Anatomy: YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG (GenCon 2013 edition)

Recently, I had reason to take a good look at the GenCon 2013 poster that was drawn by Jonboy Meyers – a comic and game artist of some note[1]. The GenCon posters have long been a source of irritation for me, as each year the design centers around a scantily-clad female mascot. But until recently, I had thought of the 2013 poster as being “not as bad” as some of the others I’ve seen:


And sure. There’s a lot wrong here. Her pose is weird and fanservice-y, the lens flare doesn’t completely obscure the fact that she’s wearing a miniskirt, and her “armor” seems to have individual boob compartments, not to mention that it’s rocking a severe case of sideboob. But bad as it is, she’s at least wearing more clothes than most of the other GenCon mascots I’ve seen? (Damned by faint praise, I know. I hope you realize just how low I’ve set the bar by now.) But then I took a really good look at it and realized, holy shit. There’s actually a lot seriously, seriously wrong with this picture.

So first, a drawover just to illustrate what’s going on underneath that overly-decorated-but-not-at-all-protective leather chestplate:

YIKES! Her breasts are weirdly enlarged, torpedo-shaped, and improperly placed and her ribcage is snapped in half just for starters. Neither of her arms are the correct length – her left upper arm is waaaaay longer than it should be at the expense of her forearm. I would say the situation is reversed with her right arm, except her right forearm is overly elongated but doesn’t actually connect to anything. There is no upper arm or even a right shoulder for it to attach to! Jonboy just lazily went “meh, boob” and counted on the fact that the viewer would be too busy admiring her chest to wonder about a small thing like WHERE THE HELL DID HER ARM GO?

What really kills me is the two different perspectives. The figure is drawn so that you are looking DOWN at the top of her head, but UP at her boobs. The effect is slight, but it’s there – which would only exaggerate the required spine arch of this pose to impossible levels. But of course, with torpedo collarboobs and floating arms it’s obvious that Jonboy was prioritizing SEXAY over, you know, anatomical plausibility.

(Which, can I just sidebar a second to say how gross that is? Look at this poor lady. She isn’t a person. She is literally a collection of disembodied parts, arranged for maximal titillation and shoved together in a mish-mash of lady-shaped sexy parts. Why do so many artists think that PARTS OF WOMEN are sexier than ACTUAL WOMEN?)

Ugh. Moving on.

Correcting the anatomy. Sort of.

So here’s the deal. I spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to do anatomically correct draw-overs of this pose and I still didn’t get it quite right. Sometimes in art, you can get something so wrong that there’s just no point in trying to fix it. You’re better off to just nuke it from orbit and start over. However, as starting over would defeat the point of this particular exercise, I did my best to persevere.

You have no idea how much it pains me to post something this terrible and wrong.

So when I started doing my corrected drawover, I discovered YET ANOTHER problem with this pose – this time with her shoulder. (The one that actually exists, not the one floating invisibly in space.) In order to be anatomically correct, you can keep the angle of the ribcage or the angle of the shoulder, but not both. In order to keep the line of the shoulder as drawn, you’d actually be looking at the figure from the side.

This would significantly change the shape of the torso. Not to mention you’d only be able to see one breast, and it would be a full on side view. (That I couldn’t draw correctly. The original lines were just too distracting. Aaaaargh.)

However, since Jonboy seems like the kind of artist who would prioritize seeing both breasts over something as unsexy as a shoulder, I figured it was okay to give up and spend more time on the 3/4 view correction.

This isn’t correct either, but at least it’s closer.

Looking at it, there’s still some problems with my version. Her waist is too narrow, and her left shoulder actually needs to come out further – the edge should be about level with the side of her hip. (I got led astray by the original lines. They’re so hard to escape!)

However! I did manage to correct the most egregious faults. Her arms are now the correct length and properly attached! No more weirdly floating disembodied forearms. Her breasts are also now properly shaped (assuming she’s got a decent sports bra). I know I’m always bitching about basketball-shaped breasts, but torpedo-shaped breasts are just going too far in the other direction. Lastly, I  also gave her some bits of anatomy that she’d previously been missing. Like a collarbone.

Now what’s fun is if I actually combine the two re-draws. The result is… pretty interesting.

Phew! This wound up being one of my more challenging anatomy corrections, despite that I initially thought it would be easy. And of course, now that I’ve spent some time with it, I have to wonder how I could have failed to see how grossly distorted her anatomy is. I guess it just goes to show how omnipresent this sort of nonsense is in gaming culture. It just sort of becomes the background radiation that you have to put up with in order to be a gamer, which is saddening.

[1] As I avoid comics precisely BECAUSE of the type of art he makes, I have no idea if Jonboy Meyers is A Big Deal in the comics world, nor do I especially care.

22 thoughts on “Anatomy: YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG (GenCon 2013 edition)

  1. “…her shoulder. (The one that actually exists, not the one floating invisibly in space.)”

    This line, above all others, is cracking me up. Because if the art were any good, you would never have to refer to a body part as floating invisibly in space as its distinguishing characteristic.

      • ok fair enough, I disagree completely, I think the original drawing holds more true anatomy than the ones you tried to correct, it was a fair attempt but you actually don’t have a deep understanding of anatomy because you are ignoring foreshortening altogether, and placement of the clothing on the original figure may be a shortcut to avoid drawing the more tedious parts, but basically I see nothing wrong with the 1st drawing as is. There are more blatant examples out there, this one seems nit picky.

        (no insults, just my opinion)

        • Thank you for stating your opinions in a civil manner!

          However, it’s worth pointing out that I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and while my major wasn’t drawing, I took 2+ years of drawing anatomy classes. Also, I have worked as an illustrator in the RPG industry. My education and experience are not irrelevant factors here. Also, I am biologically female, which gives me a lifetime of experience in how breasts actually work which the artist (I am assuming by his name) does not possess.

          If not actually attaching arms to bodies and snapping spines in half seems nit picky, then I guess that makes me a nit picker.

          • And where may we see some of your artwork? I think a better lesson would be to put up something of your own, against this drawing, and let people decide which is better. I feel Graduation with a nice title is an accomplishment of it’s own, but pencil to paper is what is actually impressive in this line of work, there are plenty of artists out there with no graduating honors that have a better understanding of anatomy than the two of us combined, so really to me as a person with eyes, I wanna see where the corrections are obvious, here I just see a mediocre drawing (pose) on top of one that has style and action, and I originally liked. Just keep it honest, if you are gonna put someone on blast, gotta expect to get it back, otherwise just draw your own stuff and get attention that way🙂 Have a swell day and thank you

            • You’re welcome to visit my other sites, including my portfolio/publishing website and my art blog – which are also linked in the sidebar under the heading “my other sites”.

  2. Okay folks. It looks like I’ve gotten linked to a forum or something by the flood of troll comments. Further troll comments on this thread will be deleted entirely so as to not waste space needlessly. For what qualifies as a troll comment, see the sidebar policy regarding comments.

  3. I would say that as much that the original image is in an exaggerated style, it is more anatomically sound than the “corrections” you’ve posted. Perhaps try to draw through the image, which you would know is a figure drawing tactic for understanding forms in 3 dimensions, and place the forms that you cannot see in the original image. Also keep in mind the slight upshot angle on the figure, and the placement of the camera, which would be somewhat far, and zoomed in in order to capture a wider angle, and also result in the less extreme foreshortening that is present in the image (hard to describe but it’s essentially the opposite of the foreshortening you see in 3D movie effects, arms coming straight at you and becoming giant as they come closer to the camera, etc., I would assume you understand the terms considering your experience). Unfortunately I think you’ve deleted some comments that were very relevant to the presentation here, even if you didn’t appreciate the tone, they were spot on and could even prove to be positive critiques that you could use to build your drawing skills, and your understanding of anatomy in 3 dimensional space. There are some incredible resources that I would be happy to recommend if you were at all interested.

    • While I appreciate that you mean well, it’s hard not to see this as condescending. OF COURSE I am continually trying to improve my art. However, it’s a little hard to deal with the fact that I am simultaneously being criticized for my drawing not being accurate enough while at the same time Jonboy’s style excused as being “exaggerated” and “stylized”. It really feels like moving of the goal posts.

      As for deleting comments, this is MY space and I don’t have to tolerate abuse here.

      But thank you at least for maintaining a civil and respectful tone. I do appreciate that very much.

  4. Jesus. I had to go do things in real life and this thread exploded. This hatesplosion is in no way constructive, so I’m closing comments. Feel free to whine about your lack of freedom of speech somewhere that’s not here. MISANDRY.

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