Cutening up an icon

(Original blog post March 1, 2011 – 854 views)

One of my clients came in the other day and wanted a tattoo of the classic “Gee I wish I were a man — I’d join the Navy” girl from the old WWI recruiting poster. She wanted the girl a little more pinup-y, though, while still retaining the Navy imagery, which was important to her, as well as that early 20th century feel.

So with all due respect to the illustrator Howard Chandler Christy and his iconic image created in 1917, we decided to cuten her up a little bit. Can you note all the changes I made to the artwork?


Making her bustier and nipping in her waist was an obvious first step. My client also wanted a little more noticeably curly hair. I enlarged her eyes and gave her some eyelash shape, redid her nose to give it a little upward tip, and gave her a bigger, more glamourous smile. All classic tricks learned from studying Gil Elvgren.


Pretty happy with the results. As a tattoo artist, it’s important to be versatile. Although I like to draw my cartoony girls, I also love the challenge of working outside my favored style, and it’s rewarding when it works out.