Well, thanks a lot that's surely the most interesting question I've had in here over the last 9 years .. like seriously.
To make it short, it'd days, YES , to both .
But that'd really elude parts of the reasons.
I guess first of all, being a character designer, i "love" people, characters , human bodies and forms in all it's diversity Even though it's quite obvious, I've got my very own type or archetype when drawing ( let's say it's a comfort-zone, drawn from the fact I learn to draw from comics, animation etc).That
makes natural to me to have an equal part of men and women in my art. I think it's also quite unconscious, since I do have female-only centered series and some featuring only guys, to switch between them and to work on different project at the same time to keep a diversity of some sort.
Speaking about it, I think it comes from my conception of people, rather focus on the all-human part rather than gender/religion/ethnicity/etc .. but that's more the result of my education rather than any art perspective or appreciations !
The sexiness and gratuitous point is surely the most important part of your question to me !
I always have in mind that . I mean, I love when characters/people are being sexy. But not in a raw oversexualized and gratuitous way, but rather in that attitude, confidence, personality someone can showcase. I hate over-sexualised design. More precisely i have nothing against showing skin, revealing clothing or erotica ( I do have my own art erotica project so !) but it has to be story-driven or at least character-driven .... It must tell a story !
Is that character wearing revealing clothing because it's the way it's tribe dress up everyone ( both men and women) because they worship human body ? Does that character is willing being über-sexy in order to seduce someone ? Or to play on the conception we might have of him/her being sexy ? ( being superficial while it's a genius in disguise ) ...etc
In that case I'm in for it ! Because it's logical, because it makes sense at some point.
If I do want to do pure gratuitous sexyness/naked characters, then I do , but I'll never do it within a project focusing on characters/story just to sell. Because we all know sex sells. A lot.
Most of my artworks -earlier and later- were heavily influenced by Fantasy video games and US comics. Those two are surely the worst examples in terms of female/male representation equality and the most obvious oversexualisation of character. Especially female. It has always been driving me nuts to see a top-model sized blonde girl , supposedly Knight, showing boobs in bikini armor when she's supposed to be hit by blades, and her male counterpart fully suited. Because it has no logic. It's either a full "got-to-battle-naked" the celtic way -because that's their community beliefs -, and everyone is half naked, OR it's everyone having decent armor, suiting the situation, logic, story, univers , blahblahb !
On the other hand being a gay man artist ( and not showcasing it or denying it either) I do enjoy having men characters being sexy, enjoy drawing male form because -obviously- sexual preferences comes into play. Though, from an pure artistic point of view I've always found woman shapes more interesting and intriguing to me. Maybe because I'm a guy ? Who knows. It comes with years of art history and traditional conception of what female and male should represent .. and I love playing around with that, bringing into a more "gender-neutral" territory, focusing on the character. It all goes back to my personal focus on personalities and humans, and telling stories.
To conclude - so sorry it's so huge !- it'd say my love for fashion meets the points above : I love it as an art exploring the body shapes and how to transform them, but also telling a story through material/colors/etc ... and it's influencing my work on the pure design part of the characters.
I could go on talking hours about all of theses, it's more complex than I though when starting to reply
Well all of that is why I'm always taking special attention to that "sexiness", enjoyable appeal I'm trying to bring to the characters ! And i'm super glad it shows
Thanks for reading all this XD