Twisted vision

As a companion to the previous, re-pressed entry about sexified comic characters, I thought I’d share a little about Kris’s and my experience with an artist doing the same  thing to our main characters in The Trident of Merrow, Tosh and Massimo.

I’m not sure why we asked an artist (someone we were acquainted with at work at the time) to draw them, maybe because he offered and we wanted to see our characters realized visually (while I’m also a visual artist, I’m not that good, and Kris claims he’s no good at all). In any case, we told him what they looked like and had him go to it.

Tosh is a tomboy, she’s slightly built, muscular in the arms from all that steamwrenchin’, fairly flat-chested, and pretty but not beautiful. Her hair is boyishly short (again, steamwrenchin’) and the only other feature I decided on in my mind, but don’t think I put down on the page, is that she has an upturned nose. So she’s kind of petite and elfin and scrappy, that’s more or less the impression we wanted to make. She wears t-shirts and overalls with shoulder straps. Utilitarian stuff (aside from the dress at the beginning, which as we made sure to note was out of character for her).

You may notice that unlike some authors and works *ahemtwilightmortalinstrumentsetcahem* we didn’t go on at great length about the beauty of our main man. Massimo’s eyes get mentioned a lot, true, but they are his “tell” (the feature that marks someone as a witchbreed) and they are pretty striking (and pretty). He’s slender and dark-haired and pale, sort of sullen-looking in that teenager way, and fairly handsome. He dresses pretty formally, all in black with silk shirts and leather boots and wool greatcoats with pretty silver buttons and embroidery. Poor little rich boy, donchaknow?

When we saw how this guy drew our heroes (and we should’ve guessed based on the dude’s general maturity level that they would turn out kinda Rob Liefeld-ish), we started quoting Will Smith, as in, “Aw hell naw!”

Tosh’s boobs were almost as big as her head. Her hair was almost right, but her clothes were the worst: short sleeved belly shirt, and oversized overalls that hung scandalously low, exposing bare hips and you can only imagine what the side view would’ve looked like. O_o

Massimo had a book in his hand and appeared to be drawing a pentagram on the ground beneath him (nevermind that pentagrams have no symbolic significance in Aquan that we’ve mentioned… guess he was doing a little demon-summoning?) He looked pretty bulky, wearing very baggy clothing himself but the explanation was that he was “muscly.”

“But he’s not muscly,” Kris protested. “We told you he’s not muscly. He’s skinny. And what about Tosh?” I wanted to make her hot, the guy said. “Tosh IS NOT ‘HOT’! That’s the whole point!”

So yeah, didn’t deal with that artist again. Now mind you, like I said, I’m an artist, and we know artists, and good ones (one –female– artist we commissioned to draw Gage and Brion did an excellent job, with a curvy, fully-clothed and wickedly confident Brion brandishing her gun). We might say less than complimentary things about the reliability and ease of working with artists and their dedication to timelines when we’re in only each other’s earshot, but I know they’re exaggerated and not universal.

Still, it’s every writer’s nightmare, along with a bad movie adaptation and covers that totally misrepresent your novel’s plot or protagonists (that’s another post, one like this one from Justine Larbalestier). It’s still unsettling that an author can create an entire work but have no say in how it’s packaged. It’s like buying someone a gift through Amazon for their birthday and letting them gift-wrap it in whatever paper they want, even if it’s Christmas paper at the totally wrong time of the year. Sure “what do authors know about cover art?” but you think they’d at least have veto power, right?

It makes me glad that, being self-pubbed, we could make that decision ourselves (and I did digitally-paint the cover of The Trident of Merrow myself). It’s a luxury we may not always have.



~ by Amber on September 28, 2011.

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