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Tips for Drawing Menfolk

Journal Entry: Sat Oct 3, 2015, 9:23 PM
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So, looking at art for inspiration (I have it, now that it's too late at night to draw, haha) and noticing how there are a lot of people who find it tricky to draw men.  Well, I do have bits of experience, so I'll share what I've been taught by others and observed myself.

I know deviantART is full of kids, and kids generally find facial hair gross.  But regardless whether you like it, hate it, or are neutral, men often have some sort of facial hair, if nothing but stubble in the morn before they shave.  If you're designing male characters, it won't hurt to give some of them beards, moustaches, sideburns (the only kind I'm personally fond of) et cetera.  You don't have to do this for all, naturally.  Clean-shaven is fine as well.  Just remember, guys do grow whiskers!

A basic stylistic tip is ANGLES.  I saw tons of men drawn with tiny waists and big hips.  That's almost always a womanly trait (I have seen some really wonky looking males with a build somewhat like this, but they were very unattractive, and in the angular way it existed it was still definitely a man.)  Men generally have broader shoulders, even the lankier men.  Their hips are usually narrow.  (Women have wide hips for child-bearing.  Men have narrow hips for various other reasons.)  They don't really 'curve', they angle.  Their fingers are thicker and stubbier, their joints more noticeable.  Their builds are sinewy and ready to build (or already have) muscle from all that testosterone.  Big bones.  Look at anatomy differences, from muscles to bone structure, on different men and women.

:bulletwhite:  THICK NECKS.  
Men don't always have super thick, bodybuilder necks where it seems their head just goes straight down into their shoulders.  Do NOT do that every time.  BUT, they DO NOT HAVE thin little womanly necks.  I saw quite a bit of this while looking at art.  Better to do a bit too thick than a bit too thin, then find what you need.  

:bulletwhite:  BODY HAIR.
YEAH, I'm'a going to cover this, too!  Men have body hair, darn it!  And it usually looks great!  (Unless you're not to puberty yet, or only a little--a few years--past puberty's beginning...then you still have enough child-mindset to think body hair is gross, likely. It's a common occurrence, don't worry.)  Arm hair, leg hair, armpit hair, chest hair, belly hair, back hair, knuckle hair, ear hair...yes, even pubic area hair (though, I don't draw privates.)  All men have some of these areas covered in hair, to some degree.  Some men have less back hair, some have none, some are a carpet.  Many don't have ear hair, some won't 'til they're old.  And so on.  Don't be afraid to try out different kinds (curly, sparse, straight) and patterns of hair across your male characters.  It won't kill them, I promise.  
Also, eyebrows.  Men's eyebrows are usually thick, and there are a wide variety of shapes!

:bulletwhite:  MUSCLES.
This goes back a bit to angles, but.  Men tend to have more muscles than women, even when they don't try, because of a magical little chemical called testosterone being more present in their body than women's.  Look up muscle structure, study it.  It'll help you to know how things look when a person moves so that you can pose them well.  But here's another thing to remember:  healthy people also have a little body fat, as well as skin (I'd hope you have skin!).  Don't draw the man as if he's nothing but skin-colored muscle.  It looks hokey.  It's not normal to look like that, and people that look anything close to it have either no life, take steroids, or both.  Just a little body fat rounds out, fills in, and cushions the body and organs.  (But men are still angular, even with that.)  

:bulletwhite:  TIGHT PANTS.
...What the, what kind of section title is that???
I'm just saying, there are so many deviations putting male characters in incredibly TIGHT or incredibly LOW pants.  Now, I'm not saying you can't do that.  (I personally wouldn't, but I'm not you.)  I'm just saying, be CAREFUL how you do that.  Men have privates on the outside, if you haven't learned that yet, and when you put them in very tight or very low pants......most of the time it looks like they were emasculated just to fit into them.  I'm no perv, and I'm not even looking and I notice that, so can you see where I'm going with this?  It ends up looking unrealistic.  No, don't give them a bulge or anything (ick, tacky).  What I'm saying is, if you make sure the pants have "breathing room," it won't look like you emasculated the character to get them into those darn pants.  They're not women, you can't hide their junk with a teeeeny bit of cloth that's barely stretched from hip bone to hip bone.  I'll say it again, it's just unfeasible.  (Sure, they could be tiiiiny there, but...well, if that's what you are intending, that's really none of my business......)

:bulletwhite:  JAWLINES.
A wonderful thing about the male human is their jaws and chins.  A quote from Wikipedia (yesss, Wikipedia.  I'm lazy at present, but this is accurate,) says, "Males generally have squarer, stronger, and larger mandibles than females."  There's such variety, you can find anything to suit your desires when looking for the right jaw for your male character (and believe me, the right jaw can increase their attractiveness by quite a lot!).  PLEASE feel free to experiment with them!  You'll want to find the exact angle you want, whether the chin is pronounced or less so, whether the jaw's angle at the mandible's corner is very pointed or subtle... There are even cleft chins!

:bulletwhite:  EYES.
Men usually have shorter eyelashes than women.  When they do have longer eyelashes, it tends to look a bit different than it would with a female.  Be sure to look into this so you don't make your male look unusual.

:bulletwhite: ABS
No, no, not anti-lock brakes!  Abdominal muscles!  Stop drawing men with a zillion of these, you only have so many!!!  Humans only have a few, look it up.  You have six.  An exception to this is Franky from ONE PIECE, but he is a cyborg and clearly does not count.  

If you're young (let's say, sixteen years old and below?  Although that's probably not a good enough range) you're especially likely to make the "dude looks like a lady" mistake!  Very young people are still going through all kinds of hormonal bizarreness, as well as having the disadvantage of (often, but not always) being less practiced or educated as their other artist peers.  (But that's what this little journal is for, to start helping!).  Another issue is girls are used to seeing themselves in the mirror, or seeing other girls often (because of their peers) and thus their brain says, "draw a human with these lines."  But, under most circumstances, people are fairly sexually dimorphic.  They have clear differences.  Anatomy study (there are lots of good examples here on dA, as well as plenty of stock models here and elsewhere online, and scientific drawings online) is incredibly useful, EVEN IF YOU PLAN ON ONLY drawing cartoons!!!  Why?  How can you draw a believable cartoon if you don't know how the real thing works?  Note that the best cartoon artists can usually draw a fairly good picture of a real person.  You'll get tips that will give more depth to your cartoon/manga drawings.  You really will!  

:bulletwhite:  EXCEPTIONS.
There are exceptions, like if you're going SUPER stylized and want a really scrawny, wimpy man, or perhaps an old man.  Or if you draw a woman with a very thick neck because she's a body builder.  And then there's overweight/obese people.  Obese men have curves, albeit usually different curves than obese women.  I won't go into that here, because I don't draw fat people, and that's not (usually) what people draw anyway.
Bishounen can sometimes fit in the exception category.  Often the point of bishounen is to look feminine, but still have a p**is under everything.  I have no idea why you'd want that, but, it's an exception if that's what you're going for.  BUT, there are bishounen where the man is pretty but still looks like a man (take Sanji from ONE PIECE, he's sometimes been lumped into a bishounen category.)

If you have any other tips to add, feel free to comment.

Yes, I'm tired.  Bye.

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If you were to pick up a Sherlock Holmes pastiche, you'd be drawn to a cover that was... 

11 deviants said ...Something with a very cool cover illustration, especially if it depicted a more canonical Holmes and not a stereotype.
6 deviants said ...Realy classic looking. A solid-colour hardback with gold lettering and intricate design.
1 deviant said ...Something else (comment, please!)
No deviants said ...A photograph


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KakariGeikoGirl Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2015  Student General Artist
Yo! Always a pleasure to meet a fellow Christian here:D
KaizokuShojo Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2015   Traditional Artist
It is, isn't it? :D
KakariGeikoGirl Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2015  Student General Artist
Donnietu Featured By Owner May 5, 2015  Student General Artist
Have a Happy Birthday!!!!
KaizokuShojo Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2015   Traditional Artist
Thanks! :D
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