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Anime and manga illustration is a style that involves both simplification and exaggeration. This means we see a very clear difference between men and women characters in anime and manga. Today we’ll be looking at some of those differences, as we study men and women’s bodies. If drawn using these techniques, you should be able to tell if you’re looking at a masculine or feminine presenting character, just from their silhouette.
Let’s get started!
Men and women’s anatomy share a lot of the same balance points – for example the length of the arms and legs in relation to the rest of their body is the same in both men and women. However, the outline or “silhouette” of the two body types is different. Put very simply, a feminine body will have more rounded, curved lines, as if the silhouette is made up of circles, and the masculine body will have more straight lines, and a top-heavy silhouette like an upside-down triangle. In general, a men will be taller, and have wider shoulders too.
Using these basic shapes as a base for the male and female bodies will really help bring out the physical characteristics of each base body type.
Characteristics of a feminine silhouette
Women’s bodies tend to have more curves than men’s, and by emphasising these curves, we can create a silhouette that is easily recognisable as a female character.
・Hourglass shaped torso, like a figure of 8
・Curvy body line
・Slim shoulders (about 1.5x the width of the head)
・Small waist (about the same width as the head)
・Larger hips (about 1.8x the width of the head)
Characteristics of a masculine silhouette
Some of the clearer differences in the overall shape of a male figure are the squarer shape of the chest and pelvis, and the lower position of the waist. Men’s waists tend to come a little lower than halfway between the neck and crotch, whereas women’s waists come almost exactly at that mid point.
・Wide chest and smaller hips, forming a triangle shape
・Angular body line
・Broader shoulders (about 2x the width of the head)
So how did you find the lesson? Hopefully this lesson served as a helpful guide to drawing different body types. Keep these differences in mind when drawing your characters, and you’ll be able to get a great natural balance to your character’s silhouettes.
Finally, we should mention that because this was a guide to anatomy, we talked about these as “male” and “female” body types, but we understand the spectrum isn’t that simple! Of course the gender you assign to your characters is totally up to you, regardless of their body type.
Keep working hard, and enjoy your studies!