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What is so special about Marilyn?

I've painted more portraits of Marilyn Monroe over the last few years than any other subject...but why? What makes her so attractive?

Having studied her face for a while, here are my thoughts in my 5 steps...

1- Lighten the load

Norma Jean baker had brown hair, when she became Marilyn Monroe she decided to go peroxide blond, it made a huge difference..

Lighter hair produces a sharp contrast with the colourful facial make up, the darker the hair the less focus there is on the facial features. Monroe had beautiful, big eyes, lips and a classic high bone structure. When the hair colour is lightens these features 'jump out'.

2- Dropping the lids

Marilyn was a naturally photogenic subject, those upper heavy eyelids gave her the look of ecstasy that is a hugely attractive expression. Heavy eye make up exaggerated this feature too:

3- Arch the Brows and pack the Lashes

Marilyn knew how to work her eyebrows, lifting them to show surprise or faux confusion, high raised eyebrows look attractive because they are expressive and they also enhance the overall look of the eyes. And the mascara! if you have big eyes, mascara only makes them bigger and sassier than ever!

4- Trout pouts are out

If you don't have a natural pout don't try, do what Marilyn did and just add more lipstick to the upper/lower lips and relax the mouth when taking a photo, looks way more realistic, natural and sexy.

5- Be Confident

Even in still photography you can see how much confidence she had in her sex appeal. Confidence affects the posture, the head goes back together with the shoulders and makes for a much more attractive image.

When all these things are used together the effects are breathtaking...

Here's my latest portrait 'A beautiful Mess'

And here's a time-lapse video tutorial:


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