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Images of the Day
These Amazing Images Look Like Black & White Photos But They’re Not
January 30, 2013
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Amy Winehouse

When we saw these images, we were simply blown away.

As much as they look like photos, they're not. They're actually pencil drawings. The artist is a British fella named Kelvin Okafor.

Incredibly, he creates these drawings using graphite pencils, charcoal, black coloured pencil and sometimes grey pastels.

Nelson Mandela

For each sketch, he spends a few days studying a photo - concentrating mostly on the subject's eyes.

But when it comes time to draw, he works mostly from memory - often, up to 15 hours a day.

Princess Diana

Each drawing takes him about 100 hours to do, over the course of three weeks in his studio.

The genre is called photo realism.

Heath Ledger

In a Daily Mail story, Okafor says "I aspire to create art as vivid as eyes could see."

He goes on to say "I want my drawings to prompt an emotional response, making viewers feel as though they are looking at a real live subject.

"I've always been creative, but fell in love with using pencils in particular. It amazed me, that with only one shade of lead, you can create so many tones and textures, and almost create the illusion of colour."

He's also made videos to show how each sketch is created. This one shows the evolution of his drawing of Elizabeth Taylor.

Okafor's work has been shown at a number of major art galleries and won a series of national awards in Britain.

This drawing of the late King Hussein of Jordan is being given to Queen Noor this week.

King Hussein of Jordan

Okafor is 27, and graduated from Middlesex University with a degree in Fine Art in 2009.

Since then, he's been living at home in Tottenham in north London with his mom and dad mastering his craft.

"At first, me trying to pursue this career, (my parents) were a bit afraid of it not being very lucrative for me to make a living out of it," Okafor told the BBC.

"But they've been extremely supportive and it's helped me a lot to build my confidence."


His sketches go for about $15,000 each. And not all of his subjects are famous. He's done drawings of family and friends, even his friend's dog Storm.


His work is currently showing at the The Watercolours and Works on Paper Fair at the London Science Museum, until February 3.

You can see more of Okafor's sketches, including Mother Theresa, Rihanna and Corinne Bailey Rae on the Daily Mail's website.

On his blog, he also has photos showing the evolution of a subject named Mana. You can see the entire sequence by clicking here.

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