The Pin-up Files

Gil Elvgren pin-up artist | gallery 7/9

1914-1980

The model was the all-important factor in making a painting strong


When Elvgren was once asked what feature of a model most interested him, he replied: "A gal with highly mobile facial features capable of a wide range of expressions is the real jewel. The face is the personality."

Gil Elvgren pinup artist - self protrait

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He preferred young models just starting their careers, because at that point they have a freshness and spontaneity that are often lost after they gain experience and poise. He valued models who were enthusiastic and interested in the project, and said that they were very hard to find. When asked about his techniques, he explained the distinctive "touches" he added to every painting how he built up the bust, lengthened the legs, pinched in the waist, gave the body warmer and more attractive curves, worked over the facial features and expression, added just a little more of a tip and tilt to the nose, made the mouth fuller and more sensuous and the eyes a bit larger. He ended by saying that he liked to create the feeling that, underneath all the surface charms, there was a delicious warmth of mischief behind the model's eyes.

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