Drawing the “female form,” the sexist way!

Posted by ON in Dear Diary

Apparently VectorTuts+ misses the good ole days of crappy sexist 50s art lessons.

This delightful little gem popped up on my RSS feed today.

I admit, I was irritated the second I read the title (Why is it always the “Female Form”? It seems we’re always invited to draw “Men” and “The Female Form,” cause we have to maintain objectification at all times.)

Lame title notwithstanding, I clicked the tutorial because my illustration skills are crap and I thought it’d have even a little information about the physiological differences between men and women. One of the first sentences warns us that:

“The most common mistake made by any student of art who wants to draw a female character is thinking about her as a male in high heels and long hair.”

Get it? Har har har.

Get it? Har har har.    (copyright: VectorTuts+)

He also philosophizes on our desires as artists:

“This is because, in most cases, we are surrounded by strong male characters and, regardless of the drawing style, the muscles arouse enormous interest in the artist. Everyone wants to learn how to draw those muscular arms and all those giant veins!”

Ooh la la, do we!

Ooh la la, do we!    (copyright: VectorTuts+)

I love how our author assumes everyone using it is male.

So, I thought he’d go on to give tips about center of gravity, muscle configuration, you know, anatomy, like you’d get in a figure illustration class.

*sigh* But no:

“…females have less muscle detail visible to our eyes, compared to males! Their curves are sweet and their expressions are smooth…”

The author starts with the same basic circle/cross-hair stuff everyone does, but it doesn’t take us long to get to:

“Female eyes have the characteristic of being very expressive, so we need to devote some effort to do something really appealing for our character:”


Dur!    (copyright: VectorTuts+)

“All done—a female character with a good dose of sex appeal!”

Cause that’s all that matters. I love that the author transitions immediately from drawing a “female form” to “Pin-up style.” Because of course, what other reason would you have to draw the 50% of the world that doesn’t have huge, veiny muscles?

“Pin-up style eyes have two basic emotions: “surprise” and “sexy”.”

OH MAH GAWD!  - NyQuil is a powerful drug.

OH MAH GAWD! – NyQuil is a powerful drug.    (copyright: VectorTuts+)

“Note that I just added a slight smile in the second image in order to enhance the seductive look.”

Anyway, it goes on, and on:

“…features that can be used to reinforce the masculinity of a character should be reversed when it comes to a feminine figure”

“Let’s explore the process of making an “average” female body…”

Because average women enjoy tightlacing!

Because average women enjoy tightlacing!    (copyright: VectorTuts+)

But my favorite section is “Flexibility and Sex Appeal

It’s like the author has never seen a single internet critique of stupid comic-book poses.

Crack! Thumbs up for sexism!

Crack! Thumbs up for sexism!    (copyright: VectorTuts+)

“It’s as if your character is wiggling all the time!”

Way to be classy, VectorTuts.

This totally makes me want to pay your exorbitant monthly fee.



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