Hyperrealistic Portraits Using Only Ballpoint Pens

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A lawyer by trade, Samuel Silva is a self taught artist who has always been interested in drawing, sculpting and painting from an early age. His gallery of hyperrealistic portraits on deviantART has gone viral recently online. It’s astonishing to think of the detail Silva achieves with just ballpoint pens. The artist says:

“I started drawing and developing my own style of ballpoint pen drawing back when I was in school, in simple classroom sketches in the back of my exercise books. I never imagined there were so many brilliantly masterful ballpoint artists out there.
 
Ballpoint pen is not my only medium, it’s just the one I’m currently trying to master. At this point in my life I’m proficient with chalk, pencil, color pencil, pastels, oils and acrylics. Maybe one day I’ll create an account just to share those.
 
It takes me forever to do my works. The only thing that makes me keep going is my love for what I do and the ambition to go further and further.”

With the rapid popularity of Silva’s work have come many questions about how he is able to achieve such realism with just ballpoint pens. His responses to the most frequent questions can be found below:
 
Q:How many colors do you have and what pens are these?
A: I have 8 colored Bic ballpoint pens, for this I used 6 of them plus black. They are just common everyday ballpoint pens.

Q: Where do you get them? I have never seen them.
A: Staples, Ebay, Amazon, and pretty much any good office supply store, just because you haven’t noticed them before doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Q: Do you use any other medium mixed with the ballpoint pens?
A: No, I just use ballpoint pens for these drawings. Everything is 100% ballpoint pen.

Q: How do you mix the colors? How do you blend them?
A: I don’t mix them nor blend them. Ballpoint pen ink dries instantly and can not be erased. I just cross hatch the different colors in layers to create the illusion of blending and the illusion of colors I don’t actually have.

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