The Correct Way to Draw Women’s Breasts, Free From Common Visual Clichés
By Alina Bradford
Breasts are one of the biggest identifying factors of a female’s body. So, it is surprising that so many books today gloss over how to draw women’s chests properly. They briefly say that the female chest should be drawn as “overturned teacups” or as spherical objects. This just doesn’t serve the serious artist’s needs, because at one time or another, all artists must draw the female chest. The artist needs to learn how the breast looks in certain situations, how it moves, and how it should be drawn in perspective. These are all important parts of drawing a realistic female.
Drawing Breast Shape
Many comics and book illustrations of women portray the female breast as a voluminous, round spheres. While plastic surgery can give breasts this look, natural breasts are far from this cliché. Breasts come in all sizes and shapes, but generally, they can be classified into three shapes: half-spherical, tubular, and conic.
Example 1 shows an example of a half-spherical shaped breast. These half-sphericals are usually medium to large sized breasts. They can be drawn as a lightly shaded half-ball shape with the nipple placed on the middle area of the breast.
Example 2 shows an example of a tubular shaped
breast. These types of breasts can be very small to very large. They are drawn as a ‘U’ shape with the nipple drawn at the bottom of the breast or higher on the breast.
Example 3 shows an example of a conic shaped breast. These types of breasts are usually smaller with less fat and tissue. They are drawn as
rounded triangles with the nipple drawn at the tip of the breast.
Nipples are foreshortened circles that are surrounded by a larger circle, which is the areola. They tend to be drawn much darker than the rest of the breast.
Breasts and Their Environment
It is important to remember that breasts are not fixed objects. Since they are made of fat and tissue, they tend to move with the body. They also react to gravity.
Example 4 shows an example of the way breasts flatten out when a woman lies down. This pancake effect is caused by gravity pressing on the breast. Example 2 shows how a tubular breast stretches when the subject leans forward. Movement should play a big part in how the breast is drawn. The artist should observe how the breasts move in nude reference photos and sketch them to better understand movement.
Sketching Breasts in Perspective
When the subject is turned to the side, the chest should be drawn in perspective. The breast farther away should be slightly smaller than the closer breast. The nipple on the farther breast should also be smaller, but should line up with the closer breast, as shown in Example 4.
Using these tips, the artist can learn to draw a breast correctly.