Of the ‘Big Four’ (this includes Caldwell, Parkinson, Elmore) from TSR’s AD&D glory days, Jeff Easley is certainly the least known for going cheesecake on you. However, that isn’t to say Easley can’t do a lovely lady, or hasn’t gotten a few of them in fantasy works over the years.
Unlike Elmore, who readily went to live models once leaving TSR, or Caldwell who seemingly always had a live model to work with, Easley has never ceased to use imagination when doing the ladies of fantasy. There was a story once that Todd Lockwood told me concerning his first days in the TSR pit of the late 1990s. He was ecstatic to get to make art with Jeff right there in the same room, and they were given a sea-based project and Jeff was to do a painting with a shark. Todd, being ever curious, watched Jeff, sans reference, start painting away, and to Todd’s eye, the shark wasn’t anatomically correct so he found an image of a shark, printed it out, and took it to Jeff’s table and gave it to him for an assist. Jeff took the image, looked it over, said thank you, and then went right back to painting without changing anything on the shark. Classic Easley! Jeff does what he does, and guess what, you get an Easley, sometimes better, sometimes worse, but always true to the artist’s vision.
So, when it comes to Easley’s girl, she’s evidently been in Jeff’s mind since the 70s, because she always seems to come from that era. Be she blonde or brunette, she’s of two styles, groovy feathered hair or long straight tresses. She’s typically curvy, with an hourglass figure, ample breasts, and one of two rather distinct facial structures, the hard jawed tomboy or the pointy chinned doll mouth. Whatever the case, they are certainly throwbacks to a time when ELO ruled the dance floors and made for TV science fiction movies were based around the acting talents of Jan Michael Vincent.
One minor correction — I was at TSR from 1984 – 1989 and Larry Elmore was using live models (mostly his wife and daughter) back then, while he was still at TSR.