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Published June 23, 2014

You can also view this article on The Toronto Animation Arts Festival’s blog.

Luscious Legs, anyone? Look no further than the bountiful blushing bombshells of Nic Ter Horst, one of the exhibitors at this year’s Toronto Animation Arts Festival Market. Nic works as a clean-up animator at Guru Studio, and is an aficionado of pin up girls in her spare time. She revels in the female form, accentuating hips, lips, and thighs, creating richly sensual portraits of women who revel in the art of seduction. Her subjects from popular culture, including Black Widow, Jessica Rabbit, and Sailor Moon, are strong female characters who are heroes to be reckoned with, and also happen to be amply proportioned (watch out for Jessica Rabbit’s booby trap). Other subjects, including burlesque performers and Suicide Girls, perform their seductive art as an act of empowerment, revelling in their own beauty and the teasing of their fans which they actively promote. Nic’s ladies demonstrate pride and confidence in the way they consciously present their beauty to the world, and that confidence is a large part of the attraction. I asked Nic about where her fascination with pin up art comes from:

What is your history with pinup art? How long have you been illustrating pinups?

Classic pin ups have always been a huge inspiration for me. Bill Presing’s work really got me into the art form I think, and classic beauties like Marilyn Monroe were always intriguing, even before I got into pin up art. I’ve been illustrating pin ups more seriously since I graduated school in the past two years or so, though I’ve always loved to draw the female form.

How do you choose the subjects for your pinups?

I like choosing characters and models who have a classic, confident look. 1920s-50s pin up, burlesque, and advertising have always been a great source of inspiration. Modern pin up and burlesque performers also have a lot of the same attraction, since they’re drawing inspiration from a lot of the same sources, though they often take it in a different direction.

Please describe your artistic process.

I’ll usually find a specific reference, a source of inspiration, or just land on an idea and go from there. I like to start an illustration on paper and work on anything from a thumbnail to a full sketch. After I do the initial sketch I take a photo and move onto digital inks and colour in photoshop.

Why is pin up art important to you?

I find pin up art, photography, and performances to be very empowering, and that’s what I try to show in my art. Women of all shapes and sizes do it, engaging in a series of very flattering angles and poses. The women in pin up are sexy, but not sexualized, desirable, but unobtainable. I also find pin up and burlesque to have a sense of humour around it, and everyone is always smiling.

Are there any models, characters, or burlesque performers that you particularly admire?

I’ve always loved Jessica Rabbit. Recently I’ve realized that she’s probably the character that stuck with me all through my childhood and artistic career pushing me in this direction. As far as real models go, Marilyn Monroe has always been a favourite. As for burlesque, I can’t think of a performer I’ve seen that I don’t admire. Amber Ray was amazing to see, Bianca Boom Boom, Roxi D’Lite… I can’t wait to see some Toronto shows and get some local girls on my radar. St. Stella (pictured above) was fantastic to draw, and I bet she’ll be even more fun in motion.

Anything you’d like to promote?

I have an Etsy store where you can buy my original work, prints, or order a commission.

Thanks Nic! You can follow Nic Ter Horst on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter.

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