16-year-old Shania McDonagh recently took home the top prize of the 60th Texaco Children’s Art Competition, an art competition for young people held in Ireland every year. Known for her incredibly detailed and hyperrealistic portraits, the young artist has won first place in her age category four years in a row (check out those works below), but this year marks the first time she’s also received the overall top prize.
Looking at her artwork, titled Coleman and based on a photograph of a fisherman by James Fennell, it’s easy to see why the judges chose to award McDonagh first place. Using just graphite pencils, the artist created a stunning drawing that is hyperrealistic in every minute detail, from the texture of the man’s weathered skin, to the light dancing in his eyes, to the stubble that dots his cheeks and chin. It’s amazing to think that any artist could produce such a lifelike portrait, let alone one who hasn’t even finished school.
McDonagh says she has been drawing for as long as she can remember. “I spend most of my free time at it,” she says, “I might have two or three drawings going at the same time.” This piece in particular took her a month to complete.