In Dissecting Elvgren Pt. 2 we looked at where and how artist Gil Elvgren edited reality to produce a much punchier illustration. Let us attempt to do the same in this, our first look at one of pinup's most celebrated icons, Bettie Page.
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A quick look at the source photo tells us the narrative : Lingerie-clad Bettie is leaning on a stool, staring down the camera with fierce eyebrows. Her mouth, its upper lip curled, is slightly ajar. Her belly is sucked in. Her pinky finger is extended. Her hands and the back of her thighs are contacting the stool, though she would appear not to be totally at rest on it.
-In our drawing, the problematic rug is removed, as it really serves no purpose here. It creates tangents with the foot, in addition to being a dull parallelogram.
-Tilts in body parts are exaggerated (ribcage, head, hips).
-Liberties are taken with Bettie's anatomy (an act her devout admirers would probably deem blasphemous), especially her breasts, which are used to create stronger overlaps that enhance dimension and break up the surrounding space.
-Her legs are splayed further, though the bend given to her right leg was probably not necessary, as her left is already bent, and some shape variation between the two helps in avoiding cloning. Even so, it's something worth playing around with. Anywhere there's a joint that isn't bearing significant weight, it may be adjusted to suit the artist's fancy.
-Her arm is adjusted for the sake of showing hyperextension and closer contact with the hip. It could have been left as-is, but again, these things are worth experimenting with.
-Pinch-in points from the lingerie are exaggerated, creating delightful pooches of fat.
-In the photo, Bettie is lit from multiple sources, producing crisscrossing ground shadows and some undesirable cast shadows. To simplify, we go with its strongest source, top-left. People are biased towards this lighting configuration, so it's a safe bet.
-Contrast is given mainly to Bettie's head, so that the lingerie, shoes and stool don't steal focus.
-Motion is added to her hair.
-Bettie's ear and earring are so obscured by hair and shadow in the photo that this detail can go away entirely and not be missed.