Artist profile: Nell Brinkley – Glamorous girls

Artist profile: Nell Brinkley – Glamorous girls

Every month, I profile an artist who inspires my own art,
in several segments.

 
Although she sometimes contrasted women of leisure with women who worked, Nell Brinkley made sure all of her ladies looked good. She had an outstanding talent for drawing clothing and hair, and I assume she loved fashion – she drew the latest trends as well as historical costumes (as you can see in the “Betty and Billy” cover serial).

The Fortunes of Flossie (American Weekly, 1927)
The Fortunes of Flossie (American Weekly, 1927)

Besides wearing luxurious clothes, Flossie gets her fortune read and dramatically (over)reacts to her tea leaves. I love everyone’s face, especially the man’s “what the hell” expression.
Girls, Play Something (The Pittsburgh Press, Mar 5, 1926)
Girls, Play Something (The Pittsburgh Press, Mar 5, 1926)

In the written part of “Girls, Play Something”, which you can read via Google News, Brinkley encourages girls to take up an instrument to be interesting to men (it’s pretty obvious), to not be bored, and to show off pretty hands and posture.
detail from "A Map of the Heart" (c. 1915)
detail from “A Map of the Heart” (c. 1915)

Marion Davies in "When Knighthood Was in Flower," the Greatest Motion Picture Ever Produced, As Seen by Nell Brinkley (1922)
Marion Davies in “When Knighthood Was in Flower,” the Greatest Motion Picture Ever Produced, As Seen by Nell Brinkley (1922)

On top of her weekly contributions to William Randolph Hearst’s publications, Brinkley also reviewed films and theatre productions. She drew actress Marion Davies several other times, probably at Hearst’s request (as he and Davies were a couple), but I can say from viewing Show People that Davies was a good actress, too.
detail from an advertisement for Nell Brinkley hair curlers (1924)
detail from an advertisement for Nell Brinkley hair curlers (1924)

Lastly, we have an ad for the hair products that bore her name, Nell Brinkley Bob Curlers and Hair Wavers. The way she renders the curls in this image is fantastic and reminds me of many a “how to draw anime/manga hair” tutorial. Notice also the “waterline” (the inside part of the lower lid) of the woman’s eyes on the right, as well as all those long eyelashes and shading on the lips – such glorious detail.

This is my last Nell Brinkley post, and I am so sad! I loved learning all about her, scouring the Internet for images, and seeing other people who have written about her and posted pictures – it’s very heartening to know that Brinkley will not be forgotten, as so many other female artists are.

Here again are my references for this month’s posts:

Other parts in the Nell Brinkley artist profile series
Introduction
Girls who toil
Golden Eyes
Serial girls

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