Phenomenally realistic pencil drawings

By Workshop Team On February 29, 2016

No, they’re not photographs. These mind-blowingly realistic images are hand-drawn illustrations. Seriously.

You’d be forgiven for thinking the images in this list are, infact, photographs. But we assure you, they’re not. Each and every one is hand-drawn.

Here, some seriously talented illustrators have pulled out their best pencils and drawing techniques to create some truly exceptional pencil art. Enjoy!


Keith Moore – Big Ben


“I love the challenge of creating small scale hyperrealistic graphite pencil art without compromise,” says Keith Moore. Practising his personal techniques and refining his toolset, Moore has been embracing the liberation of high definition digital photographic referencing and we think his work is all the better for it.


David Kao – Audi R8


David Kao first started drawing when he was just 3 years old. But it was only at the age of 19, after his father took him to his auto shop, that Kao began to take his art and realism seriously. Now, still only 24, the young artist has a stunning portfolio of ultra-realistic car drawings. Included is this gorgeous Audi R8, which Kao created using a graphite pencil, tissue, eraser, and brush in approximately 10 hours.


Paul Lung – Tiger


This mindblowingly realistic image of a tiger was created by traditional artist Paul Lung. The Hong Kong-based creative’s portfolio on Deviant Art is astonishing, featuring realistic portraits of both humans and animals. The time in which each takes depends on his subject matter, with one cat sketch taking Lung approximately 60 hours to complete.


Paul Cadden – Shower


When we first saw the work of 47-year-old Paul Cadden, it took a while for us to realise that they were in fact illustrations. Even more unbelievable, the hyperrealist artist used just graphite and chalk to create these stunning images. Working from photographs and video stills, Cadden’s work proves if you’re super-talented, all you need is the simplest of tools.


Helen McNicholas – Rhino


This beautiful beast was drawn by UK artist Helen McNicholasusing just graphite pencil. An incredible talent, McNicholas has spent over a decade lecturing art and design in further education, sharing her experience and expertise with students venturing into the creative industries. At the same time, she has built on her skills as a freelance artist, creating phenomenal images such as the above in the process.


Jay Varma – Mother


Give self-taught artist Jay Varma a coloured pencil and a piece of paper and it will undoubtedly result in a gorgeous illustration, like this one titled Mother. Art runs throughout Varma’s family, his grandfather being master oil painter Raja Ravi Varma – one of the most highly regarded artists in India. Varma’s skills have been recognised by many, with his work featuring in various prominent publications.


Mihályi Anita – Morning Rose


This stunning ‘Morning Rose’ drawing is the handiwork of traditional artist Mihályi Anita. Based in Hungary, Anita draws inspiration from everything she sees, literally. Her online portfolio includes amazingly realistic illustrations of plants, humans – including brilliant portraits of Michael Fassbender and Johnny Depp – and animals.


Ken Lee – SADA Beats


UK-based artist Ken Lee is the man behind this stunning pencil portrait. An ongoing theme, Lee’s online portfolio is brimming with artwork of famous Asian woman. And they’re all amazing. Lee captures so much detail that his images really do look like hi-tech photography rather than pencil drawings. Incredible talent.


Linda Huber – Light bulb


Linda Huber has been practising the art of drawing with a pencil for over 40 years. Inspired by her surroundings, Huber draws everything from portraiture to inanimate objects, each piece taking anywhere from 20-80 hours. Huber comments on her site, “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.”


Dirk Dzimirsky – Frozen


Dirk Dzimirsky draws the most stunning up-close-and-personal portraits. So close in fact it should be easy to see that it’s not photography. But it isn’t. A master of his craft, the artist captures every bit of fine detail perfectly, from the moisture in his subject’s eyes to lines and fine hair.


Giacomo Burattini – Clint Eastwood


“Hyperrealism in my work displays the beauty of the imperfections perfectly, opening a door within the subject that is not normally depicted in real life,” says Italian artist Giacomo Burattini. “I believe reality is a beauty in itself so I don’t need to find ways to hide the imperfections of human nature so my work shows the perfection of the imperfections of life.”


Stefan Marcu – Cat


“From the age of five, I started drawing, and over time I added more skills, such as drawing, painting, sculpture, all types of graphic design, caricature and digital photography,” explains artist Stefan Marcu. “My focus is on the study of art and my personal development in all its branches, and I am obsessed with excellence in the creation of any product.”