Like a lot of my ideas, this series started off as a bit of silly word play. I was invited to set up an art event at a boutique called Ladybug Ladybug. I wanted to create something new for the occasion, so I set to thinking... Lady. Bug. Ladies. Bugs. Ladies as bugs. Eureka!
Vintage camp seemed the way to go with an idea like this, so I turned to 50's pinups for inspiration.
Then I started connecting the bugs I wanted to do (ladybug, bee, butterfly) to pop icons that seemed to match their characteristics. I wasn't setting out to do a caricature of each, but more to capture their spirit: sweet and shy Ladybug reminded me of Amelie.
Happy-go-lucky Bumble Bee was feminine thanks to a curvy butt and legs, so I thought of Betty Grable.
Butterfly needed to be the most glamorous of the bunch, so I drew inspiration from Marilyn Monroe.
For the most part, these ladies were more of a jumping-off point than a literal model, except for maybe Marilyn, who is just so darn perfect.
I sketched each one...
Painted a quick color study...
Blocked the shapes in with acrylics...
and finished each one off with a few select details.
I kept the paintings simple and graphic, and left the backgrounds white in the tradition of vintage pinup artists like George Petty.
People really seem to like this series, and I had a lot of fun doing it. In the future, I plan to try my hand at Billie Holliday as a blue butterfly, Audrey Hepburn as a black ant, and Mata Hari as a moth. Who knew bugs could turn out so cute?
If you'd like a LadyBug of your very own, check out my Etsy shop. I've also cropped each one for use as Facebook cover photos. Feel free to download them from my Facebook page.