Last Updated on January 18, 2018
We all use pens every day. We use them to jot down notes, doodle a rocket ship or write a grocery list. But Samuel Silva is using pens for something far more impressive. Silva makes artwork that can barely, if at all, be differentiated from a photo.
Silva is a Portuguese lawyer. Hardly the first person you’d expect to be putting out amazing photorealistic art. He says his art takes up to 50 hours, for a single piece. But just looking at his art for a moment and you realize that 50 hours seems impossibly short for the amount of beauty and detail he has included. Silva’s DeviantArt page proudly proclaims, “It’s not about what you use, it’s about how you use it.” A simple proclamation from someone who takes a basic medium and makes something beautiful. Silva also says pens are just one of the mediums he’s trying to master. It seems as if he’s well on his way. But humble Silva describes himself as, “just a self taught patient hobbyist person.”
Silva’s cross hatching in layers is what gives his photos the colors and depth that many may find impossible with the simple colors that pens provide. It’s been said that Silva’s works of art deserve a place amongst history’s greatest works of art. But at the same time, some online commenters have questioned his methods, saying colors such as his would be impossible to achieve with ballpoint pens, especially by a hobbyist. But Silva confirms that he uses only eight colors of ink, and never mixes, relying only on his cross hatching and the ink’s ability to dry instantly.
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