Zulf, a London-based artist, paints dramatic portraits of half-hidden women. These realistic drawings were created with a combination of pastel and charcoal on black paper. Rather than drawing the model’s entire face on the page, Zulf creates a light source and only draws the illuminated parts of the person’s face, hair, and body. This minimalist approach to portrait drawing is not only immediately recognizable but also demonstrates his mastery of light and shadow.
To add fine details to each drawing Zulf uses light-colored pastels and charcoals. He carefully sketches white into the dark paper in some of the portraits of long-haired women blending some of it into the shadow while leaving other parts starker. The artist then captures the subject’s extra-fine hairs which are otherwise invisible to the naked eye to imitate certain bright lights. He experiments with reflection in other pieces where the sitter wears sunglasses. When the light source is completely hidden the skilled photographer renders the subject as a silhouette. To further emphasize a sense of realism and life behind the light and shadows, Zulf adds peach fuzz and texture to the skin of his models. These compositions have a cinematic quality to them due to the mix of light and dark, intricacy, and blank space.
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Zulf, a London-based painter, uses charcoal and pastel to produce dramatic paintings.
He doodles the peaks of his subjects On black paper.