Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Temple Tuesday: Evolution of a Pin

Every year, the Shirley’s Army Facebook Group (headed by Melissa, aka “The Colonel”) produces a pin and sells them with proceeds going towards a charity that would be representative of its inspiration, Shirley Temple Black. This year seemed like an easy choice; with all the unrest in the world, a donation to the National Museum of American Diplomacy immediately came to mind. Even as a little girl, Shirley was taught through her studies about many cultures since she was often introduced to foreign dignitaries and international celebrities. This skill came in very handy during her adulthood career as a diplomat (Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia to name a few of the positions she held). Once that was decided, the artwork needed to be produced. The fans usually prefer an image of little Shirley; “Wee Willie Winkie” (1937) was the first Shirley film that popped into my head as the happy ending is brought about by Shirley’s character bringing together two warring factions. This publicity still with costar Cesar Romero conveyed discussion, but the expression and the leg of meat were not very charming!

I also realized that for a small pin, having two characters on it would not be ideal. It’s important to consider the scale of the final work, as details often get lost in the final product when it’s this small.

I settled on this screenshot from the movie; the holding hands signifies a joining of cultures and ideas and would also allow me to have Shirley as large as possible in the artwork.

A photograph has only been used once for the pins; I decided to go back to line art this year, using the Frank Follmer sketches from the Disney cartoon “The Autograph Hound” (1939) as inspiration.

My first draft was ok; I was somewhat pleased with how it looked. But…as Melissa pointed out, I had forgotten “Shirley’s Army” and the name of the never-came-to-fruition Temple film was actually “The Little Diplomat.” I also didn’t like the way Cesar Romero’s hand just hangs limp. The art was faithful to the photo, but didn’t really convey any kind of warmth between the two characters.

I used a photo of Shirley warmly clutching Bill Robinson’s hand as inspiration and was much happier with that result!

One final touch - instead of the typical bullet point, I decided to use the ornament from Shirley’s cap in “Winkie,” aka the Cap badge of the Black Watch Royal Highlanders.

The final art: MUCH better! I also softened Shirley’s features a bit to make the cartoon look a bit more realistic.

Interested in purchasing a pin (only $13.50, which includes shipping!) and donating to this worthwhile cause? Reach out directly to Melissa at meltonn21@yahoo.com. SPECIAL OFFER WHILE SUPPLIES LAST! If you buy 3 pins (perfect for stocking stuffers), you can also receive AT NO ADDITIONAL COST the 4 pins from the previous years (the 2019 pin was designed by Shirley’s Army member Kroffty, not me!).

See more Shirley Temple photos at my main website.

1 comment:

Fifthrider said...

I agree, that hand from Bill Robinson looks better. I'd like to imagine that still was taken before Cesar Romero grabbed her hand but then again his character may have intentionally held off to be aloof.

LOL, a Ghostbusters series. Maybe.