An illustration by artist Bill Ward featuring one of his impossibly busty blonde pinups.
When artist Bill Ward passed away in 1998 he left behind his large legacy of pinup illustrations that some comic connoisseurs have approximated to be at least 10,000 in number. Ward was a hugely influential force in adult-oriented comics and his work was featured widely in men’s interest magazines and the various Humorama digests, who coincidently were the number one buyers of comic art in the world during Ward’s heyday. One of Ward’s signature comic creations which he debuted in 1946 was a character called “Torchy,” a bubble-headed blonde who had trouble keeping her clothing on. Ward’s dangerously curvy girls and pin-ups were incredibly popular with Humorama fans, and there’s really no surprise as to why. His illustrations are infectiously sexy, and defy all logical body images, despite the fact that your mind would perhaps like to convince you otherwise.
Ward’s masterful use of the Conte crayon (an implement consisting of compressed powdered graphite or charcoal mixed with a wax or clay) provides another layer of intrigue to his pinups. He was an expert at being able to manipulate the medium in order to create a sense of tangibility to his sexed-up subjects, and his use of the material is nearly unrivaled. As you’ll see in Ward’s images in this post the use of the Conte allowed for a glossy luster to be applied to aspects of his pinups, whether it’s the tone of their platinum-blonde hair or a sense of shimmer to their ever-present thigh-high stockings. Ward’s women all possessed a slight air of irreproachability while standing around in stilettos and skin-tight clothing. According to Ward’s former editor Dian Hanson who worked with the artist at Juggs and Leg Show, it was Ward’s adeptness with Conte that helped set him apart as a fetish artist, as it gave him the ability to make the fetish-style clothing worn by his illustrated goddesses as alluring as the giant-breasted women it was clinging to.
Given Ward’s rather prolific catalog of work, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to showcase his blonde bombshell pinups exclusively as they perfectly represent his use of Conte and how the medium helps accenutate his bodacious illustrations. I also happen to be a big fan of blondes in general having been one all my life, so perhaps it’s a bit of the narcissist in me that wants to help perpetuate the notion that blondes really do in fact have more fun. If you’re interested, Ward’s work has been compiled into a few books including 2006’s The Wonderful World of Bill Ward: King of the Glamour Girls by fetish photographer Eric Kroll, and 2007’s The Pin-Up Art of Bill Ward that prominently features the artist’s exquisitely erotic illustrations. All of the illustrations of Ward’s gorgeous blonde pinups below are NSFW. YAY!
One of Ward’s notorious “telephone girls.”
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Vintage sleaze and pulp erotica by prolific fetish illustrator Eric Stanton
The wildly grotesque erotica of Japanese manga legend Suehiro Maruo
The gorgeous lesbian erotica of Gerda Wegener
The super-kinky illustrations of the mysterious French fetish artist known only as ‘Carlo’