>Industy artist fail: Wayne Reynolds (at least he’s not as bad as HTK)

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[Preamble and Disclaimer: All of these can be seen at much higher resolution if you click the images. I recommend doing this. And as always, none of this is mine. All of this is copyright Wayne Reynolds and/or whichever company hired him. I don’t own a thing!]

I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite a while now – it just kept getting put off every time I spotted more egregious stuff I wanted to post about. But Wayne Reynolds has long been a pet peeve of mine when it comes to fantasy tabletop art, and I thought it was important to highlight his artwork because he is a huge name within the fantasy art industry. I will certainly be the first to admit that skill-wise, his artistic chops far exceed my own; however, Mr. Reynolds is a perfect example of an artist using his powers for evil.

Now when I say “using his powers for evil”, let’s be clear. Wayne Reynolds is no HTK. Even if he has a propensity for stupidly cheesecakey women, his cheesecake women are definitely active and strong characters. Also, for the most part the only anatomy distortion that they suffer from is an over-inflation of the breasts, which is also a far cry from HTK’s barely-human-looking crotch-thrusting figures.

In a way, that is actually part of my frustration with Wayne. I know that he’s capable of producing totally epic, non-sexualized female characters that kick huge amounts of ass when an art director puts their foot down and insists on NO CLEAVAGE WAYNE I MEAN IT. I mean check these women out:

Totally epic, right? Any of these women would be completely badass characters for long-term play. Each of them is strong and has a real sense of character. I mean I’ve talked about how much I love Seelah (paladin, far right) before here. But sadly, I had to look pretty hard to find these examples. For the most part, Wayne prefers his women looking like this:

/sigh

Don’t get me wrong. Tiger lady is pretty badass, for sure. But, you know, does she have to have her tiger bits hanging out like that? Now, it wouldn’t be so bad if Wayne had a habit of doing equally sexualized illustrations of male characters. I’ve long said that I wouldn’t mind a line that just sexified everyone equally regardless of gender; it might not be to my personal tastes, but I could at least get behind it’s existence. And Wayne does occasionally do illustrations of sexy male characters like Seltyiel:

But sadly, Seltyiel is pretty well in the minority for male characters in Wayne’s art. Mostly Wayne’s men tend to look like this:
…covered head to toe in armor and in poses that don’t emphasize their sexy bits. (Okay, maybe not with quite that many weapons. I couldn’t resist the opportunity for a bit of visual hyperbole…)

Now this isn’t exactly new, and it certainly puts Wayne in good company with many other fantasy game artists. The male = fully armored & not sexualized / female = chainmail bikini and heaving bosoms paradigm has been pretty dominant in fantasy game art ever since the creation of D&D. And at least Wayne manages to draw women who look competent while thrusting their scantily clad bosoms out for the rest of the world to see, which is certainly a far cry from women in cages.

Still, it’s pretty discouraging when Paizo hires Wayne to design their iconic sorceress and he comes up with this:

Wow! How distinctive from every other female mage ever! A gorgeous woman with big fake boobs and not enough clothing. I mean, come on – she’s practically walking fanservice. Unless she’s using body glue to hold that top in place, there’s no way that top is going to confine those ta-tas once she starts dodging arrows. But then again, I suppose she could use sorcery to the same effect? Still, it seems like a waste of a spell slot…

And Seoni is far from the only example of Wayne’s stereotypically slutty¬†cleavagey mages:

Okay, can the female = mage = slutty¬†cleavagey stereotype please die now and forever please? The female = mage stereotype is bad enough! God knows I get so sick of seeing female characters get railroaded into being magic-users and not being allowed to swing an honest-to-god weapon at people. But it’s DOUBLY frustrating to see the mage = slutty¬†cleavagey stereotype in action, because it just reinforces the “tits or GTFO” that women in gaming get all the time.

The trap that fantasy women fall into is that if all women are mages and all mages show their tits, then clearly all women show their tits! And Wayne certainly isn’t doing much to dispel that notion either. But then I think that stuff like this:

…makes Wayne’s opinions on the importance of breasts in fantasy art pretty clear. Sure, none of these women are in cages, but it doesn’t exactly feel very progressive to say “sure women can be adventurers” when the clear parenthetical is “as long as they show us (male gamers) their tits”.And most of these aren’t even NICE tits, which is kind of bizarre given the fact that these figures are otherwise pretty undistorted. (They’re all Barbie, sure, but not too distorted.) All of these women have bizarrely inflated sphere boobs that in some cases aren’t even that appealing. I mean, the gnome and the hook fighter especially have boobs that just kind of freak me out – it looks like someone taped melons to their chests. How is that in any way appealing?

The only one of these women that I in any way appreciate is the fire mage; her chest is actually quite small. Still, body paint =/ clothing and gee it would be great if she HAD SOME DAMN CLOTHES.

The ones that make me the most frustrated though are the ones where the art direction was pretty obviously for a strong, FULLY-COVERED female character and Wayne gave them cleavage anyway:

I mean, Christ, Wayne. Looking at these, I hate to think of what initial drafts of Seelah might have looked like. Did you honestly think that people wouldn’t notice the random cleavage? It’s especially frustrating on these characters because they come SO CLOSE to being every bit as awesome as the first set and then fall flat on her face. Is there ANY reason for us to see Imrijka’s (far left) hugely inflated sphere boobs? No. Does being able to see Merisiel’s (middle) tits somehow make her a better, more compelling avatar? No. Does being able to see the pirate’s tits AND panties make us more able to believe in her strength? Um… no.The worst part is that I can so clearly see what these characters could have been had they not been gratuitously sexualized. Please – can’t we allow strong female characters to be strong AND female and not have to show their tits to the world? Why do we have to do this? Why do we have to continue to tell women that they can only expect to be strong and competent so long as they agree to dress for the titillation of their male counterparts?

Fuck that. I want women who are badass and not sexualized:

So how about it, Wayne? You’re clearly able. Now are you willing?

>Industry artist fail: Hyung Tae Kim (so VERY VERY nsfw!)

>While looking for another entrant in my fanartist hall of shame, I happened to stumble across an artist whose work I had not been familiar with – Hyung Tae Kim. I initially found him when I stumbled across this image:

/sigh. Distorted anatomy? Check. I mean, even more so than usual. Improbably large breasts that defy physics? Check. Lovingly detailed ladybits? Cheeeeeck. This guy is a charmer all right.

When I did more research I discovered that HTK is actually a pretty influential artist in the Asian gaming industry. He’s worked as lead character design on a huge number of roleplaying games, including the War of Genesis series (3 games), the Magna Carta series (2 games), and Blade and Soul online. And while normally, I wouldn’t tackle an artist like HTK because of the fact that he does work primarily in the Asian games industry, the fact remains that he does have a HUGE following here in North America and does occasionally work over here. That blue crotch-floss with butterflies? The cover for an Exalted sourcebook. So I figure that makes him fair game.

Amusingly, one of the first articles that I found about HTK that tipped me off to what a following he had over here was this one. The headline image shows a totally cleavagey chick, but don’t worry folks. She’s just an exception!

WTF is up with her boobs, man?

If this is an exception, why go to the effort of picking out this one? Methinks thou doth protest too much, sir… Anyhow. Mr. Mahan is mostly correct in that yes, a lot of HTK’s women don’t display actual cleavage. No, instead they have impossibly large, impossibly pointy breasts that flop around like distended lemons. I mean, seriously. Look at these things:


LEMON BOOBS AHOY!
I never thought I’d have to invent a new category of boob mockery, but here it is. LEMON BOOBS. Methinks this guy can’t be getting a whole lot of action because holy shit in what universe do women have breasts that are this large and this pointy? Those gazongas are practically WMD! Also, contrary to popular belief, jiggle physics does not exist in real life just because it’s called “physics”. I know that there has never been a situation in which I’ve had to dodge being hit in the face with my own breasts, so ease off with the anti-grav field!Another pretty common feature of HTK’s artwork is the OUTTHRUST LADYBITS. (Yes, capitals required). If you look at his art, a lot of the women seem to be thrusting their ladybits pretty much right at the camera:

NOOOOO! THE LADYBITS!

So, I’m guessing he would feel quite a bit of affinity with the WoW artist who did that infamous ladybit assassin picture I mocked a while ago… Another pose that’s way too freaking common is the “please do me from behind” school of posing:


Come on. It doesn’t get less subtle than this!
So, yeah. This guy clearly not winning a lot of awards for class. I realize that Asian culture is a lot more misogynistic in some regards, but the fact that there are plenty of North American dudes panting to get their hands on scans of this guys art books is just discouraging. This takes the garden-variety misogynistic character design we get over here and make it seem tame in comparison!The thing that makes me really want to punch HTK in the nuts is his fetish for lovingly detailed ladybits:


Seriously? Talim is totally underage! That’s just gross.

The thing that makes me most sad is that Blade and Soul seems to have adhered to HTK’s designs pretty slavishly in the rendering of their character models. I mean check this out! We have actual modeled camel toe:

Yuck.

>Fanart Hall of Shame: Stregatto10

>I’m getting kind of tired of arguing on the internet of what is and isn’t sexist when it comes to men in video games. I mean, has anyone noticed that the trolls in the previous post’s comment thread (and on See Page XX) have us arguing about depictions of men? Heaven forbid that I should talk about the feelings of a marginalized minority on a blog devoted to talking about sexist depictions of women! That just won’t do!

Whatever. I’m tired of beating my head against the wall for today, so I’m going to tackle something more cut and dry – improbable anatomy and big fake breasts!

So as always, legal boilerplate: All images you see here are the property of Dorotea Gizzi (Stregatto10). I don’t own a thing. The artist’s website can be found here and her DeviantArt profile can be found here. If you click on an image, it will take you to the DeviantArt page that it’s linked from. (I should have done this previously. I will fix previous Fanart Hall of Shame posts when I have some time to go back and re-dig stuff up.)

Now that that’s out of the way…

So Stregatto10 is proof that men don’t have a monopoly on creating sexist art. She has quite an extensive gallery of commissions, as well as a long list of commissions in process – so she looks like she has quite the side business going. While not all of her commissions are video game characters, it looks like about half of them are, and out of all of those (there were quite a few) there are only TWO that I can show here, since the rest are pretty much entirely naked except for strategically covered ladybits.

As such, most of what I’m posting here is non-commissioned fanart (at least from what I can tell). But if you log into DeviantArt and investigate Stregatto10’s profile, you can see for yourself that the commissions I’m not posting here are much, much worse than what I’m showing here.

First up is one of the two commissions that isn’t too raunchy to post here – Zoey from Left4Dead:


(PROPERTY OF STREGATTO10, CLICK FOR LINK)

So, pretty classic example here of boobifying one of the rare non-sexualized female characters in video games. (If you’re not familiar with Zoey, check out this image. She’s pretty cool, design-wise.) Sexy “please bang me against this wall pose”, check. Big fake perfectly spherical breasts, check. Passive expression, check. This is pretty much a how-to for everyone looking to dis-empower female characters with agency. But this is just the tip of the iceberg:


(PROPERTY OF STREGATTO10, CLICK FOR LINKS)

On the left we have the Taki picture that originally linked me to Stregatto10’s profile, while on the left we have the only other commission that I could show here – Shura (also from Soul Calibur 4). So in both cases we have a pretty giant case of yuck, though Taki is inarguably more freakish than Shura since both her boobs and her ass look like over-inflated balloons. But Shura winds up being just as perplexing since it’s a commission; clearly someone ASKED for this picture and paid money for it. But in what universe is either of these women even remotely sexy? Srsly, a universe of yuck.

And of course, things wouldn’t be complete without Ivy:


(PROPERTY OF STREGATTO10, CLICK FOR LINKS)

Some days I can’t decide if Samus’ Zero Suit was the worst thing to happen to fanart or if that honor should go to Ivy’s SC4 redesign. These are all just so, so wrong. Like so much other art of the Soul Calibur women, all of these Ivy’s seem to have some sort of organ TARDIS, since their rib cages are clearly not large enough to contain her internal organs. And what’s with the boob strap? That thing must be made of titanium to contain those ta-tas. Either that or it has an anti-grav field build in, because there’s just no way those boobs should stay in that top.

Lastly, I just have to ask. What is the obsession with having female fighting game characters rub boobs? I seriously don’t get it.


(PROPERTY OF STREGATTO10, CLICK FOR LINK)

And here we have another one of my least favorite characters ever – Morrigan. Amazingly, while her boobs are very, very large, they look like they might not be implants (it’s kind of ambiguous). But I guess that’s made up for with the completely ridiculous ass cleavage. This one is a pretty classic example of the “please bang me right now” school of posing.


(PROPERTY OF STREGATTO10, CLICK FOR LINKS)

Lastly we have yet another entry in why I will always hate the Dead or Alive girls now and forever. Morrigan’s breasts miiiiight not have been fake, but these breasts definitely are. Ayane (left) is just… so… passive. And Kasumi – what the hell is with that hand placement? I mean, I can’t help but wondering what she’s doing with that right hand, which I imagine is probably the point.

The thing that makes me sad is that Stregatto10’s coloring skills blow mine out of the water, even if she seems purposefully ignorant of how female anatomy actually works.

>Fanart Hall of Shame: Reiq

>Okay, folks. Things have kind of blown up around here the last week or so and I’ll admit that I’m pretty drained from arguing with people on the internet – even though I said I wouldn’t. Rather than being lazy and posting some links, though, I figured it was about time to induct a second member into the Fanart Hall of Shame.

So first of all – legal boilerplate. All images you see here are the property of Reinaldo Quintero (Reiq). I don’t own a thing. The artist’s website can be found here and his GFX Artist profile can be found here. If you want to see his hentai (read: Actual porn, NSFWer) site, you can find it at jigglygirls.com. (Real URL, I swear!)

With that said, on to the shaming!

I first stumbled across Reiq while I was doing Image searches for my original post about the ridiculous Soul Calibur women, and the link went straight into my bookmark folder for future shaming. It was impressive to me that with the wide variety of disgusting Ivy fanart out there, this was by far the worst I’ve yet seen:

The sad thing is that even as I’m repulsed by the image, I have to admire the technique that went in to creating these textures. This guy has serious artistic chops, and I’ll freely admit that skill-wise he’s probably better than me. But talk about an artist abusing his powers for evil. I think even Wayne Reynolds would be embarassed to draw something like this!

I shouldn’t need to point out all the things that are wrong with this image. Boobs, check. Nipples, check. Ass, check. Overall proportions, check. I’ll just add that boobs are NOT like balloons. If you squeeze the top, the bottom does NOT expand. Contrary to popular belief, boobs are actually just bags of flesh. (OMGWTFBBQ!)

Thankfully that’s the worst of them, but there’s still some heart-breakers – like TWO different renditions of Samus:

Oh, Samus! What has he done to you? The Samus I know and love would never passively flaunt her sexuality with a come-hither look! The Samus I know would be kicking ass and taking names! What evil did Nintendo unleash upon the world when they created the Zero Suit? Is this how you’re destined to be remembered? As a busty blonde in blue spandex, completely stripped of any power or consequence? Honestly, this bothers me so much more than the big fake boobs and distorted anatomy.

Although, Christ, people. If you’re going to draw chicks in spandex, don’t give them cleavage that could rival the grand canyon. That just doesn’t happen. Unless she has a separate spandex compartment for each boob, which seems unlikely.

THIS is why I immediately tune out whenever anyone starts talking about how Cortana is a “strong female character”. I’ve never played Halo. (I’m not a huge fan of shooters, I just made an exception for Mass Effect because it’s Bioware.) But looking at crap like this just makes me completely lose interest.

Is there anything more ridiculous than ass cleavage? I mean, I’m pretty shocked to see Reiq take on Crimson Viper considering that she’s almost completely covered and then pose her so that her boobs are not visible. But clearly the lack of cleavage was getting to him, so he gave her ass cleavage instead.

Honestly, I don’t know how she’d fight like that. I mean, her pants are so far up her ass that they must be lodged in her colon, which has GOT to be uncomfortable. Personally, I really don’t think I could fight like that.

I’m ending with this one because I wanted to go from worst to best for once. Aside from the big fake boobs, I actually like this rendition of Wonder Woman. She doesn’t have massive camel toe, she’s not passively on display, and she looks like she’s daring you try something so that she can use that lasso to choke the life out of you. And that’s the sad part. If this was the rule rather than the exception, I’d sigh about comic character design and big fake boobs and move on with my life.
Clearly Reiq has it in him to draw only minimally distorted women with some sense of agency – he just chooses not to.

I suppose it shouldn’t be too surprising, since the profile on his says that he is male (surprise surprise) and 27 – which puts him firmly in the “young and pervy” segment of artists. But considering that he is now working as an artist full-time with the income from these illustrations, that also puts him in the “perpetrating sexist stereotypes for fun and profit” camp.

>Fanart Hall of Shame

>Okay, folks. I’m about 3000 words in the hole for NaNoWriMo, so I thought I’d post something smallish here before returning to frantically catching up. (I’ve completed only two of the four NaNos that I’ve attempted, so I’d really like to finish this one.)

So, there’s a lot of really sexist art on Deviant Art. That’s not to say Deviant Art is sexist, or people who use/view Deviant Art are sexist. Just that there are a sizeable number of artists producing sexist art on DA.

Today I’m going to call out Butcher20 as the first inductee of my Fanart Hall of Shame. According to his profile, Butcher20 is a 26 year old man. Which makes it not terribly surprising that the first piece of art you see on his profile is this fanart of Cortana from the Halo series:

(ART BY BUTCHER20. I’M REALLY, REALLY NOT CLAIMING OWNERSHIP OF THIS)

Okay, so let’s count the awful things wrong with this picture. She has a serious case of sphere boob, although I do have to grudgingly give him props for having them be at least partially subject to gravity. We’ve got a case of incorrectly located nipple (I know, I know, Cortana’s a hologram. But those blue streaks aren’t properly placed to cover up the nipple that would exist if she wasn’t a hologram and had nipples.) And her waist is practically non-existent. It’s a good thing Cortana is a hologram, or I’d be asking if, like Taki, she was storing some of her organs in her boobs.

But wait! It gets worse!

(D00D, TOTALLY PROPERTY OF BUTCHER20 I SWEAR)

Yikes! How does she keep those bazookas from popping out while she’s flying? Of course, I guess the fact that they seem to completely defy gravity helps. Maybe that’s a superpower that only the female Kryptonians get. Also, let’s not forget that in the comics and cartoon, Super Girl is in high school. So, you know, yuck.

And these are, apparently the tame ones! The vast majority of his art comes up as traffic signs since I’m not logged in, which means it’s been flagged as being explicit. I didn’t log in because these and the few other images that aren’t tagged explicit were more than enough, thanks.

The really fun part that you might otherwise miss is if you scroll to the bottom and look at what groups he’s a member of. Some of the more questionable ones: Happy Perverts, Boob Lovers, Boobies Love, Perv Pics, Super Perverts, Perverts Without Frontiers, Lactation Art, and – my personal favorite – Dead Girls Me, which is a group devoted to images of “Erotic Death through Asphyxiation”. And the tagline of the group is “Dead Girls Are Easy”.

Seriously. Whisky Tango Foxtrot.

So once again, congratulations go to Butcher20 for being the premier inductee of the Fanart Hall of Shame. I’m going to go boil my eyeballs.