Patience and attention to detail is essential to artist Cindy Chinn’s work as she fastidiously carves unique miniature sculptures out of pencil lead. Chinn was first inspired by the desire to enter something different in the Annual Miniature show, where she had previously submitted clay sculptures. Last year, she decided to change her medium to graphite to see how her art would fare, and her experiment quickly became an internet fascination.
Chinn began by experimenting with different tools and discovered that Exacto blades worked best for removing the bulk inside pencils, and used tiny needles to perfect details. To capture the most microscopic of changes, she would take micro photos to compare the before and after.
Each sculpture stands less than 0.25 inches on their own, with some as small as 0.18 inches, and can take anywhere from 3 to 4 hours to complete. More meticulous pieces, such as the carpenter’s pencil that was turned into a tiny train, trestle, and bridge, took over 9 hours to perfect. “There are a lot of talented graphite carvers out there who have inspired me, I only hope that people find inspiration and appreciation in my work as well!” she humbly shares.
Follow Chinn’s artistic process on her blog, and visit her Etsy page to explore a variety of lead sculptures, designs, and finishes. Subjects range from animals to Converse shoes to automobiles. She is happy to customize her artwork and is proud of each individual piece that has been created.
Here are more of Chinn’s pencil carving creations:
All images via Cindy Chinn.