Louise Brooks is an artist who has recently joined Digital Pinup Magazine as a writer. Look out for her articles and read on to find out a bit more about DPM’s latest recruit.
How long have you been doing pinup and how did you get started?
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. Once I reached high school I realized that I loved drawing the female form. I remember doing a Bridget Riley inspired pinup for one of my school exams, with crazy eye melting patterns and swirls incorporated into the model’s corset and backdrop. I was also fascinated by Burlesque. I love seeing women strong, and beautiful, and embracing everything they’ve been given. I even performed as a burlesque artist and bellydancer for a while! Pinup art seemed like a logical step for me, as it combined everything I loved about dance, performance, costumes, and the female form.
How did you develop your style?
I’m going to have to admit it – I’m a massive Disney freak. Like, the biggest. I also love cartoons. I love everything about them, the colours, the stories, the animation. I spent hours of my childhood drawing Disney characters and it just seemed to blend in to my work. I also spent a lot of time studying the human face and body. Anatomy is so important when it comes to drawing the human form. I am still learning and still developing, so I’m sure my style will change again in time.
What is your typical process/workflow?
I like to sketch – A LOT. I spend a lot of time sketching and sketching until I find something I like. I then like to take that sketch to photoshop and begin the outline and colouring. I don’t like sketching on the tablet, and so I really like that blend between traditional and digital art. On my Instagram I like to keep that blend so you can see the paper and other sketches I’ve created around the finished piece.
Who has been your biggest creative influence?
I think in terms of following the path I have – I have to say Pleasant Gehman (AKA, Princess Farhana.) I was lucky enough to learn bellydance and burlesque with her and am lucky enough to count her as a friend. She is an incredible writer, bellydancer, and burlesque performer – having performed as part of the Velvet Hammer in the states. I owe a lot to her, and I think I like to inject a bit of Pleasant in to every pinup I draw.
Who is your fav artists at the moment?
That one is a tricky one! I really enjoy Paris Christou’s work – and he has inspired a lot of my drawings as he was the first person that I saw who took cartoon pinups to another level. I also love Gil Elvgren, he was the first pinup artist I ever saw, and it really impacted my view on pinups as an art form. I also really enjoy work done by David Downton – I feel like his paintings really capture the essence of a person – and I wish I could be that loose and free with watercolours! It’s something I really have to work on.
How do you overcome those times when the creative spirit has left the building?
I do something else! I either watch a film, walk my dog, try to play the ukulele, dance… Anything but draw. I often find that in doing one of these things, some flash of inspiration will come right in the middle, and then I can’t wait to get back to my sketchbook. Or, another thing I sometimes do is sit and do gesture drawings. Quick minute to 2 minute poses and try and capture as much as I can. Once I’ve gotten warmed up, it usually leads on to something exciting!
What do you do when you are not painting? What is a day in the life of Louise Brooks like?
So I have my day job, and I’m also working on my Art History and French Degree. I’m really enjoying doing the degree as it’s giving me a new outlook on art and how we view certain works. I also walk my dog a lot! She’s an Irish Setter and so is pretty mad, and requires lots of love and fuss!
Most inspirational food, drink, other? What has to be on the desk at all times for you to get into the flow?
Diet Coke or Coke Zero. I’m an addict. I don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t do drugs, but coca-cola… Man, is that my one vice. I don’t tend to eat much when I’m working – I’m too scared to get crumbs on my stuff! I do have to have music though when drawing or writing. I can’t be in silence. I like just whacking a playlist on Spotify. At the moment, my favourite playlist to listen to is their “Deep Focus” playlist – it features artists like Tracey Chattaway, Olafur Arnolds, and Helios. Really mellow and gets me in the zone!
What does the future hold for you? What are you working on next?
Well – writing for Digital Pinup Magazine for one! I’m hoping once I’ve developed my art further that I will open my own website, but for now, it’s just honing my craft, networking, and continuing to fall in love with the diversity and incredible talent that’s around at the moment.
What words of advice would you give to someone just starting out as an artist/pinup artist?
Surround yourself with people who are better than you. Seriously. You will not learn or get better if you stay a big fish in small pond. And as soon as you become on par with them, find better people. Get out there. And don’t be afraid to suck. You are going to. Everyone does when they first start out on their painting journey, but you will get so much better. I believe in you – make sure you believe in you too!
You can follow her work at: www.instagram.com/louiseannebrooks