People keep saying Makenzie needs to be thinner in the "Spin" picture. Or they say she's fine as is. Of course, one guy told me that Chris as depicted in my "Goths Don't Wear Red" picture was fat. I wanted to slug him, but that's just my Bitter Fat Girl sensitivities acting up.
I want her to be built something like she is in "spin"... problem is, I learned how to draw by watching people draw skinny anime people and emulating them. So I will tend to draw skinny anime people if I don't stop myself, which is why she looks slimmer in "Beautiful Dreamer" - I wasn't paying attention when I drew that (I was very bored during an Algebra lecture. I hate that class, but that is another rant entirely).
I have a tendency to want to proportion her like me. Problem - my proportions are weird. My hands and feet are large, my limbs are long, and most of my weight is around my torso. My fingers are double-jointed so my hands (and therefore, the hands of the people I draw, on occasion) bend in ways god never intended fingers to bend. And people look at my sketches and go "OW!" and then I mimic the position and they go "OW! Don't do that!". While I think I have mostly solved the hands problem, the body shape issue continues to plague me. I study the shapes of the people around me, I have set ideas of what sort of shape a character should be... but it doesn't always work out that way. Chris is supposed to be curvy, with an hourglass figure that gives her a smaller waist, large hips, and large breasts. Makenzie is supposed to be a bit chubby, with a sort of 'spare tire' roll around her upper/middle stomach, and broad hips. Really, her body looks like what mine would look like if I dropped some weight, I think. Same basic shape, same distribution of fat and muscle. Karen is supposed to be slim, but lately I've been giving her wider hips (as the girl she was originally based on had - I'm thinking of changing her back to the stick-girl figure). Dana looks like me, though I think she might be a bit thinner. It's hard to tell; I hate mirrors and thusly rarely look in them. The figures of the girls I imagine in the backgrounds are varied. I happen to think 'chubby' punk-looking girls are absolutely adorable. They will probably pop up here and there in the backgrounds if I ever get around to redoing ML.
It amazes and perplexes me, though, how relative the terms 'voluptuous', 'curvy', 'fat', etc. are. Miaka of Fushigi Yuugi is described (at least in the English manga version) as 'slightly pudgy (or 'chubby', I forget which), but somehow manages to avoid being fat'. Hunt down some Fushigi Yuugi image archives. Miaka is thin. But because she has some semblance of hips, she is therefore heavier than the average anime girl.
crotalus_atrox once posted a few images of some of her characters, and mentioned that one of them was one of her more 'voluptuous' females. The girl was still thin enough as to be an anatomical rarity in the real world. However, for her characters, the girl was more curvy than usual.
I've seen several other comic artists describe a female character as being 'larger'... and the only thing about her that is 'larger' are her breasts. Just once, I want to see a girl with saddlebags. Whose thighs don't touch. I think it's why I'm so hellbent on making my (main) characters larger than normal. Strangers in Paradise's Francine is an excellent example of how an artist can portray a girl who's not the typical ideal as sexy and desirable. I want to be able to do that. (First, though, I suspect I'll need to step down from my soapbox on the subject... heh)
Guys are a similarly perplexing matter, mostly because you see almost no variation in their body types - they are either the scrawny, wirey-muscled anime bishonen, the heavily-muscled fighter-types, or the overweight fanboy/geek type. This poses a problem for me. The guy Jared was originally based on was not skinny - and I want very much to emulate his body type in the character. He was solid. He had muscle, yes, but he wasn't 'ripped'. I have yet to draw a picture of Jared I'm really happy with for longer than about 30 seconds because of the difficulty in drawing his body shape. Skinny boys I can draw with no difficulty (ex. Matt, whose face continues to bother me because I love slanted, Asian-looking eyes and want him to have them since he is Japanese, but they can be so hard to draw...), but any deviation from that causes issues. I am extremely grateful for my anatomy book that shows a normal-sized male body. It's great. I'm accustomed to how female bodies bend, squish, etc, but am obviously not so well-versed in male builds (Kevin is little help here; he falls into the 'slim' category, and while adorable, is not overly squishy).
I cut my ramble short now, because I must be off to class. MAT 1023, you are my sworn enemy... *grumbles*