To understand why artist do these things with comic book anatomy we should look at the source. So say hallo to Chris Hart! Now according to his bio at the back of the book from which this lovely gem featured it says that Chris “is the world’s best-selling author of drawing and cartooning books.” You heard it first people, he apparently outsold Preston Blair, Eric Goldberg and Richard Williams. “His books have set the standards for art instruction (…) with 2.5 million copies in print in seventeen languages.” So regarding the fact that he has like 80 of these books, I’m gonna say that each sold like an average comic book today. And yes, that’s his entire track record, how-to-draw books!
AHHHHHHHHHHHHH It turns out I NEVER put up the scans I made of Christopher Hart’s “how to draw” books! I thought I did! Time to correct this. >:\
Let’s start with him teaching us how to turn heroes into villains.
I love how the male hero gets more clothed as he turns evil. In fact, he gets SO clothed, you can’t even see his face! But the female hero starts losing chunks and chunks of clothing. I guess we should be thankful she didn’t end up with battle thong, or maybe she will if she gets even MORE evil! (And the guy will have another 5 layers of armor.)
Edit: Other good points from the comments:
- She gets heels when she turns evil, because we all know high heels = sexual woman = evil (her lack of clothing also plays into that.)
- Her fall is described as being from a “traumatic event” which is in contrast to the male hero, and goes into tropes of women being hysterical, emotionally fragile and whose mental and emotional state must be carefully controlled.
- She goes from white skinned and blonde as a “good girl” to non-white, with frizzy hair (and before it turns orange, it gets progressively darker) as the evil girl.
A) I love how drawing women to him means “drawing women who wear make up in a style I like” and that superheroines apparently spend a lot of their off-time applying mascara and eyeliner.
B) Men can’t wear earrings? Women must?
C) Again, the intense fear of making women “masculine.” Apparently nose bridges are only for men now. We must inform our DNA of this!
D) I wish he would stop using “woman” to mean just one really really thin narrow standard of beauty. Supposedly, he’s teaching people how to draw WOMEN right, not “this particular woman, complete with make up and pouty lips.”
He’s not teaching us how to draw women as much as his (and society’s) artificial idea of what women should look like, complete with eyeliner, mascara and earrings.
That’s Christopher Hart teaching us how to draw men. Seems like a lot of variety. He even includes non-muscular thin men and fat men. Looks good. I’m glad that we have an artist who gets that there’s a variety of characters you might have to draw and that different body shapes adds to the differentiation of characters! How refreshi-
Um… So we have one thin athletic large breasted woman… one thin slightly smaller breasted woman, and a whole bunch of thin large breasted women… and apparently pants are banned in the Hart-verse.
My brain boggles at how he could create those 2 pages and not have his head explode from the double standard.
Edit: I forgot to comment on the captions (I was tired when I was writing this up) Even though men are allowed in the Hart-verse to be fat, apparently they can either be jolly or villains, but not heroes. And with the women he outright admits that we exist only for sex appeal. -_-
I love how men aren’t just fully clothed in Christopher Hart’s world, but that they always seem to have their faces covered too. xD As usual, the woman seems to have left large chunks of her outfit at home (though she does have half her face covered, which I guess is good because we wouldn’t want her to mess up her carefully applied lipstick would we? Remember, she’s been applying that lipstick since before she got out of the washroom!)
But I’m posting this specifically to note:
On men they show strength. On women, they show sex appeal.
Which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone given that it’s pretty obvious to most that men in comics are drawn to embody strength and power while women are drawn to be appealing to the presumed-to-be hetero male reader. But it’s nice that he actually says it, since a common excuse for Escher Girl art is “but men are meant to be sex objects too!”
As I always say, I’m fine with people who say “but comics are MEANT for hetero men and their sexual fantasies!” and then we’ll have THAT debate, but let’s not pretend okay?
After looking at the affront to character design that was Christopher Hart’s How to Draw, I decided to take his character guidelines & approach them from my background in animation design. The anatomy isn’t perfect, & they’re very generic, but it certainly shows how much fun an artist can have varying what a woman looks like.