Although essentially a re-formatting of previously released books, those unfamiliar with Dian Hanson’s History of Pin-Up Magazines are well served by this new edition that collects all three volumes and presents them with a flair we now come to expect from publishers TASCHEN. My initial interest in this series were the countless examples of classic pin-up art from well-known illustrators such as Enoch Bolles, but there’s also plenty here for fans of lowbrow, pulp publishing. The narrative is always entertaining and offers insight into the birth of pin-ups, the predictable conservative outrage and the bizarre if not comical health advice from so-called authority figures designed to curb man’s desires – advice to the effect that too much masturbation robs a man of his vital ‘essence’ (which comes in limited supply from birth) and will result in castrating and feminising effects! Be warned!
Any poking fun at such figures and their rather sweaty obsession with our private lives is fine by me, and Dian puts each eager censor in their proper context as new magazines push the boundaries a little further and figure out ways by bypass the censorship laws – such as with the ‘art’ or ‘artist study’ brand of nude magazines. Looking over the 3 volumes it becomes clear the genre peaked with Hugh Hefner’s Playboy, which offered a sophisticated take on mens magazines designed to cater for a more liberal, liberated and forward thinking reader. Hard-hitting articles, impressive illustration and contemporary fiction from writers such as Ray Bradbury all blended to give us that deserved but clichéd ‘I read it for the articles dear’ phrase, and spawned its own wave of imitators such as Penthouse and Men Only.
These books offer a fascinating time capsule of the trends, politics and consumer appetites before the internet made pretty much anything you can imagine freely available. The ever-desperate and attention seeking online antics of today’s would-be celebrities make these vintage magazines appear tame in comparison, and suggest that maybe now as the mass-consumer has literally seen everything, publishers should be seeking intellectual goals as per Hefner’s original intentions with Playboy, rather than a crass exhibitionism that’s become oh so boring.
Besides the obvious eye-candy, this is a series of books that provided a thought-provoking look back at the history of pin-up magazines, with plenty of appeal for classic illustration fans and pop culture aficionados alike. Recommended.
Dian Hanson’s History of Pin-Up Magazines
Hardback 816 pages over 3 Volumes
15.2 x 20.3 x 22.9 cm
As 2013 comes to a close and we all look forward to a well-earned break (and time spent with a good book) i’ve taken a look back at this year’s book reviews and compiled the Wing’s Art Top 10 Books of 2013 - a list made up of classic animation, vintage travel labels, comic book […]
A brief glimpse around the Wing’s Art website reveals that i’m more than a little enamoured by Art Deco design. From its architecture, to furniture and jewelry, few other artistic movements have had such a lasting impact on the creative industries and continue to inspire today. Books on the subject are plentiful, and along with some […]
I recently had the pleasure of designing a new logo for the London-based, vintage make-up and hair styling specialists Deco Dolls - a project that allowed me indulge in my two existing interests of Art Deco style and classic Hollywood glamour. Through a distillation of reference and inspiration from sources such as Harper’s Bazaar magazines, the paintings of J.C. […]
I count myself among a strange breed of pale thirtysomethings – over exposed to TV, horror films, video games and all those other bad things supposed to rot our brains – but specifically amazing film poster art. Born of the home video generation, with daily life coloured by films such as Blade Runner, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, […]
While living and working in a remote part of the Somerset countryside has its advantages, suitable venus to acquire that all important art training via life-drawing are few and far between. Rian Hughes rubs this in with his new book, Soho Dives, Soho Divas: Rian Hughes Sketches London’s Burlesque Artistes, a collection of sketches and more […]
Through his many examples of beautiful vintage movie posters, film historian and collector Ira M. Resnick reveals the history of Hollywood and the leading men and screen goddesses of cinema’s golden-age. From the biographies of silent-era stars such as Louise Brooks and Gloria Swanson, to the personal travel tales as a poster collector, his affection […]
When it comes to memorable characters in horror films, few are as heavily referenced and as recognisable as The Bride of Frankenstein. Victim (like the original monster himself) in James Wale’s classic Universal horror, her mixture of hollywood starlet looks, lightning streaked hair and macabre medical bandages make for one of the strongest images in cinema, […]
Irresistable eye-candy for vintage illustration fans. Lifestyle Illustration of the 50s by Ryan Hughes is the long-awaited follow-up to his equally superb collection of vintage magazine illustration of the 1960s. Featuring work from acclaimed artists such as Coby Whtimore, Al Parker, Lynn Buckham and Ernest Chiriaka, this new collection offers more of the same, which is […]
Rudolph Belarski (1900-1983) was an American paperback cover artist whose action-packed or pin-up laden paintings sold countless books and magazines during the 1930s and 1960s. While predominantly of pulp fiction, detective or war stories in subject matter, he is also well-known for a series of paintings dedicated to the hospitalised servicemen in London and New […]
Credited as inspiration behind my own fashion portraits, René Gruau (4 February 1909 – 31 March 2004) was an Italian fashion illustrator who’s stylised and elegant work for high-profile clients such as Christian Dior, Vogue, Schiaparelli and Givenchy became synonymous with fashion illustration and has continued to inspire generations after him – perhaps none more so than in the […]
In a departure from my usual illustration style i’ve recently developed these 12 portraits celebrating some of history’s classic female icons. Ranging from the television comedian Lucille Ball (I Love Lucy) to Hollywood Goddesses such as Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe and Greta Garbo, these fashion illustrations represent some of the most beautiful and best known […]
I was thrilled to have been invited to contribute to the Mail Me Art project for 2013 and after much procrastinating popped my C5 effort in the post yesterday. I eventually decided on a fashion portrait inked on parcel paper with black and yellow acrylics with white gouache for the hair. A very loose, sketchy […]
Robert McGinnis (1926) is an American illustrator best known for his paperback book covers for crime and romance stories written by authors such as Donald Westlake (aka Richard Stark of the excellent Parker books) and the Carter Brown Series. He’s estimated to have illustrated over an amazing 1200 covers and is still working today on […]
The 1980s was a fertile time for fantasy movies, delivering classics such as The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Willow and Ridley Scott’s excellent Legend in 1985. A film with a much darker edge than your average family fare thanks to Ridley Scott‘s gothic fairy-tale visuals, superb character design (and performance from Tim Curry as The Lord […]
Robert Maguire (Aug 3rd 1921 – Feb 26th 2005) was an American illustrator synonymous with the world of pulp fiction producing over 600 covers for paperbacks and magazines during a prolific career spanning the 1950s – 1980s. Only a few of his contemporaries (artist’s such as Charles Copeland and Rudy Nappi) could match his ability […]
In the mood for some trashy pulp pop? Try The Midnight Caller. In a new piece for my portfolio, i’m entering the world of pulp fiction with a cover illustration for The Midnight Caller. A story in the tradition of the classic pulp paperbacks of the 1940s and 50s, full of sex, murder, intrigue and now sporting […]
Illustration Friday’s theme of Whiskers led me down the path of Catwoman, and specifically Michelle Pfeiffer’s version of Catwoman from Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. After all the different Batman movies including Christopher Nolan’s excellent trilogy, Batman Returns remains my favourite (I could even say that Michael Keaton is my prefered Batman) with its festively dark atmosphere, […]
A large range of design, illustration and art prints are now available from my online store over at Society 6. Decorate that special space above your desk or bookshelf with posters, framed prints, canvases and cards. You’ll also find iphone skins, tote bags and even t-shirts available in all shapes and sizes featuring my illustration work, […]
Richard Amsel (Dec 1947 – Nov 1985) was an American illustrator and designer particularly well-known for his work during the 1970s and 80s including the first 2 Indiana Jones films, The Dark Crystal and Chinatown. He can easily be counted among the great poster artists such as Drew Struzan and Bob Peak, and his work […]
Illustration Friday’s theme of ‘Tree‘ offered the perfect reason to use John McTiernan’s classic Predator as the next Comic Book Movie. If there’s one film that features a lot of trees this is it! Still up there as one of the most enjoyable and quotable action movies ever made. I’m now taking requests for upcoming […]
After what feels like a painfully long wait for a definitive career retrospective on one of America’s best known illustrators, The Art of Bob Peak is finally here and this heavy-weight coffee table book packs it’s near 400 pages full of everything us devoted fans could possibly ask for. Bob Peak is recognised first and foremost […]
Regular readers of this blog will already know that i’m more than just your average fan of pin-up and comic book artist Dave Stevens. I’ve already featured the excellent biography Brush With Passion and The Complete Sketchbook & Studies on this very website, and he’s also been part of my Artist Spotlight feature. My hunt […]
Al Parker (1908-1985) was a hugely popular American illustrator, often referred to as the ‘Dean of Illustrators’. His work appeared in all the major lifestyle magazines of 1930′s -1960′s including, Collier’s, Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, Saturday Evening Post, Sports Illustrated and Vogue. His colourful and lighthearted paintings helped to define the ‘look’ of lifestyle illustration of […]
Friday nights as a youngster for me was all about classic horror. The BBC, for a short but memorable period used to show a brilliant selection of Hammer Horror and Roger Corman movies every Friday night at 10pm and I absolutely lapped it up. Many evenings were spent in company of Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing […]
A Naked Gun Poster illustration from the files of Police Squad! Leslie Nielsen was surely one of the funniest men to have ever lived, and the Frank Drebin character from The Naked Gun movies was a perfect example of his brilliantly deadpan brand of humor. An absolute classic of the Zucker/Abrahams 80′s comedies and an easy […]
The poster I illustrated for The Good the Bad and the Ugly as part of the Ritzy Cinema’s 100 years celebration has proven to be one of my most popular images. You can see the full, finished poster here and below you can watch a slide-show progression of the Clint Eastwood section of the poster, […]
Released this month by Abrams ComicArts in conjunction with The Oakland Museum exhibition of the same name is The Art of Daniel Clowes; Modern Cartoonist. A career retrospective on the artist, writer and creator of some of the worlds best-loved comic books including The Death Ray and Ghost World. The latter of which, under the […]
After losing the entire crew of the Nostromo on LV-426, nobody was going to convince Ellen Ripley to return. Corporate lackey, Carter Burke manipulates her into facing the Alien for a second time in this scene from James Cameron’s 80′s classic, Aliens. This week’s Illustration Friday submission.
The following is a copy of the interview with me that featured on the excellent website Poster Collective. 8 Questions is our feature where we ask designers, artists and illustrators the same 8 getting-to-know-you questions (sort of like the web series 7 Minutes In Heaven but without the closet and awkward kissing). We’ve chosen questions we think […]
I’ve been trying to get my hands on one of IDW’s coveted Artist’s Editions ever since the series started with The Rocketeer by Dave Stevens (one of my all-time favourite comic book artists) and I’m still looking for a copy. But given the highly limited print run of only 300 copies, it demands a hefty […]
This week’s Illustration Friday theme of Forward comes courtesy of Rocky Balboa.
Army of Darkness gets a comic book style Alternative Movie Poster Treatment. Another new movie poster illustration to start the week based on my personal favorite of the EVIL DEAD Trilogy, Army of Darkness. Starring Bruce Campbell on top form in a pitch perfect horror/comedy, my poster illustration adds 1980′s inspired fantasy/adventure styling to the mix. See […]
John Huston’s Classic Key Largo gets an Alternative Movie Poster Illustration by Christopher King. I’m a big fan of John Huston’s noir classic Key Largo so it was an easy choice to start the new year with this poster illustration. This was inked by hand with brush and pen, mostly as separate parts and brought together […]
The nights are getting cold and long. The holidays are just around the corner. What better than to cosy up with a selection of the best illustration books around. Here’s my latest list of recommendations to tide you over the winter season. “Andrew Loomis’ books were a formative influence on my life and art. My […]
It’s back! It’s Alive! It’s the return of the Halloween competition!!! The rules are simple… Name all five of the classic horror movies as drawn here by myself and you could win a free print of your choice from my Society 6 shop!* Place your entry in the comments section below. Only one entry per […]
As a follow up to my The Good, The Bad And The Ugly poster, I bring you… 12 Angry men. The two versions on show here (one portrait and one landscape) were hand drawn with pen, brush and ink, scanned into Photoshop and assembled to fit my pre-planned layouts. Extra texture elements are added last […]
I couldn’t help but be drawn to the Ritzy 100 poster competition, celebrating 100 years of the Brixton based cinema. A perfect opportunity to try my hand at a poster for the spaghetti western classic, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. Here are some shots of the original pencil, pen and ink work… Hope […]
I love working on gig posters. I don’t get to do them often enough. Luckily for me Pat West of the blues band, The Steady Rollin’ Revue called me up earlier this week needing a little something for their upcoming show at The Gipsy Hill Tavern, in London on 22nd April. Here’s a quick […]
The Art of Brian Bolland – By Brian Bolland – Image/Desperado Publishing The UK has a well-known crop of big league comic writers and artists, and sitting along side Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore you will find the highly regarded (and owner of a most excellent moustache) Brian Bolland. This comprehensive book, narrated by the man […]