On a day when some silly people couldn't decide whether they're still scared of women or not, I thought I'd draw attention to the excellent Escher Girls blog.
Although it focuses more on artwork from comics, anime and digital RPGs, those providing artwork for paper 'n' dice RPGs should take note. As I pointed out in one of my previous blog posts, the depiction of women in RPGs is usually awful. Escher Girls does a great job of showing the same sort of silliness going on in other types fantasy artwork. For me, this works well on several levels:
- It shows that there seems to be little interest in actually depicting women in any sort of realistic manner, either thematically or physically.
- It shows how bad a lot of artwork is. Many artists either have no idea how to actually draw, and/or ignore anatomy in order to create some very weird poses. These are also sexualised, for some reason or other. Okay they can't draw men either, but they don't seem to try and make them fit into such poses. I suspect that what's actually going on is that artists are copying other artists, rather than learning how to to draw. This may explain why modern comics seem to be distorting things even more than older comics. Or, it may be that 'how to' guides by established artists also have a poor attitude towards the subject.
- It's thought-provokingly funny. By deconstructing the various images, it shows how badly done most of them are and at the same time makes it very clear how far such imagery goes in it's crassness. This works especially well when the the characters are changed to being men. It's also interesting to see how changes can be made in order to make the images actually work.
Mixed in with all of this are a variety of posts which consider what's going on in the imagery and what it suggests about the various attitudes and assumptions involved. As with the Gaming As Women blog, it does a very good job at holding these things up for consideration.
The world of RPG art is still pretty much making the same mistakes as many comics, anime, etc. It's obviously not because it's trying to treat the subject matter with any sort of balanced consideration. Or maybe it's just laziness. Either way, it should be easy enough to fix if enough time and consideration is given to the subject. It would also help on a technical level. Artists should be familiar with anatomy. They should have been to life drawing classes - or should plan on going to some. Don't simply copy what others have drawn. If instead you can only copy from photos, find some good ones. Even somewhere such as Flickr has enough stuff to pick from that doesn't rely on clichés.