25 April 2012

Striking a Pose

Ever looked at cover art and wondered... just wondered.

I know I've often frowned at the sight of a woman in chain mail bikini standing on a snow dusted mountain.  Especially when I've read the book and she never wears amour, let alone in snow. I mean what kind of protection is that - her midriff is unprotected, and metal is a really bad idea in snow, as is all that exposed skin.  (yes, I thinking fantasy here).

But to be honest while I've looked with raised eyebrows at the dress, location, and appearance of the characters, I've never thought much about their poses (not unless they are truly odd), maybe because I'm so used to seeing weird poses in fashion mags, but Jim C. Hines has clearly thought about the covers - he even posted some pictures on his blog.

He says, "A while back, we had a discussion on the blog about the cover art for my princess novels. For the most part, I really like these covers, but they’re not perfect.
Now I could talk about the way women are posed in cover art … or I could show you. I opted for the latter, in part because it helped me to understand it better. I expected posing like Danielle to feel a little weird and unnatural. I did not expect immediate, physical pain from trying (rather unsuccessfully) to do the hip thing she’s got going on. I recruited my wife to take the pictures, which she kindly did with a minimum of laughter."

The covers and poses in questions:

Jim concludes: "In all seriousness, I spent the rest of last night with pain running through most of my back. Even the pose in The Shape of Desire, which first struck me as rather low-key, is difficult to imitate and feels really forced. Trying to launch my chest and buttocks in two different directions a la Vicious Grace? Just ow.
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with being sexual. I can totally see Snow from the princess books flaunting her stuff, for example. But posing like these characters drives home exactly what’s being emphasized and what’s not.
My sense is that most of these covers are supposed to convey strong, sexy heroines, but these are not poses that suggest strength. You can’t fight from these stances. I could barely even walk.
Guys, you should try it sometime. Get someone who won’t laugh at you too much to try to help you match these poses. The physical challenge is far more enlightening than anything I could say. (Wardrobe changes are optional.)"

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