You have your style of art. I have mine.
That’s great. We don’t have to have the same style of art. We don’t even have to overlap.
However, I strongly believe that the artists who make it have a different mindset than the ones who don’t.
So I’ll be writing a lot of articles on artistic mindset. This is one of them.
Whereas I’m talking about my models, even if your art has nothing whatsoever to do with pinup painting, keep reading. This kind of mindset is what separates successful artists from hobbyists.
My art comes first
My art takes first priority. I don’t take any girl that will model for me. In fact, I may look through dozens of models before finding one I like.
I’m very particular when it comes to whom I choose as my models.
I’ve worked with a lot of models. First as a photographer. Then as a videographer. And now as an artist.
Yes, I was a cartoonist before an artist but I’ve always had hobbies and photography and music were my hobbies. (The videographer came from shooting and directing my own music videos).
So let’s hypothetically say you have a model. She’s excited to work for you.
However, she doesn’t fit what your art.
Sorry. You have to let her go and find a model who fits.
That’s all there is to it. You don’t use a screwdriver to hammer a nail. It’s the wrong tool for the wrong job.
Likewise, if this particular model doesn’t fit your art style, then she’s the wrong model.
So now that we’ve got that out of the way…
Let’s now get to the list.
She must be a muse
Muse is one of my favorite words. The dictionary has a really boring definition for a muse. It says a source of inspiration.
That’s it? Come on!
The Ancient Greeks believed there were 9 muses, who were all sisters. They were Goddesses and inspired artists, musicians, and poets.
The Romantics humanized the word “muse” and had individuals as their muses. My favorite historical muse was the Pre-Raphaelite muse Lizzie Siddal, who died of an opium overdose at the young age of 32. However before she died, she modeled for some of my all-time favorite paintings.
Melisa and Allie are my primary painting muses. They’re personal friends of the family. We’ve even vacationed together.
I could hire a million models but I doubt I’ll get the closeness that I have with them. Nothing against hired models of course. I really like the three (so far) I’ve used.
But your art style has to fit your personality. I’m a sensitive, caring person. Very empathetic. And my style requires at least a little bit of emotional intimacy for inspiration.
We also have to have some free flowing conversation going on while we’re working. I like interesting people. I like people with interesting stories. I like people who can communicate.
Once again, your art style has to fit your personality. You may not require this.
I prefer feminine women. I’m entitled to my taste and if someone’s offended by it, that’s their problem, not mine.
I truly believe femininity has power. A lot of power.
And that’s a good thing.
So does masculinity. Yeah, above I said I’m sensitive and caring. I’m also very masculine. Humans are complex creatures and we’re allowed to have a lot of traits, some of which fit outside the box.
But enough of that. Let’s get back to femininity.
Femininity has everything from warmth to charm to grace to intuition. Whereas I don’t really paint intuition, you’ll definitely see warmth, charm, and grace in the girls in my paintings.
The artist needs to capture more than just a picture. After all, if the artist is only capable of capturing a picture, then why not just take a picture? What’s the point of buying that artist’s painting?
Serious questions. These are things you should think about when you paint.
Are you just copying what you see? Or are you truly capturing it?
More than most other art styles, a pinup model actually has to do a little bit of acting.
She doesn’t just pose. She plays a role.
Pinups can be anything from a damsel in distress to a femme fatale. And everything in between.
You have an idea in your head for a painting. Your model has to be able to play that concept role.
For instance, this is Allie as Selene in Selene Gazes Upon Endymion. If you don’t know the backstory, here goes.
Selene is the Ancient Greek Goddess of the Moon. She’s actually a Titan.
Anyways, like any Greek God or Goddess, she’s had her share of lovers. Her favorite? Endymion, a beautiful shepherd boy who she just happened to gaze upon while sitting on the moon. She instantly fell in love with him and ended up having at least 50 beautiful daughters with him.
Now Allie’s job was to capture that. She not only had to look good, she had to do a little bit of acting. And my job as the artist is to not only come up with the concept but also to execute it. Both roles require work!
It almost goes without saying.
Maybe other pinup artists can work with an unattractive model for their pinups. I can’t.
I have to find her attractive or else it simply won’t work.
I don’t lie. I just don’t.
I paint what I see. And thus, I require a beautiful model to work with in order to get a beautiful painting.
And last, we have to get along
I’ve worked with a few models in the past that had the personalities of a goldfish. Or worse.
I had one with all these rules. She wanted me to sign some stupid list of rules she had before I worked with her. I never signed it. She still modeled for me. Apparently, she must have needed the money.
Well, funny thing happened.
At the time, I’ve already been working with Allie, Melisa, and Sophia. I had some reference photos of my models still out because I’m always working. Literally. Even on vacation, I bring a sketchbook and I’m sketching pretty much everything.
Anyways, she sees the pictures and has a panic attack on my bed.
I’m not a mind reader but I’m pretty sure she knew she didn’t measure up to my other models. Which is what set off her panic attack.
Needless to say, I never worked with her again. Also needless to say, I never wasted a drop of paint on her either.
Don’t come into my house and try to set your rules. Just don’t do that.
Before I meet a new model, I always give her a list of some of the models I’ve worked with. She’s free to check my references.
Am I great to work with? I can safely assume so. I’ve been working with Allie and Melisa since I switched from cartooning to art (it was actually Allie’s idea in the first place). I’ve worked with Sophia since 2019. Diana and Katie I’ve starting working with this decade.
You may not be a pinup artist. You may be a type of artist that’s entirely different.
You do however need to lay down the law.
What do you want? What do you require? What are you trying to accomplish with your artwork?
Feel free to lay your own groundwork for what you want out of your art and follow it.
Mine is pinup painting and I require those five things from my models. I’ll compromise none of them.