Back in 2008 you struggled with me as I attempted to learn how to draw human figures in a classical, academic manner. What little formal art education I had was absolute when it came to depicting the human form. Drawing and painting must be realistic, with all proportions exactly as one sees them, with no deliberate distortion and no "story-telling" or any kind of embellishment. You see this kind of painting at one of my favorite sites, the "Art Renewal" web headquarters, where there are ads for academies, books, and videos where you can learn this kind of painting.
As you know from my blather here on the By-Product, this is not quite what I want to do. If I am to return to fantasy illustration, I need to do a more stylized and interpretive style of human figure drawing and painting, while not forgetting the basics of anatomy, proportion, etc. But where will I find models who have fantasy proportions? Not in classical model books, wonderful though they are. Those books have helped me draw lots of figures, some of which drawings weren't bad.
But the fantasy girls with the ample proportions? I'll find them in Playboy! I'm not talking about porn models, whose positions aren't quite the fantasy I want. Playboy models are imaginary women, created from some distantly real female, already half-artificial by the time they are photographed. Their cheesecake positions are easily adapted to fantasy roles, from Amazon to harem babe. I found to my delight in a local bookstore, the "Complete Playboy Centerfolds" collection. There are more than 50 years of Playmates, a compendium of America's fads and fashions through the filter of pin-up girl pictures. These Playmates are not pierced, tattooed Goths. They are not hot 'n' heavy erotica. They are not porn. The girls are presented as alluring, sweet and unthreatening companions, ready for a happy time. The photos are steeped in a warm, amber-pink color mist that I would do well to imitate, except that in my pictures the girl will have a sword or an axe, which of course will not be used on the viewer.
Amazon warrior, pencil drawing from Playboy model, colored in Photoshop.