In light of the open call for submissions for Smut Peddler 2014 (A lady-made collection of comic erotica – buy the previous version), I thought I would do another post about sexy comics. Last time I told you my favorites, now I’ll elaborate on why they are awesome, and include some more.
Several months ago, inspired by comics of this sort, I decided I wanted to create a sex-positive webcomic. As a scientist and feminist, I saw it as an opportunity to challenge the stereotypical sexlessness of both groups in a fun way. My first order of business was to hone my drawing skills: I have art and illustration experience but am nowhere close to a pro. So it began.
Early on, I was confronted with the question “what makes a drawing sexy?” Is it the shapes of bodies? The acts depicted? The expressions on the faces? The story? The dialogue? The onomatopoeia?
The short answer is “all of the above”, but the real answer is “it’s complicated”. First, lets talk about bodies. I struggled with how I wanted to style bodies in my work – most of the training I had was in life drawing, so I was used to realistic proportions. In most mainstream comics, female bodies are idealized to the extreme: perkiness levels unachievable without silicone, waists too small to fit intestines, any and all fat isolated to the butt and breasts.
by Drew Sheneman
A search for more diverse representations of body type led me to explore the world of independent erotic comics. This taught me two important things:
1) I have a long way to go, skill-wise, before I will be able to create anything nearly as creative and sexy as what is out there. Therefore, a polished webcomic from me is not imminent, but I will post sketches as I continue to practice.
2) Once you move away from mainstream “sexy” body types (for both women and men), it becomes clear how important all the senses are to sexual experience. The hottest erotica excels at going beyond visual stimulation.
When I say this, I don’t mean “I’m female so I like a convincing story and emotions” (an overused simplification that hardly describes what women like). I mean touch, taste, sound, smell and the secondary senses. How does an artist convey all of that when she only has our eyes at her disposal? Naturally, our brains are good at associating visuals with other desirable feelings. The most talented artists make it easy for our cranium to connect with our clitoris. Part of this is by depicting real world sex and not just being an illustrated version of mainstream video porn.
Ever notice that people sweat and make incomprehensible noises when they have great sex? Josh Lesnick has.
How about skin’s elasticity? Breasts squish and lips stretch, and Trudy Cooper knows it.
And how one moment blends into the next for a kaleidoscope of sensations? Jess Fink‘s free-form panels contribute more than just a unique style (Chester 5000XYV)
The fact that women have labia, pubic hair, and curves isn’t lost on Amanda Lafrenais. (Titty Time, available through subscription to slipshine)
Environments that accentuate different sensations on skin? Sylvan Migdal (Curvy) has you covered!
While Oh Joy, Sex Toy is more educational than arousing, Erika Moen wins the prize for most diverse body types!
Unsurprisingly, sexy isn’t about plastic people getting poked and prodded. The best erotica pays attention to detail and doesn’t always feature anatomy conforming to the Grecian Ideal. And that’s a good thing.