While photography and pencil drawing are completely different means of expressing creativity, the images listed below will amaze you. You really cannot tell if different photographers have taken these pictures or artists from various parts of the world have created these intricate sketches.
Before we explore the list, let us take a quick look at how pencil drawings can have a positive psychological effect.
An article published on Healthline mentions that “drawing can boost mindfulness” and help reduce stress.” According to the write-up, something as simple as doodling is also considered art therapy.
Good read: How doodling is taking graphic design by storm.
Kelly Lynch, a Seattle-based art therapist and mental health practitioner, is of the opinion that art therapy can reveal a lot about an individual. “The creative process promotes new perspectives that lie beyond the structure of language,” says Lynch.
“Art uses metaphor, symbolism and dynamic thoughts to represent the human experience in a way language cannot. This is particularly important for people who feel out of touch with their emotions or sense of self.”
So, without further ado, here is the list of some outstanding realistic pencil drawings.
- Veri Apriyatno
Veri Apriyatno, the Jakarta-based artist, is known for his realistic drawings. After completing his education at Bandung Institute of Technology, Apriyanto went on to complete six books about drawings and painting. The Indonesian contemporary artist has won several awards, including the prestigious Winsor & Newton Worldwide Millennium Awards and Bandung Contemporary Art Award.
In his series aptly titled Witnesses, Apriyatno explores how people view the world. The pencil drawing looks exactly like a photograph of an eye. The detail shown in the sketch brings the image to life. Even the best would be confused and unable to answer if the sketch was pencil drawn or photographed!
- Jono Dry
Jono Dry, a Cape Town-based self-taught artist, is known for his unique work that seeks to blend surrealism with photorealism. Jono uses various mental health issues as his central theme to portray something dramatic and meaningful. His subjects are usually wrapped in darkness, which gives his sketches an edge over his competitors. Jono beautifully depicts the dark side of the human mind through his pencil drawings.
The sketch titled Yin Yang beautifully depicts the ancient Chinese philosophy that propounds the theory that all opposing forces are interconnected. The interdependent world of opposites is the reason behind creation according to the Yin Yang philosophy. The sketch transports one to the infinite space where conflicting energies dance in harmony.
- Cath Railey
Cath Riley is known for her hyper-realistic illustrations, which appear extremely life-like. While her pencil drawings have attracted clients such as GQ, M&C Saatchi, The New York Times, and Nike, Riley considers her drawings as a “part of an ongoing evolutionary process of exploration and development.”
“Flesh” is a series of pencil drawings that have been brilliantly imagined by Riley. The sketches feature close-up portraits of hands touching and feeling different parts of the body. Flesh beautifully portrays the personal experience of inner feelings through touch.
- Diego Fazio
Diego Fazio is an Italian self-taught artist who is known for his realistic pencil drawings. Fazio began his artistic journey by drawing the Koi—a Japanese symbol of friendship and love. The artist was so fascinated by the Koi Carp that he decided to call himself DiegoKoi. The Italian artist has several awards for his sketches, such as the Audience Award Best Artist Non-Fermarti and Award painting section Non-Fermarti 2011.
The portrait above is one of many creations that depict feminine beauty. Fazio’s realistic depiction of women has intrigued many. From portraying the inner turmoil to displaying multi-layered emotions, Fazio’s unique take on the silent sentiment of women is remarkable.
- J.D Hillberry
Like many artists, J.D Hillberry’s desire to pour his creativity on paper began at an early age. Hillberry began developing his own technique by mixing charcoal and graphite. The blend gave his drawings a realistic look. The artist uses this monochromatic method to play with light and shadow to make his pencil drawings life-like.
The artist is known to create portraits of children. The above sketch, aptly titled “The Perfect Baby,” is a great example of the artist’s superior level of perfection. The artist on his website mentions that “The Perfect Baby” is a mix of “6 different portraits.”
- Stefan Marcu
Known for his tattoo skills and realistic pencil drawings, Stefan Marcu is a force to be reckoned with. His drawings feature patterns, bold use of colors, amazing details, and the portrayal of deeply hidden emotions.
“Gorilla” is a masterpiece created by the artist. It is really difficult to tell if it is a photograph or a pencil drawing. The precision and the portrayal of human emotion in a wild animal make the sketch a marvel. The Gorilla is lost in a world of his own, deep in thought with eyes filled with tears.
- Paul Lung
Paul Lung is a Hong Kong-based artist who is known for creating pencil drawings that resemble photos taken by professional cameramen. The portrait of the meditative Buddha statue was created by the artist in 120 hours. The intricate design is both attractive and elusive. Why elusive? Take a look at the drawing and the details: would you have believed it if anyone told you that this was a hand-drawn sketch? Paul Lung’s pencil drawings are truly mesmerizing.
- Jay Varma
The grandson of one of the greatest painters of India, Raja Ravi Varma, Jay Varma, has attracted people from all over the world. Varma is known for creating sketches that resemble reality. His attention to detail is second to none.
The above picture throws light on Indian architecture. The portrait highlights a mix of western and southern Indian architectural styles.
The painting has an uncanny resemblance to photographic images.
- Martijn Versteeg
The Netherlands-based artist, Martijn Versteeg, is known for his realistic pencil drawings. The artist’s sketches are so vivid; people have often confused his works with real photographs.
The portrait of the British actress, Audrey Hepburn, is amongst the many life-like sketches Martijn has created of the legendary female screen legend.
Apart from pencil drawing, The Netherlands-based artist is studying oil painting.
- David Kao
David Kao began experimenting with painting when he was only three years old. The self-taught artist reached an unbelievable level of competence after years of hard work and dedication.
The artist portfolio contains some breathtaking and unbelievably realistic car sketches. His pencil drawings have attracted the imagination of people from all around the globe.
The pencil drawing of the Audi R8 was created by the young artist in mere 10 hours. David only used a graphite pencil, brush, eraser, and tissue—unbelievable!
- Dirk Dzimirsky
Dirk Dzimirsky is known for creating startlingly realistic sketches. The German artist creates close-up portraits that highlight varied emotions. From capturing a subject’s facial lines and wrinkles to portraying the depth of a person through the eyes, the German artist creates pencil drawings that even the camera would fail to pick up.
The “Black Sun” sketch is a hyper-realistic drawing that portrays the depth and pain of an old man. From highlighting the fine hair to depicting moisture-filled eyes, “Black Sun” can astonish anyone.
- Linda Huber
Linda Huber is an artist inspired by her surroundings. From animals to Hollywood actors, Linda creates intricate and inspiring sketches. The artist loves to recreate anything she feels inspired with; she mentions, “Drawing in the style of realism is what I love to do, to recreate life, as we see and know it with just a simple pencil, is exciting, to say the least.”
- Paul Cadden
Paul Cadden is a hyperrealist artist whose sketches breathe life. Anyone who takes a look at La Boqueria, for example, will confuse the pencil drawing for an overexposed photograph. The Scottish artist only uses chalk and graphite to create hyperrealist sketches.
“Although the drawings and paintings I make are based upon a series of photographs and video stills, I use softer and more complex focuses on the subject so that the resulting art presents it as a living, tangible being,” explains the Scottish artist.
- Kelvin Okafor
“I love to draw faces. Each face to me tells an intriguing story regardless of age, gender, race, or background,” mentions Kelvin Okafor on his website. The UK-based artist creates photographic images of various faces using pencils. Okafor’s pencil drawings have become the talk of the town because of the amazing level of perfection.
- Justin Meyers
Justin Meyers, a Nebraska-based artist, specializes in charcoal and graphite drawings on paper. “Chasing Rainbows” is a realistic pencil drawing of locks and keys. The drawing is intricate and represents how finding the right key is essential to unlocking happiness and freedom.
The artist explains: “My works in graphite and charcoal strive to explore the use of simple material to portray simple subject matter and composition with a borderline eccentric approach to detail. By working in black and greyscale mediums, the absence of color allows for a more stripped-down, immediate translation and connection with the viewer and their senses.”
Those were the top fifteen pencil drawings that resemble images taken through a camera. The artists who have created these breathtaking images have reached a level of creativity that is difficult for an average Joe to understand. That said, anyone can achieve the level of perfection through hard work, practice, and dedication.
How can pencil drawings be therapeutic?
While artists devote a lifetime to perfecting their craft, pencil drawing is not limited to artists. Anyone can pick up the pencil and start drawing. Several studies have found that pencil drawing can be therapeutic and help relieve stress. Let us explore some health benefits associated with pencil drawing.
Alzheimer and dementia
According to the World Health Organization, more than 55 million people are currently “living with dementia worldwide.” Furthermore, 10 million fresh cases are being reported every year. Apart from affecting a person’s reasoning, dementia makes performing everyday activities difficult. Art therapy, such as pencil drawing, can help Alzheimer’s and dementia patients to increase their attention span and positively affect psychological resilience.
The world today is defined by speed. From a fast-paced work environment to fast food to fast cars, speed is what governs the day. While the fast-paced lifestyle has its benefits, it is also the number one reason for stress. Pencil drawings, doodling, and other creative arts have proven to reduce stress and anxiety, thereby decreasing the chances of people getting affected by serious psychological and physiological problems.
Therapy for cancer patients
A cancer patient may experience feelings such as sadness, fear, depression, and anxiety. Art therapy has proven benefits in a patient’s fight with the deadly disease. Several studies have shown that cancer patients who participated in various art therapies were discharged earlier than patients who did not.
Calms the mind
Pencil drawing or doodling can calm the mind. Art provides that much-needed break from the world and rejuvenates the mind and the soul. The world has gone through several ups and downs in recent times, and it only makes sense to find a place where one can truly be in the present moment cut off from the rest of the world, and art provides that gateway!
Final thoughts on pencil drawings
Creativity can help one connect with the world in a short time. Apart from health benefits, pencil drawings can make you joyful and provide you with a powerful mode of communication. So pick that pencil and start creating your own hyper-realistic sketches.
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