The Photo-Like Charcoal and Graphite Drawings of Robert Longo

New York-based artist Robert Longo creates detailed charcoal drawings that look amazingly photo-like. If you thought your sketches were pretty good, wait till you see what this guy can do.

You know when you look at a photo and you say to yourself “this looks too good to be true”? Most of the time Photoshop is to blame, but Robert Longo decided to create his own black and white photographs, the hard way. Instead of a few mouse clicks, he uses charcoal, graphite and paper, spending hours-on-end to create incredibly realistic works of art. You don’t need to be an expert to figure out Longo is an exceptional artist, but he has captured the attention of the art world, and his works have been exhibited in galleries around the world.

Brooklin-born Robert Longo grew up in Long Island,  fascinated with mass media like movies, television, magazines, and comic books, and they continue to influence his art. Drawing has always been his favorite form of his expression, but the years he spent studying sculpture show in the distinctive chiseled line of his works that gives subjects a three-dimensional look.

To create his fascinating drawings, Longo starts by projecting photos of his subjects onto a paper canvas and traces their figures with graphite, removing the background entirely. After he completes the basic contours, he has an illustrator work on the figure for about a week, after which he uses charcoal and graphite to refine the image to a point where you can’t really tell if it’s a photo or a very good drawing. This final cosmetic work also takes about a week to complete.

If you’re into hyperrealistic drawings, be sure to check out Paul Cadden’s graphite artworks, they are simply mind-blowing.







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