Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jorge Posada

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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Sunday, October 18, 2009



I didn't see you come in. How have you been?

Is that so?

Well, I'll be...

Long time, no blog, you might be saying if you happen to follow these posts with any regularity.

If you don't, then, welcome! I invite you to browse around. Hopefully, you'll find something you like. If so, please drop me a line. I'd love to help with your next project.

As you might have guessed, I've been quite busy with commissioned projects, which is a good thing. But, it's come at the expense of my blogging habit. I apologize for the lapse in posts.

Let's talk about some art.

This is Melodie.

I am so very fortunate to say Melodie is one of my amazing models. One Sunday afternoon, Melodie came over and participated in a photo session. Of the many, many remarkable shots she allowed me, this one beckoned me.

During the summer of 2009, the Allan Burch Illustration model reserve was born. Basically, this is a group of very nice and very generous folks who have expressed interest in helping to model for my illustration needs.

Between its conception and birth, a call for models was posted on Craig's List. After vetting the voluminous replies, I've now come away with a healthy group of models on my team who continue to be giving with their time and energies toward enthusiastically participating in my work.

I am extra-energized by the fact my model and I are collaborating in the creative process toward something special. It's beyond just me...and that's a very good thing.

This is a personal piece, part of a series I'm producing. It's intended to have more of a fine-art flair.

I like this shot because of her elegant, iconic, yet full-of-attitude storytelling pose, coupled with unique vantage point and dramatic shadows. It was an un-posed, pose; a position she happened to take in between other shots. These unguarded moments can be some of the best kinds of poses, I think. There is an inherent beauty in the lines, attitude, and energy of the human form in those moments where she or he isn't trying to be picturesque.

In the photo, she was standing against a white backdrop. In the illustration, she should stay against a wall of some sort to keep the dramatic shadows in the picture. I thought this might also be a good opportunity to utilize pattern -- as a storytelling device, a design element, a textural contrast, and a subtle, yet intricate, secondary point of interest.

I'm kind of into patterning, at the moment. It's a nice, controlled, complex textural contrast to my simplified approach to shape and form. It makes for a nice foil to my picture's protagonist.

I've also been tinkering with a more complex color palette -- utilizing cooler temperatures in the shadows to help create a sense of space and to help direct the viewer's eye. I'll talk more about this in future posts.

My thanks to Melodie for helping to bring this illustration to fruition.

Allan Burch is an award-winning illustrator and portrait artist, providing solutions for editorial, book, advertising, and institutional projects.
View more of his work»
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Purchase prints»