Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Hands Have it

Hands and feet, the troublesome book ends for many illustrators. They so vexed some artists that they went to extremes to hide them. The acclaimed pin-up artist, George Petty grew so weary with shodding feet that he resorted to binding them all in ballet demi pointe shoes, the most ridiculous example being his Rigid Tool girl series. The example I posted also has the hands obscured with baggy work gloves. Maybe he was tiring with them as well. Or perhaps he was just trying to redress the dress code, so to speak.

Not so with Bolles. The truth was that Bolles had an obsession about getting hands just right. I heard the story of how he once grew so frustrated with how a model model held her cigarette, that as soon as he got home he had his son-in-law pose so he could get it just right. Funny thing, not only was his son-in-law a non-smoker, he was a National champion bicyclist. No cigarette had ever touched his lips before his debut as a Film Fun model.

Bolles had his standard hand poses that he returned to over and over, just as he often relied on variations of the "L" pose described in the previous post. His two favorites were the standard raised pinky, and the "E" where the middle and ring finger rested together but the index and pinky were splayed apart. To me, this is Bolles' hidden signature and depending on its orientation looks a lot like the E or B he used to to initial covers back in the 1920s. Why Bolles lavished so much attention into is unknown, but clearly the effort added a lot to his compositions. So how about giving a hand to our favorite pin-up artist.

9 comments:

duriandave said...

Wonderful... they remind me of mudras.

Darla: Retro Ways said...

What an interesting and well put together post I learned so much! ♥

Pop9 said...

Yeahhh.

Alan Wrobel said...

Clap-clap!!!

Jack R said...

DD: Thanks for the link, I wasn't aware of the term. mudras before. From now on I'll be looking at Bolles hand poses differently.

Hi Darla! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. Your blog is a great mix of retro and your 'collection' of blogs is simply amazing.

Hi Pop9. Thanks for the shout out!

Jack R said...

Thanks for the clap, Alan ;)

Anonymous said...
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Gary Underwood said...

Enoch could really make the act of smoking sexy and glamorous. Now that was a selling job!!! Hats off to the master of fantasy fun women.

Jack R said...

I agree. It is curious how Bolles understood what the careful addition of a cigarette could add to the composition, especially given that he was a non-smoker.