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 583 - Why is it bad?

May 16, 2022

2 likes, 0 comments

Spoiler- we don't actually talk much about Yu-Gi-Oh! But I feel it's a good example of a pretty bad a so-bad-it's-good story, but bad nevertheless. The idea we're talking about here is that it's useful to look at bad stories and stick with them because they can really help you write better. They're a lot more useful than good stories because you'd rather just enjoy those and it's a bit harder to examine them for technical details, but with “bad” stories the faults stand out strongly. Instead of simply dismissing a bad story or making fun of it, it's more useful and valuable to try and “fix” it: try and work out why it seems bad and think about what would be needed to make it better, then think about how that applies to your own work. Maybe you're actually making many of the same mistakes?

Episode 574 - Odd-ball, norm-ball, every ball!

Mar 14, 2022

4 likes, 0 comments

I consider Drunk Duck (or the Duck Webcomics) to be the Heavy Metal of webcomic hosting sites, because like that excellent anthology comic publication we celebrate the oddballs. On DD we have comics of all different styles, many that would find it hard or even impossible to promote themselves anywhere else. We're open to all skill levels and all styles. We only promote things we consider to have high quality or high potential in our features, but we don't have a particular style prejudice, we don't only feature things that give us a homogeneous, unified look. We're proud of our variety! We don't gate keep or block anyone from access to our site and we feel that's one of our greatest strengths.

Episode 560 - When Fiction Meets Reality

Dec 5, 2021

4 likes, 2 comments

We all know that fiction and reality are separate things, but fiction mirrors reality and we suspend disbelief to ignore the parts that are unrealistic so that we often treat fiction the same way AS reality. But there are many tropes and aspects of fiction that ONLY work in fiction and can't work in reality. I was inspired to examine this idea because of our Fetish-cast with Fallopian Crusader and his idea that certain fetishes can only exist in comics.

Episode 557 - Fetishes in comics

Nov 15, 2021

5 likes, 9 comments

Fallopiancrusader joined us as a very special guest to chat about fetishes in comics! It's really interesting and he brings his expertise with adult comics and his wide ranging knowledge of comics in general to bear on the subject. So what are fetishes? Well they're often things that people have sort of a sexual interest in but aren't always associated with sex themselves, they're peripheral to sex. Because of that they're often enjoyed and appreciated in their own right for their own sake! Think of things like body piercings, tight laced corsets, wearing fursuits, spanking, wearing S&M leather and PVC gear, shoe appreciation etc. all things associated with sex that people can also enjoy and appreciate outside of sex.

Episode 556 - That's What She Said!

Nov 8, 2021

4 likes, 0 comments

The other day Tantz Aerine wrote a newspost about an article critical of Squid Game. The crux of things was that the Squid Game creator had said their message was anti-capitalist, while this critic was saying that the author's message with the Squid Game was an anti communist critique and not a very good one at that. The issue here is that isn't how you do criticism. At all. You can give an interesting reading of something and tell us why YOU think it's anti-Communist, or tell us how it looks through the lens of post-colonialism or new wave feminism etc, but you can't say that is what the author is saying or what the work means, especially if the author explicitly says WHAT they are saying. This may seem like a small distinction but it's actually very, very important. Bad criticism often tells us what the creator is saying. Don't do that. Don't be that person.

Episode 555 - Group shots!

Nov 1, 2021

3 likes, 0 comments

This week we're talking about group shots and how cool they can be! I love drawing them, having all your characters together in the frame is so cool and fun- you can hint at character relationships, have them doing some sort of fantasy activity or just being awesome and posing together. We also chat about some of our fave group shots in film like the beginning of Reservoir Dogs, and the most prolific source of group images ever: album art!

Episode 552 - Tropes we like

Oct 11, 2021

2 likes, 0 comments

Last time we covered tropes we hated! This time we're talking about clichés we actually like. It's quite a bit trickier because clichés are clichés for a reason (overuse) so it's not easy to like them, except in some cases… For me it's Isekai. That's a Japanese word for “another world”. This is a very old genre, it's basically a story where a person from our normal world goes to a magical world, we see this in ancient fairy stories, Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and many others. until the mid 20th century it was the default way of writing any fantasy story. It has always been around, the Japanese were just the first to come up with a popular name for it.


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