Learning to Draw - How to Approach?

In small, very intermittent spurts, I have started to practice realistic(ish) drawing. I am breaking all of the rules: holding the pencil wrong (i.e. writing-style), not starting off simple (i.e. going straight to the human figure), going freestyle right off the bat (i.e. minimal use of references), etc. I watched a couple videos breaking down basic shapes and ratios of body parts and then I was off to the races. (@Cakecatboy’s advice has proven somewhat helpful–I would recommend it.)

One thing that I have observed with my haphazard approach is that some of the proportions I have learned become inaccurate at the levels of morbid obesity that I am trying to depict. Widths and heights are typically measured by the head, but fat distribution distorts those rules. Then you get into the deceptively complex problem of the resting standing position. What was once generally straight lines and simple spacing becomes an advanced lesson in adipose physics, balancing sags and squishes. I end up with characters that look like they are skinny people wearing an unnatural fat suit–too embarrassing to be shown.

The standard sketching technique, from what I have seen, is the stick figure with joints (fatfur example), then the major skeletal structures simplified into basic geometric shapes (think ribcage and pelvis). My question is how to get into what I call the “fat dimension”–the world of rolls less constrained by traditional musculoskeletal anatomy. The most difficult aspect of the “fat dimension” for me is the mid-torso and above. I struggle to make the sandwiched roll(s) look wedged in and resting snugly between the belly apron and moobs. The moobs themselves are their own beast, and drawing the arms resting on the torso silhouette is another challenge.

I figure that it probably comes down to simple repetition of imitating references, but are there any other tips/resources?

  • Do you draw fat from the center out, starting with the hips and stacking fat rolls atop it and chunky support structures below? From the base (feet) up? Still top (head) down?
  • How do you understand the indentations of fat, where one roll ends and another begins? Do you start with a large round shape and then add the contours? How deep do you show those grooves?
  • How do hidden fat features (e.g. FUPA) affect the positioning of prominent fat features?

I may come up with more questions later, but these are the ones currently eating at me the most. Thank you in advance to all who offer help!

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Everyone seems to recommend the same thing if you’re learning how to draw people and anatomy:

Also the other option is to find a public place and just look at people, but that might not be an option, depending on what country you live in, heh.

Loomis is a cash handling company, but I presume you are referring to the Urban Dictionary entry. And yes, my artwork is currently soulless. People watching is not bad for general art, but for fetish art it is, eh…(how to put this politely) uncomfortable? Y-yeah, let’s stick with uncomfortable for now. *nervous sweating*

Honestly I would start by practicing drawing bean bags/sand bags/something similar. It really helps you get the physicality of how soft shapes squish into and deform one another, at which point you can attach them to a skeleton and follow more traditional anatomy rules.

Loomis is just the guy’s surname, not just an armored money van company.

Besides, starting with fetish work is how you get those dA users who use MSPaint and not improve at all for 10 years. My first solid start in 3d modeling was just finagling stuff into lewd content and I wish I had a time machine to tell myself to practice other skills first, I’m still playing catch-up on topology and mapping skills, yuck.



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Big agree that learning proportions will pay off later, even if it does mean drawing a skinny character once in a while. Fat people have skeletons too, they’re just hiding.

Practicing geometric solids will help you develop an eye for perspective, as well as making it easier to lay out scenes. You may not be interested in intricate backgrounds, but a few well placed props can open up a lot of options for posing.

It’s hard to help you without seeing your content.

Other than that art is quantity x quality, so draw regularly and learn a little on the side via Hampton’s Figure Drawing or Proko.

Some say read Loomis, others say just draw a stickman, diversity means more tools for you to use.