Image by auchard via FlickrI'm a fantasy enthusiast. But I do have a realistic bent. Lately, my realism has led me into... well, history. I'm reading Le Morte D'Arthur, and Xenophon's Anabasis at the same time. These are actual... well ok, one's mostly fictional, and the other is heavily embellished. But they are real in terms of representing life as it was 1,000 to 3,000 years ago. Well, not really real, in terms of representing a partisan aristocratic view involving inherent assumptions of natural inequality... for the most part.
Image by Passetti via Flickr
Anyway, I read history, and fantasy, and was once involved with Elfwood. I like the fantasy warrior art, but it is so shallow... and modular in terms of always catching the person at the picture perfect moment... and without food, water, a tent, enough clothing to be warm, armor that can be moved in, and that actually would work at all in battle, etc.
Image by peterjr1961 via FlickrPeople draw armor similar to what one puts on for Halloween. You imagine up the craziest thing, make it, wear it, then go home. The real stuff wouldn't even be getting put on except for the real thing, and might take hours to get into and out of.
Now take a look at this guy's armor below. Really? Is it because all the computer generated enemies always strike at his shoulders? He can't turn his head. he can't raise his arms at all. He can't bring his knee to his chest. He can't fight anyone to the sides or behind him without turning his whole body around. Even getting his hand to his mouth to eat would be uncomfortable.
And then we get into worse waters.
But you get this fantasy stuff like this:
Image by Ramona.Forcella via FlickrThis isn't about protection, or combat... it's about lust.
Here's another one. Really? It's a combination of wanting to show that she's fierce and ready for battle, and wanting to show as much skin as possible. It gives new meaning to the term breast plate. Yep. There's just one. And it almost covers one side of her bikini top.
And then at the end of the day we are struck with reality again: real warriors that have long histories of success in their cultures have been carrying about this amount of equipment for 3,000 years, starting with the Greek panoply.
But seriously, all you artists and writers out there. If you can include these things, it can make a brief floating whisp of a picture or setting into a fleshed out and memorable experience. Take Lord of the Rings for example. You've got Lembas bread, tomatoes, Aragorn hunting some type of animal in the wild, cheese, all kinds of foods and food related scenes that bring realism. They travelled with Bill the pony, who carried a lot of their equipment until they lost him.
It seems that for Fantasy art, the only equipment that may be used is weapons and armor. I think every creator of fictional work needs to ask themselves a few basic questions while designing their final product. What do they eat and drink? Where/how do they sleep? What would they learn by using all five senses? How do they deal with hot/cold or wet/dry environments?
I wouldn't say a full set of equipment for a multi-day journey is always needed. If a place is near where there is food/shelter, or if there is a large force with a supply or baggage group, then there would be no need. Obviously, most fantasy art that includes environment puts people in an unfriendly or uninhabited environment, where a person would have equipment with them.
Come on friends, let's keep it real!