Author Topic: To make a female look female...  (Read 7509 times)

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Offline Saril

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #25 on: April 18, 2010, 04:10:21 am »
That looks excellent! And the stylized eyelashes (although you can barely see them) look fine on THIS character. She seems much more "girly" than Loki. I think if you transferred that muzzle and body, and the tight-but-not-too-tight clothing, to Loki, her gender should come across just fine.

Offline Nashee

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #26 on: April 18, 2010, 07:51:38 am »
That is noticeable better! I like how you made her look feminine, but she doesn't look close to being a damsel-in-distress sort.

Good job ^_^ Keep up the good work.
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Offline Arbutus

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #27 on: April 18, 2010, 09:36:23 am »
I watched this picture load bit by bit, and as soon as I saw the muzzle I immediately knew it was a female. :) Nice work with this one!

Offline Old Rabbit

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #28 on: April 18, 2010, 11:52:00 am »
It is easy to tell this character is female.

The long hair.

The head jewelry

The softer facial features.

The upper body showing breasts.

Also the light build of the shoulders and arms.

Nice work.

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Offline J. March OHare

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #29 on: April 18, 2010, 11:54:44 am »
Yeah, she looks a lot more feminine.

I like both drawings, incidentally. Nice style. Just because I gave advice on how to de-masculinize (is that a word?) the first one doesn't mean I didn't like it.

Offline Kay Alett

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #30 on: April 18, 2010, 02:01:59 pm »
A noticable change with this character, I can definately tell she's a female. I also like how you gave subtle definition to the chest, showing her bustline without making it over-obvious. Very nice attention to details. As Old Rabbit said, the head jewlery also makes an improvement to help show her femeninity.

I'd say you've learned some valuable techniques now that will help you alter Loki's appearance enough to make her gender unquestionable.
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Offline LordFenrir

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #31 on: April 18, 2010, 02:35:15 pm »
I'm hoping I can transfer some of this to Loki's design :)  I've been thinking of just getting rid of her bangs and pulling all her hair into a ponytail (making it sort of resemble those English white wigs)...sketches will have to do the hard work  ;)

Offline Edward Vulpes

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #32 on: April 18, 2010, 02:53:12 pm »
I must preface any remark that I make in this thread with the note that I am not an artist. I'm just a writer butting in with his opinions.

With that said, I may be in the minority as I see the masculinity in the first rendering of Loki (I know that the second drawing isn't her, but bear with me) more as an asset than a hindrance. While I agree that the masculine features are a bit too strong in the design, I feel that the more conservative the change, the better. I get an impression from this character that she is tough-as-nails despite her stature. I honestly think that the way to go would thus be to make her more androgynous, rather than to feminize her outright. The only definitive change I would suggest would be to thin out the muzzle a bit and make the bow in the back of her hair a bit more obvious.
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Offline Sskessa

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #33 on: April 18, 2010, 04:46:18 pm »
Gosh I got into this thread late.

Cartooning is based on taking real features you observe on real people and simplifying them. In reality, both men and women have eyelashes. Real fat men are always going to have softer features than skinny women. Sometimes they even have bigger breasts. Real men often have long hair, and real women often have short hair. Real women can be quite angular, too. Just yesterday I met a woman with some serious facial hair. As for animals, who of us can sex and animal by its face alone? If the real world is so confusing, what on earth is an artist to do?

Many artists resort to a kind of shorthand language, where eyelashes and bigger eyes = female character, like in the comic O'Hare linked to. Or they draw the revealing fantasy clothing that you despise. The problem with these short-hand cues for gender is that they quickly become generic and uninteresting. They aren't unique to the cartoonist and his view of the world. Personally, and this is just me personally, I will ignore movies or comics that use these cues. Lazy cartooning is usually indicative of lazy writing, lazy directing, lazy everything.

My advice to you is to look at real women. Find a model for your character, Loki. It could be a friend of yours, or an actress, a singer, anything. You might also browse through the national geographic to see what passes for feminine in other cultures. You may be surprised. Look at real people and take the features that you, personally, find the most interesting. This way you can keep your art from becoming bland and generic.

Anyway, my question to the rest of the posters in this thread: Do you always assume any character is male until you are told otherwise? Do Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck look like any real man you've ever seen? Perhaps some of the problem lies with a lazy audience, who needs everything handed to them on a silver platter.
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Offline J. March OHare

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #34 on: April 18, 2010, 06:32:24 pm »
Sskessa: "Do you always assume any character is male until you are told otherwise?"

Sskessa, sometimes I can't even tell with flesh-and-blood people.

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Offline Saril

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #35 on: April 18, 2010, 06:50:19 pm »
I must preface any remark that I make in this thread with the note that I am not an artist. I'm just a writer butting in with his opinions.

With that said, I may be in the minority as I see the masculinity in the first rendering of Loki (I know that the second drawing isn't her, but bear with me) more as an asset than a hindrance. While I agree that the masculine features are a bit too strong in the design, I feel that the more conservative the change, the better. I get an impression from this character that she is tough-as-nails despite her stature. I honestly think that the way to go would thus be to make her more androgynous, rather than to feminize her outright. The only definitive change I would suggest would be to thin out the muzzle a bit and make the bow in the back of her hair a bit more obvious.

That's my position exactly! I'm not against big eyes and eyelashes on any female characters, just on characters like Loki. If they're supposed to be tough, and capable, and no-nonsense, then standardized tropes of delicate femininity are a cheap cop-out. There are so few don't-give-a-damn-about-looking-pretty female characters. Even the villains have to be tarted up so that they're attractive. Why do they have to be teh hawt, just because they're female?


Offline J. March OHare

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #36 on: April 18, 2010, 07:23:28 pm »
Saril: "If they're supposed to be tough, and capable, and no-nonsense, then standardized tropes of delicate femininity are a cheap cop-out."

What's wrong with being all of the above?



I'll admit, I'm probably touchy about this because my character Maia, from Folklore, is tough and capable. She's also touchingly vulnerable at times, and she's hawt!

At least, I think she is. :-[

Added in Edit: I just realized that the way I formatted this post probably makes it look like I'm saying that that's Maia pictured above. It isn't. That's Captain Amelia from Treasure Planet, who is also tough, capable, occasionally touchingly vulnerable and hawt!

This is Maia:


« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 07:34:41 pm by J. March OHare »

Offline Saril

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #37 on: April 18, 2010, 07:31:32 pm »
Because then the character is treading dangerously close to Mary Sue/fanboy's dream territory. If they're perfect in every way, they're not believable or relatable.

Offline J. March OHare

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #38 on: April 18, 2010, 07:57:50 pm »
Saril: "If they're perfect in every way, they're not believable or relatable."

Neither of those characters I cited in my last post are perfect in every way, though. Amelia can be bitchy and sarcastic. Maia is prone to black moods when she's unsure of her situation and there's nothing she can do but wait. They're not angels, either one of 'em.

Offline Old Rabbit

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #39 on: April 18, 2010, 08:09:16 pm »
Personally I generally decide on gender by the basic features, clothing, and hairstyles I am used to seeing in real life.   I would imagine most other people do as well.


  
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« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 08:11:31 pm by Old Rabbit »
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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #40 on: April 18, 2010, 08:16:01 pm »
Quote
Let's try to keep this thread instructive.  Comments about those who post does little
to help.

Agreed. Let's try to give LF more instructional help, and less turning this topic into a "debate thread". Thanks. ;)
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Offline Arbutus

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #41 on: April 18, 2010, 08:35:42 pm »
Anyway, my question to the rest of the posters in this thread: Do you always assume any character is male until you are told otherwise? Do Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck look like any real man you've ever seen? Perhaps some of the problem lies with a lazy audience, who needs everything handed to them on a silver platter.

Yes, Donald Duck looks male to me because he's dressed in such a stereotypical male outfit - a blue sailor's shirt and cap. You can chalk that up to lazy cartooning if you want, and I won't disagree - but if I saw a cartoon character dressed in that outfit, and she opened her mouth and a female voice came out, I would do a double-take. As for Bugs Bunny... chest flat as a pancake? Arrow-straight sides with almost no curves? Yeah, that looks pretty male to me.

I agree with most of the rest of what you said, but I take issue with the idea that relying on obvious cues given to you by the cartoonist is "laziness" on the viewers' part. How is it laziness to interpret a character as male if they are drawn with all the typical characteristics of a male? By "typical characteristics," I don't mean things like sultry eyes or bulging biceps, which are gender stereotypes, but rather things like breasts or broad shoulders, which are basic secondary sexual characteristics. Is it laziness for a cartoonist to rely on these latter characteristics to communicate a character's gender? Is that handing things to people on a silver platter, or is that common sense?

Your point that not everyone in real life conforms to these typical body shapes is well taken. You could probably find a million examples of people who don't fit the typical look for their gender. But I could probably find four million examples of people who do, and so I don't think it's out of the question to treat these characteristics as gender markers.

Offline Sskessa

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #42 on: April 18, 2010, 10:15:21 pm »
Quote
I agree with most of the rest of what you said, but I take issue with the idea that relying on obvious cues given to you by the cartoonist is "laziness" on the viewers' part. How is it laziness to interpret a character as male if they are drawn with all the typical characteristics of a male? By "typical characteristics," I don't mean things like sultry eyes or bulging biceps, which are gender stereotypes, but rather things like breasts or broad shoulders, which are basic secondary sexual characteristics. Is it laziness for a cartoonist to rely on these latter characteristics to communicate a character's gender? Is that handing things to people on a silver platter, or is that common sense?

Oh, hm. I shouldn't have been so combative. I apologize. I don't consider your examples to be laziness at all.

So instead, let me say I take issue with readers/viewers who cannot accept a person's gender unless it has the right stereotypical cues. I guess it's not just in fiction, but in reality. For instance, I have a friend who has short hair and wears plaid. When she stood in line for the womens' restroom, some of the other women gave her crap because they thought she was a guy. She has very wide hips, though. I would consider those other women lazy for not being able to see beyond short hair and plaid.

I hope that clears it up. I'm sorry for getting us so off-topic! X|
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Offline Saril

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #43 on: April 18, 2010, 10:36:46 pm »
I think it's all mostly relevant to the topic, though. The original question is, what makes a female female? And we all seem to agree that it's the shape of the body and the face. Fenrir's second drawing of the other character show those off nicely. Tightening up Loki's jacket just a bit, and replacing the flowy skirt with a somewhat tight pair of pants (which would be more practical for swordfighting, anyway), would allow us to notice a normally proportioned female body. I think you're on a fantastic track with the muzzle, Fenrir. I like your style. The other character, as "girly" as she is, still doesn't seem frail or wispy.

It's in asking what makes a female feminine that we get bogged down. It's a much more difficult thing to define. Do all females need to be feminine? No, they don't. Does Loki need to be feminine to be female? No, she doesn't.

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #44 on: April 19, 2010, 01:37:08 am »
I'd say it's primarily the nose.

In fact, I did a quick edit in photoshop to shrink the nose and narrow the muzzle a little to confirm this. Yes, even without making any other changes that makes a huge difference.

(I was going to post it, but I'm having a problem with ftp at the moment.)

Offline Shiro Moonpaw

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #45 on: April 19, 2010, 09:39:29 pm »
I agree with Vararam, the more feminine the facial features the more "girly" your character will be even if said character lacks other feminine qualities.
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Offline LordFenrir

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #46 on: April 22, 2010, 05:09:44 pm »
Started another illustration of Loki and thought I'd post a WIP to see if I'm going in the right direction or need to do something differently:



Thanks for all advice :)

Offline Arbutus

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #47 on: April 22, 2010, 06:56:47 pm »
This one looks much more androgynous than either of the others. I don't think that's a bad thing, given the nature of your character. :)

Offline LordFenrir

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #48 on: April 22, 2010, 07:02:33 pm »
That's sort of the look I was going for.  The character is a rather stern and increasingly unfriendly one, and is in her most basic form  female version of Lord Beckett from the Pirates of the Caribbean films. ;)

I still think her face could be a bit more feminine...I'll see what I can do to tinker with it.

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Offline Shim

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Re: To make a female look female...
« Reply #49 on: April 22, 2010, 07:46:45 pm »
I'm no artist, as I said before.  But I'll echo everybody else here.  The muzzle ;3