Inspiration from Twitter, Historical Photo Account Part 1

It seems I’m always on the search for art subjects lately. And since I can be somewhat creatively limited when it comes to drawing, the best resources have been people I actually know and famous people (athletes, musicians, etc). I can’t help it; I can draw a portrait of a real person, but ask me to create a character out of thin air? It’s probably not going to be that great. Anyway, I recently came across a cool Twitter account called “History Lovers Club” (@historylvrsclub). This account basically posts various photos from recent history, many of which seem to be somewhat rare.

History Lovers Club shares some really interesting images that I had never seen before, even of very well-known people. There are some criticisms I have of the account; they repeat some things, and seem to really have a preoccupation with Nirvana, the Beatles, and Angelina Jolie. And at least once that I know of, they got called out for sharing something that was not what they claimed. Nevertheless, they post dozens of fascinating images a day, and I’m really glad I stumbled across the account.

To find some inspiration this weekend, I browsed through recent History Lovers Club activity looking for interesting photos I might be able to draw. I chose two images, which I’m going to share in separate posts since they are so different. For the first one, I actually had no idea who the subject was. I had to do a Google reverse image search to figure it out! According to Google, this is Ann Margret from Viva Las Vegas. Here’s the sketch:

I was born in the early 80s, and Viva Las Vegas came out in the 60s, so this was before my time. And…no offense to anyone who loves him, but this was an Elvis movie, and I am not a fan. Just reading the ridiculous plot summary is more than enough for me:

“All musically gifted race-driver Lucky Jackson (Elvis Presley) wants in Las Vegas is to score enough money for a new car motor so he can win the Grand Prix. When he encounters sexy swimming instructor Rusty (Ann-Margret), he considers staying around longer. After Lucky loses his winnings in the hotel pool, he’s forced to remain in Vegas long enough to win back his dough — but now he also wants to win Rusty’s heart. Unfortunately, so does his slick racing enemy, Elmo.”

Curse that fiend, Elmo! Honestly, this sounds like a movie that Mystery Science Theater 3000 should have covered. I’m not really sure why she’s pointing a gun in the context of the movie’s plot, but hopefully she was politely encouraging Elvis to leave her alone, and then the credits rolled. Although to be fair, I like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, so I’m not exactly a connoisseur of fine cinema.

Regardless of my general dislike of Elvis and his movie catalog, this seemed like it would make an interesting drawing. As it turns out, I’m pretty satisfied with it! The biggest challenge was making sure that her line-of-sight, and the gun’s barrel lined up properly. I wanted the right perspective to show a person aiming and squinting, and I think that was largely successful. I am not really familiar with Ann Margret, other than basic name recognition, so I can’t judge too well whether this is recognizable as her. But, the sketch does look pretty solid in terms of a generally realistic person.

Once again, I forgot to take progression photos, so I don’t have enough for a .gif. But, here’s an earlier version:


Part 2 of this “History Lovers Club” series will be…Jimi Hendrix! That drawing is almost finished, so the next post might actually also show up today.


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  • You should try painting from life. It is challenging and ever so rewarding. Mistakes hang out there with a life of their own. Drawing without the net

    • Ahhh, the great challenge…maybe I’m being too cautious, but I’m not sure if I’m ready for that yet. I think that’s a mark of real pros, who can create art from real life subjects. I have this notion that I need to be better and more confident before I make that leap.

      So, I’ve seen some of your paintings have people in motion (ex. people in front of a building, one is riding a bike). This may seem like kind of a silly question, but how do handle changing positions as people move? I’m so used to static subjects, I always know the perspective. Do you just remember the angles and shapes, or do you make them up?

  • You’re really getting good at those skin textures and complexion work! Hands are really well done too, those fingers are hard to shade.

    • Much appreciated! It’s really encouraging to see tangible improvement, which I think I can see over the last few months.

      Hopefully I can keep learning – I see lots of ways I could improve (simulating light, patience coloring clothing, FINALLY trying to work on backgrounds, etc)

      • That’s always the payoff with art for me. It’s easy to get demoralized sometimes, but looking back at old things to see how far you’ve come is a good way to keep things in perspective.

        And you already are identifying how to improve, which is actually the hardest part of improving in my opinion, so stay the course! 🙂

      • That’s so right Blu, and a fun bonus with posting your art to a blog/website. It’s fun to scroll through and watch the progress.

        I wonder if there is some sort of widget or tool that can easily display progression over time? Maybe I would have to edit the image manually, but I’m thinking like a timeline of faces, through maybe 30 drawings. It might be a fun at-a-glance way to see how things have changed

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