Known for her technique of “painting with paper,” U.K.-based artist Yulia Brodskaya continues to hone her craft with increasingly large-scale portraits. She uses two simple materials-paper and glue, and a simple technique that involves the placement of carefully cut and bent strips of paper – to make lush, vibrant, three-dimensional quilled paper portraits.

That doesn’t sound difficult right? But actually, Brodskaya’s signature technique of ‘painting with paper’ is a contemporary interpretation of quilling, wherein the artist folds, bends, and spirals strips of colored paper. Rather than densely filling the entire surface with the manipulated paper strips, Brodskaya also incorporates flat fields of color underneath and between each textural element. This two-part technique allows the viewer’s eye to take in the dramatic shapes and shadows.

Brodskaya’s previous works are most done on white drop-back but recently, she started to use dark drop-back. However, this change poses new challenges to her standard techniques. “Black color is dense, dominating, it absorbs all reflections and most of the shadows; only top edges of paper strips are left to see,” she says.

The solution Brodskaya found is to use thicker rolls and larger bends to create necessary contrast. “I chose to leave plenty of empty dark space and blend in colored parts to gradually transition them into the black nothingness, so the background plays a crucial role in these new artworks,” she says.

Here are some stunning works of Yulia Brodskaya’s quilled paper portraits. To see Brodskaya’s paper-based works in progress, check out the video below and follow her on Instagram.

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