This Shockingly Realistic Pencil Portrait Was Drawn by a 16-Year-Old

This pencil portrait of an old man looks unbelievably realistic, down to the reflection in the pupils, and it’s hard to believe that it was actually drawn by a teenager. For her incredible masterpiece, 16-year-old artist Shania McDonagh won the top prize at this year’s Texaco Children’s Art Competition. She was judged the best in the senior age category, for students aged 16 to 18 years old.

Texaco Children’s Art Competition is an art contest held for kids in Ireland, every year since 1955. Shania, a student at Mount St. Michael Secondary School in Claremorris, has been taking part in the contest for the past four years. And you won’t believe this – she has won the first prize in her age category every single time. According to Professor Delan McGonagle, the chairman of the judging panel, Shania is a ‘young artist of exceptional skill and ability among the many talented artists in the competition.’ He also added that Shania’s work has established her as one of the most talented artists of her generation, whose skill could see her become one of Ireland’s foremost portrait artists of the future.


Shania is known for her painstaking eye for detail. Her entry to the contest this year was a close up facial study in pencil, titled ‘Coleman’. She portrayed her subject with an extraordinary life-like detail. In spite of her brilliant sketch, winning the contest was a tough job for Shania. She was up against stiff competition from thousands of other Irish students. For her incredible talent, Shania won a prize-money of $2,075, which she will be receiving a prize-giving ceremony at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, alongside the other 126 winners.


McDonagh, who has been painting and drawing for as long as she can remember, sayd that this year’s award-winning artwork took her six months to complete.


Above is another photo-realistic painting by Shania Mcdonagh, and below to early drawings that, though impressive, show just how far she’s come. And at just 16-years-old, one has to wonder how much better can this young artist get?


Sources: This Is Colossal, Interrete