You have a fairly good grasp of figure drawing, but somehow your women don't come away looking like... women. Here are the features to emphasize in order to create a more feminine look to your female figures.With all figure drawing, you should begin with the torso, and end with the head. This is because the torso affects limb placement, and these together affect the angle of the head. Redrawing a head to suit a body is much easier than the other way around. For the sake of clarity, however, we will begin with facial features.
- 1Draw an oval face. Angles give it a more masculine look. Females often have softer chins and other features, so avoid squaring the jaw or sinking the cheeks until you have the other points mastered.
- 2Draw a center-line through the oval to position the features. The eyes are approximately halfway down the head (measuring from the top of the head, not the hairline--hair should come later). The nose begins at the eyeline, and ends approximately halfway between the eyeline and the bottom of the chin. The mouth falls approximately halfway between the bottom of the nose and the bottom of the chin. Draw horizontal lines to act as guides, and we'll go over each facial feature.
- 3Draw the eyes. The eyes are usually spaced one eye-length apart. When drawing feminine eyes, remember that femininity is associated with softness and roundness. Large, rounded eyes will have a more feminine look than small, narrow ones. If your 'subject' has visible eyelid creases, articulate them well, and space them far enough from the eye as to be noticeable. Large irises are associated with both femininity and youth. Long, dark, well illustrated eyelashes on both upper and lower lids are possibly considered the most feminine of the eye features. Remember that eyelashes curve outward as well as upward.
- 4Master drawing the nose. The nose is one of the most difficult features to master, and also the one that can most affect how feminine or masculine your portrait will appear. Again, femininity is associated with softness and roundness--and in this particular case, a smaller size. Larger noses are considered more masculine than smaller one. You may use sharper angles on the tip of the nose if you like, but articulate everything very softly. The fewer lines and the lighter the shading, the better. Illustrate the bridge as little as possible. The alae (the 'wings' protruding from each side of the nose) should be drawn in very lightly, if at all.
- 5Draw the mouth. The mouth requires the same treatment as the eyes do. Soft and round, often large but not necessarily so. Lips do not usually seem to divide in the center of the mass. Typically the upper and lower lips will seem asymmetrical, with the lower being thicker, and the upper thinner. Often this is because the 'face' of the upper lip is slanted slightly downward, reducing the view. The mouth is possibly the easiest to 'feminize'. As long as both lips, both upper and lower, are well articulated, you're good to go.
Her FigureMove on to the figure. This isn't a lesson on figure drawing, but rather on what particular points will add more feminine qualities to the figures you are already drawing. We will assume that you have a fair grasp of human anatomy and simply touch on the areas that will help give your figures a more womanly appearance.
- 1Drawing the neck. The female neck is often thinner, though not necessarily longer, than the male neck. While male necks will often begin at the jawline, a female neck should begin notably inside that. Use the outside of your eyes as a guide. The clavicles (the two lovely curved collar bones) are usually more pronounced in females, as are the tendons that run up the neck between the clavicle and the head.
- 2Work on the shoulders. Female shoulders are generally narrower than male shoulders, and are slanted downward at a steeper angle.
- 3Doing the feminine torso. The breasts are the most obvious addition to feminize the silhouette, but they aren't the most important. Femininity is summed up by the softly curved, rounded hourglass silhouette. The top of the hourglass is not created by the breasts--it is created by the shoulders. The shoulders and hips should be spaced roughly equal, with the torso narrowing significantly in the midsection. The narrowest spot should be just below the ribs, and just above the navel. Creating this silhouette will feminize even the most poorly 'endowed' figures. When articulating the abdomen, many people gravitate to a complete straight, even concave belly. Even when illustrating a very fit woman, the very curve of her frame will create a gentle, round slope beginning at the navel and descending to the groin. The buttocks are similar in that extra roundness in this area will feminize any silhouette (male or female!)
- 4Concentrate on her limbs. Female limbs are generally more slender than male limbs, and less muscularly articulated. This is because woman have a greater ratio of body fat to muscle mass than men do. This obscures most of the muscular striations. Because of this, articulate your muscles softly. It is not necessary to make your females flaccid and unfit to feminize them, simply use a gentle hand and avoid hard, sharp lines when illustrating muscles. It is also important to note that women carry more mass (fat and muscle) below the waist than above it, and the legs will often be round and substantial, even with slender arms.
- Work hard on the hands. A small palm with slender fingers, tapered at the tips to avoid looking 'stubby'. The wrist bone will also be more pronounced here than on most male figures.
- Work equally hard on the feet. As above. Small, slender, with more articulated anklebones.
- Remember that every woman is different, and your drawings should reflect that. Drawing the same person over and over again gets tiresome for the artist as well as the viewer.
- Soft and round. This is the essence of the female figure.
- Your hair is another important part. Straight and boyish cuts can sometimes be mistaken for a man, but long and wavy hair has a more feminine look.
- Once you have a good grasp of what makes your female figures look feminine, experiment with different combinations--it is NOT necessary to combine all of the above instructions at once. Some women have sharper angles in their faces, larger hands, or broader shoulders. Simply remember that the 'masculine' attributes of your female drawing need to be a minority to the feminine aspects in order for the gender to be evident.
- A working knowledge of human anatomy, as well as figure drawing, is required! If you need more study in those areas, the instructions here will not help you. First learn to make your figures look human, and then focus on the gender details.
Things You'll Need
- Pencil and eraser.
- A good grasp of figure drawing and human anatomy.