need motivation or inspiration? artist Susan Heidi shares her faves

Posted by Susan Heidi - September 21st, 2007

When looking for inspiration or motivation, I often go to my bookshelf or watch a favorite movie. Then, of course, it always helps to study the masters of the pinup genre. I’ve compiled my favorites - available from!

sticking to my goals and more Vargas inspiration

Posted by Susan Heidi - January 16th, 2007

I’m steadily progressing toward completion of my latest painting. It’s a battle at times between wanting to get it done and knowing that taking my time is what gets me the results I’m looking for. In the words of Alberto Vargas, “Don’t lay your color too fast, build it gradually.” I read that in a book of Vargas’ work published by himself and Reid Austin simply titled Vargas. Published in 1978, this is the only work I’ve found that has anything written about Vargas’ technique, and of course it includes tons of prints of his amazing watercolor pinups.

weekend read of my biggest inspiration, Alberto Vargas

Posted by Susan Heidi - January 15th, 2007

I’m often asked what inspires me to paint pinups. Besides the fact that I’ve always been fascinated by the glamour of 40’s Hollywood and grew up watching old Elvis movies (and imagining myself to be his next conquest!), I am inspired by the work of pinup artists who reigned supreme during the WWII era. Chief among these artists in my mind is Alberto Vargas, creator of the Varga Girl that graced the pages of Esquire magazine for years. I love the subtle shading and sultry eyes of Vargas paintings, and that his two favored mediums were pastels and watercolors - which were the first mediums I used to create my pinups.

I recently got my hands on a new book titled “Alberto Vargas, Works from the Max Vargas Collection” and spent the weekend studying never before published Vargas paintings, sketches, and studies of pinups from the 20’s through the 60’s, including Vargas’ rarely seen legacy nudes. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves retro pinups - whether you love to view them or paint them, or both. Clck on the link above to view more details about the book and purchase at

pinup reference books I love…

Posted by Susan Heidi - January 4th, 2007

I get a lot of questions from my fans about where I get my inspiration and how I create my paintings. I plan on posting in-depth how-to’s in the future, but for now I’d like to share some books that have greatly influenced my style. The first was written by my all-time favorite pinup artist Alberto Vargas and the other by his modern-day counterpart Olivia. Both showcase the amazing talent of these artists and include essays on their technique.


Cheesecake Chronicles Volume 1: Art of Olivia (Olivia’s Cheesecake Chronicles, 1)

new Bettie Page pinup book by Olivia is out now

Posted by Susan Heidi - November 6th, 2006

A new book of Bettie Page paintings by the renowned pinup artist Olivia Deberardinis is now available through her website . This book is on my Christmas wishlist and if there is anyone you know who loves Olivia’s work (the way I do) it is a must buy!
UPDATE: Olivia’s new book is now available on Amazon for a reduced price! Click on the link below to purchase the book through Amazon:

Marilyn Monroe inspired novel

Posted by Susan Heidi - August 24th, 2006

I just finished reading an excerpt form author Tara Hanks’ upcoming novel “The Mmm Girl” - a novel about the life of Marilyn Monroe as she might have told it - and it gave me chills. In her book, Tara delves into the mind of the legendary actress and tells her story from Marilyn’s own perspective. I’ve read several biographies of Marilyn’s life (she is the quintessential pinup, after all) and always thought to myself, “I wonder how it must have felt for her coming from a broken home and making it so big …” and here, Hanks has found a way to attempt to answer that question. I hope you’ll stop by Tara Hanks’ website and read the excerpt from the novel. I’d love to know what you think of it. Tara also has a links page dedicated to Marilyn Monroe On the Web and many articles related to Marilyn can be found in her blog.

Book Review: “Sinfully Delicious: The Impact Theatre Cocktail Book”

Posted by Susan Heidi - August 21st, 2006

As follow-up to my earlier blog entry “Pin-Up Girls and Cocktails”, I was offered the opportunity to review the Impact Theatre’s new book. I downloaded the pdf version (easy enough) and the book is also available in a print version. My review will speak to the retro feel and pinup images, since I’m not an expert on cocktails (but I would love to try some of these recipes after reading this book!).

Pinup Girls and Cocktails? I wasn’t sure what to find inside the pages, knowing only that the theatre company had put together the book starring their own members as the “Impact Pinup Girls” to accompany the cocktail recipes. The cover image, showing a classic pin-up shot in a black negligee, is intriguing and suggests that the book will definitely have a retro, vintage flair. The rest of the book is no disappointment either. Each of the thematically named cocktail recipes is accompanied by a kitschy phrase and wonderful photographic reference (I hate when recipes don’t have accompanying photos – how else do you know what the drink should look like?) and a pinup girl to match. Many of the classic pinup poses are captured and the styling does have a retro feel. While viewing the pinups, I kept in mind that these are professional actors portraying pinups – not today’s top pinup models that I’m accustomed to working with. The Impact Theatre gals do a wonderful job of adding to the enjoyment of the book. Much as the Petty Girls were designed to sell merchandise, The “Impact Pinup Girls” definitely capture the subtle, sexy, and fun tradition of pinup while selling the cocktail recipes – vintage pinup!

details: Title: “Sinfully Delicious: The Impact Theatre Cocktail Book” Author: The Impact Theatre Staff Photographers: Kevin Berne (pinup girls); Cheshire Dave (cocktails) Size: 36 pages, full color, perfect-bound Cost: Print version, $17; downloadable high-res PDF version, $7

You can find more information on “Sinfully Delicious: The Impact Theatre Cocktail Book,” at the theatre company’s website:

DVD Release: “The Girl Can’t Help It” starring Pin-Up Jayne Mansfield

Posted by Susan Heidi - August 10th, 2006

Released this week, “The Jayne Mansfield Collection” 3 DVD set includes the first official release of one of my favorite 50’s movies, “The Girl Can’t Help It”. There’s a review in the entertainment section of the (scroll down to paragraph 2, Also Released this Week) which accurately states that it’s the music that makes this movie, with lots of live footage of the Rock ‘n Roll greats Fats Domino, the Platters, Little Richard, and Gene Vincent. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out. The 3 DVD set is available at I haven’t seen the other two movies that are included in the set but I’d say it’s worth it for just this one.