Even Fifties pin-ups got the airbrush treatment! Before-and-after images reveal how artists retouched classic bikini shots
06:56 GMT, 13 September 2012
A set of photographs which inspired one of the world's leading Fifties pin-up artists, reveal how women's bodies were being airbrushed long before Photoshop.
The saucy behind-the-scenes vintage shots were used by Gil Elvgren to create colorful artworks, which came to define what was sexy during the mid-20th century.
But as the finished pieces show, the U.S. painter used his artistic license to render the 'idealised' woman, slimming the models' frame, adding more makeup, removing clothes, and livening up their facial expressions.
Slimming techniques: Elvgren nips in this model's waist and limbs making her look considerably smaller
Blonde bombshell: Elvgren experimented with colour, and his works often feature women with rouged lips
While the photographic images were in black and white, Elvgren would transform the scenes into colourful illustrations, drawing the women with bright eyes and rouged lips.
His wife Janet was the subject of much of his pin-up art, and after altering her physical appearance she would look like a completely different woman.
As well as altering the models' proportions and colourings Elvgren, who was born in Minnesota, would also create imaginary backdrops and landscapes superimposing the women on top.
Spot the difference: Mr Elvgren gives this woman a mop of red hair and reveals a little more leg and breast
Perfect housewife The ideal 1950s woman proves she can make watering the garden look sexy
Will you be my valentine Elvgren got his models to strike a variety of saucy poses
Many of the sexy images, recently published on Retronaut.com, were created using oil paint on canvas and Elvgren went on to paint more than 500 paintings throughout his almost 40 year career.
He also produced the artwork for dozens of calendars published by Brown and Bigelow, illustrations for a host of magazines, including The Saturday Evening Post and Good Housekeeping and most notably an array of ads for Coca-Cola.
One of the most popular early pin-up girls was Betty Grable, whose poster was ubiquitous in the lockers of G.I.s during World War II.
Other pin-ups were artwork, often depicting idealized versions of what some thought a particularly beautiful or attractive woman should look like.
Now you see it, now you don't: Elvgren would regularly change the background and delete obsolete items
Change of scenery: Many of the pin-up illustrations feature imaginary backdrops
Flash of thigh: Elvgren decides to change this woman's pose to reveal a little more leg
Part of the pin-up girl's sex appeal was her ability to make everyday actions look provocative, even if that meant simply posing in a studio.
Notable contemporary pin-up artists include Elias Chatzoudis, Armando Huerta, and Chuck Bauman.
Another popular creative is Olivia De Berardinis who is most famous for her Pin-Up Art of Bettie Page and her pieces in the earlier editions of Playboy magazine.
In 1998 Elvgren's youngest son Drake co-authored a 200-page coffee table book titled Elvgren: His Life & Art, which includes hundreds of photos of Elvgren's work, including many of his Coca-Cola ads.
Feeling hot This lady is drawn by a fireplace as she toasts some marshmallows
Special delivery: This woman has fun doing some gift-wrapping while wearing stockings
In the driving seat: Elvgren went on to paint more than 500 paintings throughout his almost 40 year career