Stranger Things Art: Need Your Input

Friday, July 29, 2005

I got the first piece of art from Jake tonight. And man, is it amazing. I love it. Except... the ass. One of my rules for the art for this game was "no cheesecake." And here is our hero, with her ass exposed. The thing is, there's just something "right" about this image. It's vulnerable and creepy and powerful all at once. Part of me wants to leave it as is. And part of me wants to put some leggings on her.

So, I'm asking for your feedback. What do you think? Is this cheesecake? Is it perpetuating more fantasy-female sex objects? Or is it good the way it is? Something to consider: this will not be the only picture of her in the book. At least one other picture will show her as a fully powerful hero, kicking butt.

Take a look at the drawing here.

I already talked to Jake about this (he's totally cool and understands the issue) and we're both very curious to hear what others have to say.

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29 Comments:

Anonymous Ricardo says:  

Well, at least there's no chainmail g-string to go along with the bare-naked cheek. It could have been a lot worse! :)

I think it's cool, but maybe you should get a female opinion first!



Blogger Kirt Dankmyer, aka Loki says:  

I barely noticed the butt, the expression drew my eye more. Don't worry about it.



Anonymous Ricardo says:  

For me it was the feet that drew my immediate atention... they're too big for the rest of the body (maybe it's the perspective).

So, yeah, don't worry about it!



Blogger Meredith says:  

Female friend #1 says "Yikes, honey! Did you know we can see your butt? Remember to hold down your dress when you float around like that!"

It was the first thing that caught me, and I immediately wanted to protect her. She looks so unaware of herself... not a good sign for the cheesecake meter.

Instead of putting undies on, or even leggings, just have her dress come down over her butt.



Anonymous Keith says:  

I have no problem with it. Cheesecake isn't just skin showing. It is the way in which that shit is presented. Naked or half naked women about to be eaten by monsters, or fighting and having their closed ripped off. That shit needs to stop cause it is just dumb.

Then again what the fuck do I know? I'm doing a cover with a naked woman on it for Clinton.

Oh, and that is one fine picture. I like the innocense that is so apparent in the figure, and it doesn't feel like a pose but rather as if someone yelled her name and she just turned around into the camera.



Blogger Meredith says:  

"Then again what the fuck do I know? I'm doing a cover with a naked woman on it for Clinton."

Yeah, dude, and I've been vocal about *that*, too! :)



Blogger Ed says:  

What ass? She's wearing a full body stocking fitted for each individual toe, from the waist down. You thought you could see her *ass*? Perv!

I've got my wife cheesecake-checking my stuff as I draw it... She already objected to a chainmail vest that was impossibly form-fitting. *sigh*



Blogger Matt Wilson says:  

Just change the picture so it's a guy doing the exact same thing.

If it seems awkward, well, there you go.



Blogger Ed says:  

Seriously, though, John. Back up a step. *why* do you want "no cheesecake"? What are you after?

Maybe that will clarify things a bit.



Blogger Bankuei says:  

If this game was full of half-naked faerie looking things- it wouldn't be a big deal. But since it isn't, photoshop and have the dress cover the rear. Otherwise, very cool picture, good line work.

Chris



Blogger Eric Provost says:  

I see zero cheesecake. But I don't think the image would be hurt by covering the bare tukus.



Blogger Lisa P says:  

Personally, I think it's a lovely picture. I don't think it's cheesecake at all. Actually, there are some truly beautiful pieces of art that show exposed breasts, legs, tooshies, etc, etc, done by artists like Royo, Olivia, and many more and this one shows very little skin by comparison!

She's not dungeon-bunnied out (e.g. the chain mail g string, 4 inch stiletto heels, and string bikini top, et al.) I think it's quite tasteful and lovely. :)



Blogger John Harper says:  

Thanks for the feedback, folks. I do think my first impulse (to cover her up) was the best one. I certainly don't think the image is offensive or anything, though.

To answer Ed's question, I want "no cheesecake" for a variety of reasons. First, because when I see that kind of art in a book I usually think the creator is a giggling juvenille oggling fantasy women because he has no connection to real women. Which is hardly the impression I want to make.

Second, women have traditionally been portrayed only as sex-objects in a lot of the art in RPGs and since I'm in a position to do something about that, I am.

Third, I'm a feminist, but not a prude. I think it's great for a female character to be portrayed as sexy. But it's not great to reduce the character to *only* "the sexy chick on page 15."

This particular case was tricky because I wanted Esfyazza to appear more innocent and vulnerable in this image to contrast her furious bad-ass-itude in the other pic. So I second-guessed myself on the butt shot.

Anyway, I think Meredith is right. No leggings, just bring the line of the skirt down to cover her a little more.

Thanks again for chiming in with your opinions. I appreciate it.



Blogger Phil says:  

Well it seems to be settled, but I'm going to add my voice to "extend the dress a bit". Putting undies wouldn't meaningfully change the issue, but simply covering the area more with her outer wear (dress) will.



Blogger milo says:  

My first reaction was "Whoa- there's her ass! Wouldn't she be all cold?". So yeah, I'd change the dress too.

My $.02



Anonymous Jake Richmond says:  

Hmm. I'm the artist. I wasnt going for a cheesecake look or anything when I drew the picture, it just sorta happened that as I was inking it I realized the lines of the dress didnt cover her ass in the penciled version (Im a messy penciler, and the penciled version of this drawing had literally hundreds of stray lines all over the place). John had asked for no cheesecake, so I thought about it for awhile and decided that the flow of the lines worked best as they were (with her butt exposed). My original idea with the pic (influenced by Johns descpription) was that she was surrounded by energy which would cause her hair and clothes to constantly move and flap around. I tried to enhance the sense of movement in her pose as well. I figured that shes not the kind of person, given her powers, demeanor, focus and whatnot that would be concerned by, or even notice that her skirt blew up for a moment. Anyway, thats my thoughts. John felt differently, and I'll bow to the demands of the job. Thanks for the comments.



Anonymous tim says:  

I like the peice, I thought she was a ghost and wasn't really looking at her tail end but rather he face and those dark eyes and swirly hair--the dark bits drew my eye more than the lighter peices.

But my sister was visiting and being a gamer I thought I'd ask her what she thought.


She shrugged and looked and said "The D&D 1E MM book was worse and its not a big deal and doesn't bother me."



So take it for what that's worth.



Blogger Felton says:  

John, you asked for my opinion and I'll reply with my standard answer about asses. It's just not big enough! Let's show some real cheeks if we're going to show them! Her head is bigger than both cheeks put together! -sigh- I'm not offended by the cheeks otherwise. In the context of what the artist was going for (a moment of surprise with an upward-rushing breeze), it makes sense to me. Although, I would question it if these were her everyday clothes. To me, it definitely looks like she was asleep in her nightie with no underpants and went sleep-floating, only to wake up when the draft hit. If this is everyday-wear for a butt-kicking heroine, I'd say, "Get real." Is she going to expose her you-know to every lucky guy she kicks in the teeth?



Blogger Felton says:  

P.S. I do like Matt Wilson's idea of a guy being surprised by a breeze in the same way. Got any heros who go around in kilts?



Blogger Felton says:  

Sorry, John, but I was reading through the posts again and I wanted to weigh in on the underwear issue. If you are going to do a "cover-up," I'd avoid doing it with panties. I think panties (strange word, that) can be even more titillating than bare skin. It also can imply the little-girl thing (Sailor Moon), which in my opinion is worse.



Blogger John Harper says:  

Agreed about the panties. Definitely not. And I'll see what I can do about the kilts. :-)

And you're right about her outfit being impractical for fighting. But she's the type that kicks butt with her mind, so it's okay. :-)



Blogger John Harper says:  

Oh, and about the butt size: I asked Jake to draw her as slim and waifish. "Ghostlike" was the idea.

I may ask Ed to draw this character, too, though (I hope to have a version of her by each artist, including me) and I bet Ed can do a much rounder, fuller version.



Blogger Alkelda the Gleeful says:  

This is a beautiful picture. I like the face, I'm fine with nudity in art. That said, as far as personal preferences go, I think I'd prefer full nudity to partial nudity, or even a skirt blowing up. There is a bit of the "oops, I forgot my panties" ambience, which doesn't seem to be what you want here.



Anonymous jake richmond says:  

I think maybe part of the... problem... was that I drew all the sketches for the drawing nude to get the form right and then did penciled the drawing nude before adding clothes. so I was used to seeing her nude.



Blogger John Harper says:  

Yep. I do the same thing. If I work on a pose for a long time, it looks really strange to me after I add clothes to the figure.



Blogger Ed says:  

You know my philosophy. Start as naked and big-assed as conceivably possible and scale back till the damn art editor quits whining.

Or something like that. ;)



Anonymous jake richmond says:  

something like that



Blogger Scott says:  

This is almost completely off topic, but the ultimate "artistic" expression of this debate can be found in the "art" of Art Frahm, brought to us by the always-funny lileks.com:

http://www.lileks.com/institute/frahm/index.html

It would be far more offensive if it weren't so bizarre. Celery?



Blogger Ed says:  

Nah, failed elastic never entered into this discussion, and it is at the very crux of the Frahm aesthetic.

Failed elastic and celery.



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