away whatever realism the First Woman had, and now we've typical comic book heroine's barbie doll proportions. Boobs way too big, waist impossibly thin.

There's a LOT you'll edit out to make a sexists (or idealized) drawing of a woman. I'm guilty of doing it, so are even some woman comic artists.  We sometimes succomb to the fans and publishers' desire for  idealized figures, or wildly distorted versions of them.

But in the second woman's case, (short of cosmetic surgery), it's wildly unlike what most of us even LOOK like isn't it? It strikes me as *political* because there's an agenda. I inviting the viewer to admire her, or maybe the viewer will roll their eyes, be disgusted or dismissive of her.

Now check this out...  for the Third Woman: were in Egon Schiele territory.. disjointed gaunt, sagging flesh, about as far away from the romanticized Gustav Klimt as it gets, let alone  super heroine barbie doll proportions. Some might say this style is stripped of pretense because it's not trying to be as sexy as Woman Two, or as 'natural' as Woman One.

But when we not only edit out the so called 'attractive' features, but also add things that most people find deliberately ugly.. or hard to look at. But to me this isn't any less or more 'true' a representation of a figure than the other two. But it still OMITS some things doesn't it? Almost goes too far the other way?

Now Woman Three.

She's illustrated in a lush brush style.. her bosom's bigger, but is allowed to droop a little. Fuller hips, but this too edits out lots of info. Glosses over 'imperfections' doesn't it? Yeah, it her bosom lacks the silicone of the second figure.  But she's he's also got a little more tummy than the barbie woman or the Schiele one, but we're still avoiding reality, it's just a slightly more romantic view than the previous two.

This is a woman i fall into drawing a lot. I get cut more slack from some female fans when i draw this type of woman, because at least she's got a FEW curve on her figure, but she's sill idolized isn't she?  It's just a more popualar idealized version than the other figures.

If you break it down to boxes and circles and tubes, the building blocks of  all figure drawing,  she's really just *this*... which may be the *least* prejudiced version. The least politicized or agenda oriented. It's also probably the ugliest too. Or most crude. It's drawn with sharp edges too, almost a sort of cubist 'in your face' style. I drew her bosom as little baggies of flesh or silicone taped to her frame, it's amazing how much focus we guys PUT on those things isn't it?

Now we may as well go full boar, FAT! We all know it, may hate it, but there's a little big of it in all of us isn't there? I myself do't even consider this a overweight woman, but i have my own affection for this body type, so i'm hardly objective. This may repulse you or you may have sympathy for it, but once again, it's not literal, i have edited out things here too.

I also used a soft leaded pencil to soften any hard edges, the *opposite* of the cubist woman above. I did so knowing how little tolerance many have for a rubenesque figure. Even Ruben romanticized this form didn't he? Another agenda, another version of reality.

So what am i saying?

I don't really *have* an opinion. My feeling is most artists opinions of their own work are pretty much pointless.  Especially my own.

My wife walked into my studio, didn't say a word, then and tapped an astrology clipping from the newspaper to my art table, which i just now took a picture of.

I'm not really much into Astrology, i got distracted by the inspirational message got absorbed in the damage various Exacto knife marks i've dug into the scotch tape on my table.

( Bonus: check out my yellow dyslexic page-spread? You'd think after all these years i'd have *memorized* ... 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, etc.. )

Maybe my wife's goal with this news paper clipping was providing me with some deeper message? Something about 'chaos' and 'process'?

Or maybe she was hinting i should, like, invoice some *pages* this week?

Or maybe both? 


ant said...

great post

cody said...

Awesome, I don't know if it's me but as the girls get bigger the look on their face look more happy.

Machiel said...

Hi Sam,

Years I’m waiting for something… a website all about you and your mindblowing creations. But… a blog… is even better. Now I can follow your work in progress up close. Just love it.

Wow, it brings back good memories… when I was a “boy”. Not realising it but it all started with “Epicurus the Sage”. After seeing The Maxx on MTV I discovered who you were… and the universe of comics… Since then I was HOOKED. Your work is deep and intense… I also started collecting other comic-artists, like Dave McKean, Daniel Clowes, Frank Miller, Chris Ware, Ashley Wood, Mack, Jeff Smith, etc… But you are still my first true love (If you know what I mean…)
Years later I’m a “man” (ahum)… and recently (03-04-2012) become a dad for the first time. We named our son “Max”, haha… I still read comicbooks of you and all these others guys. But the focus has changed. I’m not buying single comic-books any more, only collected works bound in nice hardcovers. That brings me to the following question, when will your stories be bound to The Absolute The Maxx… or… The Absolute Sam Kieth…???

Oh yeah, can’t wait for the Potbelly… and… the FAT-ASSED 'Three Volume Art Books'. Can I pre-order these somewhere? Definitely want these… ;)


lucasirineu said...

Sam, this is a wonderful post. Just yesterday I was talking to my friends in college about that. I drew this nude woman in my sketchbook, and they were like, "Dude, her stomach is too big, is she pregnant or something?", and the only reply I could think of was, "No, that's fat. You know, that thing we all have, and that everyone forgets to draw? Yeah."

Superhero type bodies outside of superheroes is something that really gets me annoyed. Nobody really looks like that. It's especially annoying on women. It's hard to find a comic book artist that draws real women (you're one of the few that comes into my mind). Most are too busy doing those Liefeld-like proportions with enormous boobs, butt and no waist at all.

And in turn, the people who look at those drawings end up forgetting how people in real life are like. They're all stuck on that idealized image of a perfect body and get grossed out when they see normal-looking ones, and that often includes their own bodies... Pretty sucky, really.

lucasirineu said...

Oh, hey, also, that reminded me of this.

jlosacco said...

My wife and I love how you draw women. And I now fully appreciate how much thought you put into each one you draw.

Don't ever change.

Aaron Desira said...

I see the most attractive depiction of these to be the fat women as well. Maybe you subconsioucly put slightly more 'effort' into drawring the larger woman proportion wise because you are attracted to a 'real' or more over flawed body type- and I understand that attraction. Bodys called flawed by the masses are unique in the most total way therefore interesting to look at and to draw. I guess thats why anyone does life drawring. Also using soft lines seems to add to the fatter lady, shes more relaxed and 'inviting' ( Now it sounds like I am trying to take her on a date.)

I reckon your best posts are when you are trying to unlock an idea. Awesome stuff sam

Far as the horoscope , I reckon the pose of the women is sorta like a seven, if you treat her outstreached leg as the top of a seven. Or is that reading too much into it..

Marcus Collar said...

Great exercise you (and possibly Way$hak) should do like a fake "how to draw" book and pepper it with the right amount of chaos and creativity...


Marcus Collar said...

oh hey just for fun here a recent "how to draw" thing I did of a pin-up sort of pertains to the subjects discussed above...

Rafael Only said...

Hi, Sam..!

In this post I felt like if I was actually visiting your studio, and chatting with you, while I was in there. Felt really comfortable with it!

This week, the fact that I read Ojo helped me... cause I had to give up a crazy little black dog I took from the street. She was way too crazy... I felt just like Annie.

Thank you, for sharing your bealtiful world with us othrough your art. It not only inspires, but also helps people to see that their effort is for a good cause.


Christina Bryant said...

I've always adored how you depict women, Sarah and Amy, especially Julie. On one page she was there in all her realistic glory: a bit chubby, slouched, not trying to be alluring. On the next page she was all impossible curves, a true goddess of your imagination in hip hugging bell bottoms, bosom aloft in a way only plastic surgery can achieve. And sometimes she looked plain ugly.

I think this back and forth captures the full capacity of a woman. (And man for that matter.) The moments when you feel like a sex god/goddess, the others when all you see are your flaws. I always related to these images, finding camaraderie in their chub and inspiration in their killer hips and a comfort knowing it was the same woman.

Great post, I'd love to see your take on the male form as well.

Sjors Trimbach said...

I've loved your women since day one.
Just draw them as you want, and it will be the best.

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