How to Draw Plus Size Characters: 10 Tips for Amazing Illustrations


    To draw plus-size characters, start by practising body proportions and using references. Avoid stereotypes and ensure diversity in your representation.

    Drawing plus-size characters can be a challenging yet rewarding task for artists. It is crucial to represent body diversity in art and move away from the stereotype of the “perfect” body. To start, study body proportions and practice sketching different body shapes.

    Use references of real people to guide you in creating realistic and relatable characters. Additionally, avoid portraying plus-size characters as one-dimensional and focus on their personality and individuality. Through your art, you can make a positive impact and promote body positivity.

    How to Draw Plus Size Characters: 10 Tips for Amazing Illustrations


    Table of Contents

    Tip 1: Understanding Body Proportions

    Explanation Of Different Body Types And Their Proportions

    Drawing plus-size characters can be challenging, but understanding the basics of body proportions among different types can help. Here is a brief explanation of some of the most common body types and their proportions:

    • Pear-shaped: This type typically has wider hips and narrower shoulders, with a smaller bust. The waist is often well defined.
    • Apple-shaped: With this type, the upper body is larger than the lower body. Typically, the bust and waist are wider, while the hips are narrower.
    • Hourglass-shaped: This type has a well-defined waist and proportionate bust and hips.
    • Straight-shaped: This type has minimal curves and a similar width for the bust, waist, and hips.

    How To Use Body Proportions For Plus-Size Characters

    There are different ways to use body proportions to create a believable plus-size character, such as:

    • Understanding the relationship between body parts: When drawing a plus-size character, focus on the size and shape of each body part in proportion to the others. Avoid simply enlarging certain areas without considering how they connect to the rest of the body.
    • Using reference material: Look at pictures of plus-size models or people you know to get a feel for how to draw plus-size bodies. This can help you grasp the proportions that will make your character look and feel more realistic.
    • Adjusting clothing and accessories: When designing clothing or accessories for a plus-size character, keep in mind their body shape and proportions. This can help ensure that the outfit is flattering and looks like it was made for the character.

    Examples Of How To Draw Plus-Size Characters With Proper Proportions

    Below are some examples of how to apply body proportions to your plus-size character drawings for a convincing and realistic result.

    • When drawing a pear-shaped character, make sure to emphasize their proportional bust and define their waistline. You can add more detail to the hips with subtle shading or contouring, but be careful not to overdo it.
    • For an apple-shaped character, draw their torso wider than their hips, and use shading to create the illusion of a more defined waistline. Emphasize their legs by drawing them longer and adding more detail to make them stand out.
    • Hourglass-shaped characters should have an exaggerated hourglass figure, with defined shoulders and hips, and a small waistline. Use shading and contouring to make the curves more prominent.
    • For a straight-shaped character, avoid awkward proportions by creating curves using shading. Draw attention to the character’s best features by adding more detail to the bust or legs.

    Understanding body proportions is crucial to drawing plus-size characters that are realistic and believable. Consider a character’s body type, proportions and adjust clothing and accessories, and use reference material to make the best of your character.

    Tip 2: Emphasizing Curves And Volume

    Techniques To Draw Curves And Volume For Plus-Size Characters

    Drawing plus-size characters requires special consideration. It’s important to understand the anatomy of these characters and to know how to emphasize their curves and volume. Here are some techniques that can help:

    • Begin by understanding the shape of plus-size bodies. They tend to be rounder overall, with more weight distributed in certain areas. Typically, these areas include the arms, thighs, hips, and stomach. Think about how you can highlight these areas in your drawing.
    • Use contouring to emphasize curves. By shading and highlighting certain areas, you can make curves pop out more. Focus on the stomach, hips, and thighs, as these are often the areas that need contouring the most.
    • Don’t be afraid to exaggerate curves. Plus-size characters can look great with exaggerated curves. By emphasizing the curves, you can create a signature look for your character. Just avoid making the curves look unnatural (see the next section for tips).
    • Use lines to draw attention to curves. Thin lines can add definition to curves and make them more prominent. They can also give the appearance of movement and flow.

    How To Avoid Making The Character Look Unnatural

    One of the most common mistakes when drawing plus-size characters is making them look unnatural. Here are some tips to help you avoid this:

    • Don’t overemphasize certain areas. While it’s important to highlight curves, it’s also important to make sure they look natural. Avoid making certain areas too large or too small, as this can make the character look unrealistic.
    • Start with the basic shape. Before you begin adding details, start by drawing the basic shape of the character. This will help you avoid making the character look too exaggerated or disproportionate.
    • Pay attention to proportions. Make sure the head, arms, legs, and torso are all proportional. A character with small arms and a large torso can look unnatural and even comical.
    • Remember that every body is different. Plus-size characters come in all shapes and sizes. While there are certain commonalities, it’s important to remember that each character is unique.

    Examples Of How To Draw Plus-Size Characters With Emphasis On Curves And Volume

    Here are some examples of how to draw plus-size characters with emphasis on curves and volume:

    • Use contouring to create a defined waistline. By shading in the sides of the stomach, you can create the illusion of a waistline. This can make the character look more feminine and help emphasize curves.
    • Use lines to create the appearance of movement. By adding thin lines to the arms and legs, you can create the appearance of motion. This can make the character look more dynamic and less stagnant.
    • Highlight the cheeks. Plus-size characters often have fuller cheeks. By using contouring and highlighting techniques, you can emphasize this area and make the character look more youthful.
    • Draw clothing that fits the character’s body. Plus-size characters come in all shapes and sizes. It’s important to draw clothing that fits their body type. For example, loose-fitting clothing can make the character look larger, while form-fitting clothing can emphasize curves.

    Remember, the key to drawing plus-size characters is to understand the anatomy and to emphasize their curves and volume in a natural way. By following these tips and practicing, you can create stunning plus-size characters that are unique and beautiful.

    Tip 3: Clothing And Accessories For Plus-Size Characters

    How To Draw Clothing That Flatters And Fits A Plus-Size Body Type

    When drawing clothing for plus-size characters, it’s essential to consider designs that flatter their shape and size. Here are some tips to help you draw clothes that suit the plus-size body type:

    • Start by analyzing the character’s body shape, curves and proportions, which will help you decide the best outfits to draw.
    • Create clothes that fit the character correctly. Baggy or overly tight clothes will only emphasize the flaws instead of flattering them. Consider the character’s size and proportions while drawing outfits.
    • Avoid horizontal stripes or designs that make the characters look wider. Instead, opt for vertical stripes or other slimming designs such as v-necklines or a-line skirts.
    • Draw clothes in darker shades or all-black to create an illusion of a slimmer silhouette.
    • Highlight the character’s best features by drawing attention to their shoulders, bust, or neckline.

    Tips For Drawing Accessories That Complement The Character’S Size And Shape

    Accessories are a great way to enhance a character’s appearance and personality. Here are some essential tips for drawing accessories that complement plus-size characters:

    • Use bigger or bolder accessories that match the character’s size. Avoid small-sized bags, earrings, and bracelets that look smaller on the body.
    • Draw accessories that emphasize the character’s height, such as long scarfs or necklaces, to create the illusion of a longer and slimmer silhouette.
    • Consider the occasion or setting while drawing accessories. Formal accessories such as handbags, pearl necklaces, or earrings may not be suitable for all characters.
    • Draw accessories that are proportional to the body size. A large handbag for a plus-size character will look appropriate, but the same handbag will not suit a petite character.

    Examples Of Outfits And Accessories For Plus-Size Characters

    Here are some outfit and accessory ideas that will make plus-size characters look fabulous and confident:

    • High-waist fitted jeans or pants with a crop top or a tucked-in shirt will make the waistline look thinner and highlight the curves.
    • Flared or a-line skirts that fall below the knee with heels or wedges will balance out the body proportions.
    • Wrap dresses with v-necklines or tulip skirts will flatter the curves while creating a slimming effect.
    • Maxi dresses with lightweight fabrics such as cotton, chiffon, or georgette will make the character look taller and slimmer.

    When it comes to accessories, here are some examples that will suit plus-size characters:

    • Bold statement necklaces or layered necklaces with a long chain will grab attention towards the neckline and create an illusion of an elongated neck.
    • Hoop earrings, tassel earrings, or feather earrings will frame the face and draw attention away from the body.
    • Tote bags, oversized clutch bags, or crossbody bags with adjustable straps will look proportional and suit the body size.

    By following these tips, you can draw plus-size characters with confidence while creating flattering outfits and accessories that are unique and suit their personality.

    Tip 4: Sketching And Line Work Techniques For Plus-Size Characters

    How To Use Different Sketching And Line Work Techniques To Draw Plus-Size Characters

    Drawing plus-size characters requires a different approach compared to drawing typical characters. Here are some sketching and line work techniques that you can use to draw plus-size characters:

    • Use reference images to study the body shapes, curves, and proportions of plus-size individuals.
    • Start with basic shapes such as circles, ovals, and rectangles to map out the character’s proportions before sketching details.
    • Vary line weight by drawing thicker lines for larger body parts and thinner lines for smaller body parts. This will help to create an illusion of depth in your artwork.
    • Use curved lines to draw the contours of curves in the body, such as the belly, arms, and thighs.
    • Add folds and wrinkles to the clothing to indicate areas of tension or movement that come with the character’s curves.

    Tips For Making The Character Look Dynamic And Confident

    Drawing a plus-size character with confidence and dynamism can be a bit tricky since many artists tend to draw such a character with a degree of hesitation or shame. Here are some tips to make your plus-size character look dynamic and confident:

    • Pose the character with confidence by giving them a strong stance, such as with hands on hips or arms raised, to emphasize their curves.
    • Draw the character with a smile to project confidence and happiness.
    • Emphasize the character’s talents, such as athleticism or musical ability, to show that their size doesn’t define them.

    Examples Of Different Sketching And Line Work Styles For Plus-Size Characters

    There are many different ways to draw plus-size characters, and experimentation is key to discovering your style. Here are some examples of sketching and line work styles that you can use to draw plus-size characters:

    • Cartoon style – use exaggerated curves and proportions, reduce details in facial features, and add fun expressions to the character.
    • Realistic style – use reference images to get the correct proportions, add details to facial features and clothing, and create realistic shading and highlights.
    • Minimalist style – use simple shapes and lines to represent the character, avoid adding excessive details, and use pops of color to draw attention to certain areas.

    Remember, when drawing plus-size characters, try to focus on their unique characteristics and celebrate their curves instead of trying to hide them. By following these tips and techniques, you can create dynamic and confident plus-size characters that will resonate with anyone who sees them.

    Tip 5: Facial Features And Expressions For Plus-Size Characters

    How To Draw Different Facial Features And Expressions For Plus-Size Characters

    When it comes to drawing plus-size characters, their facial features and expressions should match their body type to make the character look natural and relatable. Here are some key points to consider when drawing different facial features and expressions for plus-size characters:

    • Nose: A slightly wider nose can make the character look more natural and realistic.
    • Eyes: Larger eyes can help make the character look more expressive and friendly.
    • Mouth: A fuller and plumper lip can make the character look more confident and appealing.
    • Cheeks: Use rounder and fuller cheeks to match the plus-sized body type.
    • Expressions: Use relatable expressions that match the character’s personality and body type.

    Tips For Making The Character Look Natural And Relatable

    Making a plus-size character look natural and relatable can take some extra care and attention to detail. Here are some tips to help you get started:

    • Avoid exaggerated features that may come across as stereotypical or offensive.
    • Use a variety of realistic body positions to create a more natural look.
    • Take inspiration from real-life plus-size individuals to help depict your character realistically.
    • Use body language to convey confidence, personality, and relatability.

    Examples Of Different Facial Features And Expressions For Plus-Size Characters

    Here are some examples of different facial features and expressions that would suit a plus-size character:

    • A wide smile with fuller lips could depict a character who is confident and charismatic.
    • Using slightly upwards inclined eyebrows and wide eyes could depict a character who is approachable and friendly.
    • Frown lines and slightly downturned mouth could depict a character who is dealing with stress or sadness.
    • Using soft lines depicting fuller cheeks could help convey a character who is warm and likable.

    By following these tips, you can create plus-size characters that are relatable, natural, and appealing to your audience. Remember to use your imagination and creativity to bring your character to life, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different sizes, shapes, and expressions.

    Good luck!

    Tip 6: Poses And Gestures For Plus-Size Characters

    How To Draw Poses And Gestures That Showcase The Character’S Personality And Confidence

    When it comes to plus-size characters, their poses and gestures can have a significant impact on how confident and empowered they appear. Here are some tips for drawing poses and gestures that showcase your character’s personality and confidence:

    • Focus on body language: Ensure that the body language of your plus-size character displays confidence and strength. Their posture should be erect and their expressions should be bold and expressive.
    • Highlight their plus size: Avoid hiding your character’s size and instead embrace it. Draw your plus-size character standing tall with their belly out, arms at sides, and legs apart in a strong stance.
    • Use props: Introduce objects such as a cane, umbrella, or purse to help highlight the character’s personality. It will also make the character more relatable to the readers.
    • Incorporate details: It is equally important to add details such as wrinkles, folds, and creases in their clothing to make them look more realistic. Details help give the character depth and personality.

    Tips For Creating Dynamic And Interesting Poses

    Creating dynamic and interesting poses require careful attention to detail. Here are some tips to help you create such poses:

    • Study reference material: Always get inspiration from reference material such as photographs or videos of real people. Study how they stand and move about. This will help you create more believable poses and gestures.
    • Master gesture drawing: A good understanding of gesture drawing will help you create quick sketches of poses and movements for your characters. Observe how the elbows bend, wrists rotate and how the fingers move.
    • Use the rule of thirds: To create an interesting and balanced drawing, use the rule of thirds. Divide the frame of your drawing into thirds, horizontally and vertically, this will help you place the character in a visually interesting manner.
    • Use contrast: A pose that contrasts with the character’s personality can make your drawing more eye-catching and dramatic. For instance, if your character is usually shy, draw them in a pose that displays confidence and assertiveness.

    Examples Of Different Poses And Gestures For Plus-Size Characters

    As you work on your plus-size character, you’ll find that there are many poses and gestures to explore. Here are some examples of different poses and gestures that your character can use:

    • Sitting down with their legs crossed: This pose is perfect for a confident and successful character. It demonstrates that your character is assertive and in control.
    • Arms crossed in front of their chest: This pose creates a protective stance, indicating that your character is cautious and guarded.
    • Leaning on a wall: This pose gives a character a casual and laid-back appearance. It can be used to show a character’s confidence in their own skin or their carefree personality.
    • Head held high, shoulders back: This pose will make your character look confident and proud. It can also show how the character has overcome past insecurities about their size.

    Mastering poses and gestures is an essential skill that will make your plus-size character look more realistic and relatable. Keep in mind that the poses and gestures should reflect your character’s personality, feelings, and confidence level. Practice and study from reference materials to develop your skills and create dynamic and interesting characters.

    Tip 7: Color And Shading Techniques For Plus-Size Characters

    How To Use Color And Shading Techniques To Add Depth And Dimension To The Character’S Body

    When it comes to drawing plus size characters, color and shading techniques can make all the difference in creating a visually striking and dynamic character. Here are a few tips to help you add depth and dimension to your character’s body using color and shading techniques:

    • Consider the light source: Imagine where the light is coming from and use shading techniques to create depth and shadows on the character’s body accordingly.
    • Use contrast: Consider choosing colors that contrast with one another in order to highlight certain areas of the character’s body and create a sense of depth.
    • Use gradients: Consider using gradients to create a smooth transition of colors and shadows across the character’s body.

    Tips For Choosing Colors That Complement The Character’S Skin Tone And Personality

    Not all colors are created equal when it comes to drawing a plus-size character. Here are a few tips for choosing colors that complement the character’s skin tone and personality:

    • Use color psychology: Certain colors evoke certain emotions. Consider using colors that reflect the character’s personality or mood in order to make them more relatable and engaging.
    • Think about skin tone: The color of the character’s skin is an important factor to consider. Consider using complementary colors that enhance the richness of the character’s skin tone.
    • Use color palettes: Consider using pre-made color palettes in order to ensure that the colors you choose are harmonious and complementary.

    Examples Of Different Color And Shading Techniques For Plus-Size Characters

    Here are a few examples of different color and shading techniques for plus-size characters:

    • Cell shading: This technique involves using flat blocks of color to create a cartoon-like effect and is especially effective for creating simpler and more stylized characters.
    • Soft shading: This technique involves creating a subtle gradient of color and shadow across the character’s body in order to create a more realistic and dynamic effect.
    • Cross-hatching: This technique involves creating a pattern of criss-crossed lines in order to create the illusion of shadows and depth on the character’s body.

    By incorporating these tips and techniques into your drawings, you can create visually striking and dynamic plus-size characters that readers will love.

    Tip 8: Creating Diverse And Inclusive Plus-Size Characters

    Importance Of Creating Diverse And Inclusive Characters

    Creating inclusive plus-size characters is crucial to increase representation and acceptance in our society. Plus-size people belong to different ethnicities, genders, and abilities, and accurately depicting them can help promote body positivity and diversity.

    Tips For Representing Different Ethnicities, Genders, And Abilities In Plus-Size Characters

    When creating plus-size characters, consider representing different ethnicities, genders, and abilities. Here are some tips for portraying them accurately:

    • Conduct research and consult with individuals from different backgrounds to avoid unintentional biases.
    • Use appropriate terminology, avoid perpetuating stereotypes, and focus on individual experiences.
    • Emphasize that the character’s ethnicity, gender, or ability is only a part of their identity, not the defining characteristic.
    • Avoid hypersexualization or fetishization of these identities.

    Examples Of Diverse And Inclusive Plus-Size Characters

    Here are some examples of diverse and inclusive plus-size characters in different forms of media:

    • Kate from “this is us”: A plus-size character portrayed by chrissy metz, who defies typical body stereotypes and tackles emotional issues such as weight loss, self-esteem, and relationships.
    • Jillian holtzmann from “ghostbusters”: A plus-size character portrayed by kate mckinnon, showing that individuals with different body types can be intelligent, brave, and funny.
    • Faith herbert from “faith”: A plus-size superheroine who is not defined by her size but by her strength, empathy, and intelligence.
    • Lizzo: A plus-size singer and performer who advocates for body confidence, self-love, and embracing one’s uniqueness.

    These examples show that inclusive plus-size characters can be relatable, inspiring, and entertaining, and that their size does not limit their potential. Therefore, it’s imperative to create and support diverse and inclusive plus-size characters, as they can positively influence our culture and values.

    Tip 9: Collaboration And Feedback For Plus-Size Character Design

    Creating plus-size characters can be a challenging task, especially when you’re doing it alone. Collaboration and feedback are essential when it comes to designing characters that are inclusive of all body types. In this section, we’ll explore the benefits of working with others, how to give and receive feedback, and some successful collaborations and feedback in plus-size character design.

    Benefits Of Collaborating With Others To Create Plus-Size Characters

    Collaborating with others can bring fresh perspectives and new ideas to the table. When you work with a team, you can leverage everyone’s strengths and combine them to create something truly incredible. Here are some of the benefits of collaborating with others to create plus-size characters:

    • Increased creativity
    • Diverse perspectives
    • More efficient problem-solving
    • A better understanding of your audience

    How To Give And Receive Feedback To Improve Character Design

    Feedback is crucial when it comes to improving your character designs. However, not all feedback is created equal. Here are some tips on how to give and receive feedback effectively:

    Giving feedback:

    • Be specific
    • Use examples
    • Share your reasoning
    • Be constructive

    Receiving feedback:

    • Listen actively
    • Ask questions
    • Don’t take it personally
    • Consider the source

    Examples Of Successful Collaborations And Feedback In Plus-Size Character Design

    There have been several successful collaborations and feedback in plus-size character design. Here are some examples:

    • The team at glitch helped create a body-positive game that incorporated diverse body types and sizes
    • The sims 4 received praise for its recent update that added plus-size clothing options and improved character creation tools
    • Cartoonist lalo alcaraz worked with pixar to create a plus-size character for coco, who was both realistic and well-received by audiences

    Collaboration and feedback are crucial when it comes to creating plus-size characters. Working with a team can bring fresh perspectives and new ideas, while feedback helps you improve your character designs and better understand your audience. By taking advantage of these tools, you can create characters that represent all body types and sizes.

    Tip 10: Practice And Persistence For Drawing Plus-Size Characters

    Importance Of Practice And Persistence In Improving Character Design Skills

    Drawing plus-size characters requires a lot of practice and persistence. It is not something that can be mastered in a few attempts. Here are some reasons why practice and persistence are essential:

    • Drawing plus-size characters is a skill that requires time and effort to develop.
    • Consistency in practicing ensures that you improve your techniques.
    • Over time, you will develop your style and become more confident in your drawing abilities.

    Tips For Setting Goals And Tracking Progress In Drawing Plus-Size Characters

    As you embark on the journey of drawing plus-size characters, setting goals and tracking your progress is essential. Here are some tips to help you:

    • Set specific goals for each drawing session, such as practicing a particular technique or drawing a specific body part.
    • Keep track of the time you spend drawing to ensure that you are consistent in your practice.
    • Take regular breaks to avoid burnout and return to your practice with a fresh perspective.

    Examples Of Successful Artists Who Have Mastered Drawing Plus-Size Characters

    Many artists have mastered drawing plus-size characters. Here are some examples:

    • Rachael stott is a comic book artist who is known for her realistic depictions of plus-size characters. She uses her art to fight against body shaming and promote body positivity.
    • Rosie loves tea is an illustrator who specializes in plus-size fashion illustration. Her artwork features curvy women in stylish outfits.
    • Grisel barajas is an artist who creates beautiful illustrations of plus-size women. Her artwork promotes body positivity and celebrates diversity.

    Drawing plus-size characters requires practice and persistence. Setting goals and tracking your progress can help you improve your techniques. By studying successful artists such as rachael stott, rosie loves tea, and grisel barajas, you can gain inspiration and learn new techniques to enhance your skills.

    Keep practicing, and soon, you will be able to confidently draw plus-size characters with ease.

    Frequently Asked Questions For How To Draw Plus Size Characters

    What Are The Best Art Supplies For Drawing Plus Size Characters?

    When drawing plus size characters, it’s best to have a variety of pencils, pens, markers, and erasers to create different textures and effects. Use smooth paper or a sketch pad to avoid smudging and achieve crisp, clean lines.

    How Do I Create Realistic Proportions When Drawing Plus Size Characters?

    When drawing plus size characters, focus on creating proportionate curves and shapes. Use reference photos to study the natural lines and contours of the body. Start by sketching basic shapes and gradually add details, paying close attention to the placement of features and the weight distribution of the character.

    What Are Some Common Mistakes To Avoid When Drawing Plus Size Characters?

    A common mistake when drawing plus size characters is to exaggerate their features or make them appear cartoonish. Avoid drawing disproportionate body parts, such as tiny hands or feet, and focus on creating realistic, lifelike poses and expressions. Consider using real-life models to study natural movements and positions.


    As a conclusion, we hope this article has been helpful in providing some guidance on how to draw plus size characters. Drawing plus size characters can be a positive step towards increasing representation and breaking down harmful stereotypes. Remember to use reference images and consider the proportions carefully to accurately represent the plus size figure.

    Additionally, don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun with your drawing. With these tips in mind, you will be able to create beautiful and diverse characters that reflect a wider range of body shapes and sizes. Keep practicing and continue to develop your skills, and you’ll be amazed at the wonderful characters you can create.

    Thank you for reading and happy drawing!


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