Would You Believe These Were DRAWN by an 18-Year-Old?

Rajacenna is an 18-year-old self-taught artist from the Netherlands who draws the most realistic portraits I have ever seen, using only pencils.

I’m a big fan of realistic drawings, and I’ve previously featured amazing works like the pencil drawings of Paul Lung, the ballpoint pen portraits of Juan Francisco Casas, or Cristina Penescu’s detailed scratchboard masterpieces, but at only 18 years of age Rajacenna is in a league of her own. Born in 1993, she started modelling for various Dutch companies when she was only 4, and at 5 years old she made her first appearance on television. She starred in films, soap-operas and tv-series and at 12 she became the host of Kinderjournaal, the first Dutch web-tv for kids.

She only took up drawing in 2009, and although she had never taken any art classes she produced some stunning pieces. Rajacenna was immediately approached by an American publisher who wanted to feature her drawings in a book called ‘American pencil portraits 2″ which contained drawings by some of the most talented people in the art world. She became a professional artist at the age of 17 and has since then created incredibly realistic portraits of celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber. On her official website it says “according to experts, there is nobody at such a young age with such a talent for drawing realistic portraits like she does.” and looking at her works I’m inclined to agree.

When she first started drawing, Rajacenna would complete one of her pieces in about 20 minutes, but the more her skills improved the longer it took her to finish her increasingly detailed masterpieces. Now, finishing a single drawing can take around 40 hours or more. This is one of the reasons why the young talented artist is currently on a break from drawing. On her Deviant page it says she has worked really hard in the past year and her left hand needed some rest, but she will start work on some new drawings soon, and she says her skills have improved a lot since she last posted videos of herself “in action”. Not much more room for improvement, if you ask me, but then again, I’m not an artist…







Feedback (62 Comments)

  • Tariq Posted on December 5, 2011

    How about you put your talents into actual good use in the art-world and stop drawing bullshit pictures of celebrities.
    Talent in drawing: A+
    Talent in creativity: F

  • leu Posted on December 5, 2011


    Exactly… that video does not show any kind of actual artistic technique that i know of… these things my 10 year old brother can do. However, he draws things he creates, he doesn’t copy photos of images of celebrities that are burned into his brain because of tv addiction.

    I only know anything about photorealistic drawing from an animators perspective, but i know that you draw the shapes before the shading unless your tracing.

  • Harley Posted on January 22, 2012

    Age never matters with art, and it’s sad this article focuses on her being “just 18″…

    I have to agree with some of the other artists on here. It is very easy to draw hyper-realism from photographs. But this girl seems to be trying to do work without straight out copying photographs–and some of it is absolutely beautiful.

    Her other work: http://rajacenna.deviantart.com/

  • caligirl13 Posted on January 27, 2012

    Harley – thing is, all of her “creative” works she still photoshops. If you compare her realistic pictures to her “colored pencil” drawings you can even tell that filters were applied to photos and everything. Where are her videos of drawing those? Why are there only pictures of her holding the completed drawings but nothing else like WIPs, and even then the completed drawings only from a far away view? If you compare her pictures in graphite to the “fantasy” ones there are just too many stylistic discrepancies. It’s all very very sketchy. Even on her website, if you look up her gallery there are pictures she hasn’t posted on her dA because they match up perfectly with pictures searched on Tineye.com. EXACTLY. this is just so disgusting. She’s soiling the good name of art. :/

  • Siera Posted on February 8, 2012

    Stop criticizing and give the girl some props. I think she has alot of talent. What she chooses to draw should mean nothing to no one else. I wish her all the best!

  • Sara Posted on February 15, 2012

    Her drawing is very real, there’s no doubt that she has talent. Like, good for her. But on her website it says “According to experts, there is nobody at such a young age with such a talent for drawing realistic portraits like she does”. Now that kind of pisses me off a little. Because there are plenty of talented kids out there who are younger than she is. I’m not saying I’m that good, because I don’t draw portraits but I can do something that accurate and with a little more practice I could be just as good as her and I’m younger. She is not the only one. Also, if you take a look at her site, the drawings she did on her own WITHOUT looking at a photo.. are not. that. good. Drawing from a photo is no real talent and has no originality.. I guess that’s what makes me so mad that she gets so much attention.

  • Gigi Posted on March 1, 2012

    This is absolutely amazing! I wish i could draw like this!

  • Colleen Posted on March 1, 2012

    Amazing skills. It would be nice to see her create some art rather than Pop Star portraits.

  • cameron Posted on March 4, 2012

    why is it unbelieveable that an 18 year old would be able to do something like that. a select group in my art class in 10th grade can draw just as amazingly as she can. if she was like 10 i could understand.

    not saying she doesnt have talent for it but at 18 she has had the opportunity to go through many classes…. Just sayin’

  • Sara Posted on March 8, 2012

    While these drawings are remarkable replications, this girl demonstrates absolutely no creativity. All most any artist can replicate a picture. I drew Keira Knightley my senior year of high school from a photo (and I did it in full color), but I believe the true mark of an artist is being able to create something original in their own style and have it be as detailed and realistic as something drawn from a photo. This is something I’m still working on.

    Create art. Don’t just recreate portraits!

    Also, Jolie looks cross-eyed.

  • turner Posted on March 8, 2012

    Cameron, i can hardly believe some 16 yr olds can draw that well, unless they had autism. just sayin’.