Jim C. Hines Strikes a Pose

Not much to report, so I’m just going to point you all at something that Jim C. Hines did something interesting over on his blog today.

Basically, he tried to see if he could mimic the poses of women, as portrayed on fantasy book covers. Beyond the obvious, where many women on covers are posed to show tattoos, or emphasize curves, or are wearing armour which would do no good to anybody in a fight, what he’s looking for is whether the poses are even possible, or at least comfortable.

The contrasts are interesting, and obvious, but I wonder how much of it is pure physiology. In the vast majority of these poses, Jim looks unnatural and uncomfortable, and seems to be doing his best to mimic not so much the posture of the cover girl, but the outline. Obviously, being a dude with dude-straight hips, he has to contort himself in order to get his hip to show the right amount of curve.

I’d love to see this done by women for comparison, comparing apples to apples as it were, to see if these poses are as difficult and unnatural for them as it was for Jim. I would expect that a woman with a body type similar to those of the images on the cover might be more comfortable than Jim appears in his pictures, because they wouldn’t have to contort themselves to get the hip curve looking right, the hip curve might simply be there. Or it could be that these poses are just impossible for anybody to be comfortable in. I could be completely wrong, but I would have thought that most cover artists would work with models, and that those models would be not only able to strike those poses, but hold them long enough to get one or more photos done, and then the art would be finished from those photos.  Maybe my mental image of how cover portraits get created is off by a few decades or centuries and these artists work completely from mind to canvas?

Still, an interesting look. More food for thought as to what makes a book cover look not just appealing, but plausible.


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