This client came to me looking for a custom designed tattoo of a pin-up girl who embodied his wife; a red headed nurse. He also requested a custom frame by Ryan’s Sheet Metal Designs, a local craftsman in Central Texas known for his custom beadrolled interiors and metal art.
This piece of custom art is now a part of this client’s private collection, however, the art work has been entered into the upcoming Gnarly Magazine Online Pin-up Art Contest! This pin-up will compete with art from all over the world and I will need your votes to advance through the rounds! See the rules and entries HERE.
I will be sending newsletters and posting social media updates to notify you guys when my art is up for voting. These art contests are not only a way for me to spread the word about my own art and business, but I enjoy participating in them to support Gnarly Magazine and find new artists whose work I admire.
To sketch the pin-up girl figure I found inspiration in a couple of vintage paintings by pin-up painting master, Gil Elvgren. To capture her face, I pulled inspiration from the Hollywood movie star head shots of Geena Davis from the movie “A League of Their Own”. I combined the images into one drawing to create the pinup look and drew her nurse outfit from my imagination. The client also requested the caduceus logo of the snake, wings, and staff to be incorporated into design, so I challenged myself to paint it to mimic the look of chrome.
While the client and I worked on the line drawing, I had placed an order with Travis from Overspray Customs (a local, custom paint and body shop in Central Texas) to cut and paint the steel panel background in a metallic baby blue. I felt like this custom color would register well with the “medical inspired” art work and would compliment the shiny aluminum frame that was to be made.
Once the pencil drawing was approved by the client, I transferred the drawing onto the freshly painted blue panel with Saral paper. This special paper allows me to trace the pencil design from paper to metal with white or red chalk. I painted the entire pin-up and all her details in bright, glossy automotive enamels.
She was then sent off to have a custom frame made in polished aluminum with copper rivets, designed and built by Ryan with Ryan’s Sheetmetal Designs in Temple, Texas.
As most of my audience knows, I love traditional and classy pin-up, so when I receive the opportunity to work with client to create their own custom pin-up girl painting, I’m always excited.
Aviation nose art heavily influences my work when drawing or painting the female figure. These are the paintings you may see on vintage planes from the WWII era of women, cartoon figures, and the plane’s nick name. Although these paintings began for practical reasons of identifying friendly units, the practice of painting nose art evolved over time to express individuality, evoke memories of home and give hope to the soldiers. The art became a sense of psychological protection against the stresses of war and the probability of death. I love the way that nose art pin-up depicts a women’s figure in a playful and illustrative way by using blended shading with harsh, contrasting outlines. I like to mix that style of painting with traditional pin-up poses, as seen in vintage advertisements, to create modern day pin-ups that keep that iconic classy vibe.
The frame itself plays into the idea of aviation nose art as well. With its’ copper rivets and polished metal curves, the mirrored aluminum sets off the subtle sparkles in the blue background and really highlights the pin-up painting. It was a joy to work with this client and I look forward to seeing this pin-up in tattoo form in the near future!
The Tools I Used to Make This Art : Click the photos to purchase!