Monica Lee was a digital artist for 12 years before making the switch to an analog way of working. Now, she uses pencil to create complex portraits of people, animals, and still lifes. They are stunning, photorealistic images that capture details like faded freckles, coarse beard hair, and the subtle weave of a shirt. Lee uses a combination of tools, including smudging sticks, to build the illusion of a 3D form; it results in a nice sense of balance in the work. While she concentrates on very tactile textures, she also takes the time to blend soft, diffused grays as well.
Lee admires photography and grew up appreciating the value of photos. Plus, her dad works in the field, so it's one reason why she prefers to draw this way. Photorealism also presents a challenge – the artist enjoys trying to depict as many details as possible. So, look carefully at Lee's drawings and prepare to get lost in all of their small, gorgeous intricacies.