On this blog, I've posted a few of the illustrations I was fortunate to complete for the Upper Deck 2008 NFL Heroes series.
I think my favorite of the bunch is Willie Parker of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Apropos, since they happen to be facing-off against the Arizona Cardinals at Super Bowl 43 in Tampa, Florida next Sunday.
The color palette, texture, and pose all contribute to my favoring this painting.
Technically, I was also feeling pretty good about the way I was approaching these paintings by now, and my overall confidence level was high. Confidence tends to show in one's painting, just as it shows in any aspect of one's chosen endeavor.
I had settled into a nice layering technique that allowed a translucence, shown in the yellows in the jersey as well as the skin tones.
One challenge facing me with this painting was size. The completed illustration was done on an 8" x 10" canvas. Therefore, the face only occupied a small fraction of that area. My liner brush served me well, here.
I use acrylic paints for my color work -- atypical from many illustrators who tend to favor oils. I enjoy the quick drying capabilities of acrylic, as well as the challenge of figuring out how to manipulate it.
To my paint, I add a slow dry retarder, which allows me to manipulate it for a longer time than without. This additive also makes the paint very sensitive to being lifted off -- even with the most gentle of washes. A heavy hand can ruin the most beautifully laid spontaneous mark.
That little bit of loss of control brings just enough tension to the process to keep it interesting -- for me, at least.
Allan Burch is an award-winning illustrator and portrait artist, providing solutions for editorial, book, advertising, and institutional projects.
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