One of my favourite pinup artists was Minnesota born Duane Bryers, creator of the famous Hilda, a pleasingly, popular and plump pinup girl. Bryers’ background was as interesting as his illustrations. Born in northern Michigan, he excelled at acrobatics as a child. His family moved to Virginia, Minnesota, at 12 and he soon had the neighbourhood gang putting on the “Jingling Brothers circus, complete with burlap-sack sidewalls.
Art had always fascinated Byers and he decided to make it his life work. He was encouraged by winning a national soap sculpturing contest and by the number of positive responses he was given for his snow sculpturing efforts and a big mural that he painted for his High school. The mural provided him with enough cash to go to New York in 1940 for a plunge into commercial art. In 1943 he won a national war poster competition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). Then came a three-year stint in the armed services, where he created a GI Comic strip.
In 1957 he was chosen to paint Brown & Bigelow’s in-house calendar. For 1958 he created the sensational Hilda.
The following is a selection of his naughty but nice illustrations;