These are drawings, NOT photographs
An artist has drawn such life-like portraits of celebrities using just a pencil you’d be forgiven for thinking they were photographs.
Amy Winehouse, Tinie Tempah and Mother Teresa are just some of the celebrities that have been immortalised in Kelvin Okafor’s art.
The 27-year-old, from, north London, spends an average of 80 to 100 hours on each portrait.
Painstakingly capturing every detail of the subject’s face using just a pencil, paper and a bit of charcoal, Kelvin works for four hours without a break to get in the zone.
Kelvin said: ‘Before I start drawing, I spend a few hours — even a few days — analysing the face from every angle. I usually start with the eyes. From there, I make the whole shape of the face and I work in the detail.
Looking at the pictures, it’s almost impossible to spot a pencil line, such is the attention to detail.
His artworks are now so popular he’s been given his own exhibition space at London’s Science Museum, and his drawings are going for up to $20,000 for each piece.
He had recently been commissioned to draw a portrait of King Hussein of Jordan for the late monarch’s widow, Queen Noor.
But the future didn’t always look so bright for the Middlesex University graduate.
Growing up in one of the country’s poorest areas meant Kelvin faced a childhood where money was always an issue.
When he was 11 his family home was repossessed and they spent the next three years moving around between relatives’ homes.
As a teenager in Tottenham he was often too poor to leave his house, so sought refuge in drawing when other friends were going out drinking and clubbing.
He said: ‘When I draw, I’m doing something I love. I lose myself in my art. Time doesn’t matter to me.’
Another great pleasure was seeing his dad get emotional when his local TV news interviewed him recently.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen my dad cry before. But he cried when he saw me and my art on the TV. And my mum. Everyone was emotional. I was crying.
“It makes me feel happy to know I am making my family proud. That means the most to me. It makes me want to work harder and do more.”
by Debbie Dot