Oree: Pinup Style

This is amazesome, you guys. I’m not even gonna shrink it down; you’re just gonna have to look at it in its full magnificence. Though I will cut for slightly NSFW artful nudity.

Woman sitting on an elaborate stool, painting.

This is award-winning artist Lee Moyer’s pinup-style rendering of Oree Shoth from The Broken Kingdoms, which will represent the month of September in the new forthcoming CHECK THESE OUT: Literary Pinup Calendar for 2013.

I talked awhile back about the creation process for this, but now I see the final product and… wow. I love it. I especially love that she’s not looking at the viewer, not just because she’s blind but also because it conveys the total artistic focus that’s so much an element of her personality. She knows you’re there, looking at her; she knows she’s naked; she knows she’s in a tree; these things are unimportant because she’s got an image burning up her creative brain. This pose is in partial defiance of pinup tradition, Moyer explained when we first discussed it, because a pinup usually caters to the male gaze by having the model stare seductively at the viewer. Of course Oree’s like, eff that, got stuff to do. At the same time she’s beautiful enough to turn a god’s head and she knows it. It’s this unselfconscious acceptance of her own beauty that makes this work as a pinup — for me, anyway, because I can’t think of anything sexier than a woman who knows and loves herself.

Also, note that the stool she’s sitting on is aquamarine crystal! (The golden light makes it look mostly green, but if you look closely the blue is visible too.) I like to think it was given to her by a certain godling. It’s this and other details that really make this perfect for me. I imagine her mouth is open because she’s muttering to herself while she works. I do that sometimes and I figure all artists do to some degree, because we’ve all got inner voices yammering at us when we’re really in the zone. And the fact that she’s in the World Tree, drawing the World Tree, while it wends down into the calendar portion of the image (not shown), is a wonderfully metafictional, fourth-wall-breaking touch. That’s the sort of thing a god would do. And did you notice the city in the background/below? I missed it, the first time I saw this; it’s a nice bit of detail that rewards close looking.

I think this is awesome. Now — ’cause I know ya’ll are gonna ask — I do visualize Oree as very dark-skinned, and I mentioned this to the artist when I saw an earlier draft. He noted that the lighting — necessary to depict the visible magic of her painting, and of Madding’s symbolic presence, and of the Tree itself — does impact how her coloring comes across. Given the detail and the color of the lighting, that makes perfect sense to me. That’s how her hair is supposed to look, too; the style I described her wearing in the book (natural with a two strand twist-out) is the way I used to wear my own hair. If you’re wondering, Moyer used a live model for this pose; she’s credited as Favour Kibs, a Kenyan-born runway model with the Model Mayhem agency. I haven’t met her, but she’s obviously a beautiful woman, and I’m honored that she was willing to lend her likeness to my character.

So if you want to see more of your favorite fantasy characters rendered in all their glory, you should preorder the calendar ASAP. Lookit all those big names! (Click the image below for a full list.) Proceeds will go to Pat Rothfuss’ charity, Worldbuilders, which benefits Heifer International. And if you order now, it’ll ship in early November!

Calendar cover shows woman on a stepladder reaching for a book, pinup style.

ETA: Belated add, but fellow author Tansy Rayner Roberts discusses the sexism inherent in this kind of cheesecake art, and in the (very good — read the comments this time, it’s OK) discussion that follows, I toss in some additional thoughts on this piece.

20 Responses »

  1. I’m particularly enthralled by the way she seems suspended before her painting, like she weighs nothing and the crystalline support is just there for her to orient herself. She’s gorgeous, it’s gorgeous, and I can’t wait for 2013 now :D

  2. She’s BEAUTIFUL!

  3. GARUUGHAHHHAHHAHHH…::passes out::

    Seriously. That is an AWESOME picture.

  4. Wow – that is beautiful! And so perfect for the character, for all the reasons you stated. Also: way, way sexier to me than the usual pinup pose where it’s all about the viewer.

    When I first heard about the calendar, I wasn’t intending to order it, because while it sounded intriguing, I’m really not a huge fan of the pinup tradition, but now I’m very tempted.

  5. Wow! Gorgeous! :) Really love it! :)

  6. That’s not at all how I pictured Oree (in my mind she’s the dignified Angela Bassett type) but that is one beautiful painting.

  7. That is _gorgeous_.

  8. Oh, WOW! I was the model for Jim Butcher’s pinup, and when I was hanging with Lee at the shoot, he couldn’t stop raving about how well your shoot went and how excited he was about creating your image. I can see why! This is STUNNING!

  9. This piece was so good that I had to make sure I’d already bought the calendar so I didn’t buy it again! Truly amazing!

  10. WOW…I may have to actually buy a calender.

  11. Left handed? never noticed that in the book. Any chance to explain why she would climb up the tree? Hmmm..

  12. Gorgeous! I’ll buy a calendar just for this….but do let us know if he ever ends up selling prints of this one. I’d buy that too.

  13. Jennifer – I pictured her as Angela Basset-like, too. : )

    But hey, I can’t argue with the way she’s depicted here, since the work is really lovely. (We each have our own mental images, after all…)

    And – as a woman – I’m not a fan of pinups in general, but this is nothing if not tasteful!

  14. Just checked Lee’s site and I really like his “Madame Butterfly” poster for the Seattle Lyric Opera. (The pinups he has there are quite accomplished, but *not* my cuppa… Still, beautifully drawn/painted.)

  15. I nearly wept at the beauty of this piece of art. Again, for a brown girl (and for anyone who simply wants to see more non-white characters cast as beautiful) this is just so nice to see, and I love that your interpretation of the art goes hand-in-hand with the artist’s intentions. I haven’t yet read Oree’s story, but it’s on my list! I still have parts 2 & 3 of the Inheritance Trilogy to read first.

  16. This is so incredibly beautiful. My gosh!!

    I slightly cringe at the concept of sitting naked on a chair with sharp bits, lmao, but I do like the design. Ooh, thanks for pointing out the aquamarine color and a certain godling — (*spoilerwhoIstillmourn!spoiler*) — because it just adds that extra sweetness! It’s been months since I last read Broken Kingdoms and I don’t think I would have made the connection.

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