Today I'd like to share a few pages from an old pose file book I picked up years ago. The book is The Fantasy Figure Artist's Reference File by Peter Evans which, unfortunately, no longer seems to be in print. Along with the general poses it had information about clothing, close-ups of costume ideas, and a few pages covering the three main body types - mesomorphs (muscular), endomorphs (stocky), and ectomorphs (slender).
Yes, this is a simplification of body types and yes, not everyone is going to look just like these samples. Some mesomorphs, like body builders, are covered in bulges of muscle. Others, people with more of a swimmer's build, are slim and compact. Some Endomorphs will hardly look stock while others may look like they can barely walk due to their body size. Ectomorphs may be so thin they look frail and waif-like while others have a bit more chub on them. People vary.
Still, most people will fall somewhere in one of these basic forms. By keeping the muscular, stocky, and slender forms in mind, we can work towards designing characters that closer resemble the variation that we see in real life. The more variation we can get in our characters' body builds, the more believable our images become. Creating characters of different shapes and sizes is difficult. It's easy to fall into using one or two basic bodies and keep repeating them. I know this is a problem of mine that I'm trying to overcome.
Okay, I'm off to practice.
"Because muscle is heavier than fat, dancers weigh more than you might think, but they are usually very lean."
-- Deborah Bull