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I was looking at some books and going through some basic animation reviews when I saw an old trick on doing cartoon character bodies using the "Flour Sack" method. I modified it a bit to fit in with a more realistic look. I call it the "Bean" method...there may already be a bean method but I'm unaware of it. Here's my take:

Draw a bean

You sit down to draw and you think "hmm..male torso...complicated"..but if you think.."hmm..kidney bean"..That's Easy!

Draw a bean shape and divide it vertically down the center. Pay attention to it's contours. Divide it horizontally abot 2/3rds of the way down. We'll call that the waist line.

Balloon animals

OK..so it's not really a bean..just vaguely bean shaped. Imagine now that it's inflated and you can twist it like a balloon animal. Note that the centerline twist with it. This will help you make actions poses in later steps. That center line is ESSENTIAL to keeping your bodies from looking lopsided.

A new view

Imagine now that it's your old school G.I.Joe doll with the head,legs and arms popped off. See how we'll attach the limbs?

(note: you should make the bean over an existing stick figure. Dont start your drawing with the bean.)

A finished work

The fact that I used a bean shape to make this torso would be all but unoticable if I hadn't greyed it in. It was quick, easy and I didn't spend an hour working on the upper torso and waist as seperate entities. The work has a more fluid feel to it. Try this method out if your finished art is looking too blocky.

(Does it look like Ryo Hazuki to anyone else?)


A bean at any angle:

Practice drawing the bean shape from different angles and imagining how the limbs would attach to it in that position. Be creative. Double check your proportions. The Torso in it's entirety is about 3 heads high (from collar to groin) The upper torse being 2 heads and the waist being 1 head tall.

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