African Woman

Some months ago, I could go to an African Art, Jewelry and Culture show in an Art Center. I was excited to see paintings, sculptures, weaved baskets, beautiful dresses, and many handmade crafts. I didn’t expect that they had even prepared a fashion show! Professional models wore traditional jewelry with traditional clothes from Tanzania, South Africa, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Mali, Congo, and more countries I cannot remember. It was astonishing and inspiring, and I took the opportunity to take some pictures with my phone. They were perfect references for drawings! So I chose one of them that I especially liked, and I started to think about how to turn it into a drawing.

The thing I liked most in the picture was the pose. It was just a brief moment: the model was adjusting her hat, standing just on the verge of a door waiting for her turn to go out and walk. It feels natural and highlights the fantastic beaded bib with the movement and the shape of her arms. The choke and the dress were stunning too. Also, a bright light was coming from her back, which made some parts of her silhouette fade, creating an ethereal effect.

Unfortunately, that same light and the zoom of the picture made the quality of the image a little bit low, so I needed to make a little bit of interpretation in some parts. It didn’t matter, though, because I had lots of fun.

I then started to work in Photoshop with a cut-out style for the colors. I just had to define the color areas with a plain brush, using the picture (with a bit of color and shading corrections) as a reference. In the beginning, it was pretty fast. But when I started with the small and blurry parts, I needed lots of effort and references to figure them out. In some areas, it was a little tedious -like in the dress beads- so I ended up working on others projects, and this one took me a bit more than expected. But when I finished everything, I was very happy with it! I like the beads and the colors in the image (many green and violet shades in these whites). It was fun work, and I learned a lot about African jewelry!

I hope you enjoy it!

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