Friday, January 18, 2008

A Question of Scale

In my earlier work, I really didn't pay that much attention to relative scale. In other words, I'd throw men and women together into a collage without measuring properly what ratio of sizes they would have. I started becoming a lot stricter when I became serious about portraying an alternate universe where women are the taller and stronger sex. I've been going back and fixing the scales in all my old images worth keeping and posting.

The scale I usually chose for my earlier work was a very vaguely-defined half-height. There were a few reasons behind this. Part of the inspiration for my fantasy world was based on a story by CLH titled After the Apple Fell. In it, an unexplained worldwide phenomenon occurs during the turn of the millennium, causing all males to eventually shrink to half their previous height. The story is about a day in the life of.... Aw hell, just go read it yourself. CLH is a fabulous writer, creates wonderful and memorable characters, and infuses his stories with a warm sense of humor. I only wish there were more of them to go around.

Anyway, this scale appealed to me because even the tallest and strongest man would be weaker than the smallest fully-grown woman. I felt it was a good basis for me to work with visually. Of course, in my world, there was never a cataclysmic change and it's always been like this. Here, the female of the species are generally larger, and, according to trinket999ism, human evolution favored taller, more athletic women – the better to protect helpless men against such predatory menaces as saber-toothed tigers and the like – who in their turn, preferred smaller men who were easier to drag back to their caves for some convenient selective reason that I haven't bothered to work out. Evolutionary pressure thus led to this extreme sexual dimorphism.

In modern times, most boys are attracted to strong, athletic women who excel in physical activity, because it's just hardwired into their genes (and if one ain't, he's one of them weird boys and he ain't never gonna find himself a good woman). Women in this world are taller than in ours, with more upper-body development and lankier builds. I scaled our b-baller from my original collage to make her appear taller (using the basketball as a size hint) – around 6'8" – and modified her body proportions to have broader shoulders and longer legs appropriate for her height; the boys are around 3'6". At that height, she's a star on her college ball team, and boys are of course, literally throwing themselves at her everywhere she goes, even when she's not showing off for them.


  1. I've never worried much about scaling my collage elements to specific sizes, probably because I like all of them. But collaging and viweing collages like yours has opened my taste to half-sized little guys, and has established an enjoyment of that particular scale that wasn't there previously. So you receive some of your inspiration from a story, and I receive part of mine from your collaged "stories". Ain't it nice how that works out.

    What I do that's similar to what you've done here is modifying body parts to suit what I imagine they should look like. I collaged a half-sized man from various components (body sections) a few days ago, and the initial legs were too short and narrow. I lengthened and widened them, and it really worked for me to create a strong little fellow, muscular and taut, but still as weak as a child when paired up with his twice-as-tall female counterpart.

    Nice work!

  2. I've only recently started modifying individual body parts to fit into certain sizes only recently. Before, I only really rotated things around to change their relative placement and so on for interaction in the pictures. I'm doing lots more changes now in the source material to better match up with my vision of this world.

    An obvious problem with this though, is that it takes a really really long time for me to finish one now.

  3. I know exactly what you mean. The more tricks we learn, the more tricks we can apply when working on a collage, so the longer it takes to finish one. But hey, it's worth it, because you come up with really great results, which are the great reward of doing something not for the money, and certainly not for the time saving-ness.