Body positive illustrator Keishla Rodriguez @munrou_ stresses the importance of equal artistic representation of all figure types in the latest Bee Paper blog.
By Keishla Rodriguez
First of all, what is body positivity?
There are many misconceptions about this topic. Many say that body positivity is an excuse to glorify obesity. In reality, body positivity is not only about fat bodies; it’s about allbodies. May they be small, big, short, tall, with disabilities, etc., all bodies deserve to be loved and respected. We are all valid. Our bodies go through changes; we can gain or lose weight and surgically change parts of it. Instead of disliking the bodies we have been given, body positivity tells us to embrace them.
Why is body positivity important in art?
All bodies are beautiful, no matter how different they are. These differences are what we need to incorporate in our art. We can’t just stick to using the same figure mold in every piece of art. Instead, let’s use different molds. Let’s make our art more interesting!
We don’t have to stick to what society portrays as the “perfect body” in various media. Oftentimes, body types are depicted negatively in the media if they don’t conform to the mold society has made the standard.
There are many famous artists in history that depicted bodies that differed from other painters, like Peter Paul Rubens. He was known for painting larger ladies. His name was even used for the term to describe bigger ladies, “Rubenesque”.
As artists, we can help others see different bodies in a positive way; we have the power to show how valid and how beautiful all bodies are. And how we can achieve this? Well, my friends, let us depict diverse bodies in our work! I know that it’s hard to break out of the mold, but, with practice and discipline, we can. There are many resources online that you can use to search for images to use as body shape references. I use my body many times as a reference in my art. You can use your body, ask a family member, or a friend, to pose for you.
Having diverse bodies in our art also helps us to learn about anatomy and do different studies to further strengthen our artistic skills. It shows you are a more capable artist. Depending on the type of art you make, you will have to design diverse characters for illustrations, comics, animations or concepts. By drawing different body shapes, it makes the characters appear more real and makes anyone able to see themselves represented in the characters.
It’s so beautiful when people approach you and tell you how thankful they are because they see their bodies represented in your art and has helped them feel better about themselves. It gives them confidence. Your art will also help you to accept and love your own body too!
Let’s celebrate all bodies!