Christopher Hart and Sexism

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Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby Thera Dratara » November 29th, 2012, 5:59 am

While it's hardly controversial to say that Chris Hart's How-to-draw-manga stuff is utter crap, we now have an extra reason not to buy his books!
Came across this post on tumblr:
http://soundlesswind.tumblr.com/post/36768855670

Sexism in comic tutorials isn't new. I recall that scans_daily once parodied a tutorial where all the ladies had been drawn 'more sexy' than the men.
That said, it still isn't cool. (Besides, with this, how are we gonna learn how to draw those homely mothers, and the difference between a tavern wench, a warrior princess and an elf?)
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby blankd » November 29th, 2012, 6:40 am

It appears your link is broken?

EDIT: Link works now.

Edit, Content: Christ Hart is honestly a bad source of information on nearly every front EXCEPT for that he is a beaming example of what NOT to do.
Last edited by blankd on November 29th, 2012, 9:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby Dokibaku » November 29th, 2012, 7:31 am

Now you say it.. I noticed these things in his books before, but I never really thought about it this way.
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby IVstudios » November 29th, 2012, 10:48 am

I had a bunch of his books when I was a kid. Never really noticed that stuff back then, though flipping through them now it's pretty blatant.

I did somehow come into possession of his How to Draw Great-Looking Comic Book Women, and boy it's… something. Image I won't throw him completely under the buss though, because his Human Anatomy Made Amazingly Easy is one of the most useful quick-reference books I've ever used.

Now, if you want to see a truly terrible book, track down How to Draw Those Bodacious Bad Babes of Comics by Frank McLaughlin & Mike Gold. It's like if two high school kids decided to publish the doodles they did on the back of their math homework.
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby robybang » November 29th, 2012, 12:27 pm

I don't know much about Christopher Hart except that otakus hate him for teaching a badly bastardized manga style and that he can't take criticism. But I did see a couple scans on Escher Girls that showed that he drew his men with different kinds of body types and drew his women with the exact same supermodel body. At best, he's a really lousy "teacher" whose drawing shortcuts and bad habits are coming back to bite him in the ass. At worst, he's sexist.
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby IVstudios » November 29th, 2012, 1:19 pm

Most of his books each cater to a specific style (i.e. Superhero comics, Retro Cartoons, Manga) so they are pretty good for newish artist trying to find there style. I wouldn't recommend using them exclusively, but they make for some decent quick-tips.

I think the biggest nock against him would be less that he's sexist and more that he caters to a sexist culture. His books just parrot what's popular in various mediums, and skinny, curvy women are popular in most comics and cartoons. He's certainly not helping to change the culture, but accusing him of being the spawning point of all that is sexist and/or crappy about comics isn't fair either.

He's like the fast food of the art world. Fine in moderation, but too much of him and you'll get all fat… er skinny?

He's like Bizzaro fast food, maybe?
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby Krazehhcakes » November 29th, 2012, 1:23 pm

IVstudios wrote:
I think the biggest nock against him would be less that he's sexist and more that he caters to a sexist culture. His books just parrot what's popular in various mediums, and skinny, curvy women are popular in most comics and cartoons. He's certainly not helping to change the culture, but accusing him of being the spawning point of all that is sexist and/or crappy about comics isn't fair either.


Not many accuse him as a spawning point, i think its more like he's a representation and icon of everything wrong with sexism in comics. And the fact that his stuff gets published and becomes widespread as someone who aspiring artists should be is kinda laughable.

I dont really know MUCH about him, but i hear his name passed around and seen his books on shelves. They're so meh... but i can imagine many 14-15 year olds picking it up and thinking its the greatest thing ever.
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby Past-Chaser » November 29th, 2012, 1:30 pm

My favourite thing about Christopher Hart books is that most of them aren't actually drawn by him. If you check the credits (usually at the front of the books, i have a few, bought for my by naive relatives) He actually only illustrates a few pages, and they aren't exactly the impressive ones either.
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby blankd » November 29th, 2012, 1:32 pm

IVstudios wrote:Most of his books each cater to a specific style (i.e. Superhero comics, Retro Cartoons, Manga) so they are pretty good for newish artist trying to find there style. I wouldn't recommend using them exclusively, but they make for some decent quick-tips.

NO. I'm sorry but I'm going to have to disagree due to the fact he has an exceptionally poor grasp of nearly everything art-related. There are some aspects he presents in a mediocre fashion (if I were to be exceptionally generous) but in those cases why not spend the exact same money on books that actually know what they're talking about?

I would go so far to say he gives a poor representation of every style, if people want a sampler of "styles' they would get a better sampling of watching TV than by reading one of Hart's books.
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby Thera Dratara » November 29th, 2012, 1:50 pm

I personally more annoyed with chris hart because when I was a teen and way past the skill level that he was useful for me, I still got chris hart books from my family. Do you have any idea how hard it is to feign gratitude when you just received a chris hart book?

I don't really mind the step-by-step manga drawing thing, because forcing someone(of this generation) who is completely new at art to start with drawing pots and pans from life is cruel. It's not a type of art they have a lot of appreciation for, and likely they don't have the skills to be able to handle that task, making the learning curve steeper than an overhanging cliff. It's not really fun.

However, the problem with Hart's books is that he hardly really teaches anything throughout his books. Office men? they wear suits. No description of what is important in a suit. Manwha? It's Manga but more realistic. Anatomy? This is how you draw the 'perfect' man and woman. It's all so shallow.

That he's insisting these female stereotypes make it really bad though.

@blankd, agreed. On top of that, books that know better what they are talking about aren't that much more expensive(in my case an anatomy book by a medical illustrator, it was the same price as the hart book on anatomy).
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby IVstudios » November 29th, 2012, 2:04 pm

blankd wrote:NO. I'm sorry but I'm going to have to disagree due to the fact he has an exceptionally poor grasp of nearly everything art-related. There are some aspects he presents in a mediocre fashion (if I were to be exceptionally generous) but in those cases why not spend the exact same money on books that actually know what they're talking about?


Oh, well. If it's a fact then I guess I can't argue with you. I mean, it is a fact, after all, and definitely not a completely hyperbolic and unquantifiable statement of opinion.

His stuff isn't great, but it's fine. It's well organized, easy to read and easy to understand. Of course there are better books out there. There is always a better book, but you start in preschool, not college and you start with mediocre how-to-draw books, not Anatomy for the Artist.
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby Snuffan » November 29th, 2012, 2:34 pm

IVstudios wrote:His stuff isn't great, but it's fine. It's well organized, easy to read and easy to understand. Of course there are better books out there. There is always a better book, but you start in preschool, not college and you start with mediocre how-to-draw books, not Anatomy for the Artist.


No. You're comparing this to teaching someone basics before getting into more advanced stuff, but your perception of that isn't really right in this situation. "Teaching" someone through Hart books is completely ineffective as a basic because it would be teaching the incorrect basics. What if my maths teacher told me 1+1 was 3 instead of two because they were a shit maths teacher, but I thought that was fine because it was only basic maths after all? Would that still be "not great maths, but fine", as long as s/he taught everything else correctly?

A basis is a basis because it is the base of the more advanced knowledge. If the base is wrong the rest will be wrong as well.
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby IVstudios » November 29th, 2012, 3:19 pm

Wrong for two reasons: One, art is subjective and math is not. If you draw something and another person can tell what it is, even if it looks like shit, you're already head and shoulders above someone who thinks 1 + 1 = 3. Art falls on a sliding scale of realism vs. representationalism and there can be many ways to represent one object, and many ways of achieving that representation. In math there is only one right answer.
(Unless the question is "does .999999 (repeating) = 1," in which case prepare for a shitstorm of math geek rage)

Two, His stuff is not wrong. It just isn't. You might not like the way his stuff looks, but the basic principles are there. Breaking complex objects down into simple shapes, showing the same object from multiple angles, the use of vanishing points, basic musculature and skeletal structure. I'm holding a book of his in my hand as I type this and am looking at a breakdown of various muscle groups. It's not Michelangelo, but it introduces the idea that you need to study muscles and bones to get good at anatomy.

I will grant that not all of his books go into this level of detail. His books about specific styles do focus on that style to the detriment of basic drawing techniques, but to claim that he has no understanding of the basic principles of art is flat out wrong.
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby Snuffan » November 29th, 2012, 3:24 pm

Wether or not art is subjective is actually something that can be argued. Of course not in a broad generalising manner, but it definitely can be argued, so it shouldn't be stated as a fact. There can be something that is objectively bad art.

EDIT: I could actually throw in a rant about purposefully bad art and looking down upon realism.
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For example, in the 60's there was a violent reaction against cameras. Suddenly drawing realism was bad art because a camera could do that, and the classical realistic painting was completely cast aside and frowned upon, and still is today to a certain degree. Today art that expresses opinions and complexity is more valued than something hyperrealistic. But during other ages, other art has been valued and seen as good. Today what's good and bad art also varies by levels of education and cultural sphere. For example, most non-artists are WOWed by realism and think that is fantastic while the stereotypical art-snob finds it dull and favours and abstract painting that comments on Americas overpowering cultural influence on the world.

So yes, in conclusion, saying that "if someone can see what you've drawn then it's good" is FAR from correct. The opinions on this topic rages around in every direction and changes constantly. The two main questions are: Does good/bad art exist? and what is good/bad art and why?


And yes, he can get *parts* right, like anatomy and muscles, but if the WHOLE book isn't correct then the reader is still going to learn incorrect basics. AND, if the teaching method is bad (wich I can't actually say it is not having actually *read* anything), the reader might not learn anything. Not sure what's worse.
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby IVstudios » November 29th, 2012, 3:29 pm

I'm not talking about whether art is subjectively good, but about the idea that a drawing can look nothing like what it represents and still be recognized. A :D does not, objectively, look anything like a human face, but you can still tell that it is supposed to represent one. A stick figure is nothing like a person, but when a kid shows you one you don't say "Oh, you drew a circle and 5 lines." you say "Oh, you drew daddy!" Unlike math, which has only one right way of doing things, art has a lot of possible answers.

Edit:
Snuffan wrote:So yes, in conclusion, saying that "if someone can see what you've drawn then it's good" is FAR from correct. The opinions on this topic rages around in every direction and changes constantly. The two main questions are: Does good/bad art exist? and what is good/bad art and why?


I'm not saying it's good, I'm just saying you can't compare art to math like that.
Last edited by IVstudios on November 29th, 2012, 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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