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!