How to draw fit female characters
Let’s talk about how to draw fit female characters!
I feel like a big problem artists might face when trying to draw muscular female characters is the fear of making them look like men.
Women can have muscles and still look feminine, though.
And honestly, female musculature is different than a guy’s musculature.
Same muscles, different frame.
For this character design below, I am using my OC Reina as an example.
Strong female characters (ones that are also physically strong) come in many shapes and sizes.
When drawing your sketch, it is important to draw the curves of the muscles.
Female characters will always have a curve to their hips regardless of size (adult females) and will have more rounded features than male characters.
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Female Body Types
Below, here are two female body types.
The first is a Lean body type.
Notice you can see the definition on the arms and a defined line of the ab muscles.
Fit but less muscular female cartoon characters will typically have a Lean frame, as well as younger or slimmer comic book heroines like Batgirl or Gamora.
The second female character is what we will call the Built type.
She has a thick muscular frame while retaining feminine curves.
Because of the amount of muscle she has, her hips appear thicker. Her abs are slightly less defined, but the muscles are definitely there.
Comic book heroines like Wonder Woman and She-Hulk will have a more Built frame.
Korra from The Legend of Korra has this frame as well.
Lean & Fit Females
Lean & Fit female characters are typically slim (but don’t look underweight) and have noticeable muscle usually on their shoulders and abdomen.
These characters are typically high school athletes, adventurers, or runners.
In the picture above, you’ll see my illustration of Lara Croft and that she qualifies as a Lean but Fit female character.
Mega-Muscled Female Characters
Is there a difference between drawing “fit” and “muscular” female characters?
Maybe so, but both are still beautiful.
I think that you can be fit without necessarily being considered muscular.
For instance, runners are fit, but typically not considered muscular.
Here is an illustration I did of Cara Dune from The Mandalorian.
Cara, played by former MMA star Gina Carano, is very muscular.
I think the thing that makes a female’s musculature most noticeable, especially in 2D art, is the arms and shoulders.
Muscular female characters have the “shoulder bump” and noticeably defined trap muscles.
These types of female characters also have a thickness to their figure that in my opinion, does not detract from their femininity.
For instance, take She-Hulk for example.
Illustration of She-Hulk by Leah Harris
She-Hulk is a Marvel character, and she is SUPER muscular.
I mean obviously, she’s a Hulk.
But even so, she still has a feminine figure.
I think the most important thing to note about drawing muscular females is not to make them look like men just because they have muscle definition.
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Hi there! My name is Leah, and I am going to help you learn how to draw, and take your pictures to the next level. I have college-level experience with form drawing and multiple art classes under my belt that have helped me create these tutorials. Let's learn how to draw together!