London-based artist Zulf creates dramatic portraits of women half-hidden in shadow. These realistic drawings are made on black paper using a combination of pastel and charcoal. Instead of drawing the model’s entire face onto the page, Zulf invents a light source in the composition and only draws the lit parts of the person’s face, hair, and body. Not only does this minimalist approach to portrait drawing immediately catch the eye, it also demonstrates his masterful knowledge of light and shadow.

Zulf uses light colored pastels and charcoals to add fine detail to each drawing. For example, in some of the portraits of women with long hair, he carefully draws white into the dark paper, blending some part into shadow, while leaving other parts sharper. Then, to mimic some bright lights, the artist catches the subject’s extra fine hairs that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye. In other rooms where the model wears sunglasses, he experiments with reflection. As for those where the light source is completely hidden, the seasoned creative displays the subject in the form of a silhouette. Zulf even adds fluff and peach texture to the skin of his models to further accentuate the sense of realism and life behind light and shadow. The balance between light and dark, detail and empty space make these pieces almost cinematic in their drama.

Scroll down to see more art from Zulf and follow the artist on Instagram to keep up to date with his latest creations.

London artist Zulf creates dramatic art using charcoal and pastel.

Zulf Charcoal and Pastel Art

He draws the highlights of his subjects on black paper.

Zulf Charcoal and Pastel ArtZulf Charcoal and Pastel ArtZulf Charcoal and Pastel ArtZulf Charcoal and Pastel ArtZulf Charcoal and Pastel ArtZulf Charcoal and Pastel ArtZulf Charcoal and Pastel ArtZulf: Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos of Zulf.

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