From afar, it may seem like the artworks of Eli Wudufa Yusuf are black and white photographs, but in fact, each one is a hyperrealistic charcoal drawing. The Nigeria-based artist became an internet sensation in 2019 when he shared a portrait of comedian Kevin Hart on Twitter, hoping that his idol would see it. Unsurprisingly, the American was floored when he came across the piece and offered to purchase the drawing and commission portraits for other celebrities. Since then, Yusuf has continued making captivating charcoal art that looks just like his subjects.
“Through art, I am able to create a world that competes with the camera and amazes people,” the artist says on his website. “I identify as a hyperrealism charcoal artist, although I occasionally implement the use of other mediums such as graphite, pen, and colored pencils.” His large-scale drawings capture every detail of his subjects, from the textures of different fabrics to the luminous quality of the skin. Yusuf expertly blends charcoal on the paper to render these various hues.
While his process can take numerous hours, the results are worth it. Each hyperrealistic piece is impressive on its own, but when the model poses beside it and the viewer is able to see the resemblance between the two-dimensional drawing and the real thing, it puts Yusuf's masterful skills in perspective. The same can be said for his portraits of other famous celebrities, such as Steve Harvey and Tiffany Haddish.
Nigeria-based artist Eli Wuduba Yusuf creates hyperrealistic drawings of people.
He primarily renders these portraits with charcoal, occasionally incorporating other media like graphite and pen.
The finished art bears a remarkable likeness to their subject.
Yusuf first rose to fame with his portrait of American comedian Kevin Hart, which he made in 2019.
Yusuf tagged Hart on Twitter and was surprised when the American responded.
My name is Eli Waduba Yusuf
Am a Nigerian, based in kaduna. Am a hyperrealism PENCIL Artist, I hope to become like @Harinzeyart. Please Retweet, let @KevinHart4real see it, thank you pic.twitter.com/oYYUQxbK5e
— Eli Waduba (@EliWaduba) February 25, 2019
I see it and I want to purchase it…I also want to support you and your amazing talent by giving you a fee to do a pencil drawing of 3 of my celebrity friends that I can gift it to. DM your info and let’s get to work! https://t.co/ImOYa0UNlL
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) February 27, 2019