This was a personal piece, completed for my own entertainment.
I wanted to do something moody, compositionally interesting, and slightly dark, on a number of levels.
I was able to get my hands on a photograph of a young woman, whose pose created some great angles and movement, not to mention some nice play of light and shadows.
Sometimes, I like to accentuate these lines through exaggeration. Here, the exaggerated lines allowed a strong angular composition, complimented with an unusual, vertical shadow on her face.
I liked it.
When working on personal pieces, like Fistful of Steel, I allow myself more freedom to fail. What this means is, I make the mark and I own it -- almost daring it not to work. I place total trust in what abilities I have, let the chips fall where they may, and lay down the stroke -- knowing there is no other place on the page it belongs.
I did indeed lay down some expressive strokes of charcoal to render the gal, and among what resulted was a very textured dappling of marks defining her arm -- bringing to mind a tattoo. So, why not add a tattoo and complete the effect?
This was a fun exercise and a much-needed way to release some creative energy.
Allan Burch is an award-winning illustrator and portrait artist, providing solutions for editorial, book, advertising, and institutional projects.
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