Self-Taught Nigerian Artist Draws Ultra-Realistic Portraits Just Using Bic Ballpoint Pens on Paper

Insider visited with Oscar Okonu, an incredibly talented artist in Nigeria who creates ultra-realistic portraits using just a Bic ballpoint pen, a piece of paper, and his self-taught artistic techniques. Okonu, who specializes in ideas surrounding Afrorealism, takes his time with each piece in order to ensure each detail is as he sees it in his mind’s eye.

Each piece can take him almost six weeks to create using three basic techniques: hatching, crosshatching, and scribbling. He’ll switch between 10 of the same pens to create the portrait. The theme of his work is Afro-realism, which he describes as a diverse way of viewing the African experience and identity with regards to things like gender, religion, and politics.