Episode 584 - Drawing gender

May 23, 2022

We start off with the idea of talking about art techniques, tips and tricks we've mastered and could help people with but the cast turned into a discussion about drawing male and female characters- also trans, androgynous, etc. There's an art to representing gender in imagery! It's super important to remember that the way we see gender in art is mainly culture based rather than an innate biological reaction and the perception of gender in art is different according to your cultural background. It's basically a visual language that everyone learns, but as an artist you have to learn to actually “speak” it, and that's not as straight forward as you think.

Topics and Show Notes

A rough example of of how culture based our perception of gender in imagery is:

- In most Western art the “male” is the default. We take for granted that a figure is male in art unless it's augmented in some way, the most basic version is the stick figure. These are men. To make a female stick figure you add long hair, a dress or boobs. Some or all of that, it doesn't matter. And this scales up to other representations. A natural, more realistic depiction of a female person won't always read as a woman in art unless they are “feminised” in some way, i.e. a prominent bust, removing angles and lines and adding soft, rounded features, featured lips, larger eyes, thin waste, wide hips, long legs, large thighs, styled hair, thin neck, large head. And doing any of that to a male figure is a way to “feminise” them or blend their gender.

-In comic art from places like Japan and Korea it's the opposite somewhat, especially manga. The female form there is more of the default. Male characters involve a lot more augmentation to create a “masculine” effect, sometimes bordering on caricature, as can happen with female characters in Western art. A generic male manga character would typically read as more “feminine” if dumped straight into a western context.

In times past the focus was more on primary (genitals), or secondary (beards, boobs etc), sexual characteristics, i.e the Venus of Willendorf (a very female form) and male figures with disproportionately sized penises. While early Egyptian sculpture is pretty androgynous in his regard, male and female are not well differentiated, the main focus is on the build - eg. men having slightly broader chests. Early Greek sculpture even more so with simple abstract forms representing “humans”. Much later on this changed into a more separated, codified style: men being heavy, muscular, bearded, women being soft and slim, with youth of both sexes being more androgynous. Interestingly genitals were very diminished in this art, penises were small and flaccid, while vaginas were never depicted.
Though it was a different story with the art intended for more secular, “common” consumption, which could show pornographic scenes (mainly 2D). Art featuring Satyrs or Priapus massively exaggerated the genitals for deliberate comedic effect. For them focus on genitals didn't indicate masculinity or femininity so much as comedy, stupidity, shame, or porn.

Basically gender in art isn't about genitals or genetics, it's all culture based and you need to learn the visual language of your audience to make yourself understood by them, as well as to confuse them or subvert their expectations!
What trouble have you had when depicting gender? I always run into issues myself. I make my women too angular and my men are too slim.

This week Gunwallace has given us a theme to Gyor - Charged up, magnetically accelerating into clean, sweeping, panoramic electronic tones, momentarily overrun by a furious chaotic electric discharge, only to return to serenity once more.


Topics and shownotes

Links

Featured comic:
Gyor - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2022/may/17/featured-comic-gyor/

Featured music:
Gyor - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Gyor/ - by Tuxie, rated E.


Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
PitFace - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/
Kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei/

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Episode 572 - Myths of fiction part 2

Feb 28, 2022

4 likes, 0 comments

Last week we did a thing of the persistent myths of fiction- fictional conventions that we all just accept, and are repeated over and over and even influence real life- for example: that people are blasted back in reaction to being shot. It started as a way of making shooting scenes more dramatic and obvious on film, but became a convention and we all believe it so much that it influences reality- it's part of the famous JFK conspiracy about a “second shooter” because people foolishly think JFK's head rocking “back and to the left” indicated the direction of a gunshot. The kinetic energy of a bullet is imparted to the medium it strikes, typically through heat and destruction when it hits a soft target like a human.

Episode 533 - Can Mary Sues be likeable?

May 30, 2021

5 likes, 0 comments

We've done a few Quackcasts about how terrible Mary Sues are… well this is the opposite! Tantz postulated that they can be likable and GOOD for a story and then won us over easily by telling us why during our Patreon video. In the Quackcast Banes and I join in, having been convinced of the idea. We talk about how if the Mary Sue is a likable, good person, genuinely humble or altruistic and helpful then that can mitigate their Mary Sueness. Whereas if they're selfish, take their status for granted, take advantage of others or are just there to be marvelled and worshiped by the astonished onlookers (re: Rey), they can be unpleasant.

Episode 526 A return to Mary Sue!

Apr 12, 2021

5 likes, 3 comments

Mary Sues are always a fun topic! There are some misconceptions about them though… Mary Sues aren't all female, they can be any gender. Being super powerful or super popular or super pretty etc doesn't equal a Mary Sue, not even if your character super stands out next to all the others, those things ONLY indicate they might possibly be one. What equals a Mary Sue is a character that doesn't have to struggle very hard for anything, a character that is almost universally admired, and or loved (even by the enemy), a character that masters hard skills with ease and ends up teaching the teachers and beating the masters, a character that's destined to succeed and does in spite of internal story logic… All these things and more can add up to make a Mary Sue.

Episode 523 - The Resonance of Folk tales

Mar 22, 2021

5 likes, 0 comments

Folk tales are the primordial ooze of culture. Nobody knows where these stories began, nobody owns them, They're added to and expanded by successive generations. They spread and grow because they have resonance to all sorts of different people across time, different languages, and ethnicities. We talk about that resonance and why these stories still have meaning for us today, why new ones are still being created, and why you're free to use Beauty and the Beast or Snow White and the Seven Dwarves for your own creative projects without worrying about copyright issues.

Episode 495 - A fan of fanfiction?

Sep 7, 2020

3 likes, 0 comments

Fanfiction is a massive subject, there are so many aspects to it, from the bad stuff with the Mary Sues, rampant shipping, author inserts and wish fulfilment etc to homages and great works that extend the story and characters beyond what they were in the original and add interesting and fun aspects to fan favourites. There are many good reasons to do fanfiction: It's fun, you're inspired and want to use that inspiration, all the characteristics of the story are readymade so you don't have to do world building or character development, the work has a built in audience so you're going to have readers no matter what and hopefully some feedback, it can help make you more popular as a creator because of the fans of the original work, and you get to experiment because you can't sell the work or do anything serious with it so you may as well have fun and enjoy it!

Episode 489 - Continuity

Jul 26, 2020

3 likes, 0 comments

It's just Banes, Tantz and me today, chatting about the important topic of continuity! How do you maintain it, what continuity errors have you made, what continuity errors have you noticed in media? What's the difference between character continuity, story continuity and chronological continuity? - Something you notice when you watch or read a series in chronological order that was were NOT produced or meant to be viewed that way.

Episode 482 - 2n Guess

Jun 7, 2020

2 likes, 2 comments

Tantz's newspost on Saturday about the problems of second guessing yourself and the issues that can arise from that was the inspiration for this week's newspost. Second guessing yourself can have GOOD possibilities and negative ones. The good: it forces you to hone your creative work and improve it, you don't just put things out there, you evaluate them and improve them! The bad: you can get stuck in a loop where you keep on thinking your stuff is not good enough, you might get hung up on one little thing and never move past it.


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