A first look at these pictures will make you jump into quick conclusion that they were captured by digital cameras. Well, the eyes, hands and a ballpen have begun to produce portraits that are as good as those produced by regular cameras. These portraits were drawn by Oscar Ukonu, a self-taught Nigerian artist skilled with the ballpoint pen, in the genre of photorealism.
Drawing began as a hobby for Oscar when he was age 9, and since then he’s been busy with it, landing his first commissioned piece in 2013.
According to Oscar, “I started with the Ballpen as my medium in 2014, not because of any form of perfection as always misunderstood, but because the Ballpen was a piece of tool I felt more comfortable working with, rather than the graphite pencils I started off with. With photorealism as my genre of art, the ballpen’s definite and steady ‘ballpoint’ feature gives me more control than any other material.”
Before the ballpen meets with the plain white paper, Oscar studies every detail on his subject’s face for at least two days to help him connect with the personality, most times using their photos as wallpapers on all his devices just to keep that connection through out the drawing process.
He revealed, “This is the technique that helps me have a foresight of what the artwork will look like even before drawing, which then gives me an added ability of drawing from memory with the reference photo as my guide. Then I draw all I have seen for an average of 100 to 120 hours.”
Currently in Oscar’s portforlio are works on Prof. Chinua Achebe; former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan; Dr. Stella Adadevoh; President of Nigeria, Mohammad Buhari and a host of others, which were all inspired by how much the personalities have sacrificed, influenced and contributed to the growth and development of Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world.
He looks forward to adding more personalities to this list and exhibiting them, in order to keep honouring their selfless acts.
You can find more of Oscar’s works on his Facebook page.