Monday, November 7, 2011

Mary Pickford Centerfold - Orange Coast Magazine

I was contacted by Mindy Benham, Design Director over at Orange Coast Magazine, the other week and asked to do the artwork for a centerfold of Mary Pickford, Hollywood's first great star! She was a mega HUGE silent film actress during the 1910s & 20s, Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie and Reese Witherspoon all rolled into one, Tinseltown's first millionaire. She co-founded the film studio United Artists with Charlie Chaplin and her second husband Douglass Fairbanks, and was one of the original 36 founders of the Academy Awards. Her and Fairbanks bought this huge estate in LA and called it "Pickfair", kinda like the Hammer Time Mansion of it's day. It was deemed White House West, they had solid gold dinner and peacocks, extravagant parties, and entertained foreign dignitaries. Check out her Wikipedia page for more of the details of her wild life.

But she had a first "secret" marriage that the public didn't know about. When the prying eyes of the press found out, she held a public ceremony at a California church to renew her vows. Below is the only image of the dress she wore that day, and it's a painting. AND only a low res jpeg of that painting was available for me to look at for reference. It was part of my job to recreate this dress. Love it! Time to get sleuth-y.

Above was my first pass at putting together a rough Photoshop collage. Mindy wanted a more frontal view so I developed these color sketches below and got the go ahead.

I did a bunch of research in the bridal wear and hair styles of the day. The flower headdress were in serious vogue, along the pearl string headbands. The artist Mucha was very popular during that time so I looked at a lot of his works. I basically tried to match the impression that the dress in the painting left and think I did a pretty good job of it. Below is the final.


Mindy then designed this gorgeous cover!

Mary Pickford, My Secret Wedding

Here's how it looks in the mag as you are flipping through. Very nice.

Orange Coast Magazine

It's on stands now, the November 2011 issue. If you're an old school Hollywood buff, it is a must buy, and her whole story from soup to nuts is beautifully told by writer Pat H. Broeske.

This was a really fun project. Thanks for the assignment and great direction, Mindy.

1 comment:

Mark said...

That's awesome. I love seeing the process as well.