Take a classic approach to pin-up
Fiona Stephenson shows you how to create vintage-looking pin-up art using traditional oil-on-canvas painting techniques
Working in oil can be tricky. However, the flexibility you have working into wet paint and the resulting vibrant colours outweigh any problems.
I taught myself to oil paint by copying traditional pin-up artists from the 1950s, so my methods may not be correct but the end result will look reasonably authentic. The mannequin is useful for getting the clothing to look right, establishing where the creases are, where the light falls and so on. Your painting will be more convincing if you give these details some time.
Pin-up is light-hearted, not cynical, so bear this in mind when deciding on a pose. A classic pin-up pose typically has delicately arranged hands and demurely positioned legs – it shouldn’t look sleazy.
I’m always eager to get painting, so I often rush the preparation. This has its pitfalls: here, as you’ll see in the workshop when a last-minute decision to include a ball of wool puts me under pressure, especially after the red takes days to dry. The more decisions you make early in the sketching process, the less you’ll need to alter later and the more time you’ll save.
My studio maximises the light. It’s crucial when painting skin tones for pinups to have natural light rather than a daylight bulb. It’s disappointing when you spend hours painting what you think is a creamy skin tone, only to discover the next day your colours look cold. The final thing I do is take my painting to a professional photographer who specialises in 2D artwork, which gives me a highresolution image to pass on to my clients.