So someone asked me on Formspring for advice on drawing boobs, and though I typed the response hastily, at least 2 people thought it was worth me posting elsewhere. So I’m copy-n-pasting it here. In case anyone wants to read it.
“Okay, gonna try my best here! Here are some insights, though drawing from life and varied models is going to be your best bet in any case. I’m kind of rambling since I’m still inking and trying to make this fast, so excuse me if it doesn’t make sense in every part.
1) Boobs are not “boobs.” Stop thinking about them as prexisting designs or shapes. Boobs are flesh and tissue and meat. The sooner you stop thinking about “boob shapes” and just look at boobs as a non-sexual part of the body (for those of you who are attracted to breasts, that is), you’ll be better prepared to start drawing them right. If you’re already idealizing them from the start, you’re going to be looking at them in a way that won’t let you actually *see* them as they are, instead you’ll end up seeing them how you want to see them.
Expanding on that…
2) Boobs are squishy. Very squishy. It varies woman to woman, and depends on the bra being worn, but boobs are not made of solid muscle. A girl can usually cross her arms OVER her boobs. This will usually squish them down. While they may not end up in a very flattering shape or position, women are more likely to cross their arms over or across their breasts than under, unless they need to support an elbow or what have you. A lot of people treat breasts like balloons filled-to-burst with water, that are jiggly and bouncy but RESIST change to their shape. Real boobs are far more malleable than that. I remember a movie called Now and Then, and one of the young protagonists made fake boobs for herself by filling balloons with instant pudding. While that’s a cute anecdote, its actually pretty accurate, certainly more so than water balloons.
Which leads us toooooo…
3) Gravity. With smaller boobs this isn’t too big an issue, but it really comes into play when people start increasing the cup sizes. The bigger the breasts, the heavier. The heavier they are, the harder they have to fight gravity. If you’ve ever spoken to a woman with large breasts, you might find out she carries a lot of the weight in her shoulders and back — I tend to *anchor* breasts at the clavicles and let that determine their hang, sometimes drawing a halter-top sort of design. Based on their anchor points, you can determine how they’d hang or lean when tilted in different directions.
Speaking of large breasts…
4) The bigger the breasts are, the more of the torso they’re going to hide. People get really focused on making an idealized hour-glass shaped figure, but what they forget is that the larger breasts are, the more space they take up BELOW the breasts, not ABOVE (not accounting for amazing bras mind you, but the bigger the breasts the less likely a woman is to wear a wonderbra). So this means the larger the breasts, the more of the ribcage and abs are going to be hidden. But, this obscures that “Perfect hourglass shape” people idealize… so they’ll, without thinking, drastically lengthen the ribcage so that you can still see the pinch above the woman’s hips and the end of her ribcage/start of her abs. But you can’t do that, not if you want to draw women with any semblance of realism.
5) Cleavage rarely occurs without the intervention of a bra or clothes. Breasts are anchored further apart than people like to think, and even with large breasts there is usually a gap between the breasts, and if they do touch one another, it certainly isn’t applying enough upwards pressure to create that (__Y__) shape.
Other notes: A) Breasts do not typically move independent of each other when the girl is moving or running. That doesn’t makes sense. They’d bounce in the same direction because her body can only move in on direction at once … half her body isn’t moving drastically upwards while the other half is moving drastically downwards. Unless she’s like experiencing some crazy turbulence. I’m a busty girl, and when playing soccer, I never got smacked in the chin by ONE breast… they both tried to break my jaw.
B) Study bras. Women of different sizes professions and personalities will wear drastically different bras and it will hold them drastically different.
C) This is a huge pet peeve, but if a woman is physically active, she needs crazy good support. Nothing drives me crazier than watching some heroine flinging herself around with her big boobs in what looks like a bikini top, bouncing all over the place. Maybe its just because I’m a girl, but all I can feel are sympathy pains — there’s a reason we wear bras. That is going to put crazy stress on her shoulders and back, and you’re strong heroine is going to be pooped the fuck out before she can even finish what epic battle you’ve sent her into. That ain’t realistic, and it certainly breaks immersion for me at least.”
I could probably make a better guide or tip-sheet but dangit I’m busy inking >:U
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