Everything you've seen so far applies to both sexes. Although the illustrations show a skeleton with male proportions, the blueprint is the same for women. There is some overlap in the range of characteristics between the sexes, so keep in mind that everything you read here only applies to the average guy or gal. You'll find exceptions to every rule.
Women have less muscle mass, and (I'm probably risking my life by saying this) more fat. Everybody stores fat almost all around their body, with a few exceptions such as the scalp and the elbows. But men tend to store it as visceral fat, deep in the abdomen, and develop a beer gut. A woman's body prefers to store it as subcutaneous fat, just below the skin. This layer covers the muscles, and gives the body a softer, more rounded look. It tends to get stored more around the hips, the butt, the lower abdomen, the breasts, shoulders, and triceps.
On the left is a study sketch of a drawing by Prud'hon, on the right a study of the painting of Silenius by Rubens. While Silenius does not have much of a six pack, his arms and legs are still angular and muscular. The woman's fat is more distributed all over her body, so her bones and muscles aren't as visible.
Figure 2.33. Feminine eyes
One of the most known tricks to make a face look more feminine is to give the character big, almond-shaped eyes, and put on some mascara and eye shadow. But there are also differences in the bone structure you can use:
In the illustration you can see women have:
• A less sloping forehead.
Ribcage and shoulders
Women have a smaller ribcage. Their collarbones are also shorter, so they don't have the broad, square shoulders men have.
Contrary to what some artists want you to believe, using a compass to draw breasts is not the most realistic way to go about it. Their shape is more like a teardrop, and determined by size, gravity, and the fact they are connected to the pectoral muscles. If these muscles stretch out, the breasts move along and their contour changes. For example, raising an arm will move the breast up:
As you can see in figure 2.36, the contour lines are drawn only on the outside. This is because breasts don't point straight forward, but they are angled outward. As a guideline, the nipples point away from the spine:
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