Course on drawing men and women





[1] About this course

Many people aren’t familiar with drawing character of the opposite gender since they only practice either male or female character. Procedures of drawing male and female characters are very different.


In this course, I will explain how to draw the male and female face, the difference in body structure, and tips on drawing male and female poses.



[2] Drawing male and female face

First, I will explain points to be aware of when drawing male and female face.

Let’s take a look at the differences among children, adult women, and adult men with examples.




■ Children


The front side of Children's face can be outlined by combining two large circles. The jaw is not sharp at all, and the roundness of the cheeks stand out.

When drawing from the side, draw as if the nose line follows through the two big circles.

There is not much difference between the two genders at this age. This is also true for a small and round-faced female or a deformed illustration.




■ Adult women


Female face is slightly slimmer than that of a child, but the head and cheeks are round.

Since the nose is rather flat, you can slightly draw the tip of the nose for the front side of the face. From the side, the tip of the nose is slightly lifted upwards.

Hairline has a lot of downy hair, so vaguely draw with a curve.




■ Adult men


The face of a man is more angular.

Nose line is firm and sometimes connected with the eyebrow line. From the side, the nose tip is headed downward, thus resulting in a straight looking forehead and nose.

The hairline is also angular and obvious.


When drawing male and female faces, be aware of these differences.


[3] Difference of body between men and women

Next, I will explain the differences in the body shape and balance.




■ Comparing male and female body shape


Let's compare the body shape of a child/short woman, a relatively tall woman, and a somewhat slender and tall man.

The size of the rib cage and the pelvis bone is decisively different between men and women. This distinguishes the body lines of male and female.




■ Children body shape


First, we begin with children’s body shape.

The rib cage is about the same size as head, and it's a small egg-like shape.

While the width of the hip bone is the same as that of the rib cage, the height of it is about half of the skull. The butt is therefore small.

The waist doesn't stand out because of the small rib cage bone and the narrow pelvis bone.




■ Female body shape


Women’s rib cage bone is egg-like shaped similar to that of a child, but it is longer.

The buttock looks larger than the upper body because the pelvis bone is wider.

The waist curves above the belly since there is a significant gap between small rib cage bone and wide pelvis bone.




■ Male body shape


The vertical length of Male’s rib cage bone is 1.5 times that of a head and 1.2 times horizontally. Upper body appears large compared to that of woman and spreads downward.

Pelvis bone has a similar width to rib cage bone and it is vertically long.

The body is not curvy since there is a small gap between the rib cage bone and the pelvis bone, while the waist area is packed with muscle.




■ The position of waist and belly button


Let's compare the body shape of a man and a woman in detail.

You can see that the height of the shoulder (clavicle) and groin (the thickest part of the butt) is different.

The most important thing is the positional relationship between the waist and the belly button. Comparing the height of the belly button with reference to the waist position, you can see that the female belly button is far from the waist while the male belly button is located close to the waist.

By the way, the shape of the belly button is also different for men and women. Women's belly button looks plump due to fat and vertically long, whereas male belly button is stretched out horizontally and seems shallow. Although it is a small detail, whether it is vertical or horizontal may give a very different impression.




■ Shoulder width difference


Both men and women have shoulders located in the torso and the shoulders become wider as the ribs (torso) become larger.


The common mistake when drawing a slender man is a case where the body is drawn as thin as a woman with a broad shoulder.

An unnatural gap will appear under the armpit if you draw the shoulder widely. This would make it challenging to draw the joint between the arm and chest. Also, because the waist is too thin relative to the shoulder width, the higher the height, the worse the balance gets. Let's watch out.




■ Side view


Let's compare the physique of a man and a woman as seen from the side.

Women's waist is curvier than male’s. Feminine poses can be drawn by emphasizing this characteristic.


By slanting the upper body, the breast looks bigger. As the buttock lifts upward, the curvature of the waist gets more emphasized. For man, by emphasizing the back, the waist would appear slimmer.

Also, the lower abdomen of a woman pops out a bit compared to that of a man.


Since women’s buttocks consist of more fat than for men, it is larger at the bottom; therefore, the line flows more smoothly to the thigh. The curve of the legs gradually expands and forms the shape of the buttocks.

The boundary between men’s buttocks and thighs are more evident because it seems as if it’s suddenly lifted and expanded. Since the waist does not curve so much, the buttocks look slim.




■ Diagonal direction


Let’s compare from the diagonal direction.

Women’s lower abdomen and buttocks stick out, and this is further emphasized by bending their back.

Men’s lower abdomen and waist ~ buttocks are drawn in a flat line.

Even in the same pose, you can distinguish them by the curvature of their waist.




■ Differences when wearing clothes


The difference between the male/female body shape can also be seen when wearing clothes or by the height of the belt/trousers.

It easy for women to wear clothes that sit between the breast and belly button line. For men, it is the area between the belly button and right above the buttocks.

Moreover, women can also wear low-rise trousers.


Since the woman wears a belt high up on the torso and has a small upper body, her lower body appears relatively larger.

Since the man wears a belt lower and has a large upper body, you can express the thickness of his chest. Also, you look slim below the belt.


The height of the belt is very important for an androgynous character.

Beware of outfit design for buttocks line of a woman and back line of a man stressed by the position of the belt. It is even more apparent from behind.




■ Male/female physique variations


There are more than two ways to draw man and woman.

By gradually mixing masculine and feminine features depending on age and physique, you can draw many different body types.


Portray male character with back muscles and straight waist, while stressing wide buttocks and curved hips for female characters.


[4] Tips on drawing male and female poses

Finally, I will explain how to draw poses that utilize difference in physique between genders.




■ Bridal carry


“Bridal carry” is a pose where a man holds a woman in his arms.


As for male character to support the weight of the female character, he needs to lean back a little.

Clavicle and collar expand in an upward direction.


His hands should support the woman’s back and her knees. Drawing his palm first will make the procedure easier.

Draw his elbow at the height of the waist and arms.


We express firmly standing legs by the curve of muscles in thighs and calves. Let's be aware of the letter S shape.


As for the female character, start drawing from torso to knee and adjust the position, so that the hands of the male character support her back and the back of her knees.

You can see the buttocks because the body tilts a bit while being held.


By changing the angle of the feet for both legs, you can portray the sense of exhaustion while being held.


Bend his back a little and draw his face closer so that she can wrap her arms around his neck.


Next is line drawing.

Bend the first and second finger joint of the supporting character. Spacing the pinky finger away would portray a sense of natural tension.


If the character is wearing a skirt, there would be wrinkles in several areas.

There is a wrinkle follows the line from the buttocks to the knee because it is being pulled by the hand that is supporting the back of her knees.

The fabric drops down as it connects between the two curves of the knees, and bunches up into larger folds around the stomach.


The deflection of the fabrics causes the fabric around the buttocks area to drape. Draw while being aware that the tip of the fabric gets lifted upward.




■ Place the hand on the wall


This a pose where the opponent is pushed to the wall and the hand is placed on the wall.


To make the following procedures easier, drawing the outline of the wall first then the hand accordingly. Make sure to enlarge the shoulder because pulling the arm behind would result in more muscles around the back.


Also, when drawing this pose looking up from the low angle, be aware of the horizontal cross-section and the angle of eyes and nose of a character. Belt and sleeve generally go along this line.


Next is line drawing.

It is natural for the character who is pushed over to support her body against the wall using her hand.


If the sleeve of the cloth deviates from the horizontal cross-section of the body, a large wrinkle forms somewhere.


While pleated skirts are less likely to form a wrinkle, it instead folds open when you move the feet, so adjust the fold according to the movement of the feet.


The length of the necktie barely touches the buckle of the belt.




■ Piggyback ride


This is a pose where a boy is piggybacking a girl.


The boy leans forward, and this forms a round diamond shape around the neck. This is the natural curve of the shoulder.

He is holding the girl by supporting her thigh and this causes the gap between his arms and the rib.


The girl places her hands around the shoulder or wraps around his neck.

By drawing knee to outside calf roundly, it appears like a pose where the knee is slightly bent.


In line drawing, draw the roundness of the collar and sleeve to express posture that’s leaning forward.

Let's draw large concave wrinkles where the girl's leg passes.


By firmly understanding the differences between men and women's faces and bodies, you can draw the characters with more details and draw various poses that feature the physical differences.

Please try to make use of the content explained in this course for your illustration!


※ The video is in Japanese.


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・ Artist profile: YANAMi

Freelance illustrator Toyo Institute of Art and Design Illustration Department Comic Illustration Course, Human body illustrative lecturer.



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