21 astounding examples of photorealism

These drawings created from pencils, inks and paints are unbelievably photorealistic. You won't believe your eyes!

These illustrators, painters and artists have an unfathomable talent. Creating photo realistic portraits and landscapes using only a pen, pencil or brush, the attention to detail and photo realism is absolutely awe-inspiring. Take a look at our picks of the best of the bunch.

01. Richard Estes

Artist Richard Estes and an entire street scene is meticulously reflected in the glass window in Double Self-Portrait (1976)

For a masterclass in photorealism, look no further than American artist Richard Estes. One of the foremost practitioners of the late 1960s international photorealist movement, Estes primarily paints stunningly convincing urban scenes.

Estes compiles his compositions from multiple source photographs before reconstructing reality in hyper-real renderings. Look closely and you'll often see a reflective surface, such as a shop window, enhancing the scene with additional details.

02. Diego Fazio

Like most of Diego Fazio's portraits, Sensazioni was created with pencil and paper

Italian-born artist Diego Fazio, aka DiegoKoi, refined his art when he first started out by drawing koi. Years later, the water in his incredible portraits looks as though it's been caught on camera, but his artwork is, astoundingly, drawn in pencil.

03. Raphaella Spence

Raphaella Spence is a photorealist painter based in Todi, Italy

Raphaella Spence's photorealistic cityscapes and landscapes are included in private, public and corporate collections throughout America, Canada, England, Russia, Italy, Austria and Germany.

The London-born, Italy-based artist started out in still-life before developing her technical skills, and has received worldwide recognition for her stunning hyperrealistic paintings.

04. Don Jacot

Space Guns evokes a 1950s childhood

American photorealist artist Don Jacot works in acrylics, oils, gouache, watercolour and charcoal. Largely self-taught, Jacot's best known for his attention to light, colour and form, often focusing on objects with historical or cultural significance.

Space Guns, pictured here, is a striking six-foot oil-on-linen masterpiece that enlargens the toys to several times their actual size.

05. Pedro Campos

At 162x97cm, Legs is a large oil-on-canvas piece

Pedro Campos didn't begin oil painting until the age of 30. Now 49, his incredibly realistic still life shots, city and seascapes are regularly mistaken for photographs.

The Madrid-based artist lists Lucien Freud, Richard Estes, Francis Bacon, Antonio López and Anish Kapoor among his influences. He's best known for his pictorial attention to detail and a series of drinks cans and fruits wrapped in plastic sheets.

06. Rob Hefferan

examples of photorealism

Rob Hefferan mainly focuses on portrait work

Based in Cheshire, Rob Hefferan is an exceptionally talented figurative artist. Working predominantly with oil and acrylics, Hefferan focuses his photo realistic work on that of portraits. His attention to detail on the skin and folds in fabrics make his work utterly wonderful.

07. Juan Francisco Casas Ruiz

examples of photorealism

Juan Francisco Casas Ruiz creates imagery like no other

Juan Francisco Casas Ruiz is a Spaniard visual artist. He has been exhibited in New York, Miami, Chicago, Seoul, Singapore, London, Paris, Mexico and Basel as well as receiving numerous awards and national and international scholarships. His work is represented in major collections including the Museum Artium or the ABC Museum and in private collections around the world.

08. Halim Ghodbane

examples of photorealism

We love the lighting in Halim Ghodbane's work

Halim Ghodbane's attention to detail is breath-taking. His portraits are often covered in gorgeous soft lighting to highlight his impeccable brush skills. He even dabbles in celebrity portraits that never disappoint. Check out his work for some photorealistic inspiration.

09. Michael Gaskell

examples of photorealism

Michael's work is exhibited across the world

Michael's work has been the subject of five solo shows in London. He has won a number of prizes in national painting competitions and has been on the shortlist of the BP portrait award at The National Portrait Gallery on five occasions, winning second prize in 2003,2009 and 2010. His work is represented in private collections all over the world.

10. Jeremy Geddes

examples of photo realism

Fall in love with Jeremy Geddes' world

Jeremy Geddes creates other wordly and abstract photorealistic paintings. His work is so entrancing and wholly beautiful, with exquisite attention to detail. We especially love this painting due to the incredible detail in the smashed glass.

11. Adolfo Fernandez Rodriguez

photo realistic drawings

Rodriguez uses coloured pencils to create these photorealistic pieces

Focusing on hands, water and sculptures, Rodriguez's attention to detail is astonishing. The bubbles, reflections and shadows ensure that each picture is as photorealistic as possible - making for a series unlike any other we've come across.

Creating each picture using colour pencils, other work by Rodriguez mimics oil paintings. He's created an extensive range of these illustrations, so be sure to check out his Facebook page for more.

12. Roberto Bernardi

photo realism

Roberto Bernard is incredibly well-known across the world

Italian-born Roberto Bernardi is one of the most well known photorealist artists, with his art displayed around the world. Using still life pieces for his subjects, Bernardi has painted vivid and unbelievable lifelike paintings of fruit, sweets, and glass.

13. Doug Bloodworth

photo realism

Bloodworth focuses his paintings on the nostalgic aspects of childhood

American artist Doug Bloodworth enjoys evoking the viewer's nostalgic feelings of childhood, with his paintings often focusing on comic books, games and comfort foods. His oil paintings are available across a number of galleries in America.

14. Alyssa Monks

photo realism

We're absolutely gob-smacked with the attention to detail on Alyssa's work

American artist Alyssa Monks creates incredibly realistic paintings of the human form and exhibits her art across the world. Using thick strokes in delicate colour pallets, she creates filters such as glass, vinyl, water and steam to distort her subjects, usually of women bathing. The water ripples are mind-blowing!

15. Paul Cadden

photo realism

The incredible talents of Paul Cadden

When we first saw the work of 47-year-old Paul Cadden, it took a while for us to realise that they were in fact illustrations. Even more unbelievable, the hyperrealist artist used just graphite and chalk to create these stunning images. Working from photographs and video stills, Cadden's work proves if you're super-talented, all you need is the simplest of tools.

16. Michael Rider

photo realism

Another photorealistic masterpiece from artist Michael Rider

Having worked at some prestigious animation studios during his career, Rider has spent years perfecting the art of illustration. Although currently teaching drawing and animation at The Art Institute of Phoenix, Rider still regularly puts pencil or paint to paper, creating masterpieces such as the above.

17. Dan Witz

photo realism

Witz triumphs with another photorealistic crowd portrait

Dan Witz specialises in photorealistic portraits of crowds - mixing paints and pencils with some digital aspects, these drawings are truly unfathomable. The attention to detail in the folds of clothes and expressions on the faces are just priceless!

18. David Eichenberg

photo realism

No, really. This isn't a photo. We can't believe it either!

No, we can't quite believe this one either. With a vast array of photorealistic works out there, we're continuously dropping our jaws to the floor - especially with this offering from David Eichenberg. The strokes of hair and precision on the patterned jumper is mind-blowing.

19. Ralph Goings

photo realism

Ralph Goings has been creating photorealistic paintings for over 40 years

Ralph Goings is a realist painter who has exhibited in this country, Europe and Japan and is represented in museums and private collections here and abroad. He is recognized as one of the original members of the Hyper-Realist or Photo-Realist group of the late 1960s - that's right, he's been doing this for over 40 years!

20. Jason De Graaf

photo realism

We love the subtle shadows created in this photorealistic painting

Jason De Graaf explains his photorealistic strategies: "My paintings are about staging an alternate reality, an illusion of verisimilitude on the painted surface. I try to use objects as a vehicle to express myself, tell a story or least hint at something beyond what is actually painted".

21. Keng Lye

Keng Lye specialises in creating 3D animals painted in layers of resin

Ok, so Singapore-based artist Keng Lye's work is sculptural rather than 2D, but we couldn't do a round-up of the most incredible photorealistic artists and leave his 3D paintings out.

Lye's convincing sculptures are created through an unusual technique of filling bowls, buckets and other vessels with alternating layers of acrylic paint and resin, with parts protruding from the surface to add another level of dimension. Check out his goldfish...

Who's your favourite photorealistic artist? Let us know in the comments box below!

Words: Sammy Maine and Julia Sagar