Jorge Posada is a catcher for the New York Yankees.
His is a very appropriate illustration for this stretch of weeks in October/early-November.
"Why?" you might ask.
Well, I answer, it's because the Yankees are playing the Philadelphia Phillies in the 105th World Series.
As I write, the Yankees are down 0 games to 1, in the series.
Got all that? Excellent. Me, too.
In 2008, I was fortunate to illustrate Mr. Posada for the Upper Deck Company's MLB Masterpieces series of baseball cards.
As mentioned, in prior posts in which I blog about other cards from this series, one challenge is its size. The illustration is done on an 8" x 10" canvas. My liner brush received a workout on logos, such as that "NY" on his helmet, pinstripes on his jersey, and detailing in his shoes...not to mention his face, which is painted about the size of a thumbprint.
How does one capture a likeness at that size?
Proportions, angles, and planes, distilled to an almost posterized form. One can't be too detailed at that size. The face would come off as overworked and unrealistic.
I have to place myself into a different frame of mind when I do traditional paintings versus my traditional/digital hybrids. I have to slow down and consider, more closely, individual parts (like the background, skin, grass, wall, jersey, helmet, shoes, etc), and how they relate to each other, value-wise and color-wise.
Painting traditionally forces me to consider the physical time it takes to render a face, how long the paint takes to dry, how layers of paint react to glazes...things I don't deal with when working digitally.
It's a good thing...just a different way of thinking. It's good to work all those parts of the brain. It keeps one's work fresh and keeps that particular artistic "muscle" (the traditional side) in-shape.
Plus, it makes one versatile. And, I would argue, versatility is a very marketable trait.
Allan Burch is an award-winning illustrator and portrait artist, providing solutions for editorial, book, advertising, and institutional projects.
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