I know I already told you (but that doesnt matter because Im sure you dont remember me) that I love how you draw Stan. And... basically everything else. I figured you draw everything in special shapes! I for myself try to draw more in shapes for drawing pracitce and not with these skeletons. You are really good at this! Maybe if you have time and if you want to, could you give me/us a small toturial? And maybe you dont even draw with shapes and its just me haha... Thank! :3
Thank you! But oh gosh, I really am the last person you should ask for a tutorial. I don’t think I have any conscious technique to it, I just sort of wing it. But I’m gonna try my best to explain my thoughts on different body types and how I draw them! I don’t draw shapes in the way I think you mean. At least I’m guessing you’re referring to something like this:
While I think this could actually be a pretty good way to go about it, this isn’t how I work. What I do is, I draw a rough outline of the character using a thick brush. Let’s take the sketch and line art of this drawing of Stan as an example:
So as you can see, there’s no real shapes or help lines or anything like that. But what I can tell you is this: when I draw bodies I always try to make them as dynamic as possible! My tip for drawing bodies is EXAGGERATE, EXAGGERATE, EXAGGERATE! Exaggerate the body types of different characters to add variety! Exaggerate different parts of the same character to make them more dynamic!
Since we’re on the topic of Stan, let’s talk about Stan and Ford. Identical twins with different body shapes? You can bet your sweet ass I’m gonna exaggerate those two in completely different directions! Identical twins are like the holy grail of character design practice - take two characters with the same face and see just how different you can make them! Let’s draw a quick doodle of the Stan twins:
Even in the rough outline you can clearly tell who’s who just from their body shapes. If you want to practice drawing different body types, I highly recommend trying to make the characters distinct from each other at the earliest possible stage of your drawing. Try to make it so that even from a rough sketch with no facial features or clothes you’ll still be able to tell which character is which!
Why am I going on about this? Because body shapes should not be treated as an afterthought! They need to be there, right from the beginning, right from the very first draft! I quite often see people draw fat characters that just look… odd. And you know why they look odd? Because it looks like the artist just sketched an average person and then added some chub during the line art process. Human bodies don’t really work like that! Unless we’re talking like a beer belly here, then the fat will be more evenly distributed across at least part of the body. This affects things like breadth of shoulders and hips, in other words the very frame of the body. If you’re a cartoonist, just adding some chub to a sketch of an average frame will never get a result that is as good and dynamic as a character than was drawn as fat from the very first draft (and this is why I think working from shapes can be very beneficial!).
Okay, so drawing different body types requires both planning and variety. But how do I go about designing a body? Well, personally, I work a lot with contrast, not only between different characters, but also within a single character. Since we’re on the subject of the Stan twins, let’s talk about Ford a bit. Ever wondered why I draw him with the same skinny legs as Stan, even though they’re thicker than his in canon? Well, part of it is because I draw them as identical and thus their fat distribution would work in the same way. But more importantly, it’s because my art style relies heavily on contrast in order to make characters appear as dynamic as possible!
I often draw characters like this – where one half of the body is broad/thick and the other narrow/thin. Let’s refer to it as ‘horizontal exaggeration’.
But what if I want to draw a character that is thin or thick all over? Can I still make them exaggerated and dynamic? Heck yeah, I can! Let’s talk about, uh, let’s call it ‘vertical exaggeration’! On the average human being, the midpoint of the body is at crotch level. Playing around with this midpoint helps a lot with making cartoony body types more dynamic!
Want to draw an overall thin character? Putting their crotch line higher up than usual will help emphasize how gangly they are. Meanwhile, a fat or stocky character is often drawn with a lower crotch line to help emphasize their girth.
In summary… I don’t really have any special techniques to teach anyone, but I really want to encourage people not to be afraid to exaggerate when it comes to body shapes! Exaggerate horizontally! Exaggerate vertically! Make those bodies weird and dynamic! I realize this is more of a rambling mess then a tutorial, but, uh… I hope someone might have found this helpful?
And last but not least… Don’t worry if you can’t draw different body types just yet – just keep drawing and practicing and you’ll get the hang of it eventually! I think a lot of us have been at that stage where we were only able to draw skinny characters. Let’s take a look at how I drew bodies 8 and a half years ago and end this with a laugh!
If I can move past this stage, then so can all of you! Just keep drawing, keep practicing, and most of all, keep having fun doing it! Good luck!