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Powerful Portraits of Black Men and Women Are Drawn Using Only Ballpoint Pens

Ballpoint Drawings by Patrick Onyekwere

Nigerian artist Patrick Onyekwere proves that you don't need expensive materials to create exquisite works of art. He uses the ubiquitous ballpoint pen to draw portraits in hyperrealistic detail. Their stunning three-dimensionality is immediately eye-catching; from the creases on the lips to the pores of the skin to the gleam in the eyes, no attention to detail has been spared.

Onyekwere has created a series called Circles of Hope that focuses on depicting the lives of Black men and women as “an endless maze” that is full of “twists and turns.” The incredibly realistic renderings represent more than just the artist's skill. “I draw inspiration from identity and how identity plays a role in expression,” Onyekwere explains to My Modern Met.

The gifted artist spends countless hours refining the texture of his subject's skin with numerous feather-light lines in order to slowly achieve a photorealistic quality. “[My] favorite aspect of my drawing is the eyes,” he admits. “They mirror some of our deepest desires, fears, inhibitions, perceptions, thoughts, [and] most of which we are unconsciously aware of.” Onyekwere wants to lure the viewer into his hyperrealistic art to understand the emotional subtext hidden in his portraits.

Scroll down to see more brilliant ballpoint pen art by Onyekwere and follow him on Instagram and Twitter to keep up to date with his latest creations.

Nigerian artist Patrick Onyekwere uses a ballpoint pen to create exquisite hyperrealistic portraits.

Ballpoint Drawings by Patrick Onyekwere

His series Circles of Hope depicts black men and women's lives as “an endless maze” that is full of “twists and turns.”

Ballpoint Drawings by Patrick Onyekwere

Ballpoint Drawings by Patrick Onyekwere

Ballpoint Drawings by Patrick Onyekwere

Ballpoint Drawings by Patrick Onyekwere

Ballpoint Drawings by Patrick Onyekwere

Watch this video for insight into Onyekwere's process:

Patrick Onyekwere: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Patrick Onyekwere.

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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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