Do you ever feel like you can’t quite get the body right when you draw anime women? Since the anime style is quite simplified, the face can feel easier to draw, but the body actually draws a lot on real human anatomy, so it can be a lot trickier! Especially when it comes to curvier, glamourous figures, the way the curves appear on each woman is different, so it’s a very difficult area to get right.
Personal preference is important too – since there are countless different body types out there. You should take a look at lots of reference material and find the balance that you would like to recreate in your work!
As well as practicing using reference photographs, take a look at some of the tips below to help you draw beautifully balanced female figures!
“Sexy” characters tend to be 7.5 to 8 heads tall
Use very rough guidelines for your first draft
Rough guidelines, known as “atari sen”, in Japanese, are a vital part of illustration, even for pros. Overall balance is key – so instead of focusing in on one part and starting to draw from the top down, use rough lines to get a grasp of the shape of the whole body. It’s usually possible to spot any imbalances at this stage, and iron them out as you work towards your final draft.
Rough guidelines are the blueprint, and the foundation for your character, so never skip this step!
1- Use “atari lines” to work out the pose you want to use, and the overall balance of the body
2- Flesh out the guidelines and roughly sketch the outline of the body
3- Using the rough sketch as a base, draw in your final linework
Curves are super important!
To draw a “sexy” adult anime woman, we need to emphasise the most feminine parts of the body. That is, the breasts, bum, hips and waist – basically all the curves in her body.
Some of you might feel called out here, and I’m sorry… but drawing huge, perfectly round breasts is not the way to go when aiming for a “curvy” character!
Of course, the size of the breasts and bum is totally up to you. But remember the soft, natural curves of the body! Think of how the breasts are affected by gravity, and think of them as having a soft, almost “water balloon” consistency. We don’t want two hard, soccer ball shapes just stuck on to the body.
Also, be careful not to neglect the curves on the rest of the body. The hips and bum are equally (if not more!) important in making a character look curvy and feminine. Make sure the waist is defined, and the tummy and hips are curved out to make a rounded, soft appearance.
Women are naturally designed to hold more body fat than men, and the way this fat is distributed around the body is different too. Healthy women usually store fat in their buttocks, hips, lower abdomen and thighs – so even a very slim woman should have some definition here, to prevent her stomach, hips and legs from looking underdeveloped or boyish.
Use dynamic poses
Now that we’ve given our character some great curves, we want to show them off! Use poses that involve a lot of bending and curving, to show off the curves of your character. “Contrapposto” is a technique that involves setting the shoulders and hips on opposite angles, to make your character’s pose look more interesting and dynamic. This is a great technique for creating glamourous and sexy poses too!
Take a look at the following example poses, and see how the feminine body shape has been accentuated by the way the character is positioned. Use these poses, and some example images of your own, to practice drawing curvy, sexy characters in a style that you think looks attractive!
Learn more about character design on our online illustration courses at Anime Art Academy!