Hyperrealistic Pencil Portraits Look Like Photographs

Hyperrealistic Drawings by Emma Towers-Evans

UK-based artist Emma Towers-Evans brings her subjects to life in hyperrealistic portraits using only graphite and charcoal. Each one is so meticulously drawn that it can easily be confused with a black and white photograph.

As a self-taught artist, she has been honing her skills in pencil drawing since her teenage years. Now, she is well known for rendering portraits in mind-boggling detail. The finished works resemble black-and-white photographs of the subjects, containing the fine texture of the skin, hair, and even makeup.”Each drawing takes somewhere in the region of 60-110 hours to complete, and I estimate there can be anywhere between 200,000 to 500,000 individual pencil strokes making up each drawing,” Towers-Evans tells My Modern Met.

Her step-by-step photos demonstrate how the artist applies graphite in numerous layers to achieve the amazing level of depth that makes her portraits so mesmerizing to look at. “I consider myself a hyperrealist,” Towers-Evans continues. “Hyperrealism aims to go beyond a photograph in some way, perhaps adding more detail than the photo contained or adjusting elements of the image in some way. I personally tend to improvise many of the details in my portraits, using references as a guide and taking the textures in my own direction.”

By relying on graphite as her principal medium, she hopes that her drawings are more relatable to all kinds of viewers, artistically-inclined or not. “Everyone knows what a pencil is, has one, and knows how it works,” she adds. “My work explores a range of themes, but always with the aim of creating a thought-provoking connection between the observer of the art and the subject of the drawing.”

You can purchase prints via Towers-Evans' online store, and keep up to date with her latest projects by following the artist on Instagram.

Artist Emma Towers-Evans creates hyperrealistic drawings entirely with graphite and charcoal.

Emma Towers-Evans: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Emma Towers-Evans.

This article has been edited and updated.

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. She wrote and illustrated an instructional art book about how to draw cartoons titled 'Cartooning Made Easy: Circle, Triangle, Square' that was published by Walter Foster in 2022.
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