Illustration parody of Rosie the Riveter. Click for larger image.

Once more, an atypical project - but maybe since I've posted so many of these "oddball" projects that I don't think of as being typical, I have to acknowledge that the weird ones come along more often than I think or remember. I'm coming to terms with it.

An agency approached me (that sounds funny - like they snuck up on me or something) and asked if I could help them create a parody of the famous WWII Rosie the Riveter illustration, which you've certainly seen, but just in case you haven't - here it is...

Now, the agency took a stab at it on their own, and they didn't do a bad job, in my opinion - I think this could have passed as the final product...

...but they just didn't like it enough to present it to the client - who, as you may have figured out by the logo, owns a tank cleaning business named Rosies - hence the poster as the inspiration source. It wasn't a far reach in terms of parody, but it was appropriate. So I selected a subdued color palette and started rendering in Freehand, using my Wacom tablet.

Super duper closeup detail.

The funny thing is, I didn't have much direction other than to follow than the comp the agency provided and a few rounds of feedback on my work - which was fine, but as I look at it now, their version is a burly man with ruddy skin, his eyes mysteriously hidden by the hat like the Marlboro Man. My version looks like Joel Grey in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (and why did the adventure never continue, by the way? I loved that movie when I was a teenager), but with huge biceps. I asked if I should avoid linework, to make this vector version look more like the original painting, but the agency and client wanted line - so they got line, and a chunky line at that.

So the agency liked the piece, and the client liked it, too. But the real question is: would Joel Grey like it? I hope so.


  1. Ha, I've seen that poster appear in neary every history text book I've ever opened. I enjoy how your own version has a modern edge, and doesn't completely use the original style.

  2. Thanks, Steven. It is rife for parody - I don't usually enjoy doing my version of images like this, that have been done to death (I've parodied the Uncle Sam "We Want You Image" a couple times) but this one, at least, seemed logical, based on the company's name.