Tagged: pin-ups
  1. 24

    Sep 2015

    Dan DeCarlo (1916 – 2001)

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    Daniel S. DeCarlo was an illustrator and comics artist best know for his work with Archie Comics. DeCarlo grew up in a poor neighbourhood of New Rochelle, New York but dreamed of becoming an illustrator like his hero, Norman Rockwell. Young DeCarlo attended the New Rochelle High School and upon graduating, he actually phoned Rockwell to discuss his university options. Inevitably, DeCarlo enrolled in the same university that Rockwell’s once attended, the Manhattan’s Art Students League.

    After three years at art school, in 1941 DeCarlo was drafted for World War II. Stationed in Great Britain, he originally served in the 8th Air Force worked. However, once his artistic skills were quickly noticed and he was assigned to the drafting department. There he designed posters and advertisements, as well as drawing the weekly military comic strip. DeCarlo also painted cartoon mascots on the nosecones of fighter planes. Whilst overseas he went on a blind date with a Belgium girl called Josette Dumont. She would later become his wife and a source of inspiration.

    After the war, the couple returned to New York. Timely Comics had advertised a call for artist. Responding to the advertisement, DeCarlo was invited to meet Timely’s editor-in-chief, Stan Lee. Lee hired DeCarlo and assigned him to the teen-humour series Jeanie. Common for the time, DeCarlo’s work on Jeanie was uncredited. Under the employment of Timely he got his big break when he was reassigned to Millie the Model. Starting in 1949, DeCarlo wrote and drew the romantic (mis)adventures of Millie Collins for a whole decade. Transforming a poorly performing title into a huge success.

    During the comic industry’s falter mid-1950’s, DeCarlo was forced to give up his full-time position at Timely and become freelance. This did, however, present some good opportunities. He drew for magazines The Saturday Evening Post and Argosy. He continued working for Timely on a freelance basis and in 1960 partnered with Stan Lee again to create a newspaper comic strip, “Willie Lumpkin the Mailman”. Interesting side note, Willie Lumpkin actually had a cameo in the 2005 Fantastic Four movie, played by none other than, Stan Lee.

    During this time DeCarlo came up with a character, Josie, of Josie and the Pussycats fame. He was inspired by his wife’s cat costume for a fancy dress party, and subsequently naming the character after her. However, after approaching and being rejected by a couple of publishers he decided to shelve the idea.

    In 1951 DeCarlo starting freelancing for the company for which his name would become synonymous with, Archie Comics. His first published work was issue 4 of Betty and Veronica. He made a conscious effort to keep the characters up to date with fashions, he added the ponytail on Betty and was the artist who gave the Archie girls their simple but distinctive lip line. By the mid-1960s DeCarlo was drawing the covers of all Archie titles, his work became the Archie house style. In 1969 Betty and Veronica had become Archie’s best-selling title. DeCarlo introduced many new characters to the Archie universe. Cheryl Blossom was first featured in Betty and Veronica #320. He also created Sabrina the Teenage Witch along with writer George Gladir.

    You remember that idea he shelved? Well, when Archie Comics heard about it, they loved it. In December 1, 1962 Josie was introduced inside the pages of Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals #23. Quickly publishing her own title, She’s Josie, in February 1, 1963. The comic went through a few names changes until finally in December 1969 arriving at the one we are all most familiar with, Josie and the Pussycats. The original trio actually consisted of Josie, Melody and Pepper. Valerie Brown was only introduced at the same time as the name change, replacing Pepper. The name change also saw Josie’s boyfriend, Albert, replaced with dreamy Alan M.

    Even with all of the success and joy that Josie gave to DeCarlo, it is sad to know that it was also the catalyst to him leaving Archie Comics. In 2001 at the announcement of the Josie and the Pussycats film, DeCarlo took Archie Comics to court for greater credit and compensation of his creations. There was a lot of back and forth, with Archie Comics claiming they had in fact commissioned DeCarlo to create Josie, making her “work for hire”. Which, if true, would strip DeCarlo of any creator rights to her under copyright law. The Judge ruled in favour of Archie Comics saying DeCarlo had waited too long to assert any rights to Josie, but also dismissed Archie’s counterclaims. So after 43 years, Dan DeCarlo and Archie Comics parted ways.

    It should come as no surprise that DeCarlo was still in high demand. He continued working for publishers including DC on a Harley Quinn title and Bongo Comics for The Simpson’s comic. Just a year before the court case, DeCarlo won the National Cartoonists Society Award for Best Comic Book for Betty & Veronica. That award along with a Shazam Award nomination stand as recognition to his outstanding contribution to the comic industry and highlights the tireless work he put into it.

    You can find Dan DeCarlo’s work across the web, a good source is Comic Art Fan, but I strongly recommend picking up one of his pin-up books Innocence & Seduction Art of Dan DeCarlo and Pin-Up Art of Dan DeCarlo.

    As a little bonus treat for you all, check out artist Rich Koslowski inking Dan DeCarlo pencils.

  2. 21

    Sep 2015

    Manga Mondays ~ Ilya Kuvshinov

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    Ilya Kuvshinov is an illustrator and storyboard artist originally from Moscow, Russia, but whom currently resides in Yokohama, Japan. Much of his personal work consists of pin-ups influenced by video games and film. Beautifully and sensitively rendered, Kuvshinov is able to paint alluring female characters without the need to sexualise them (for the most part).

    His artwork has amassed a large and loyal fanbase which is evident when looking at his Patreon page. Currently, 827 patrons are supporting Kuvshinov with a healthy $3,821.36 per week. Allow me to pick up my jaw before I continue.

    Kuvshinov also posts process videos and animations to his YouTube and Vimeo channels. A few months ago he posted a wonderful fan letter in the form of an animation for his favorite manga Sing Yesterday for Me, which you can watch here.

    Find more of Ilya Kuvshinov’s work on his DeviantArt page and keep up-to-date with him on Facebook.

  3. 27

    Nov 2013

    Earl Oliver Hurst (1895 – 1958)

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    An inductee of the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame, Earl Oliver Hurst’s work is unmistakeable. Born in 1898 New York, Mr. Hurst’s career was exceptionally successful, of course, not without a difficulty. He chopped and changed his path and titles quite a few times but worked with a host of clients along the way. Some of his well known magazine work includes Collier’s, American Weekly, True, Pictorial Review, McCalls, and Home Magazine. Also doing numerous advertising illustrations for the likes of Nabisco, Royal Crown Cola, General Electric, Sanka, Jantzen Swim Suits, and Swan Soap.

    A decidedly wonderful book of his work was published by Hermes Press in 2005 called, The Art Of Earl Oliver Hurst. If you are luck enough to find it at a reasonable price, it’s definitely worth picking up.

    There is a great article on Hurst and his working habits on the Society of Illustrators website. For now I will leave you with this interesting quote:

    “You will never find a deliberately drawn line in a Hurst illustration: only a swift-moving brush will produce that sense of alive-ness which is the essential characteristic of his work”

    — Ernest Watson, 1942

  4. 8

    Nov 2013

    Book Review ~ Sirens: The Pin-Up Art of David Wright

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    Editor’s Note:

    David Wright was one of the leading pin-up artists of the 20th Century. Unlike his American contemporaries Alberto Vargas and Gil Elvgren, the British-born Wright brought a sense of realism to his willowy beauties, who appeared in publications on both sides of the Atlantic, especially during WW2. Now, finally, access has been granted to his archive, and this is the first ever collection of his work.

    The Book Review:

    Sirens opens up with a enjoyable forward from David’s son, Patrick. Speaking of the many hours his father spent in his studio, Patrick confesses to never really knowing what he did all day. From the introduction onwards, the author give a short history of David Wright, his career and the impact his work had at the time. Starting from page 18, the majority of the book is beautiful large full-page pin-ups.

    Looking through such a large body of work you start to see what sets David Wright’s work from some of his contemporaries. Many of his pieces do not have that “gloss” that a lot of the American pin-ups had. They feel a little sketchier, a little moodier. His women have all the glamour of the 1950s, but are presented with more depth. Most of his women seem withdrawn in their thoughts, many without a hint of a smile. A far cry from the happy-go-lucky pin-ups we are used to seeing. Past simply relying on scantily clad models to create eroticism, David Wright’s women are not just sat in their bedrooms smiling for the camera, their pensive demeanour is inviting you in. To this regard, Wright’s work remind me more of the sophisticated women of Robert McGinnis, than the idealized women of Gil Elvgren.

    If I were to have a gripe about the book, it would be that the image quality of the pictures vary. The majority of them are perfect, however, when you stumble on a few slightly lower quality ones it somewhat interrupts your experience. The other thing, which I know is just my personal taste, it would have been nice to see some more roughs or sketches.

    With that said, David Wright’s women truly are beautiful and Sirens is a decidedly bonny body of his work, with enough variety to keep you engaged, and in my case, wanting more. Sirens: The Pin-Up Art of David Wright is available to buy right now, and if you are a fan of Carol Day, pulp or pin-up this is definitely one for you.

    Sirens: The Pin-Up Art of David Wright
    Titan Books
    Hardback with dust jacket
    192 pages
    310 x 228mm
  5. 5

    Oct 2013

    Daniela Uhlig

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    German Illustrator and digital painter Daniela Uhlig has a rather eclectic style. Daniela has a fantastic ability to render the female form and create dazzling pin ups and gorgeous faces. Based in Berlin  she currently works full time however she also works as a freelancer in her spare time and still manages to find time to produce more personal work.

    Checkout her official website Or swing by to her blog to view more of her sketchbook work.

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