Decemboobs 2015, Day 25

Let’s get straight to the point.
Day 25:

A woman's chest in a tight T-shirt with the slogan "Be Polite You Fuckers"
A woman’s chest in a tight T-shirt with the slogan “Be Polite You Fuckers”

What I wrote about this at the time:

Well, you know, it’s Christmas day, we’re moving a housemate out to a new apartment, and what with the food and the beer after that, I was ready for a lazy afternoon and evening, so just for once, I thought I’d just do boobs and nothing but. Keep things nice and simple, and not get caught up with distracting faces, buildings and I don’t know, fucking spaceships or some shit. This image showed up on my Tumblr dash this morning, and it was perfect. Disembodied boobs, no fuss, no muss.

Well, except for the fucking western-style lettering on the model’s chest. Fuck.

(I still had fun drawing this! )

The Tumblr post, as of the time of writing, still exists!

Decemboobs 2015, Day 23

Yep, I went there.

Day 23:

Kate Bush throwing a shape
It’s Kate Bush!

What I wrote about this at the time:

So yeah, I didn’t feel like inking at all today. Instead, I indicated value somewhat with rough hatching as I would if I were sketching this in a paper sketchbook.

Source: Put your hands up for Kate Bush. I was ambivalent about using a picture of Kate Bush as a source, because one thing I know about her is that she used to hate it when she was reduced to just a body, like in the leotard-clad picture of her that appeared on all the London buses in 1979. So for the record: everyone should admire Kate for her massive talent as a songwriter, composer, singer, (former) dancer, conceptual artist, producer and video producer.
But today, I was getting more and more desperate for an image to draw from that met my requirements (for nudes, I need them properly sourced and either with permission attached, a track record of allowing and enjoying fan art, or taken in a public location; for pictures that are not nude, I’m a little more relaxed about things, but it’s harder for them to meet the requirements of the drawing challenge), and I saw this in my Tumblr likes, posted by a fellow fan who regularly cycles through their images of Kate, and there’s no denying that both her dress and her anatomy do interesting things here. All those folds with the applique flowers to help me keep track of where in the image i am, plus her torso that’s twisted around three different axes. Fun! And those skinny arms waving around like she used to do in her earliest performance days. So in as respectful a way as possible, I tried to capture that movement in my sketch.

In the end, the face didn’t turn out too horrible. It doesn’t look like Kate’s and I do need to work on faces in general, but it’s pretty representative of where I’m at with drawing faces in general.

Decemboobs 2015, Day 22

On day 22, I continued the pattern of alternating quite good drawings with rather clumsy ones.

Day 22:

Oddly distorted digital drawing of a nude woman sitting on a towel
Oddly distorted image of a nude woman sitting on a towel

What I wrote about this at the time:

Now, this one, it turned out, I didn’t enjoy drawing at all, and the reasons have to do with photography. Yesterday’s source image, found on Tumblr with no photographer credit, is a well-composed, in-focus photograph that doesn’t try to do any funny business with perspective distortion, depth of field or ‘artsy’ angles. Nothing against those things, mind, but when a photographer does do those things, the photo becomes harder to draw from, because you may not see exactly what’s going on, or your brain may be tricked into accepting distortion that it otherwise wouldn’t.

Now, while I don’t think Sauna Self Portrait by Micky Jenver pretends to be great art or anything else but a fun nude self-portrait, it does have a lot of weird camera distortion going on in it. The subject legs look like weird tree branches, her arm is pointed towards the camera in a way that makes her hand look huge, and the composition is a bit off. Problem is, other than maybe the composition, you don’t really notice this when you look at the photo itself. Your brain is tricked into accepting it, because after all, everything does connect to everything else in a logical way. But when you draw it… hoo boy. I couldn’t get any of the angles or proportions right. Least of all the face. After doing a decent job on the face, yesterday, I thought I could get this one more or less right using the same construction method. Nope nope nope, it was a giant mess. In the end, I just decided that now that I had something sketched that had all the parts of the original but didn’t succeed in putting them together right, I might as well do something with it. So I went for stylization instead, changing the face to the way I draw my comic characters and inking the rest with thicker, rougher lines. I’m still not happy with it, but it’s not desperately bad.

By the way, this is nothing against :devmickyjenver:’s photography, which she does for fun and to document the fun things she and her friends do. I’m not blaming her photos for my poor results – rather, I have to learn the limits of drawing from photo reference – what does and what does not work for that.

Today’s Thing I Learned More About Than Boobs: Photography, what works and what doesn’t. (Yesterday’s was “Thinking About How To Paint Something That I’m Not Going To Paint Right Now”).

Decemboobs 2015, Day 21

Gonna start going a little more slowly now.

Day 21:

Digital drawing of a woman with big hair, in a low-cut dress, standing before a poster.
A woman with big hair, in a low-cut dress, standing before a poster.

What I wrote about this at the time:

I was home from work earlier today, so I picked a slightly more complex image to work from. Indeed, this was the sort of picture I’d completely lose myself in, and if I’d had a day to spend on it, I’d have added all the details of the hair, the plants on the left, and so on. I might even have tried painting it instead of doing just a pencil drawing. I don’t quite have time for that, so instead it gets some quick inks slapped on. It’s… not quite as satisfying, but necessary for clarity and to stay close to my comics-drawing process, which all art I do has to support somehow.

Even with the rush to completion, this was a lot of fun to do: the folds of the dress, the 1908s Janet Jackson hair, the model’s face, the framed art in the background that was a poster for some sort of early 1970s rock festival (I’d like to have another crack at this drawing just to draw that background properly) and the plant on the side. Lots of interesting stuff. Wish I could do it all more justice.

The Tumblr link no longer works.

Decemboobs 2015, Days 14 and 20

There was a long break between days 14 and 20 of Decemboobs 2015. I don’t remember why, probably something to do with work or preparations for the holidays. I think Dave Sim was right when he wrote that all the stuff you deal with on a day to day basis is entirely forgettable but the art you create, the things you make that are yours, remain. I mean, stopped clock and all that but it seems to work that way for me. Even shitty art created during a shitty drawing challenge has more lasting value than anything I’ve done in my day job and most things I do in my private life that aren’t creating art.

Day 14:

Digital drawing of two nude women running
Digital drawing of two nude women running

What I wrote about this at the time:

Based on Escape to Freedom by Micky Jenver. Another one where you look at a photo of people who are running, and you think “That doesn’t look like how people are supposed to look when they’re running!” But between, shall we say, the key frames of running motion, all sorts of stuff happens.

I got very sleepy while drawing this, and for once, I won’t blab on at length.

Day 20:

Digital drawing of a nude woman posing for a picture. Behind her, there's a mirror, so she's seen from the front and the back.
A nude woman posing for a picture. Behind her, there’s a mirror, so she’s seen from the front and the back.

What I wrote about this at the time:

Today, for the first time in a week, I had some time and energy to spare to do a quick Decemboobs drawing. I have a few more reference pics saved up, but don’t know if I will get much of a chance to draw them. After my day job, I am trying to crank out one more page of a comic before the end of the year, and there are a number of other non-decemboobs pieces I would like to draw. Also, a member of my family will be moving out of the house over Christmas. So, I don’t know.

Today’s drawing is based on From several angles by TN-Exposed. Mirror images are alwyas fun, and the pose is interesting. I find myself having trouble drawing those forward leaning poses without reference and have been avoiding them in my comics work, which means that the characters’ range of motion has become a bit limited in recent years. It was easier when I didn’t care about realism at all…

TN-Exposed’s DeviantArt account has since been deactivated.

Decemboobs 2015, Days 11 and 13.

We’re now at the stage of the Decemboobs drawing challenge where things started to get rougher for me, with day 12 being missed entirely and the 13th artwork ending up kind of unflattering towards its subject. Though three years on, that artwork doesn’t look so bad.

Day 11:

Digital drawing/painting of a nude pregnant woman in bright body paint colors. There's a phoenix on her torso.
Digital drawing/painting of a nude pregnant woman in bright body paint colors. There’s a phoenix on her torso.

What I wrote about this at the time:

From The Gothamist’s photo series on a body painting event in New York, last July. The photo report is a fantastic source of different body types, with the added complication that their paint work tends to distort and obfuscate the normal challenge. It was fun working on this image, and I could easily have had many more hours of fun getting all the details right. The photos were made in a public place, which renders the issue of permissions from the models moot. This pregnant lady with a phoenix on her body was one of about a hundred participants in the event, and was prominently featured in one good, clear photo. I didn’t do the background this time – instead I wanted to focus on painting just one part of the scene.

Problem is, I can’t paint worth shit. Never have been. I can draw a little, on a good day, but when it comes to painting, I’m never sure what I’m even supposed to do. This will have to change in 2016.

Basic drawing in Sketchbook Pro, 2 layers, pencil layer on top. Heavily adjusted in Photoshop so that at least the magentas more or less matched what was in the picture. Learning how to use Adjustments and what their limitations are has been an unexpected bonus to this project, but eventually I will have to sit down and get my drawing tablet properly colour calibrated, because the level of deviation between screens is ridiculous.

My inability to paint properly did not end up getting worked on in 2016 but I did practice it a bit more in 2018. Back then, I had the idea of featuring the phoenix lady in a comic, probably Spun Off. Unfortunately, work on that comic really slowed down during that period, so it hasn’t happened yet and I kind of forgot about it. But it might still happen.

The report in The Gothamist still exists and the link still works.

Day 13:

Digital color drawing of a middle-aged woman standing nude before a shower curtain. Parts of her skin are red from sunburn.
Digital color drawing of a middle-aged woman standing nude before a shower curtain. Parts of her skin are red from sunburn.

What I wrote about this at the time:

I’m back on the horse after missing two days. I will try to finish the one for Day 11 and backdate it but I should consider Day 12 to be a goner at this point. Now, for my next trick, I should try to bring the quality back up again.

The source image is added to the pic, because it probably hasn’t been published before.
It’s my friend Becky from California after overdoing the nude sunbathing a bit. The drawing at least gives a basic indication of her colour zones – the yellows and browns as well as the reds of the sunburn. I had to adjust it heavily in Photoshop because of the calibration issues – not that it looked right on my Cintiq, mind. Also, once again, the face is a mess. You can’t win them all, I guess. When you’re learning to do new things, you occasionally get a drawing that just doesn’t come out right.

Drawing and posting of reference image by personal permission of Becky.

Tumblr seems to have removed the source image and while Becky would probably be OK with me reposting it, I’m not going to.

Decemboobs 2015, Days 8, 9 and 10

The second week of Decemboobs 2015, an annual drawing challenge in which sad, mostly male cartoonists refresh their knowledge on how to draw titties correctly, saw some better art than the week before. Well, from me, anyway. I wasn’t exactly hitting my stride, yet, but I was figuring more things out.

Day 8:

Digital drawing of Amber Rose, based on a still from her Walk of No Shame video
Amber Rose in digital color, based on a still from her video ‘Walk of No Shame’

What I wrote about this at the time:

I’m a little earlier than normal today because I decided to start the day with a drawing from reference, instead of doing one at the end of the day. By the way, today is the last day of my vacation and future submissions will probably be back to being sketches instead of inked and colored drawings.

The reference for this one is the Walk of No Shame video by Amber Rose. About 15 seconds in. In this one, I cheated a bit: after I’d erased the face for the fifth time, I decided that I didn’t want to be working on that all day, so I made a screenshot and traced that for the head. The screenshot was discarded from the image prior to inking and from there on, I used my reference the normal way. I also traced a few of the straight lines in the background before removing the layer with the screenshot, but as the background was going to be simplified anyway, it’s no big deal. You don’t learn as much from tracing and it’s not a panacea anyway, but in this case I needed to get past an issue that was blocking my progress with the image.

Coloring this image was interesting, not least because I never got the calibration on my Cintiq right. I didn’t get to see the final colors until I was getting ready to export the image. Normally I stick to a fixed template in order to compensate, but not for this one. Also, Amber Rose has a lot of yellow color zones in her skins, or at least that’s how it looks with the light. The yellows still look a lot more conspicuous than they do on my Cintiq, even after toning the layer of shades down to 50% opacity. But if you look at the video, those yellows are there.

Anyway. Large breasts made to stand out even more by a push-up bra. Sparkling personality. Reasonably funny video, though the video script has made its point about 30 seconds in and the rest is superfluous. Big tattoos, unexpectedly a lot of yellow.

Because it’s not on YouTube, the video still exists.

Day 9:

Digital drawing of model Nicole Nudes, standing nude in front o a house, on tip toes.
Digital drawing of model Nicole Nudes. See credits in the blog post

What I wrote about this at the time:

I’m back to work so from here on, my images will become much simpler again. For this one, I decided not to work with colour, highlights and shading but instead to just do a straight line drawing. You may notice a little hint of a grid – the reason for the grid was that when I looked at the reference photo, it turned out the figure was on the vertical center, the head at about 3/4 from the bottom and a lot of the action seemed to be based around the quarter lines. It’s another symmetrical photo, but masquerading as an asymmetrical one. There are other ways in which a lot of effort went into making the shot look artless: the pose has model Nicole standing on tippy-toes and wearing an attention-grabbing collar, and while you can’t see the makeup work in the drawing, it’s there in the photo.

I wasted a lot of time today trying to find good reference material; there are some photos that I want to draw but I can’t trace where I got them from (tineye didn’t work). At least with Nicole’s gallery there are some ground rules for when it’s OK to use them.

Model: Nicole |
Photographer: Yammon
Make-up artist: Meghan Victoria
Drawing: Reinder Dijkhuis

This one actually makes me feel like I can draw a little bit.

Reminder: Nicole has a Patreon. At the time of writing, her Tumblr is still up but her DeviantArt account has been deactivated.

Day 10:

Digital drawing of model Belenen sitting in front of a window in a skirt and top.
Digital drawing of model Belenen

What I wrote about this at the time:

Day 10: Summer Poise

The working day was rough, so today I thought I’d be easy on myself and draw a simple, cartoony image without trying too hard to make things realistic. The process did stretch out over an hour or so, but that’s because I was multitasking. Oh, and that hour included looking for a reference that would be fun to draw.

Today’s model is Belenen, who I’ve had some good interactions with. Years ago, I used one of their photos as a body model for a pencil sketch of my character Aleas. There was a great sense of fun in all the photos they modeled for, and from their writing, they’ve always come across as a very thoughtful, compassionate, spiritual person.

Please note: I have only just become aware of changes in their public identity and pronouns-of-choice. I am now checking their livejournal to see if the name above is still the correct name. Will update if necessary.

Terms of use for using Belenen’s photos as a reference:

Update: updated with the model’s correct name. “Belenen” is strictly a userid and should be treated as such.

Yeah, that last update was a bit unclear. I don’t really know what I meant with it either. I do remember having to explain the whole non-binary pronoun thing to the initiator of Decemboobs and not getting very far with that. I still haven’t got any better at explaining it, though fortunately, society as a whole is starting to get caught up with the concept, so maybe in a few years, I won’t have to.

Decemboobs 2015, Days 5, 6 and 7

At the end of the first week of Decemboobs 2015, an annual drawing challenge aimed at cartoonists because cartoonists are a bit notorious for not being too great at drawing convincing breasts, I did three not-very-good drawings in a row.

Day 5:

Drawing of activist Chelsea Covington throwing a ball on a beach, while dressed in swim boxers and a hat.
Activist Chelsea Covington throwing a ball on a beach, while dressed in swim boxers and a hat.

What I wrote about this at the time:

Again, we had visitors over so this ended up being the only piece of art I did today. Luckily, I had planned my subject in advance. And I knew I was going to work faster and not look for perfect reference. In fact, the subject’s right hand wasn’t visible in the video still I used at all, which is why it’s even cruder than the rest of the drawing.

This time around, I wanted to use a video reference and luckily, I found this via my Tumblr dash: . Topfreedom activist Chelsea Covington throwing a ball on the beach while bare-chested, videoing herself to show how few people actually respond or notice. I think it helps that her beachwear is about as ungendered and unsexualized as you can get.

We are taught from an early age to spot the differences between male and female bodies. However, in many contexts, the differences are slight. I have another video reference lined up that will explore this further.

This being YouTube, it’s no surprise that the video is gone.

Day 6:

Rough impression of a scene from a video showing nude oil wrestlers at Burning Man.
Rough impression of a scene from a video showing nude oil wrestlers at Burning Man.

What I wrote about it at the time:

This is not going to be my favorite drawing from this month-long challenge, but I thought drawing a scene from Naked Oil Wrestling At Burning Man would be worth a try. What struck me the first time I watched is was that despite everyone being nude, it was unexpectedly hard to see if there were men or women having a match. Not, obviously, impossible, but with the sumo-based positions that everyone took, the visible difference between male and female bodies was reduced. And the shadows did weird things, making the breast of the woman on the right look pasted on.

Or it was the quality of the video! It was OK as long as the images were moving, but as soon as I paused, the figures looked tiny and blurry. On the still I took, I had no idea where the left arm of the woman on the left actually was and I had to guess at it. I also ended up filling in the faces with generic cartoon faces in my style.

This was fun to do and possibly educational, but it wasn’t the sort of conditions in which I can make the best possible drawing. Tomorrow I’ll draw from a high-quality photo again.

The video is on Vimeo and still exists.

Day 7: Running through Corridors

Digital drawing of two nude women running through a corridor that is painted in Sanatorium Green.
Two nude women running through a corridor that is painted in Sanatorium Green.

What I wrote about this at the time:

Yeah, you know that feeling when you look at where your work has got to and you realise that either you should have stopped working on it a long time ago or you should double down and spend another five hours turning it into a proper painting. I’m gonna do neither, but just quit right here.

I had the reference image ( ) in my DeviantArt favorites for years, and it is something I could actually use as reference in a comic – the odds that there will be a scene in AbĂși’s Travels in which two nude women are running down a corridor in the next six months are considerable.

Have you ever noticed that photos of people running never look like you expect? The woman on the right runs reasonably like you would see in a book teaching you how to draw bodies in motion, but even in the photo, the woman on the left looks very stiff; only the blurring and the bounce of her breasts and hair provide cues as to her movement. The drawing is even worse – I didn’t replicate the blur but exaggerated the bounce, out of desperation more than anything.

And yeah. I simplified the background. A lot.

Better images are coming, I swear! It turns out that daily drawing challenges are really good for helping me develop but the first week is always shaky.

Decemboobs 2015, Days 3 and 4

Continuing my series of reposts from Decemboobs, a drawing challenge focused for cartoonists who don’t want to end up on Sequential Tart’s Bizarre Breasts. These two drawings are from December 2015, the first year I took part in this. Previous

Day 3:

Third drawing of Decemboobs 2015, done with Sketchbook Pro making extensive use of the Symmetry tool
First image to feature the fantastic Nicole Nudes, one of my favorite models.

What I wrote about this at the time:

No human body is exactly symmetrical, but this pose and shot from Nicolenudes were so close that when I picked it to draw from, I immediately decided to try doing the pencils using the symmetry tool in Sketchbook Pro. And that worked: that’s how precise Nicole and photographer Tamnphoto were when they created this one. The symmetry is only broken by the light from her right side (left for the viewer), her haircut and a slight tilt to her head. The hair in particular would have been interesting to draw in detail, but I had already spent much more time on this than I anticipated and I was getting frustrated with how the greyscaling was going. Of course by that time, I had turned the symmetry off.

Despite the fact that I’m doing this as part as a challenge called Decemboobs2015 (more info at ), I found the face and the hands much more interesting to draw than the model’s breasts. In fact, I was so focused on the face, the hands and the symmetry that I rather messed up on the breasts and they ended up not resembling Nicole’s all that much. Then again, what the image shows is how much I still have to learn about drawing from observation. I will revisit Nicole’s gallery later for a second attempt as part of the challenge.

Model: Nicole
Photographer: Tamnphoto (
Digital pencils, inks and greyscales in Sketchbook Pro – I had no idea what I was doing with the greyscales.

Nicole has a Patreon, which I support because over the past few years I’ve drawn her quite a few times. More of that to come. Her DeviantArt account has been deactivated.

Day 4:

Nevaelleh, a professional model, in a light top
Digital drawing of model Nevaelleh in a light top. Done in Sketchbook Pro using only the pencil tool.

What I wrote about this at the time:

I think Decemboobs2015 will make me a lot better at drawing hands.

This is the only art I’ve done today, because I had family over for much of the day. I mention this to indicate my dedication for making one drawing from reference per day.

Model: Nevaelleh
Photographer: Josh LaCunha
Location: Castro Valley, CA
Date: 10.13.09

Ms. Nevaeh is one of my favorite models and I’ve folloewed her for years. She hasn’t been active on DeviantArt or on her Tumblr ( ) for some time. I could not find a permissions policy on her gallery but she has favorited fan art of herself on DA. In any case, please do not remove the attributions above, and should you feel inspired to draw from her photos, please do attribute them fully.

The Tumblr may or may not still exist by the time you read this. At the time of writing this repost, it was still live.

Decemboobs 2015, Days 1 and 2

Between 2015 and 2017, I took part in an annual drawing challenge started by a French comic book artist, called DecemBoobs. It was intended as a way for cartoonists to practice drawing realistic breasts; this is something that many cartoonists apparently struggle with. While a number of other cartoonists took part, many just drew cartoons of conventionally attractive women. I was one of those who looked for a diversity of body types to draw, and also included trans women and non-binary people as subjects. This year, the challenge isn’t happening; I have moved on to a different event called Fatvent Calendar and will start posting results from that on this blog soon.
I posted the drawings from this and other art challenges in a few places including Tumblr and DeviantArt; these days, I feel like neither of these sites are good for preserving the material I’ve posted there, so I’m going to move them over here.

Day 1:

Sketch of a nude woman, based on a 1938 movie still.
Digital sketch based on a still from the 1938 “Documentary” The ExposĂ© of the Nudist Racket

What I wrote about this at the time:

Decemboobs, Day 1

This is day 1 because I didn’t hear about the Decemboobs challenge until this morning. I’ll do Day 2 today still.
This first sketch is based on a still from a 1938 documentary, The Expose of the Nudist Racket that someone on Twitter referred me to. This film is in black and white and consists of footage from an American nudist resort or park, with no interviews and only voiceover mixing straight reportage and commentary in a very free form. I don’t know enough about the state of the documentary form in that era to know if that sort of thing was typical of the time. In any case, it’s probably the earliest of its kind to be about nudists, and is notable for having no airbrushing or clever camera angles to hide all the bits that prudes insist be hidden.

Having said that, it’s not very good. It’s very male-gazey and there were some highly inappropriate jokes in it at the expense of one of the subjects, the lady in the sketch – the only fat woman in the entire film. I hope the fact that her body is memorized here, presumably long after her passing, makes up for that a bit.

Digital sketch made in Sketchbook Pro. The Expose of the Nudist Racket can be seen on Vimeo. The Decemboobs challenge is on Tumblr.

Day 2:

Digital sketch of a nude woman, based on a Tumblr photo
Digital sketch of a nude woman, based on a Tumblr photo.

What I wrote about this at the time:

Decemboobs, Day 2

Well, this should establish some sort of baseline. This looks like a quick sketch, but it’s not. Not really. It took far longer than a sketch like this should and if it had been a ten-minute pose, I’d have been screwed. But this is what I can currently do with photo reference.

I’ve mentioned before on my Tumblr that I like images of human bodies framed by rock – if a photo has a combination of these elements, odds are I’ll like it even if it’s not a masterpiece. So when I saw this photo on my Tumblr dash this morning, I thought that it’d be good for Decemboobs. Several of my comic characters including Neive and Aleas have body types similar to this lady.

But man, do I suck at drawing faces from life. And that arm gave me a lot of trouble until I changed the angle from what was in the photo.