To be brutally honest, the traditional depiction of a female elf is a stylized image of a human woman – perhaps a bit more lithe than a human but still shapely, an angel without wings. The major difference shown in paintings is long, pointed ears.
The artists on websites that feature elves are painting or using drawing programs to feature elves with fantastically long ears. They look like Roman shortswords. I’m thinking the women – and men – probably look forward to bedtime when they can sleep and wake up without neck aches.
That’s right … those mile-long ears would lead to horrendous neck aches.
Like human boys have their foreskins removed, I’d think elves would hold “ear rites” that would see the lengthy ears shortened somewhat. Like dragon skins used as armor, perhaps the cutoff end of the ears could be used as elven swords.
Now there are some cosmetic differences between elves and humans I’ve not mentioned. Some short stories and novels feature dark-skinned elves or drow elves. I’d prefer purple or orange skins. Now that would be stunning. Even better would be camouflage skin that would allow them to blend into forest terrain.
Elven hair color is so similar to human hair that I have an itch to call it hair on steroids. It’s golden, black or silver – and the major difference is that the color is much more brilliant than human hair. My thought: why not shades of green? Or blue?
Now I concede … the elves in my trilogy, Larenia’s Shadow, are traditional. I took the lazy route – golden skin and hair and a lithe figure.
If I could go back in time and redo the novels, I’d give the women more irregular traits. I can see it now – three breasts, three arms and six or seven fingers.
Now that would make for some intriguing bed romping for human men and elven women.