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"Artistic nudes in comic writing? Yes, it is possible.", 11 days ago, 1:37 AM #1
MK_Wizard

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I was just wondering about this because while I am a modest person, I'm not a narrow minded person. If a sexy comic or a comic which contains nudes is good, I will read it. I just steer clear of needless smut which is clearly only there out of desperation. Then again, I steer clear of any shock value, but that's for another thread.

It just got me thinking though, is it possible for a comic to contain nudity, but not actually be smutty? My answer is yes though it would still be aimed for adults. I say yes because as a Greek person, I have seen the art pieces of my ancestors and most of it contained artistic nudes. In an artistic nude you're presenting the body as something to respect as a work of art within itself. In that case, the body is not perfect and you're emphasising ALL of the body not just the naughty bits. Sexy work is when you're only presenting perfect sexy people doing sexy things. With that said, I take my hat off to anyone who can pull off an artistic nude in comic writing because it takes effort to do that especially in a world where we stereotype men as going gaga every time a woman is in the buff.

As a feminist, I believe men are sensitive and mature enough to still act like they are civilised and still be gentlemen even when walking in on a naked woman especially by accident. That and male readers do appreciate female characters are characters first even when they are sexy. 'Male' is not a medical condition, people. But I digress. The point is that I have seen people put nudity in comics and not even need to bring up what goes on behind closed doors and frankly, I think it takes talent to pull off an artistic nude because really, we need to embrace flaws in the body. Nobody is perfect. And quite frankly, you can't expect every lady to be a size 6 or every guy to have a six pack. If for nothing else, it's boring and cookie cutter. Large is a size and true skinny people are not always pretty. And that's ok.

Even with all my modesty and being too shy to draw nudes myself, I nudity itself is not necessarily dirty. And just because something does have an adult rating it doesn't mean x-rated.
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11 days ago, 2:03 AM #2
heckos

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I don't think something with nudity has to be for adults, though most are. I think we should try to get to a place socially where a nude person isn't inherently sexual because though most people (including me) prefer to wear clothes, we're born naked. That's the default state.

I'm not saying we should encourage totally naked visits to the mall or anything (that sounds.. unsanitary), but in art it should be understood that a naked person is not always a sexually available, motivated, or interested person.
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11 days ago, 2:11 AM #3
JuicyGrey
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Nothing is impossible, but some things are harder to pull than some others, and to some people those same things are very easy, or very hard when easy.

As reader, I read very few comics which have nudity and at least with... well... it got complety unnoticed by me. Yeah, did take like week to realize that what lady was without top. Talk about being well integrated into story.

As author, not enough interest. While I have very small curiosity, it is not enough. Also no stories worthing nudity in my mind. Albeit if I even do story about alien beings, it is probably part of story. Especially if they are different enough from humans.

Besides, other people are anyway already drawing nudity and some them does it rather well...
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11 days ago, 2:14 AM #4
Sikyanakotik
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I definitely think it's possible. However, it only works if the nudity is used deliberately as a symbol; for example, to represent vulnerability, animalisticness, or (re)nascence. I actually end up using nudity in this way in some upcoming Today's Client episodes, albeit in a completely family-friendly way: the "exposed" characters in question are all cartoony birds, and thus have nothing to cover anyway.
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11 days ago, 2:22 AM #5
Bear

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Hmmm....I'd like to think I was in your category, with Butterfly Effect. It's aimed at adults, as you say, flagged for L,N,S...

Nudity and sex are a part of life, and since this little effort of mine is a "slice of life" and contains an intersex person as a main character, who also ends up as a model....sometimes the main guy in it is depicted nude, as much for balance as anything. Certainly not salaciousness. Often you don't even see all of either of them. Pretty much the same as I'm used to seeing on good T.V. shows

I think the USA has a more juvenile attitude to sex, especially on T.V. e.g., they'll have the odd show where someone pops up nude, but they'll be pixelated out in the "naughty bits" area, which is oddly titillating. Like those 'naked dating' shows. Even nipples get that treatment, which is just silly. British/European shows don't do that -it's either in or out. No "tee-hee" teasing. I guess attitude this spills over into comics.

I grew up thinking all Americans slept in single beds...and more recently, that all American women had sex with their bras still on - thanks to T.V. B-)

There's plenty of "out there" adult comics, that I'd call "pencil porn", but I don't want to be in that category ! B-)

p.s.- I've seen lots of the statuary of you ancestors, in British and Italian museums, mostly.
11 days ago, 2:48 AM #6
MK_Wizard

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Thank you about the American bit! And I grew up in North America... honestly, it's gotten a little ridiculous that 'adult' has borderline become another word for 'dirty'. I confess to not getting a chance to read it because with all the comics I am trying to brush up on and being in a busy phase of my life, it's one of the few that sadly slipped under the radar. I admit that relations and nudity are a part of a life, but the operative word is "a part of life". Not the point of it. It's important to show that getting around has consequences and for once, just once, I want that shown because I believe in honour. Like one mom said to her daughter once (though the advice applies to both genders), if you don't respect your body, other people won't.
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11 days ago, 2:51 AM #7
keiiii

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I actually have a side story on the back burner, about the childhood of one character who grew up in a nudist colony-like environment... and it's a completely innocent, non-sexualized story.

Nudity in and of itself is such a neutral thing to me. To be honest, it feels weird to see a discussion starting with "could it be possible?" because the answer seems so obvious to me. I mean, comics aren't inherently lesser compared to other media. If other media can pull it off, so can comics.
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11 days ago, 3:50 AM #8
NiaNook
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My general rule of thumb for distinguishing artistic nudes from porno are two things. Do they include blemishes or realistic shapes? folds? wrinkles? Fatty areas? Or do they omit all of those less flattering but natural details in favor of showing us something completely cleaned-up and molded for the cover of a sexy magazine? Even someone perfectly fit would have certain folds show up when they bend a certain way. Working at a clothes store, I've seen advertisers do some bizarre photoshops to models on posters/tags that made them look like plastic or aliens or something. It's so...unnatural.

And second; are they posing in a way that's meant to be arousing? Are they reading a book, or are they SEXY reading a book? Example of someone slouched over, squinting at a page with folded legs verses someone with their butt in the air and sucking on a lollipop, giving the book the 'bedroom eyes'. There's also just putting unnecessary emphasis on body parts like thighs. You gotta show a human being just being alive, not a tender steak for sale, man.

I consider myself a huge prude and tend to shy away from it nudity in general, but that doesn't mean I don't think it's possible to be tasteful.
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11 days ago, 4:28 AM #9
Lee M

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Just to add to the confusion, a lot of what are called "artistic" nudes are basically just soft porn. I'm thinking particularly of late Victorian French and British "academic" painting, where you'd find countless naked nymphs reclining in fields or on beaches, often in pairs or groups... excuse me, I think I need a cold shower.
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Nightshade the Merry Widow (NSFW, nudity/sex) Comic Fury | Tumblr
Created by Ed Kline and Kishma Danielle, co-writer Lee M, assistance Bob Partridge
Storm Over Whoomera (NSFW, nudity) Comic Fury | Tumblr | Renderosity (first page)
Created by Ed Kline, co-writer Lee M
11 days ago, 5:04 AM #10
Bear

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quote=Lee M "... excuse me, I think I need a cold shower "

Not in England...in NOVEMBER ! - You'll be taking up surfing next ! Haha ! B-)
11 days ago, 5:56 AM #11
BUMBLEBEE

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I tried to use nudity structurally in Drive On, to put the main character in an exposed and vulnerable starting point so I have somewhere to go. Her whole arc is about becoming powerful and effective through the course of the story, so starting her off literally naked and helpless makes it more dramatic, hopefully.
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11 days ago, 9:20 AM #12
defo18

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I actually do not mind a little nudity from time to time as the human form is a beautiful thing and see naked people is nothing new in the realm of Art but I do understand how we can make some people uncomfortable as I hate seeing a lot of it or if it's so blatantly sexual that that's the only point of the work.
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11 days ago, 11:03 AM #13
Eve Z.

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I don't mind seeing nudity in other comics, though I kind of avoid using it in my own comic. If I will however draw a naked character, they'll probably be viewed from the side or from the back... if their hair is long enough to cover the butt. I don't want people to think that I'm sexualizing my characters for gain. :)
And no, I don't like fansevice-y porn comics with attention-seeking characters in arousing positions. At the same time, I like looking at nudes.
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11 days ago, 3:41 PM #14
Jean_Q_Citizen

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It's weird in my case. I don't really like comics that are all nudity. Once in a while for a vote incentive or holiday image or whatever, sure. I've done that a lot of times in the past. But oddly enough, never in the actual comic. I guess I just want to stay away from flags.

That, and my artist doesn't do nudity in her comics, so there you go. All the specials were commissions, which gets expensive if you do it very often, which is the main reason I stopped doing them. It wasn't a sudden conversion to prudishness, that's for sure. XD

But yeah, if you can work it to your comics and have an actual story behind it, I have no issues with it. Save the "nekkid for the sake of nekkid" stuff for incentives and such.
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11 days ago, 4:53 PM #15
taikina

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the pages i'm due to release in a month contain nudity for humorous effect and just because. i don't want to sprinkle "fig leaves" or make characters wear towels, underwear or hulk-pants if they happen to be naked because their clothes got shredded in battle or if they take their clothes off due to insanity or innocence.

nudity can be used for so much, a godlike character can walk around naked to drive the point that they don't need to care, you can have bloody dicks and tits flopping around grotesquely to make a fight to the death have more urgency, characters can be shown talking in a hot tub or sauna to underline their deepening connection, vulnerability. powerful or passive displays of sexuality can give and alluring and/or threatening aura. beautiful nudity, used sparingly can give a sort of virginal/angelic oomph to a scene. you can participate in bringing down norms by showing normal, "flawed" bodies beautifully.

and that's all besides straight up smut^

but creative censoring can be pretty funny, so if you're making a modest thing with nudity, at least make it interesting.
11 days ago, 5:20 PM #16
MK_Wizard

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Oh I've used nudity as comic relief too, but like yous said, nudity has artistic value when done right. I just really don't like smut. That and when you're just putting naked people because you're desperate, I think you're chalking one down for artistic nudes in general. The body is something to respect and love not use as a bartering system.

Merged Doublepost:

Bear:Hmmm....I'd like to think I was in your category, with Butterfly Effect. It's aimed at adults, as you say, flagged for L,N,S...

Nudity and sex are a part of life, and since this little effort of mine is a "slice of life" and contains an intersex person as a main character, who also ends up as a model....sometimes the main guy in it is depicted nude, as much for balance as anything. Certainly not salaciousness. Often you don't even see all of either of them. Pretty much the same as I'm used to seeing on good T.V. shows

I think the USA has a more juvenile attitude to sex, especially on T.V. e.g., they'll have the odd show where someone pops up nude, but they'll be pixelated out in the "naughty bits" area, which is oddly titillating. Like those 'naked dating' shows. Even nipples get that treatment, which is just silly. British/European shows don't do that -it's either in or out. No "tee-hee" teasing. I guess attitude this spills over into comics.

I grew up thinking all Americans slept in single beds...and more recently, that all American women had sex with their bras still on - thanks to T.V. B-)

There's plenty of "out there" adult comics, that I'd call "pencil porn", but I don't want to be in that category ! B-)

p.s.- I've seen lots of the statuary of you ancestors, in British and Italian museums, mostly.


Say, Bear, I read your comic and I have to admit, it's a pretty interesting story. You don't see many protagonists who are intersex and it's interesting to see the struggles they face. While it is kind of a sexy comic, I also appreciate that there is no sugar coating in that you show both the good and bad. As a lover of stories about misfits, it's also good to show that even a misfit is capable of making bad decisions. It's a necessary part in developing them and you do that just right. A good character doesn't mean a perfect one.
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11 days ago, 6:41 PM #17
taikina

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MK_Wizard:when you're just putting naked people because you're desperate, I think you're chalking one down for artistic nudes in general. The body is something to respect and love not use as a bartering system.


this is pretty fascinating for me to think about. what IS respect for the nude figure? where are we right now in regards to this issue, other than some shift or clash in philosophies?

i was kind of upset (not for real and not anymore and i'm laying this out here just because it's pretty cool to think about) that you would say (as i understood it) that gratuitous nudity for lots or reasons and purposes would devalue the aesthetic merits or the body (god i'm sorry for using this stupid kind of pretentious kind of language but i have a fever) because i don't think it has that kind of effect. maybe smut and violence lose their impact if overdone, but god, we are clothes-wearing hyper-social animals, i don't think the features of other humans could ever be devalued in our eyes bar some exceptions like mental illness. "The body is something to respect and love not use as a bartering system." or something very close to that could also be used to defend my point of freed nudity and sexuality.
11 days ago, 7:06 PM #18
Leafa
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Relevant annecdote: I've recently contributed a comic to an upcoming anthology which is raising money for Puerto Rico. I wanted to do something about the art history of the Taino people, the native inhabitants of the island.

Now, I'm a white British woman and the original Taino inhabitants of Puerto Rico were all but wiped out by colonialism - so I went into it knowing that I was going to have to do as much research as I could and be very mindful in my depictions. The problem is, the only written records about Taino dress are by Europeans writing about them as "others". The other problem is that the information I could find made it pretty clear that while clothing was an important marker of status, the Taino didn't particularly wear a lot of it.

So I was stuck between
a) An accurate depiction that has nudity in, for a book that is supposed to be for a general audience
b) An inaccurate version where I, non-native British lady, "sanitize" my depiction for my audience.

I uh... went with a!
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11 days ago, 7:36 PM #19
Fluffythespider

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Playing devil's advocate, I think no matter what your intentions are, some readers will still assume that the inclusion of any nudity is sexual, at least to some extent. Because of that pre-conception, you're basically be fighting reader's instincts, at least most readers from cultures that censor nudity. That could be a nice challenge to make for yourself, but not one everyone interested in dealing with. Unless you put a giant disclaimer explaining how you feel the human body should be represented and completely break the flow of the story.
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11 days ago, 8:52 PM #20
MK_Wizard

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taikina:this is pretty fascinating for me to think about. what IS respect for the nude figure? where are we right now in regards to this issue, other than some shift or clash in philosophies?

i was kind of upset (not for real and not anymore and i'm laying this out here just because it's pretty cool to think about) that you would say (as i understood it) that gratuitous nudity for lots or reasons and purposes would devalue the aesthetic merits or the body (god i'm sorry for using this stupid kind of pretentious kind of language but i have a fever) because i don't think it has that kind of effect. maybe smut and violence lose their impact if overdone, but god, we are clothes-wearing hyper-social animals, i don't think the features of other humans could ever be devalued in our eyes bar some exceptions like mental illness. "The body is something to respect and love not use as a bartering system." or something very close to that could also be used to defend my point of freed nudity and sexuality.


Heh. I'm all for freedom and while I am a shy person, I don't believe in the mentality of "what you do is wrong just because I wouldn't do it". It's like bungee jumping. I wouldn't do it, but I don't see any evil in doing it if you are consenting to it, you take the necessary precautions, you aren't hurting it and you're doing it because you really want to.

If I wasn't clear on that, sorry. What I mean is that if you're just putting naked people in your comic because it will draw a crowd and you don't care about who these people are or if they will even really read your story, that is just being desperate for attention. If you're doing it because it's just part of the story and still has a story behind the nudity and such, then while your story is made for adults, it's at least a story.

I'm not a hypocrite either. I stand by that you need to respect yourself and sexual freedom does not necessarily affect your value or person if you practice it smart and you're doing it with true consent and not exploiting others in the process. I guess what I am trying to say is that there has to be a certain level of balance and you can't forget that the people who have relations with are still people no matter how shy or liberal they are. And I believe their bodies need to be respected because I believe people deserve respect. It's human to desire and lust, but (as a humanitarian) it is also in our nature to love and care about others. Nobody is an object for your own pleasures.
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