Comic Talk and General Discussion

How do you make a sexy/attractive character? What makes a character sexy and or attractive?
ozoneocean at 1:38AM, April 6, 2015
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Men or women it doesn't matter, your own character or someone elses's- from TV, a comic, a film, a radio play, game, whatever.
How do you make a sexy character? What's a good example of a sexy character?  What makes a character sexy? 
 
It can be pretty individual in a lot of ways (what apeals to some is silly or gross or boring to others), but there are a lot of universal traits as well.
It'd be good to hear about it all though! Personal prefereances and all!
 
————–
 
For me, one of my main preferances for sexyness is for a female character to have a nice round, callipygous bottom and a slim waste, maybe a small tummy… An hour glass shape. Aaaand strong shapely thighs. Not Crumb style though… well, close. Example: Pinky TA
A sexy personality type for me is: confidence, intelligence, competance. An example would be the sexy librarian trope tied with the sexy teacher trope. But there's room for interpretation. In the Anime/manga series Ah My Goddess, the character Urd fits it, well at least the confidence part.
 
When I tried to design a sexy male character with Ace Kinkaid, I thought:
- Strong build: Broad shoulders and big chest with lots of muscle.
- Enough hair to make it messy and windswept if need be.
- Strong eyebrows.
- broad chin.
- Small nose.
His clothing is 1930s style heroic flying ace/motorcycle dispatch rider because I aways thought of that as a “dashing” look.
Aaaannnnnd I frequently show him with his shirt unbuttoned quite low.
 
bravo1102 at 6:44AM, April 6, 2015
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And now the obvious smart ass response that someone will make in a post only a few words long:
(except for this long introduction)
Boobs.  Cleavage.
But size doesn't matter. Bigger is not better.  Kiera Knightly and Taylor Swift can be just as sexy as Jayne Mansfield or Scarlett Johanson. The look I can't stand is the rail thin with tomatoes glued onto her chest. That girl should put on some weight and watch the titty fairy bless her.  
Any one can be sexy with the right look. Body type really doesn't matter. Like a classical Arab writing intense love poetry to a pair of eyes because that is all he can see through the berka, that is all that is necessary.  
last edited on April 6, 2015 6:54AM
El Cid at 12:42PM, April 6, 2015
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Aside generally from people who are morbidly obese or rail thin, I can find something sexy in pretty much all body types, so I just focus on trying to give the character a design that matches his or her personality. For a female character who's demure and innocent-natured, I'd probably go with a lithe, youthful look, whereas a sexually aggressive vixen I'd likely give more of a voluptuous body type. Not that in real life it works that way, but hey it's a comic!
 
I try not to fall into a rut with character designs, and I don't think you need to be six feet tall with a perfect body in order to be sexy. For the comic I'm working on right now, I made a point to make the main female character short and full figured. Initially, she also had smallish breasts, but I ended up giving her a bigger chest because it fills out her figure better and makes her look somewhat more imposing, which suits her personality.
HippieVan at 6:07PM, April 6, 2015
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Interesting, I've been thinking recently about doing a newspost on this topic except that I was going to take a more "How do you write an attractive character?“ approach.
 
For physical characteristics…um, I like dark skin. Is that un-PC? :/ Comics in general have an unfortunately small number of black/middle-eastern/south asian guys for me to ogle though.
I like guys who are slim and fit rather than the overly bulky thing that male superheroes usually have going on. Dark hair, dark eyes. It's nice when attractive characters have one or more features that distinguish them a little bit from just a template ”handsome guy,“ otherwise they tend to fade into the background or I just have a reaction of ”Yeah, that guy is objectively good looking“ rather than ”ooh, that guy is sexy.“ I'm particularly a big fan of handsome guys with weird noses. 
 
I feel as though my personality preferences are sadly stereotypical and definitely kind of dysfunctional unfortunately, in that I tend to swoon over the dark brooding characters who are often possessive, controlling etc. Like Erik in Phantom of the Opera, Jareth in Labyrinth, etc. I crush on pleasant male characters as well like Star Trek's Chekov, Jimmy Stewart in just about every role, etc., but I wouldn't categorize them as ”sexy." I think the sexiest character trait is when a man is particularly admirable in some way, though, whether that's in conjunction with other character flaws (like a mad genius artist) or he's just about perfect (like Victor Lazslo in Casablanca).
 
So basically, Sam Cooke but a little more broody.
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ozoneocean at 8:45PM, April 6, 2015
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Broodier version of Sam Cooke would be… Denzel Washington?
I changed the title of thise thread to include “attractive”.
 
A strong nose is also a feature I like on women in general and in characters (i.e. Pinky), sharp with a bump Like Claudia Black, or otherwise strong and pointy.
 
For Bottomless Waitress the task there was to try and be a bit more universal than just what personally appeals (Pinky TA), so we worked with 3 archytypes:
Polly, who's an older woman. She's a tall, inteligent, sassy, sarcastic redhead with a small bust. - based on Peg Bundy from Married with Children.
Francis is a blonde bombshell, short, with a pronounced hourglass figure: wide hips and a very large bust. Kind and caring but not too bright. - Kelly bundy from Maried with Children was an influence. :)
Jane, who's a light brown skinned black woman. She's in the middle between the other two: middle hieght, kind AND inteligent but niave. I can't remember who influenced her…
 
MagickLorelai at 11:40PM, April 6, 2015
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Ah, but this is so subjective. There's a reason we all draw in different styles, and that's because different things appeal to us, or we find different things attractive.
Me, I like emphasis on eyes and expression.
But I would not exactly be the well of knowledge to sup from when it comes to ‘finding things attractive/sexy’, so that's about the extent of what I know. x3
 
El Cid at 6:19AM, April 7, 2015
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The subjectivity does make it an imprecise science. Asking how do you make an attractive character is almost like asking how do you make a tasty meal; a lot of it just boils down to preferences. But it is important to consider for what function you're making a character attractive in the first place.
 
If you're trying to design a character to appeal to your audience, then it makes a lot of sense just to go with a good variety of types and see what works. I've been surprised in the past at what audiences respond to. On the other hand, if the character is meant to be sexy for some plot function, like maybe a femme fatale who seduces the hapless leading man into ruin, well in that case most of the “sexy” will come from the writing and character interactions. That's a bit easier, because in that case you really just need to convince your audience that the seduced character is attracted, rather than trying to elicit that attraction from the readers themselves.
Call Me Tom at 10:51AM, April 7, 2015
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I gave up on making my characters attracitive a long time ago, I can only draw ulgy. I think its a combernation of both art and wrighting that makes a character attracitive, a sexy pic will make you look for 5 min, sexy wrighting will make you read for an hour but put them together and Yowzah!
 
 I find athletic women very attracitive you know the aticve out doorsie type the exact opposite of me.
Gunwallace at 11:48AM, April 7, 2015
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What makes a character sexy and or attractive?
The artist.
David ‘Gunwallace’ Tulloch, www.virtuallycomics.com
MagickLorelai at 1:34PM, April 7, 2015
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Gunwallace wrote:
What makes a character sexy and or attractive?
The artist.
Aw cuhmon. Don't make the same joke twice.
Alternatively, I mean, technically yes, but….
 
HippieVan at 1:37PM, April 7, 2015
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ozoneocean wrote:
Broodier version of Sam Cooke would be… Denzel Washington?
 
Haha, yeah! And he played Malcolm X, who I also think is sexy. Actually, sexy historical “characters” (as well as some historians - *cough*DavarianBaldwin*cough*) have definitely been an ulterior motive for my learnings.
MagickLorelai wrote:
 
Ah, but this is so subjective. 
I think that's what makes it a fun conversation to have!
Gunwallace wrote:
What makes a character sexy and or attractive?
The artist.
 
 
Care to elaborate?
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HippieVan at 1:40PM, April 7, 2015
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Call Me Tom wrote:
I gave up on making my characters attracitive a long time ago, I can only draw ulgy.
 
Interesting, I always find that ugly people are a lot harder to draw than people who are sort of vaguely good looking.
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Hawk at 7:24PM, April 7, 2015
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HippieVan wrote:
Call Me Tom wrote:
I gave up on making my characters attracitive a long time ago, I can only draw ulgy.
  
Interesting, I always find that ugly people are a lot harder to draw than people who are sort of vaguely good looking. 
I'm the same.  I've found that even the “ugly” characters I draw aren't too remarkably bad-looking.  I think a lot of people's minds default to symmetry and pleasant proportions, but I do know people who draw ugly really well (to the point where you rarely see them draw something attractive).
 
Banes at 7:39PM, April 7, 2015
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Ah, interesting topic!

I'm working on several new series ideas. One of them features four women, all of whom
I want to be attractive, but completely different from each other.

So tall or short; slender or curvy or muscley; brash and
Forthright, or quiet and shy; conventionally atteactive or more unique looking, I'm trying to
Get out of what attracts me personally and go for as much diversity as
I can. It's been a fun project so far, and will hopefully expand some mental horizons!

I was about to say that they will all be honest, or confident, or something, but
just as the brooding or controlling guy or “bad boy” can be VERY atteactive, so can the Femme Fatale (the villainess is generally the sexiest character in a story as far as I'm concerned).
last edited on April 14, 2015 3:54PM
HippieVan at 9:13PM, April 7, 2015
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Banes wrote:
I was about to say that they will all be honest, or confident, or something, but
just as the brooding or controlling guy or “bad boy” can be VERY atteactive, so can the Femme Fatale (the villainess is generally the sexiest character in a story as far as I'm concerned).
 
This is separate from the topic of sexiness, but I would love to see more brooding female characters. Generally stories tend to pair up a dark brooding male with an upbeat whimsical female. I can't think of any female romantic leads off the top of my head who are the brooding type, especially in relation to an upbeat male. Actually I think I can bring it back to sexiness - maybe we tend to see doom and gloom characteristics as attractive only in male characters? And whimsy only attractive in females?
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HippieVan at 9:16PM, April 7, 2015
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Having just written that I thought of an example that goes against my point - Princess Jasmine and Aladdin. Jasmine isn't properly dark and brooding, but she's definitely a more serious type to Aladdin's free-spiritedness.
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Gunwallace at 12:34AM, April 8, 2015
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MagickLorelai wrote:
Gunwallace wrote:
What makes a character sexy and or attractive?
The artist.
 Aw cuhmon. Don't make the same joke twice.
Alternatively, I mean, technically yes, but…. 
If I didn't make the same joke more than once I'd have been out of jokes a long time ago. But to elaborate …. You can write someone sexy. You can write the greatest erotic character of all time. However, if the artist (which may also be the writer) makes the character look like a crossdressing orangutan with califlowered lips you're in trouble. And vice versa, a poorly fleshed out character can still be sexy showing the right sort of flesh.
David ‘Gunwallace’ Tulloch, www.virtuallycomics.com
Banes at 11:01AM, April 8, 2015
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@HippieVan - the “more serious” female paired with the “free spirited” or adventurous male shows up quite a bit, yeah…but you're right: the “dark and brooding” quality usually goes to the male, and the optimism/ lightness to the female.


It's a subtle difference, but it's there!


An “opposites attract” thing must be going on there…
last edited on April 8, 2015 11:02AM
KimLuster at 11:49AM, April 8, 2015
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HippieVan wrote:  
… I would love to see more brooding female characters. Generally stories tend to pair up a dark brooding male with an upbeat whimsical female. I can't think of any female romantic leads off the top of my head who are the brooding type, especially in relation to an upbeat male. Actually I think I can bring it back to sexiness - maybe we tend to see doom and gloom characteristics as attractive only in male characters? And whimsy only attractive in females? 
Girl with the Dragon Tatoo series comes pretty close.  Lizbeth Salander is one broody femme!!  I would hesitate to call any of the people she's paired with ‘upbeat’ but Mikail Blomkvist sure loves him some carnal action…!!
KimLuster at 12:30PM, April 8, 2015
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I decided to wait and let others post some first instead of diving right in and putting my foot in my mouth (as is my usual ploy)…
 
Sexy and Attractive is subjective, similar to our latest topics, but then again… it’s not…!
 
Physically it’s easy!  We are all biologically hardwired to find certain physical traits ‘sexy’.  Men will always find butts, boobs, baby-making hips, pouty lips and sultry eyes sexy, and if an artist can make those things look good, his character is going to be sexy to most males (yes, some of you are the exception, but again, exceptions do NOT make the rules).  Women are going to find these sexy: broad shoulders (like a walking T), broad chests, and a generally fit build, along with chiseled features and piercing eyes… (yes, there are exceptions – duly noted)
 
This is why comics books and romance novel covers, no matter how exploitive, exaggerated, or crazily posed they may render people will ALWAYS get attention if the artist is halfway decent.  This stuff triggers the primitive parts of our minds and we will find them sexy despite ourselves.  We may not like it – but I don’t like lots of things that are nevertheless true.
 
So there, that’s your easy way to make a character sexy!  Learn to draw really well and exploit the sexual characteristics.  You WILL have a market – guaranteed!
 
But as always, there are two sides to everything.  We humans also have a nuanced side, although not all of us use it.  Those that take the time to think about it know when we’re being manipulated, when someone is catering to the animal part of us, and we often resent it.  That which our inner-lizard may find sexy, we often outwardly recoil from.  The sledgehammer doesn’t work on all of us - you gotta try a little harder…!
 
Yes, the animal part of me may find your dark hero with abs I could wash my clothes on, with eyes I could drown in, sexy, but he better come along with something that makes me think he’s more than just a can of spam!  He better make me think, make me laugh; make me see his dreams through his eyes.  Your heroine may turn heads when she walks by, but she better have more than a 2-watt bulb between those ears.  If I can’t identify with her on any level, have no common interests with her, if I can’t have a long talk with her about any subject besides a man…  Well, I’ll look, like everyone else, and just walk on by…
 
For me, what makes a character sexy is all the same stuff that makes a character GOOD to begin with (you know, our last topic), then with some that physical stuff sprinkled in – that’ll do it!!  (see, I waited till later to put my foot in my mouth!)
 
Genejoke at 12:57PM, April 8, 2015
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draw them without clothes.
ozoneocean at 8:56PM, April 8, 2015
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HippieVan wrote:
 
This is separate from the topic of sexiness, but I would love to see more brooding female characters. Generally stories tend to pair up a dark brooding male with an upbeat whimsical female. I can't think of any female romantic leads off the top of my head who are the brooding type, especially in relation to an upbeat male. Actually I think I can bring it back to sexiness - maybe we tend to see doom and gloom characteristics as attractive only in male characters? And whimsy only attractive in females? 
 
In the movie version of Ghost World and Hellboy:
Enid is brooding (I'd say) and Seymour is… light.
Liz broods and Hellboy is… agressive and gruff but also pretty childish and silly. :)
 
———-
 
Kim makes some good points.
But that equation has to be modified by contrast. -Often ALL the characters in some comic, movie, or TV series are sterotypically “sexy” so they become booring and unsexy. But when you have a contrasting charater in the bunch then THEY can become the sexy/interesting/atractive one.
-So a character that is less “conventionally” atractive can easily become amazingly alluring when shown against a background of blah, grey, booring conventionally attactive characters.
That works for males or femlaes equally.
 
Conversly, an atractive character can become EXTREMELY atractive when shown against a background of very unatractive chraracters: Rebecca Rabbit is a good example.
She was pretty hot already, a bit of a carricature of hotness really, but in the context of toontown she's pure sex on legs.
 
HippieVan at 9:31PM, April 8, 2015
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ozoneocean wrote:
Rebecca Rabbit is a good example.
She was pretty hot already, a bit of a carricature of hotness really, but in the context of toontown she's pure sex on legs.
 
I know we said sexiness was subjective, but I think you might have some kind of issue, ozone…
 

 
…or maybe you meant Jessica Rabbit? :P
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HippieVan at 9:52PM, April 8, 2015
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KimLuster wrote:
 
Physically it’s easy!  We are all biologically hardwired to find certain physical traits ‘sexy’.  Men will always find butts, boobs, baby-making hips, pouty lips and sultry eyes sexy, and if an artist can make those things look good, his character is going to be sexy to most males (yes, some of you are the exception, but again, exceptions do NOT make the rules).  Women are going to find these sexy: broad shoulders (like a walking T), broad chests, and a generally fit build, along with chiseled features and piercing eyes… (yes, there are exceptions – duly noted)
 
This is why comics books and romance novel covers, no matter how exploitive, exaggerated, or crazily posed they may render people will ALWAYS get attention if the artist is halfway decent.  This stuff triggers the primitive parts of our minds and we will find them sexy despite ourselves.  We may not like it – but I don’t like lots of things that are nevertheless true.
 
 I'm not so sure about that! To me that's the difference between “objectively attractive” and “sexy.” Because I'll see a guy with all those traits but who is otherwise unremarkable and I might think “Oh, that's a handsome man” but often won't have any sort of animalistic urge towards them. As oz says, having something that sets a character/person apart from others is really important, and I think comic book characters in particular fall into that. All superheroes are hunky, and so looking at them doesn't have any effect on me. But the same character in a world of ordinary people, or the same character with a little something that sets him apart, might be a different story. 
 
Basically, I think sexiness as distinguished from objective physical attractiveness is often very unique to people and un-pin-down-able.
 
Also I was just looking for seminal Marx-influenced American historians for my paper and found this guy. Just thought I'd post him in case anyone else likes ogling dashing dead historians. Yeah, Professor Saxton, tell me all about the oppression of the working classes. (Just me? Okay.)
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last edited on April 8, 2015 9:53PM
ozoneocean at 3:23AM, April 9, 2015
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HippieVan wrote:
 
I know we said sexiness was subjective, but I think you might have some kind of issue, ozone…
 

 
…or maybe you meant Jessica Rabbit? :P 
 
Ahahahahaha! Don't judge me!
 
I always mix those names… JESSICA!!!!! Must remember.
 
KimLuster at 5:28AM, April 9, 2015
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HippieVan wrote:
 I'm not so sure about that! To me that's the difference between “objectively attractive” and “sexy.” Because I'll see a guy with all those traits but who is otherwise unremarkable and I might think “Oh, that's a handsome man” but often won't have any sort of animalistic urge towards them. As oz says, having something that sets a character/person apart from others is really important, and I think comic book characters in particular fall into that. All superheroes are hunky, and so looking at them doesn't have any effect on me. But the same character in a world of ordinary people, or the same character with a little something that sets him apart, might be a different story. 
 
Basically, I think sexiness as distinguished from objective physical attractiveness is often very unique to people and un-pin-down-able.
   
Don't get me wrong!  I'm not saying if you or I see a guy with all the ‘right physical traits’, that we'll feel the strong urge to jump his bones right there on the sidewalk!  I'm just saying there's unversal hard-wired aspects, common points, that sexiness originates from.
I'm saying that I don't think you (or me) will find anyone sexy that your (and my) litte inner beast doesn't find attractive on some level, based on these universal traits.  Our subjective minds, our personal preferences, sort of build upon the little urge inside (that we're often unaware of).  And it's never an overwhelming urge (unlike dogs in heat lol) - we can supress it pretty easily, sometimes to the point we don't think we even have it… 
But it's always there… always there…
(of course this is just my subjective opinion!)
 
last edited on April 9, 2015 5:29AM
bravo1102 at 8:28AM, April 9, 2015
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Attractive is appearances with the broad shoulders or wide hips. Sexy is in the behavior.   You can have perfection in attractive appearance but if it's a cardboard cut-out it won't be sexy. Though that characterization (beautiful but shallow and empty) can make for an interesting character mash-up with the slightly less obviously attractive but oh so interesting character who exudes sexuality.

Who is more attractive? Obviously Quinn.
Who is more sexy? Daria.
KimLuster at 10:53AM, April 9, 2015
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Bravo has a point!  Below is sexy…!!  But picture him exactly the same, hair and clothes, but making a face with a ridiculously exaggerated overbite smile and squinted eyes…
last edited on April 9, 2015 10:54AM
MagickLorelai at 3:18PM, April 9, 2015
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I think that it's also important to consider what we're socialized to believe is “attractive” and “sexy”. We have a whole industry that relies on selling us certain ideals so that we always feel inadequate and that there's some sort of universal constant state of attractiveness that we should all aspire to.
Not all men find certain things attractive, nor do all women. And it can be hard to differentiate what someone finds attractive on an instinctual level, because what American culture tells us is attractive is different from what Japanese culture suggests is attractive. There IS no universal set of rules for what's attractive.
 
ozoneocean at 6:55PM, April 9, 2015
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Remember that the questions this thread asks are what individual things that you find sexy/attractive, as well as the more general stuff.

I think it's safe to say that while there is no “mathematical law of sexy”, there are certainly things that are global, cross-cultural, and even cross-time and history that still remain broadly sexy or attractive.
The wider the net goes though the less specific you have to become unfortunately. Sex is one of the main drives for animal life, like hunger and the need for sleep, so if we have a solid level of comonallity with fish, bugs, birds, and snakes etc. It's a safe bet we share quite a lot more with members of our own species.
 

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