This iconic posterized image should be familiar to most people, and is instantly recognizable as Che Guevarra, despite being a simple pattern of light and shadow. The original picture of Che has been altered from including all the finer shapes and subtle inuendos of half-tones and details in the darks. In other words, the infinite variety of values has been reduced to simply two values. Such an abbreviated value image, whilst recognizable in its major statement, is also devoid of much of the beauty and delicacy that comes with a well-articulated and intelligently-refined image.
The two-value image is graphic and basic. Yet it serves an essential function. The precise articulation of the shadows pattern on the inside of the form describe changes in the topography, and thus forms the framework on which the rest of image will be built and elaborated.
Aside from the posterized versions of photos which I have just shown, we use shadow shapes to start our drawings and paintings.
Here are some examples of portraits and figures in their shadow shape stage:
– Academy of Realist Art, Toronto
– Zdenek Sychrava