Art Book: Gil Elvgren – The Complete Pinups

The Treasure Hunt

Last Friday my boyfriend took me to the movies, fortunately (And I do mean fortunately!) the tickets were sold out, so we decided to go for a later show. In order to pass the time while we were waiting, we went to browse in a Barnes and Noble Bookstore that was right next to the movie theater. I am always a fan of browsing bookstores, I just love books. Having things digitally is great and all but there is something to be said for be able to actually feel the item.

Barnes and Noble had a sale that day and much to my delight I left the store with two great books; A Cyclopedia Anatomicae for Artists, which features anatomical reference for a large variety of animals and humans and far more interestingly: Gil Elvgren – The Complete Pinups by Charles G. Martinette and Louis K. Meisel.

The Pin Up Book

The book is packed with beautiful pages with reprints of all the pin up paintings Gil Elvgren did, there are even a couple shown by other talented pinup artists as well. I have a fondness for the pinup art. I love the happy feel and playful innocence of the subjects. Unlike our modern time provocative female ideal, I find the pinups to be very tasteful and alluring. I also really enjoy the high chroma colours used in the paintings.

Unfortunately there are only few of his photo references shown in the book, but a while back I came across a link which hosts a selection of his pin up paintings with their reference photos.

Gil Elvgren with Painting
The use of photo reference

The use of photo reference is always a hot topic of discussion among artists. It can both save and ruin your drawing/painting. I have even heard some consider it cheating while others swear by it. Personally I am a fan as long as the artists isn’t a slave to the reference. It’s important that the artist still practices his/her drawing skills outside the use of reference images. Great american illustrators such as Norman Rockwell and Gil Elvgren are excellent examples of a good healthy use of photo reference.

pin up gil elvgren photo reference painting

Gil Elvgren: Photo reference and painting.

pin up gil elvgren photo reference painting

Gil Elvgren: Photo reference and painting.

pin up gil elvgren photo reference painting

Gil Elvgren: Photo reference and painting.

See the full collection of Gil Elvgren’s paintings and photo references here: [CLICK HERE]

In conclusion if you are a fan of pin up art I can definitely recommend Gil Elvgren – The Complete Pinups. It is written by Charles G. Martinette and Louis K. Meisel, the book 271 pages, the ISBN is 978-3836503051, it’s published by Taschen and is available on Amazon here:

Pinups – Before and After
Gil Elvgren Official Site
Wikipedia on Gil Elvgren
Amazon – Buy the Gil Elvgren Book

Kiri Østergaard Leonard

Award winning Illustrator, Artist and Creator Kiri Østergaard Leonard happily shares her experiences making a living as an artist and pursuing a creative life. She grew up in a tiny village in Denmark, left her country behind to pursue art in the bustle of New York City and now resides in the delightful weirdness of Austin, Texas surrounded by sunshine and felines.

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