Drawing Men Seated

I’m having trouble drawing this layout. Boy’s hips are, like, the hardest thing to draw for me because the structure carries no weight whatsoever. It’s also difficult to find reference of guys sitting. I looked to Grease to find boy-hip reference, but no go. Have you ever noticed that guys are often shot from the waste up when seated at a table?

In 1995, John K. and Jim Smith of Spumco observed that second year CalArtians always drew their characters standing. Characters should also be drawn driving cars and crouching and whatnot. I agree. However, it’s also hard to find reference in film and in life. Even in all the cafe photos I have, all the men are standing. Time to go stalking *aherm* draw from life. Until then, notice how few shots there are of men sitting in a scene similar to what I am drawing in Grease. How is an artist supposed to reference in male-standing world?

CAPTAIN’S LOG: I have entered the territory of Public US in search of the elusive “seated boy butt”. My expedition is proving successful thus far…

Ok, that’s better. The improvement is really subtle, but that bend in the small of Mateo’s back is enough of an improvement upon the rigid original. I had a tougher time with Mason, due to scale issues and my model leaving before I finished. However, giving him a guitar improves his silhouette. ”Mathew with a Single ’t’ just needs a better likeness and a costume change. Ishmael looks delightfully confused as he is. Hehehee…teaching high school is great for character design reference. I’d better run this by their parents first before publishing…

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: Ready for Maya BGs and inks.

It’s important that all characters be given equal attention. In my case, the male characters need to be just as appealing as the female characters. We’re all best at drawing whatever is most familiar to us. Women have trouble drawing men. Men have trouble drawing women.

What’s anatomically wrong with one of these characters below?


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The raised leg on the fella on the right is attached to the wrong region of his pelvis.

It’s hard to find landmarks on stocky builds, but still, the designer probably didn’t leave enough space below the waist to form the pelvis.

Elvis was around for reference, but the H&B crew could’ve used a Travolta as Danny if this short had been in production in 1978.

More boy pelvis reference for anyone else who may get stuck. Jeff Conway/Kenickie. Note where those legs are. Crystal clear. Be careful not to leave the anatomy so lose in that part of the body that you end up sticking the legs in the stomach. I’ve noticed so many professonal artists make this mistake. I can’t believe I shied away from opportunities drawing guys because I thought my colleagues had a better handle on drawing guys. In some ways, like the pelvis, they didn’t.


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There’s a waist beneath that rib cage, as well. Some waists are longer than others depending on the body type, just like a girl, but it’s there.

Once again, Kenickie. Men’s fashion drapes over the waist and pelvis now, so it’s really easy to forget that important structure is there. A lot people like to watch me draw and puzzle how I achieve my line action–it’s the floating girdle and spine. Especially the pelvis, which on a woman distributes the most weight. With guys, it seems to be the shoulder girdle and feet that keeps the head from making the body fall over. Although, every once in a while, especially with dancers, you’ll find a guy who vogues a nice masculine version of an S-curve with his hips, like Travolta. Conway is a little stiffer in the torso than Travolta, but he dances a bit more like the average guy you’ll be drawing in the industry. The Everyman.

Then there is the Humpty Dumpty butt: when middle-age spread kicks in and the person fills out until they are egg-shaped. This is the body type of most adult primetime characters. I gotta tell you, as a former character layout artist, it is so hard to seat this body type at a table! Where do the legs go? Can you FIND the pelvis? Attaching the legs correctly to a character who looks like this or more egg-shaped and still maintaining a line of action often had me on the brink of tears some afternoons. My director comforted me by saying, “This is the time when you have to slow your pace to two drawings a day”. Brian was right. Once you figured out, trouble-shot, and drawn that damn “blue-print” the rest of the scene was smooth sailing with an attainable reach of the deadline. However, I sure felt like imploding when I got Humpty Dumpty butt characters though. I would release my anguish by going roller-blading at Venice Beach after work.

You can at least SORT of see the iliac crest on this guy. However, when you are drawing Homer Simpson and Peter Griffith, the pelvis is a lot harder to eke out. Try drawing the character square from the back for structure and then drawing the fat that rounds them out AFTER you attach the legs at the bottom of the pelvis.