The Picture-Perfect Pencil Portraits of Natasha Kinaru

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Natasha Kinaru is a beautiful, young Russian artist whose pencil and pastel drawings of celebrities are incredibly realistic. So realistic, that they are often confused with digitally ‘enhanced’ photographs.

“I am inspired by people, so different, beautiful, interesting, mysterious, bright, talented,” said 21-year-old Natasha. “Drawing allows you to see them closer, try to guess the character, to convey mood, emotion. If it works – a portrait (is) alive, looking at it you can see the spark in his eyes and painted soul of the artist.” Some of her most popular drawings feature subjects like Benedict Cumberbatch (as Sherlock Holmes), Daniel Craig, Jim Parsons (of The Big Bang Theory fame) and Leonard Nimoy (Spock in the original Star Trek series).

Natasha said that she doesn’t draw for fame. In fact, anyone can sit down with her for a chat and even pick up a few tips on sketching. She makes her drawings using a complicated technique that involves layers. Using pencils of different softness, she creates tones, then draws the small details, completes the background shading and aligns the last layer. The end result is a character that is so alive and eyes that are so penetrating it’s almost impossible to believe it’s all done by hand, with pencils.

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This Portrait of Morgan Freeman Is Actually a Finger Painting Done on an iPad

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26-year-old iPad artist Kyle Lambert has created an ultra-realistic finger painting of Hollywood star Morgan Freeman. If you put Lambert’s painting and Freeman’s photograph side-by-side, it’s almost impossible to tell them apart. The features are practically lifelike, down to the last freckle.

The British artist from Cheshire took one month and used 285,000 finger strokes on his iPad to complete the painting. He used an application called Procreate that allowed him to zero-in and layer his work. Using the app’s features, he reduced the brush size to only a few pixels for extra precision. This enabled him to zoom in to apply stroke after stroke, producing the amazing, photo-like portrait.

Lambert says that Procreate was crucial to his finger painting process. “It captures every brush stroke automatically and you can export it to the camera roll,” he explains. “It has the best canvas size and video export. It’s the most like Photoshop.”

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David Foster’s Amazing Hammered-Nail Portraits

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Who would have ever thought that fine art could be created out of something as crude as a hammer and a bunch of nails? I’ve seen several art forms made using Pointillism before, but former architect David Foster’s work is quite unique. At first glance, it’s hard to believe that his breathtaking portraits were once a plain box of nails.

David’s art covers a range of subjects: celebrities, animals, flowers and get this – even a hammer and nail! The level of precision and realism in his art is a result of years of practicing and perfecting his technique. On his website he says, “I have always been fascinated with how little information the brain needs to interpret a picture.” He loves the simplicity of a picture just made out of dots.

When he started making portraits, David worked only with ink. He began experimenting with nails only in the past couple of years. He starts with a photograph of the subject, which he painstakingly reproduces by stippling with an ink pen. He enlarges the inked drawing to mark out where the nails go. Then the nailing begins, and many thousands of nails later, the piece is complete. On an average, his smaller drawings number about 5,000 nails, while larger ones can have as many as 30,000. David’s prize winning piece made from 16,000 nails is called Lashes and Nails.

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Michael Volpicelli’s Incredible Word Art

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Young American artist Michael Volpicelli specializes in creating detailed portraits of people and animals exclusively out of written words related to them. After serving in Iraq and suffering a serious back injury, Volpicelli says art helped him recover and now he wants to share his talent with the world.

Ever since he was just a child, Michael Volpicelli loved to draw. While still in junior high-school, he enrolled in college courses to improve his drawing skills, and even though it was nerve-racking being the youngest person in the classroom, he says the experience really helped him flourish as an artist. During college, Michael started attending a fine arts school and an artistic career as an artist seemed like the only logical next step in his life. But then September 11 happened, and instead of pursuing his dream of becoming an artist, he ended up in war-torn Iraq. But even in this hostile environment, the talented young man couldn’t stay away from art. He started designing certificates of appreciation, and creating works of art for his Sergeant Major’s, drill sergeants, and even fellow soldiers. He was the “combat artist” of his infantry division. After leaving the Army and suffering a major back injury, Michael Volpicelli used art to help him recover. He enrolled into Oklahoma State University and studied fine arts. Today he uses his talent for drawing to create all kinds of beautiful artworks, but his forté is definitely word art.

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Incredibly Detailed Portraits Created Exclusively with Black Ink Dots

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Armed with nerves of steels, artist Pablo Jurado Ruiz creates incredibly detailed portraits by adding thousands of tiny ink dots to a white canvas. Talking about his creative approach, he explains: “With a creative concept based primarily on human representation, I try to tell stories through a minimalist and subtle vision. My current work is focuses on a simple but realistic drawing and worked in an impressionist technique, complex and very accurate as pointillism or stippling art. “

Born in 1973, in Malaga, Spain, Pablo fell in love with graphics at a very early age, after discovering American and European comics. Later, while studying art history and artists like Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Georges Pierre Seurat, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, he became fascinated with painting. Today, Pablo Jurado Ruiz is known for his ultra-realistic portraits done with techniques like pointillism and stippling. The Spanish artist uses countless black dots on a white piece of paper to create amazing works of art inspired by his favorite themes: love, disappointment, nature and childhood.

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Ken Delmar, the Artist Who Paints on Paper Towels

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Paper towel painting is a popular children’s learning activity, but American artist Ken Delmar is determined to turn it into a proper art form. For the last eight months, he has been using the flimsy kitchen disposables as canvases for detailed and vibrantly colored artworks.

71-year-old Ken Delmar has been painting most of his life, but he never imagined he would one day be exercising his artistic talents on paper towels instead of the linen canvas he normally used. The Connecticut-based artist had the epiphany one evening in early January of this year, while preparing to close his studio. He was using a paper towel to clean his brushes and knives when  he noticed the paint on the fragile paper looked more brilliant and energetic than the one he had spent so much time spreading on a regular canvas. He figured it was because the paint was being absorbed by the paper which gave it more depth and layers of richness, and started thinking of ways of ways to prevent the colors from blending into one another, or have them blend in an interesting way. He experimented with various paper towel brands and different consistency oil paints, until he found the perfect combination. The colors were astonishing and the unusual canvas made his works “edgy and different”.

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The Incredibly Lifelike Charcoal Portraits of Douglas McDougall

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Scottish artist Douglas McDougall uses charcoal, sandpaper and scalpel blades to create his amazingly realistic portraits of friends and people he finds interesting.

Douglas McDougall learned how to draw as a child to pass the time while going in and out of hospitals with a blood disease. He spent countless hours in hospital wards trying to draw his surroundings, and the experience fueled his passion for art. In his younger years, the 50-year-old artist used to do a lot of pen and ink illustration work during the night, after coming home from his day job, but eventually settled on charcoal as his medium of choice. “The immediacy of applying that blackness and the way in which it’s sucked into a white ground /paper/ forever excited me with a glorious kick of absoluteness”, the artist says, and after getting his hands on Conté compressed charcoal for the first time and discovering its power there was no going back. Today he uses various kinds of charcoal along with unusual art tools like sandpaper and sharp blades to create some of the most detailed hyper-realistic portraits I have ever seen.

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Talented Artist Carves Layered Portraits into Pieces of Cardboard

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English artist Giles Oldershaw has a very unique talent. He can take discarded pieces of cardboard, the kind pizza boxes are made of, and turn them into amazing portraits of celebrities like Marilyn Monroe or Marlon Brando using only the cardboard’s layers to highlight their features.

58-year-old Giles Oldershaw is not the world’s first artist to choose cardboard as his favorite medium. Renowned artist Chris Gilmour has been building detailed cardboard landscapes for years, and Scott Fife’s realistic cardboard busts have won him international acclaim, but Giles sets himself apart through his unique creative process. He begins by drawing the outlines of his portraits on a piece of cardboard with a pencil, then uses an assortment of tools like tweezers, scalpels and scissors to remove certain layers of corrugation, card and protective coating to give his artworks more depth. The actor-turned-artist says no ink, paint or charcoal of any kind is used to highlight the facial features of his subjects. From a distance, Oldershaw’s portraits resemble sepia paintings, but on closer inspection, the images reveal the high level of technical skill involved in their creation.

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French Artist Creates Amazing Portraits from Liquid, Solid and Powdered Foods

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World, meet Vivi Mac, an amazing artist from France who can use virtually any kind of food to create detailed celebrity portraits. Although she has yet to display her ephemeral masterpieces in an proper art gallery, Vivi Mac has already made a name for herself online.

We’ve featured some amazing food artists on Oddity Central in the past, but none quite like this one. Karen Eland is a master coffee painter, Elisabetta Rogai uses wine as her medium, Kelly McCollam uses spices and food coloring to recreate classic paintings, but the self-taught Vivi Mac can take anything from chewing gum, to milk or crème brûlée and turn it  into an awe-inspiring portrait.  When working with liquids, Mac uses a simple plastic straw and her hands to guide the unusual mediums around a plastic tray which acts as a canvas. Just how she manages to capture the finest facial features is still a mystery to me, and I’ve seen videos of her doing it dozens of times.

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Scottish Chef Takes Celebrity Pizza Art to Another Level

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Domenico Crolla, pizza master extraordinaire and owner of award-winning restaurant Bella Napoli, specializes in amazingly detailed celebrity portraits made exclusively with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce on a pizza dough canvas.

Domenico’s career as a pizza artist began with the face of legendary action film star Bruce Lee. After receiving a “thank you” message from the late actor’s daughter, the pizzaiolo felt inspired to pursue his new hobby and create other edible celebrity portraits. Today his extensive collection numbers portraits of classic icons like Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra as well as delicious depictions of contemporary pop stars like Rihanna, Beyoncé or Robbie Williams. And he still receives thanks from them quite often. ”The pizza for me is like high-fashion: a custom-made suit made by experienced and capable tailors, using fine fabrics and attention to detail,” Crolla says. And he definitely puts a lot of time and effort into each of his pizza artworks. He doesn’t use any kind of computer-generated images for his designs, preferring to place every ingredient on the pizza dough by hand until he gets it right. The most amazing thing about Domenico Crolla’s portraits is they look better when cooked.

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Malaysian Artist Makes Celebrity Portraits from Scribbles

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For the average illustrator, scribbling isn’t the best way to create realistic-looking portraits. But then again, Vince Low isn’t your average illustrator. The Malaysian artist somehow manages to produce impeccable portraits of some of Hollywood’s greatest actors using only childish scribbles.

The lead illustrator of Malaysian advertising agency, Grey, Vince Low has an impressive portfolio of stunning artworks, but his latest portrait series, called Faces, is particularly eye-catching. That’s because the stunning depictions of stars like Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Will Smith or Leonardo Di Caprio were all done exclusively with scribbles on blank white canvases. Most people would have a hard time capturing their unique features using classic drawing techniques, but he creates highly accurate facial representation just by overlapping thousands of swirling lines. Amazing or what?

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Talented Illustrator Doodles Photo-Realistic Ballpoint Pen Portraits

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Doodling may not seem like the right word to describe Jacob Everett’s detailed artworks, but he does in fact use overlapping elliptical patterns to create incredibly realistic portraits of celebrities and homeless people from the streets of Bradford.

“I am a portrait artist working with biro on paper,” Jacob describes his technique. “I produce large-scale portraits using an intricate technique of overlapping elliptical marks, which gradually build to represent the subtle contours of the face. In common with digital images, my works, close up, appear as thousands of tiny ‘pixels’. When viewed from a distance they reveal the subtleties and nuances of individual character.” Using loops to accentuate the tiniest features of the subject’s face is a time-consuming process, and the 23-year-old illustrator spends several weeks on a single piece, concentrating on one section of their visage at a time. The finished product is always an awe-inspiring masterpiece that viewed from up-close looks like a sea of tiny pixels, but from afar reveals all the subtle contours of the person’s face.

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Food Artist Creates Edible Beyonce Portrait from 3780 Oreo Pops

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To celebrate Beyonce’s recent return to a UK stage, after the Glastonbury festival in 2011, Oreo commissioned food artist Michelle Wibowo to create a tasty portrait of the popular singer from nearly 4,000 Oreo pops.

For those of you who don’t yet know about Oreo pops, they’re are delicious treats made from crushed Oreo cookies mixed with Philadelphia cream cheese. Michelle enlisted the help of former Atomic Kitten member Jenny Frost and her son Casper to celebrate Beyonce’s return by making a scrumptious portrait of her from 3780 Oreo pops of different consistencies. The edible artwork required six weeks of careful planning, and crushing the cookies, mixing them with the cream cheese, rolling every single pop by hand and placing them at the exact right place to create the detailed image needed another eight hours of work. The five foot by eight foot portrait numbered  2244 dark pops and 1536 lighter pops. “When I was asked to create a pop icon portrait using just Oreo pops, new mum and superstar Beyoncé seemed the natural choice,” Michelle Wibowo said about the project. “It took a long time to map the exact position for each pop and create a recognizable likeness, but the hardest part of the process was trying not to eat it!”As a huge Oreo fan, I can relate…Beyonce however, can’t. The former Destiny’s Child lead singer is said to have banned junk food from her global tour, as she turned to healthy snacks such as almonds and oatcakes to maintain her tone figure. More junk food for the rest of us, I guess…

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Needle-Poked Canvas Holes Reveal Beautiful Portraits

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Tel-Aviv-based artist Michal Taharlev creates stunningly-beautiful artworks inspired by old family photos without using brushes or writing tools. Armed only with a sharp needle and mountains of patience, she pokes the canvas thousands of times to reveal heart-warming images.

Inspired by pointilism, the painting technique that uses dots to trick the eye into making up a detailed image, Israeli artist Michal Taharlev used an 0.5mm needle and methodically poked holes in canvases to create her “Holes in Memory” series. Focusing on the details of old family photographs, she managed to recreate the original images in a gradient-like fashion. “The use of a needle on a photo and the violent act of damaging and obsessing over memories, yet in a very strict manner, gives a new meaning to the innocence and the unknown future the photos hold,” the artist says. I can only imagine the patience and concentration required to complete just one of these incredible works of art, as just a few miscalculated holes can ruin days-worth of painstaking work.

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The Photographic Pencil-Drawn Portraits of Franco Clun

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Italian artist Franco Clun uses only pencil and paper to create these incredibly realistic portraits that can easily be mistaken for photographs. Believe it or not, he’s a self-taught drawing master who has never studied art…

I’ve always found hyperrealism fascinating, and the collection of articles on this amazing art genre that I’ve posted on Oddity Central throughout the years is proof of that. I never get tired of looking at drawings and paintings so masterfully executed that they resemble high-resolution photos, and I consider myself lucky whenever I discover the works of truly gifted artists, like Franco Clun. The Italian-born master of the pencil says he has never taken art classes and that everything he knows he learned from experience and from reading some drawing manuals. I guess you can say he’s living proof that practice makes perfect, and that following your passions in life can truly lead to amazing things. Although he has had to take a long break from drawing to dedicate himself to other things, his love for graphite remained strong, and now he’s wielding his trusty pencils again to create marvelous works of art.

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