Wednesday, July 25, 2012

#Writerly Wednesday- Looking at Handsome Men Gives Me a Headache

My Hero is No Grisly Adams

As I endeavor to find stock images and figure up what I'd need for cover art images that I like or think might suit my purposes, I find that staring at handsome men can give one a headache. There, I said it. It's not so much the men, as the hours of eyestrain spent staring at the computer screen, but still....It's a time intensive search that reminds me why I normally write instead of work with computer graphics and it gives me a deep respect for all those cover artists who do spend many more hours than I have, scouring images across the net to make the perfect book cover for us writers.

I'm also reminded that terms like "sexy" and "handsome" are very subjective. I looked up "sexy cowboy" on one site and it came back with more pictures of women than men. What images of male cowboys I did find were sparse, older than I needed, or much too young, and one guy looked too much like Ricky Martin. Love you Ricky, but totally NOT the image I have in mind for a heterosexual hero who's supposed to favor Tim McGraw with a mustache and cowboy hat.

I have also seen, guys who look no more mature than 15, some "handsome" men are images of little boys in suits, like the ring bearer at a wedding. Some are much much older men- not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's not what I'm looking for. One guy looks like Michael T. Weiss who once played Mike on Days of Our Lives when I was a kid and was later the lead on The Pretender. Unfortunately none of my heroes favor him. I saw one guy who looked a LOT like Liam Helmsworth- Chris (a.k.a. Thor) Helmsworth's brother. Another sort of reminded me of Chris Evans, a.k.a. Captain America. Some reminded me of ex-boyfriends, so I have no inclination to use them AT ALL.

Mind you, there are some good looking guys on these stock photo sites, but not all fit the "image" I want and some just don't plain work for me at all. Maybe it's because I originally modeled my characters after actors and actresses, I'm making it harder on myself to pin down "new" images of them, but I have found a few female model images that do fit my leading ladies. The guys are a little harder to fit the mold I'm looking for.

I told my husband that I need one who favors Matthew McConaughey, but you can't search Mr. McConaughey-hey-hey because photos of him actually come up, so I can't even do a "look-alike" search. Later I pointed out a picture of this guy to my husband and said, "See what I mean? Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder."

He laughed and said, "Well, that guy looks a little bit like McConaughey." I scoffed, staring at this pale scrawny guy with a bright orange curly 'fro and said, "No, this guy looks like Carrot Top, before he buffed up." (and I'm still not sure which is scarier.)

It also became increasingly, painfully apparent that husbands don't understand romance novels or their covers, when I grumbled that the guys who could fit my characters had too much facial hair and vice versa. The majority of my heroes don't sport facial hair at all and it's really rare in the business to see heroes on romance novel covers who have facial hair, which led to this discussion between myself and my husband—

"I don't want guys with a lot of facial hair."

Hubby, who has a mustache and goatee asks me, as though he's been offended, "What's wrong with facial hair?"

I said, "Nothing necessarily, it wasn't anything against you or to make you feel inferior, but most book covers don't have men with facial hair."

He asked why, so I told him, "I don't know. Guess most women just don't want a lot of facial hair on their heroes, at least on the cover of romance novels. Maybe a mustache or a 5 o'clock shadow or a pencil line beard, but nothing like those guys on Duck Dynasty."

That elicited a good laugh.

Yeah, hubby's my hero, but in my fictional world- my hero is no Grisly Adams.


J. Lea Lopez said...

Check out Jenn LeBlanc's cover images! Super sexy men, and a variety of looks. She's a photographer as well as an author. Here's her site (hope you don't mind the link)

Staring at stock images (of sexy men or not!) is definitely headache-inducing. I don't know how people do it for a living.

Taryn Raye said...

Thanks for the link, going to check it out soon as I post this comment. I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds it headache-inducing! Definitely got to give cover arts and graphic designers their props!