I’m sure we’ve all encountered the one story before, where someone thin puts on weight, and eventually their belly gets split into a roll, and then another, and then another, until suddenly they have more rolls than a bakery has in stock. When detailing the belly, uniqueness tends to get lost under all of its rolls, and is forgotten all for its size and number of folds.
Subcutaneous and Visceral
To start, I think the right place to begin is with the fat itself. This might not be seen as prominent or important in other areas, but thanks to the gut being placed in front of organs and not having much of a skeletal structure behind it, you get a mix of the fat that everything else has, along with some extra that appears even further within your body. In order, these are known as subcutaneous and visceral fat.
Subcutaneous is soft, fluffy, and is the layer just below your skin and above your muscles. It basically just hangs off of your body, which is why a gut with so much might droop a bit. This is the fat that can be found just about everywhere else on your body as well, and is what you would feel if you were to grab (a consenting) someone’s rolls.
Visceral is the stuff that hides a little bit deeper. It sits in between the empty spaces of your organs and is a bit harder than the previous fat. Typical beer guts are defined by this type of fat, as it has a tendency to give the gut a more defined, solid shape, making it appear more round and have less jiggle. This is also known to be the least healthy fat.
Now, every gut contains a little bit of both of these fats, but often times it is never in equal amounts. This is one of the key traits to determine how the belly will shape up as it grows out. A lot of visceral and you get a hard, round, gut. A lot of subcutaneous, you’ll get a lot more variety in shape!
Sometimes it’s imagined that as people grow, they just tack on rolls. On the contrary, that round mass of fat can only have up to two or three at max, and the third is rare, even for the largest of people! As it seems to be its own unique development, I will be saving the “third roll” for later. Rolls are when the belly gets too big and decides to split itself in half. I’m not sure why or what causes this to happen, but it can occur and result in a variety of shapes. To simplify, I’m going to split it into two categories: a roll that splits above the belly button and one the splits right at the belly button.
First is above. The crease in between the rolls can be found just above or even a fair distance above the belly button (bb), though the distance is subjective. This often times can be found when side rolls are higher than the bb and the rest of the gut folds at the same level, or the side rolls do crease in the direction of the bb, but something happens and the fold in the center of the stomach ends up higher. In either situation, this can cause the belly button to sit right below the fold causing the appearance of a valley in the lower roll thanks the the button’s crease. If it’s much lower than that, the bb will be apparent regardless of the roll. The lower roll is often much bigger with these rolls.
Ex: Rolls: above belly-button
Next is through. These were a tad more difficult to find images of, but these happen when the crease cuts through the belly button. Sometimes it forms when the belly button flattens out with the extra fat and the rolls on the side help complete the crease, but it also seems to happen when al the fat beside the belly just caves in. Due to the folding to often be so even, this makes the belly almost look like two donuts stacked on one another, though there are exceptions.
Ex: Rolls: through belly-button
"The Belly Flap"
Now this is the “Third Roll”, putting that in quotations because there isn’t always a second to go along with it. Depending on its shape, it can also be deemed “the second set of boobs”. So what makes the flap different from the other rolls? It forms much, much higher than the where the others tend to be. This development occurs right under the breast and often goes all the way to the back. Up front, it can develop in a way to appear as another roll, but can also be split down the middle, forming that second pair of breasts.
Ex: Bellies with flaps
The Round Gut
You might not expect much variety from a belly that has no rolls, but some happens to be there. Most variety comes from the two types of fat, but other things can effect a soft, round stomach. There is just a basic gut, which has no creases of any sort, leading it to appear smooth and pillow-like. While full rolls are not present, the side might still have creases, often giving the belly what appears to be large yet shallow dimples on the sides and overall giving more shape as the large mass droops. Cellulite can also heavily affect the appearance of the belly, and the shape of the belly button and how it’s held up with the extra weight can also alter looks. This is also the one I found the most of, even outside of images I added.
Ex: Round Bellies
A Note on Chins
Now, not necessarily part of the belly, but is often times looked over in the aspect of how it develops. This is not because it’s forgotten, but more because it is often developed the same way in most stories. At high weights, a second might still be small for some, though the face might soften up everywhere else. On the other hand, others at a similar weight might hardly even have a neck. Now this distinction for characters could even be important for how you decide to portray them, whether you want them to appear cuddly and only give them a softer face, or want a more slovenly appearance with an almost neckless face. I also noticed that there isn’t usually more than a second chin, just that the chin falls lower and lower down the neck as the pounds pile on. This does not include shoving your face back to get the multiple chin appearance.
So now that you’ve read all of this information on guts (and maybe including all the photos you have observed) what you do with the information is up to you. What can you do with it? You can try to create new characters with these different shapes. You could also look at the pictures (or find your own) and try to describe how they appear to you, or sketch the details if you prefer to draw! There are limitless possibilities
Now for the polls!
What type of gut do you prefer?
- Round belly
- The Flap
- Triple Rolls
What would you rather have for rolls?
- Through the button
- Just above the button
- Clearly above the button
Finally, what is your preference for the chin?
- Just a soft face
- Light second chin
- Clearly visible second chin
- Covering the neck
- Multiple chins >:(
Edit: I had forgotten to add two other resources that could have been helpful.
One is pictures of some large ladies together so you can compare belly variations side by side: BBW’s Together
The other is a set of weight gain sequences, to compare how each type might change as someone would put on weight: Gaining Sequences