Photorealistic Artist Meets Skepticism on the Web 12 Sep 12

Interest in different types of art tends to go in cycles. Right now, at least on the internet, there’s a fascination with photorealistic drawings — art that looks so realistic it is hard to distinguish from a photograph. However, this being the age of Photoshop and skepticism, many don’t trust the legitimacy of such art until they see it created with their own eyes.

Two photorealistic artists currently getting attention are Samuel Silva and Mark Crilley. Silva, a Portugese lawyer, only uses different colored ballpoint pens to sketch his masterpieces. He says he cross-hatches the colors in layers to create the illusion of blending and some of his pieces have taken 50 hours to finish.

Last week, when one of Silva’s creations (a portrait of a Russian model) was uploaded to the social news site Reddit, it became an instant sensation — for good and bad. There is no doubt his drawing looks almost indistinguishable from the photograph it represents, but while many are truly impressed by his work, others are pegging him as a fake. The disbelievers demand he prove his skills by filming his process and posting it online; a challenge Silva has not yet accepted.

On the other hand, YouTube Drawing Guru, Mark Crilley, is more than happy to show the world his photorealistic talents and has done so on many occasions as evident by the 212 videos uploaded on his YouTube channel. In addition to over 118 million video views, he is also a published author and illustrator.

In a recent YouTube video, “Realism Challenge #3: Playing Card,” Crilley demonstrates step-by-step how to draw a realistic version of a torn playing card. His recreation has earned so much attention that the week-old video already has well over 3 million views, and even though his talent is indeed unbelievable, the video serves as evidence that it must be true (proof Silva does not have).

What do you think? Is Silva’s work for real, and should he prove it? Or, is this photorealism sensation a bunch of hype? Share your opinions below.