Meticulously Detailed Drawings Made with Graphite and Chalk

Paul Cadden is a Scottish-born hyperrealist artist who creates painfully realistic artworks using only graphite and chalk.

I’ve posted some pretty realistic drawings in the past, like Rajacenna’s detailed celebrity portraits, Juan Francisco Casas’ photo-like ballpoint pen drawings, or Paul Lung’s pencil artworks, but the pieces you’re about to see are on a whole other level. Using simple materials like graphite and white chalk, Paul Cadden is able to replicate complex photos down to the tiniest details. Whether it’s the countless wrinkles on an old man’s face, the smoke from a lit cigarette or the water dripping from someone’s face, he makes it look unbelievably realistic.

“Although the drawings and paintings I make are based upon a series of photographs, video stills etc, the art created from the photo is used to create a softer and much more complex focus on the subject depicted, presenting it as a living tangible object. These objects and scenes in my drawings create the illusion of a new reality not seen in the original photo,” Cadden says about his incredible art.







via Deviant Art

Posted in Art, Pics        Tags: , , , ,

Feedback (58 Comments)

  • Meg Posted on November 4, 2011

    THIS IS RIDICULOUSLY AMAZING! I am sorry to be a Caps whore but I am just stunned. You are very talented!

  • Claire Posted on November 4, 2011

    Very talented, amazing drawings.

  • Sierra Posted on November 4, 2011

    I don’t know who posted this, but if anyone has a way of contacting the artist please please please tell me! 😀 I’d really appreciate it!
    Thanks! ^^;

  • Sarah Posted on November 4, 2011

    That is absolutely amazing… i’m speechless.

  • cadeaux Posted on November 5, 2011

    Speechless…are there any more of those?

  • Meli Lew Posted on November 5, 2011


  • Jeff Camp Posted on November 5, 2011

    Sorry. I’m somewhat skeptical that these are not photos. But, then again, anything is possible.

  • cory Posted on November 5, 2011


  • Melayahm Posted on November 6, 2011

    Apart from the first one, there’s part of me that doesn’t believe that these are not photos. If they truly are drawings, then they are f*&^ing amazing!

  • Shell Posted on November 6, 2011

    these are fantastic. i can’t believe that these aren’t just really good pictures!

  • sarah Posted on November 7, 2011

    The 5th one down… you can see it in his fingers and his cigarette that it’s 2D… but all of the others are so realistic!

  • Michelle Posted on November 7, 2011

    I’m sorry, but I don’t believe these aren’t just done right over the photograph. I’ve seen “artists” paint on photos that had been printed on canvas and claim them to be their own original work. I cannot believe these are freehand drawings.

  • Jen Posted on November 8, 2011

    This is ridiculously good. It is unfair that you hoard so much talent and do not share it equally between everyone else!

  • Brittany Posted on November 8, 2011


  • catthey Posted on November 8, 2011

    I would believed if there was a video proof. Otherwise, too good to be true.

  • Amanda Posted on November 8, 2011


    What makes you think that? Even if the artist traced a photograph, that would only give him an outline. What makes these drawings so realistic is the texture and the shading. You can’t trace that.

    I’d also like to add that these drawings would be much bigger if you could see them in person, and would look more like drawings. But when you scan art and minimize the size, you lose the texture of the paper/canvas and the pencil, and they can look like photographs. That’s not to diminish the artist’s talent—the drawings are remarkably realistic, but for those of you who are so skeptical, I’m sure you’d believe it if you could see the actual drawings up close.

  • Noel Posted on November 8, 2011

    These look to me as to be excelet photo shots not drawings!
    How on earth did you manage to eliminate the marks of the fine pen marks and to combine them with the white chock?

  • Brandy House Posted on November 9, 2011

    I am also a graphite/pencil artist an you can believe me when I say these are extraordinary works of art. Personally, I have been working more with paint lately, but maybe I need to go back to my true love, the lowly pencil. I just figured there was more of a market for paintings, but maybe I’m wrong. I would be happy to reproduce your photos in pencil just to prove it is done.

  • Sasha Posted on November 9, 2011

    Please, don’t get me wrong, I do admire the craftsmanship of Paul Cadden, and think that the pictures are beautiful. My concern is – what’s the point? Haven’t it been better if they were left as photographs?..
    Where does the need to make things look “painfully” realistic come from? Art is all about taking a piece of reality, no matter how dull it is, and turning it into something different, individual, unique…

  • Eric Posted on November 9, 2011

    Noel, you should read better. Read the headline, where does it say “pen?”

    If you took the time to look at each drawing you might notice certain 2D properties. Second off, a lot of people go to college to learn stuff like this so they don’t have to “trace” like you did in coloring books when you were a kid. And probably still do which is why you say he does.

  • FERBWL Posted on November 10, 2011

    That looks so true, but as you can see about the level of tech nowadays are absolute incredible like PHOTOSHOP we can make the images up easily. Please, hopefully you can choose others images as the above of show.

  • Fett Posted on November 10, 2011

    zzz he is a human copy machine and that is all. the only “amazing” factor in these is that he spent the time to render them realistically. better off leaving them as photos.

  • RANDY Posted on November 11, 2011


  • gc Posted on November 11, 2011

    I googled his name and came up with this: I think you’ll be able to contact him there. He’s extremely talented to be sure.

  • chekira Posted on November 14, 2011


  • Pol.J Posted on November 15, 2011

    Yep these can be done in reality if your this good …. Graphite … grades of shade .. Ive used graphite for years Well done M8 good on ya

  • Jessie Posted on November 16, 2011

    Not possible… mind blown. Such stunning talent!

  • Erin Posted on November 16, 2011

    Haters gonna hate. You’re amazing.

  • glenn walton Posted on November 20, 2011

    there are drawings and there are drawings, but these are a different grade. what a supremely talented man.

  • Michelle Posted on December 10, 2011

    This is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in my entire life. This is just… Beautiful, to say the least.

  • Miranda Posted on December 19, 2011

    No freakin’ way. I’m absolutely shocked at how realistic this looks and how there’s absolutely no uncanny valley here!

  • David Posted on January 24, 2012

    The talent involved here is truly a gift from God and he didn’t give out too many of these gifts.

  • lt Posted on January 25, 2012

    this is no truly a gift from God…….lol….what is it with this gift from God stuff some are blesses and the rest of us are cursed?give me a freaken break,,oh i get it some have amazeing talent and some dont …right????and dont give me that we all have a special place crap!!!!!tell that to the children in the terminal wards,,,i do believe in a higher power but dont think this power has a lottery where some are blessed and some arent ….GROW THE &%$#@ UP ALREADY

  • Lindsey Posted on February 7, 2012

    wow. those look like photographs. you are an amazing drawer i wish i could draw like that.

  • Nina Posted on February 8, 2012

    I KNOW THIS GUY, I know he draws them and doesnt just print onto canvas. Y’all are just mad that you dont have a talent like this.

  • adrian Posted on February 12, 2012

    why not just take a photograph????

  • Gui Posted on February 14, 2012

    Where do I go about giving him all my money?

  • E.T. Posted on February 14, 2012

    mind blown… how do i get those on my walls?

  • Alexx Posted on February 14, 2012

    Simply amazing…

  • Margaret Posted on February 15, 2012

    Amazing is the only word I can think of – even though it is a bit overused – it’s definitely true!

  • Samuel Posted on February 15, 2012

    The only thing that amazes me is the patience of the artist taking a huge amount of his life time trying to COPY A Photograph. Anyone with a little understanding of art knows this is a waste. The photograph is still doing a better work in representing reality and in less time . An artist should seek to do things that photograph can’t do. The impressionists already understood this in 1890’s. And not to mention the weak tone scale of some of the work showcased

  • Cleveland Posted on February 28, 2012

    not good. they sucked SOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!

  • Tom Posted on March 1, 2012

    The real artist here is the photographer. Photo-copyists are to art as typists are to a writer.

  • Tre Posted on March 5, 2012

    Unbelievable!!!! Mr. Cadden, are any of your works for sale? I would love to purchase a few. These are amazing.

  • Ebazzachini Posted on March 9, 2012

    I would like to see a video of the artist creating one of these as I am a little skeptical of the execution. However, if the drawing is as it says it is quite amazing. But do agree with what others have said, why copy a photograph? Showcase your talents of drawing things so realistically another way.

  • Foto Berlina Posted on March 19, 2012

    You are a genius – your drawings are absolutely top of the Art!
    I so love it.
    Those special abilities are rare and you are one of those really special Artists.

  • don Posted on March 19, 2012

    Are these hyperrealistic or photorealistic? How is copying a photo genius, or fantastic, or whatever?