Ileana Hunter is a talented artist who decided to learn how to create realistic pencil drawings on her own without resorting to any drawing classes. She focuses in her work on drawing portraits and celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Marilyn Monroe, the Duchess of Cambridge, Grace Kelly and more. All the materials that she uses for creating these stunning drawings include Mars Lumograph pencils (2B-6B), mechanical pencils, tortillion, smooth Bristol board and a putty eraser for highlights. Finishing minimal drawings for Ileana Hunter requires 1-2 days while the full detail ones require a few days to be completely finished.
In most creative fields, it’s impossible to get away from one important tool—the pencil. It doesn’t matter if you’re an architect, a professional fine artist, or you’re just learning to draw; a good graphite pencil is an essential part of any artist’s supplies.
She’s now moving in more experimental and abstract directions in her work, including very large scale drawing projects based around the human figure.
Available in different sets filled with a wide variety of grades, both beginners and professionals swear by Derwent. You can select between soft, medium, and hard sets depending on your subject matter and people note that the pencils are easy to sharpen to a point, as well as a flat shape. This allows for detailed work, as well as shading. And the hexagonal shape makes them easy to grip.
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“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,” he explains.
Pierre-Yves Riveau is a great artist who lives in Nantes, France and is better known as PEZ on different social networking sites. He works as a professional painter, illustrator and graphic designer. The main secret behind PEZ’s great success is paying attention to both content and detail. The result is fascinating artworks that leave us completely stunned. PEZ’s artworks feature different ordinary subjects that are well-known to us, however they are depicted in a non-traditional and creative way to convey a certain message that is usually related to the life that we all live and the different problems from which we suffer. With PEZ, you can definitely enjoy the amazing beauty of his artworks but you may need to spend some time trying to understand what he wants to say through his artworks.
Prismacolor’s graphite drawing set is a good introductory kit when starting to sketch. It comes with seven graphite drawing pencils of different grades, as well as four woodless graphite pencils. These create beautiful, broad strokes when used on their side, and allow you to experiment with a variety of tools. As an added bonus, the pencil set includes water-soluble graphite pencils, which transform into a wash when brushed with water. All told, the drawing kit is a great way to start sketching seriously.
Monica Lee is a Malaysian pencil artist who is passionate about creating photo-realistic drawings using her graphite pencils. The main reason behind Monica Lee’s success and the creative drawings that are presented by her is focusing on details which makes us think that what is drawn is a photo of a real object and not just a drawing. In addition to drawing animals, birds, portraits, products and people, Monica Lee is also creative in digital painting using Photoshop to finally present to us amazing work. Colored pencils are also used by Monica Lee to make her drawings more impressive.
It’s almost impossible to believe this incredible image is a pencil drawing
Once you understand the type of lines you can expect from your pencils, it’s easy to mix and match to put together a graphite pencil set that will cover your needs as an artist.
Do you believe that the stunning images which you see here are just drawings not photos?
Figuring out the best pencils to bring your sketches and designs to life can appear challenging, but much of it comes down to personal preference. Once you get the hang of which brand you prefer, you can mix and match different pencil grades in order to expand your sketching capabilities. You’ll see that much of what we suggest are pencil sets, which allows you to experiment with a wide variety of lines and shading, but each brand will also sell their pencils individually once you need to restock.
The Prismacolor Ebony Graphite pencil, which has a 2B grading, is a beautiful choice for rich, velvety lines. Easily blendable and soft, while they won’t create jet black lines—they get close for graphite. You’ll need to sharpen often due to their softness, and many swear by them for shading that is difficult to achieve without using charcoal.
Entitled Sensazioni (sensations, in English) this mind-blowing pencil drawing was created by artist Diego Fazio. Over a period of roughly 200 hours, Fazio drew this intricate piece, which we still – no matter how long we look at it – cannot believe is a drawing. Simply amazing.
Marco Mazzoni is a portrait artist who received a bachelor’s degree in painting from Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan. He depends in creating his drawings on using colored pencils only without resorting to any other traditional mediums. He is obsessed with the surrounding beauty of nature and this appears in his work as he focuses more on drawing birds, animals, butterflies, plants and flowers. In addition to flora and fauna, Marco Mazzoni’s drawings feature the female herbalists of Sardinia during the 16th-18th century. Marco Mazzoni’s work has appeared in several galleries not just in Italy, but in the United States and throughout Europe as well.
“The drawing process immersed me for hundreds of hours, interpreting and translating what I saw and felt from hundreds of reference photos, collected branches, twigs, and revisits to the site.”
Faber-Castell is a German brand known for high-quality art supplies, and the Faber-Castell 9000 Graphite Sketch pencils are no exception. The brand makes sets with a variety of grades included or you can purchase single packs of pencils in each grade. Known for their consistency and durability, they sharpen easily and don’t often break. Plus, Faber-Castell’s handy tin makes the pencils highly portable. It’s no wonder they are an artist favorite, no matter the style or skill level.
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This is just to give a little breathing room from all the photo-realistic work. There is definitely something obsessive about a professional artist finishing a pencil drawing to the level of best. Im sure I missed some that I used to love
Once you know what type of artwork you need the pencil for, you need to understand the different grades of graphite pencils. Even though we often refer to lead in pencils, there is actually no component of lead used in them. Whereas colored pencils are made with wax and pigment, graphite pencils are a mixture of graphite and clay. The combination of these two components allows for smooth strokes, but graphite pencils will give different lines depending on how much clay is present. Generally, the more clay in the pencil, the harder the pencil—and lighter the stroke—will be.
For a good value, you can’t beat Lyra Art Design Pencils. The graphite is rigid enough that it works for technical drawing, and with 17 different grades available, there’s no shortage of shading you can accomplish. One reviewer writes, “The finest pencils for drawing. High-quality graphite that is smooth and easy to blend. A wide variety of hardness for all your artwork needs.”
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Residing and creating from Cape Town, South Africa, Pieter can be considered the new kid on the block, but more importantly one of the most skilled. Also self taught and rumoured to have a deep history in oil painting, some graphite drawings has been featured on his social networks since 2016. Most of his featured work seems to be general drawings to the public, however, In 2017 a remarkable shift are being seen in his execution. Pieter has shown a level of progression unseen in this discipline and has sent shock waves across the local & international art scene with his latest eye drawing entitled ‘VISION’ . With an extremely high level of accuracy and attention to detail, his latest works is certainly comparable to that of Jono and Ruan’s. Pieter has yet to reveal his artistic expression but is certainly set to become a formidable name in the Drawing scene. If he continues the progression shown thus far, Pieter just might become the biggest name in Drawing very soon.
“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, who drew this unusual portrait.
Diego Fazio, who is also known as DiegoKoi especially on social networking sites, is a self-taught pencil artist who succeeded in quickly developing his technique to finally achieve amazing results. He started his journey as an artist by drawing the Koi, which is included in his name, and then moved to drawing portraits. He pays attention to the small details and focuses in his drawings on shades in addition to the faces and eyes of his subjects because they have the ability to express silent emotions to the viewers. DiegoKoi’s work has been displayed in several exhibitions all over the world and he has won many awards for his hyper-realistic drawings that are more than stunning.
The one you did, with heart and soul, dedicating a lot of time and energy, till you are satisfied with your newest masterpiece is the best ever in the world.
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“The very act of drawing every branch, twig, highlight and shadow, rendering textures from the extreme winter skins to the silkiness of new-fallen snow, transforms the scene into an intimate journey. This undertaking is considerably different than merely taking a photo or simply being there,” he explains on his site.
Art runs throughout Varma’s family, his grandfather being master oil painter Raja Ravi Varma – one of the most highly regarded artists in India.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the images in this article are photographs. But we assure you, they’re not. Each and every one is hand-drawn pencil art – many of them in beautiful black and white.
Jay Varma’s skills have been recognised by many, with his work featuring in various prominent publications. In his pencil drawings, Varma pays particular attention to mood and lighting.
Cath Riley’s pencil drawings are amazing to look at, but she regards her hyperreal work as just a stage in her ongoing evolutionary process of exploration and development.
And while we’ve gone over how to select the best colored pencils, there are a whole other set of considerations when thinking about the right graphite pencil to add to your collection. In fact, you’ll probably—like most artists—wind up using several different pencils depending on the effect you’re looking for.
On his ridiculously good Deviant art portfolio, he explains his aim: “Portraying the human essence in a traditionalist manner, while not being ignorant about contemporary trends, is my goal as a craftsperson.”
German artist Armin Mersmann is the man behind this chilly woodland scene. Although he also works with oils, Mersmann is most known for his intense naturalistic graphite drawings. His work has been featured in more than 150 exhibitions and has won him over 30 awards.
This mindblowingly realistic image of a cat 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.
Celebrating creativity and promoting a positive culture by spotlighting the best sides of humanity—from the lighthearted and fun to the thought-provoking and enlightening.
Give self-taught artist Jay Varma a set of coloured pencils and a piece of paper and it will undoubtedly result in a gorgeous illustration, like this architectural study.
Cas, or Artistiq as she is commonly known on social networking sites, is one of the most creative pencil artists not just in Canada, but in the whole world. Cas is interested in drawing portraits and focuses in her creative work on drawing her favorite celebrities in addition to other movies and TV characters to find many of those whom we all love such as Jennifer Lawrence, Katy Perry, Kristen Stewart and more celebrities whom we know. To create these stunning drawings, Cas uses traditional and digital mediums.
In the United States, we commonly think of the number 2 pencil, which is standard for schools and test taking. The American number scale for pencils ranges 1 to 4 (including 2.5), but the rest of the world uses a different grading scale. Most manufacturers use the HB scale, where “H” stands for hardness and “B” for blackness. A standard number 2 pencil corresponds to HB on this scale.
Hats off to the Artist who ever has done this! One of the Brilliant work
Her incredible pencil drawings are included in collections all over the world, and she has worked with clients including Nike, GQ, M&C Saatchi, The Economist, and The New York Times.
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Every medium of art has its own challenges. Pencil sketch is one of those medium. Bringing reality in just black and white shades requires a lot of hard work and patience. These are few of the most realistic pencil sketches which are my favorites.
These are Arguably the 3 best Pencil artists in Southern Africa… Possibly the world?
This is just to give a little breathing room from all the photo-realistic work. There is definitely something obsessive about a professional artist finishing a pencil drawing to the level of “best.” I’m sure I missed some that I used to love
The time in which each takes depends on his subject matter, with this particular A2 pencil drawing taking Lung approximately 60 hours to complete.
Japanese manufacturer Tombow is known for their high-density pencils, meaning they sharpen easily and the point stays longer. The Mono pencil is known to run a bit dark and is virtually smudge-proof. The dark lines of the Tombow Mono can almost mimic inks, making it a favorite of artists who focus on linework and tracing.
If you want to learn more about drawing portraits professionally, then you have to take a look at the creative and stunning pencil drawings that are created by Kelvin Okafor. In order to create these photo-realistic drawings and achieve this perfect level, Kelvin Okafor has tried for many years to develop his technique and improve his skills. Kelvin Okafor’s fame started to increase after receiving several awards in 2012 and 2013. In May 2014, Kelvin Okafor’s first solo show took place to allow more people to enjoy his drawings. His story appeared on BBC and other media which has made him more famous.
Dirk Dzimirsky is a professional artist who has the ability to create stunning hyper-realistic drawings and paintings as well. He focuses in his drawings and paintings on the fine details, light and shadow to create impressive artworks and allow the viewers to enjoy discovering the silent emotions and dramatic feelings of the subjects depicted in his artworks. Dirk Dzimirsky’s work has been displayed in several exhibitions that exist in different countries all over the world such as Tokyo, the United States and Europe as well which shows his unique ability to create fascinating artworks that look real.
The HB scale ranges from 9H, a hard pencil that leaves fine, light marks, to 9B, a soft pencil which a high ratio of graphite that leaves bold, dark marks. While every manufacturer gives each pencil a designation on the scale, it’s all relative within a given brand, so remember that a 6H pencil from one manufacturer might give a slightly different stroke than a 6H pencil from another.
Ruan is a multi award winning artist and a master at portraits. Also form Cape Town, South Africa, he is completely self taught and an exquisite level of Realism resinates through his work. Huisamen is not only known for his graphite drawing but has an even more impressive collection of charcoal works. Like Jono, he is a well established name in the SA art scene and Ruan’s work is highly desirable with great investment value.
Paul Cadden is one of the best pencil artists that can be found in the whole world. His creativity and unique ability to create hyper-realistic pencil drawings are highly responsible for making him ranked here on this list. With Paul Cadden, you can enjoy the stunning beauty of the portraits and landscapes that are drawn creatively, uniquely and accurately. He takes us to another world, in fact the same world in which we live but not seen or simply ignored. His drawings represent the reality accurately with focusing on the depicted subjects and details to encourage us to pay more attention to the world in which we live and to appreciate different things around us but are usually ignored. Although Paul’s drawings are usually based on photographs, stills and videos, they may contain additional elements to achieve the level of hyperrealism.
If realism is your thing you might want to check this out. A real structure to your practice makes a big difference Realistic Pencil Portrait Mastery
Don’t be scared by the price. Caran D’ache is for serious sketchers looking to up their drawing game. As Switzerland’s only pencil maker, the brand has carried out exacting studies to get things just right, making them the favorite of many artists. This gift set will get you 15 graphic pencils, 3 water-soluble graphite pencils, plus accessories. Some say they are the best drawing pencils on the market, and that once you try them, you’ll never go back.
Keep in mind that most artists use more than one type of pencil. In fact, many manufacturers sell drawing pencil sets that come with a selection of graphite pencils in different grades. This will allow you to switch between tools depending on the requirements of a particular image.
When selecting the perfect graphite pencil, the first thing to take into consideration is your drawing style. Technical drawing and detailed artwork with fine lines will require different pencils than those used for shading and sketching figures. Do you use dark, thick lines in your sketches or prefer lighter, thinner strokes? Understanding your personal artistic style and needs will help you narrow down the selection when searching for a good drawing pencil.
It’s really a subjective question. You could say for example that Leonardo Da Vinci had the best pencil sketches because of the innovation he showed to the world.
Here, some seriously talented illustrators have pulled out their best pencils and drawing techniques to create some truly exceptional pencil art. Featuring celebrity portraits, animals, natural scenes, everyday objects and famous landmarks, there’s something to inspire you in each artwork here. Enjoy…
‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman’ by Ruan Huisamen – Graphite on Fabriano Paper
Edit: it seems arrogant for me to make a collection of the best pencil drawings in the world unless I am spending a lot of time researching this. These are just a few greats. As the Chinese and Indian artists come on line, we will see that there are too many to list, I wager.
Many artists swear by Staedtler’s range of drawing pencils. Their Mars Lumograph is known for its consistency and lack of breakage, making them great for detailed work. They also erase cleanly, meaning you won’t be left with stray smudges on the paper. Staedtler’s standard set provides 6B, 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, F, H, 2H, 3H, 4H drawing pencils, making it extremely versatile. “I’ve been using Staedtler Lumograph professionally for over 30 years and in that time I’ve found no better,” says artist and art educator Mike Sibley. “I even give them away at my workshops.”
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Here are but a few drawings of these extremely skilled artists;
‘IN ITS GRIP’ by Jono Dry – Graphite on Fabriano Paper (PAN Series)
‘VULNERABILITY’ by Jono Dry – Graphite on Fabriano Paper (PAN Series)
Burattini believes his work highlights the beauty of imperfection
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Adonna Khare is an award winning artist who focuses more on large-scale carbon pencil drawings. She is the winner of the 2012 ArtPrize competition, which is the largest art competition in the world. She received her Masters of Fine Art from California State University and her work has been featured in different national and international shows, magazines and social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. She tries through her drawings of animals to tell stories and convey certain messages which are usually associated with the life that we live, different events and the people with whom she communicates.
Varma captures every tiny detail in his coloured pencil drawings
‘CONTAGEOU SMILE’ by Pieter van der Merwe (Sanlam Portrait Awards 2017)
‘VISION’ by Pieter van der Merwe – Graphite on Fabriano Paper
“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.”
This series by Cath Riley features hyperrealistic pencil drawings of flesh
“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.”
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Marcu created this study of a gorilla as his entry for The National Open Art Competition UK. “I’m pleased with the piece as it personally represents a big leap in scale, detail and patience,” he says. “It is roughly twice the size of my previous work and I learnt a lot working on this beast.”
“These objects and scenes in my drawings are thus meticulously detailed to create the illusion of a new reality not seen in the original photo.”
The self taught Jono Dry is currently the most established of the three names with a very strong signature and unmatched level of execution within his work. His PAN Series is making big noise internationally and his work is considered highly desirable. Jono resides and creates from Cape Town, South Africa. He has a beautiful collection of works and some seriously professional content are being featured to a large fanbase on his social networks. His presence is recognised internationally and his work bares great investment value.
Randy Owen creates incredibly realistic pencil drawings – like this image of Samuel L Jackson, drawn using Mars Lumograph black pencils – in his spare time.
When we first saw the work of Scottish artist Paul Cadden, it took a while for us to realise that they were in fact pencil drawings – the hyperrealist artist used just graphite and chalk to create these stunning images.
The amount of pleasure you get after finishing your own best creation is zillion times greater than the best ever creation in the whole world!
This incredible portrait of Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway is the work of Franco Clun, a self-taught artist from Italy who has picked up everything he knows about drawing from reading manuals and plenty of practice.
Burattini found an audience by sharing his pencil drawings on Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram, where he regularly shares his works in progress. This drawing was created using black coloured pencils, graphite pencils and charcoal.
Woodless pencils may cost a bit more, but they generally last longer than the typical wood-encased pencils. Cretacolor woodless pencils are perfect for shading and the graphite in them is water-soluble, allowing you to create soft washes over the page. Creatacolor’s kit also comes with a kneaded eraser and sharpener, giving you all the tools you need in one box.
Mersmann’s work has been featured in exhibitions all over the world
Faber-Castell 9000 Graphite Sketch Pencil Art Set (set of 12)
“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 Stefan Marcu, the artist behind this stunningly realistic gorilla portrait.
Or that Ralph McQuarrie had the best conceptual pencil sketches because it led to the creation something many of us know and love: Star Wars.