Joyce Ballantyne (April 4, 1918 – May 15, 2006) was a painter of
pin-up art. She is best known as the designer of the Coppertone girl,
whose swimming costume is being pulled down by a dog.
She was born in Norfolk, Nebraska during World War I, and grew up in
Omaha. She attended the University of Nebraska for two years and then
transferred to the Art Institute of Chicago to study commercial art and
the American Academy of Art.
After two years at the Art
Institute, Ballantyne joined Kling Studios, where she painted Rand
McNally maps and illustrated books for Cameo Press. She then moved
to the Stevens-Gross Studio, where she remained for more than a
decade. While at the studio, she became part of a group of artists
that included Gil Elvgren, Al Moore, and Al Buell.
In 1945 Ballantyne began painting pin-ups for Brown & Bigelow,
having been recommended by Gil Elvgren. While there, she designed
direct mail pin-up brochures for the company, and was eventually
given the honor of creating an Artist's Sketch Pad twelve page
calendar. She often used herself as a model. In 1954, Ballantyne
painted twelve pin-ups for a calendar published by Shaw-Barton. Upon
the calendar's release in 1955, demand was so great that the company
reprinted it many times.
Ballantyne then went on to paint
one of the most famous advertising images ever, when Coppertone
suntan lotion asked her to create a billboard image in 1959. That
image, of a pigtailed girl with her bathing suit being tugged down
by a small dog, has become an American icon. Her daughter Cheri
Brand was used as the model for the girl.
Joyce Ballantyne eventually moved into the realm of portraits
and fine art, painting the portraits of scores of entertainment and
sports personalities as well as luminaries from the business,
social, and academic worlds. Subjects included comedian Jonathan
Winters, Robert Smalley of Hertz, and Major General John Leonard
In 1974, Ballantyne moved with her
husband to Ocala, Florida where she lived until her death.