Observations on body types

Here’s the thing about body types in cartooning. Even if they’re not exaggerated, there will be some nuances missed out in body type representation. If a character is muscular, he will also broad-shouldered and deep-chested. Even if he doesn’t have bulging muscles, as long as he’s robust-looking and broad-shouldered he looks imposing and manly.

There are slim, narrow-shouldered and ripped types in real life but in cartooning they almost always default to either runners (sprinters, footballers and rugby players are very buff and powerful) or commonly teenagers. The lack of broad-shoulders among male characters gives an air of youthfulness. Broad shoulders indicate manliness.

Likewise even if a female character doesn’t have large breasts but if she has wide hips and a slim waist she will look very feminine. It may not be the intent but wider hips indicate femininity, sometimes better than having bigger breasts though the presence of wide hips would either balance out the size or make it look smaller.

That’s the odd thing I noticed in comics and cartoons whereas in live action productions tend to be relatively random in determining body types. Actors like Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin could make themselves buff but usually you can tell that they’re not naturally powerful by looking at their bone structure. Musclemen in comics and cartoons are almost always mesomorphs if it weren’t for their strong bones.

It’s weird when you start realising it.

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