Artist’s how-to video shows distorted propotions for female characters

On Reel Girl’s Facebook page, Ana Campos shared a YouTube video by Marc Crilley, one of her favorite Manga artists. Crilley is an incredibly successful writer and illustrator of children’s books. The video is fascinating because Crilley takes you through the steps of how artists distort female anatomy. First, Crilley draws a regularly proportioned teenage girl. Then, he demonstrates the typical pattern and process of how artists exaggerate her proportions, drawing three well-known, female animated characters.

Crilley narrates:

It’s troubling, really in a way that artists, maybe many of them male, have this way of reducing the width of the female waist when they’re drawing it to just ridiculously small proportions and you know, you do sort of fear that this contributes to women’s body image, this crazy idea of the super narrow waist, but nevertheless you see it again and again. Finally, the big difference here, the knees, the line of the knees, much, much higher than in real life. So what’s interesting is you see that the whole area of the waist is being raised up here so as to create these incredibly long legs as an exaggerated style. To me, its sort of like Barbie doll style legs…

While watching this video, I was thinking about the incredible influence of the artist to create reality. When you combine images with narratives, it can be so powerful, like being God. Not to mention repeating and repeating the same sequence to the growing brains of little kids.

Here’s the video:

3 thoughts on “Artist’s how-to video shows distorted propotions for female characters

  1. The sad things is that when I saw the first figure (the one based on a real teenage girl) I thought, oh she looks really skinny but at the end of the video, after having seen the other figures I thought the first figure is borderline overweight.
    Thanks for putting this up, it really opened my eyes.

    • Hi Dinda,

      I know exactly what you mean. It’s amazing to see how putting the figures next to each other distorts your own perception. It’s like going to a kid’s science museum exhibit on illusion.


  2. Well, yes, this is a HUGE problem! I’m also a hobby artist and still learning how to draw humans. It’s already hard to find resource material that doesn’t have “perfect size” women on them (or exaggerated fetishized “large” women) it also sucks that some of the same artists that actually put up tutorials for some reason draw distorted women. Especially the way how the hip “starts” where the rip cage ends is usually extremely exaggerated – in such a way that you would think the girl is snapping in to if she ever had to move. I tried talking to some artists about this already but they refuse to listen and call it correct. /:

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