It’s girls but not as we know them, Jim.

It’s girls but not as we know them, Jim.

“It’s girls but not as we know them, Jim.” Sorry for the bad Star Trek catch-phrase reuse (I’m a trekkie). But this week, I’m still working on my black and white, and not a bit of grey or any other value or color are applied to girls’ faces.

First of all, if you look at all the games, comics, tv animations et al. you quickly realise that the artists are working with particular attention to making the girl sexy, or at least attractive, perhaps a character you can identify with if you are a girl. Sadly, in many cases, that ends up with babes in combat bikins,i when everyone knows that girls in commando-like teams wear the same outfit as the guys in their team – logical, they are there to do their job, not be shot, and not to have people notice how thin with big boobs they are.

But fiction being fiction, Hollywood being what it is, we get men in full armour, sweaty, bloody (considered sexy for men) and their female fellow fighters are in combat bikinis (an expression invented by the japanese animation series Dirty Pair) with makeup carefully applied, (WTF?)  just a flesh wound if any, no trace of sweat and perhaps one strand of hair displaced. Not fair. Not realistic.

In any case, in any art form and since the beginning of times it seems, girls have to be…….. special. The problem being of course that it’s not always easy to render a face in a rough way (like I’m trying to do here) and keep the “feminine” look.

I always found ridiculous the fact that Dumbo’s mom had long eyelashes to mark she is a female…. er, women have long eyelashes because they put on mascara! Now I would really love to see Dumbo’s mom putting mascara on!!!

Women who do not modify their appearance with makeup can be identified as female, in theory, because they have a rounder smaller chin, larger eyes, thinner eyebrows, longer hair (but that one is not a reliable point, many manly looky guys have long hair), smaller nose.

Well….. at least if we talk about youg-ish preti-ish girls. if we were to take and represent the whole of what a woman can be (the way we do with men with old guys, fat guys, silly drunk guys, etc) we’d find it’s even more complex than that.

Let’s face it: in the vast majority of work of all types of art, there are young men, old men, the fat guy that hides a poo-poo the painter did while trying to paint another character, ridiculous guys…. and only pretty girls with sometimes, rarely, the token mother or crone (apologies to all mothers and crones).

This means an artist has to master drawing girly girls. Without makeup on – let’s not cheat. Let me wish you good luck! It’s not easy. And it has nothing to do with the tastes of the artist: the difficulty is the same if the painter (in our case) is female, male, hetero, bi, or gay or even from planet Mars! There is no magic shortcut: mileage is, once more, the only thing that will lead you to success.

Did you notice that I rarely draw girls? I’m a coward, I take the easy road. And I’m paying the price this week.

OK, so here is my try at my black/white style with girly girls with no makeup on. Once more sorry for the paper being brown, blame it on Digimarc.

girl 1

This drove me nuts! I tried from live models, from photos, it did not work. I eventually settled on these three and did them over and over.

What did Glenn Vilppu have to say about them ? That they dont particularly look like girls, except the top left one (but perhaps he recognised the actress whose photo I squinted at – I’ll have to ask him during the next live 2 hour video chat we have each week).

Again, he found that the black under the nose did not describe the mouth barrel intelligently – arrrrrgh, as Frankenstein used to say: “failed again!” I’ll keep the fight and try again until I get it right!

As for the lost edges (in the top row right image) ok, but if this was a comic book (I’m working in that direction) there would be a background, then what would happen to the lost edge (which is a bit big btw!)

About the one on the second line, he – again – found that my neck rendering is…. not good, arrrrg again, paste / insert the above sentence here, never give up, it’s not my kind.

I was worried about the line on the nose of the same girl: was it ok, should I erase it and make a lost edge letting the brain of the viewer drew the nose for me? Glenn found that, considering were the light came from, it was quite justifiable to put a line on the nose as I did.

Looking at these now (a few days after toiling on them) I realise that the two three-quarter poses show very mascara-heavy eyelashes….. I could slap myself. If they don’t look particularly like girls with these on (I did not realise I was making them so) what would they look like without them? the Hulk and Thor?

Back to the drawing board, Anton! But this time for another challenge: Glenn would like to see how I manage with the whole figure, clothes etc in this style (I suspect the solution to my nose / mouth / neck problem could be solved while working on the whole body).

So see you next week and draw I lot, I know I will, and never ever give up!



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