Nigerian Artist Captivates Twitter with Hyperrealistic Charcoal Drawings

When you first look at a hyperrealistic drawing by Nigerian artist Chiamonwu Joy, you’ll find it hard to believe that it’s a work of fine art and not just a photo. Her ongoing series of portraits have such a convincing three-dimensional quality that they appear to be captured with a camera—as if at any moment, her subjects could seemingly come to life and walk off the paper.

So, how does Joy create her hyperrealism drawing? She opts not for graphite, but rather a charcoal pencil instead. This utensil offers her the control of a conventional pencil with the ability to achieve rich black tones that give her work roundness and depth. With super dark shadows and bright highlights, the range of tones mimics a camera’s flash to produce the illusion of reality.

Once you see Joy’s work in progress, you’ll have no doubt about her amazing artistic skills. The internet is blown away by her abilities, too. One of her latest tweets sharing her work has gone viral; it’s earned over 83,000 retweets and more than 180,000 likes from people around the world praising her drawings.

Nigerian artist Chiamonwu Joy creates hyperrealistic drawings that look so real, you might think these people are going to walk off the page.

Joy uses charcoal pencils to produce her portraits. Here’s a look at her process:

The artist recently gained a great deal of attention on Twitter for her incredible charcoal pencil drawings.

People on Twitter couldn't believe the talent this young woman possessed and needed her to know how in awe they were.

Joy then took the time out to thank the thousands of people who helped make her work go viral.

Chiamonwu Joy: Instagram | Twitter

All images via Chiamonwu Joy.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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