Kelvin Okafor is a talented UK-based pencil artist who has an eye for detail and precision.

After studying at the City & Guilds and graduating from the Middlesex University with a Bachelors in Fine Art, Kelvin spent many years developing his technique as a pencil artist and was recently awarded at two different Open Art Exhibitions and also appeared on the BBC News for his incredible artworks.

Kelvin loves to draw lifelike portraits of ordinary people and celebrities like Beyonce, Amy Winehouse, Elizabeth Taylor, Mother Teresa, Heath Ledger, Rihanna, Princess Diana and more using nothing but pencils and charcoal.

The best thing about Kelvin's portraits is the way he draws his subjects, putting his mastery of light and shadows on display. He pays attention to every minute detail of his subject's face like the hair; the strands, the braids, the curls and the volume.

After finishing each of his portraits and posting them to his blog, Kelvin also posts a series of step-by-step instructional images that takes the viewers through the entire creative process.

To know more about Kelvin read on our exclusive interview with him.

Happy reading!

1. Hi Kelvin, please introduce yourself to our readers. 

Hello there, my name is Kelvin Okafor and I'm a pencil artist from London, UK.

2. Tell us how you entered the world of artwork. Did you specifically train in the field of artwork creation?

I entered the world of artwork the way we all did when we were toddlers - which was doodling around on paper. I was 8 years old when I vividly remember having a love for drawing. But I was 15 years old when I realised I could draw to a skillful degree. Developing the skills I had acquired through the years was all self taught but understanding art, the history and the genres, was gained in school and university.

3. How did you decide upon creating artwork using only graphite pencils, charcoal and black pencils?

I decided to create my artwork using graphite pencils, charcoal and black coloured pencils because I had a real love for such humble intruments. With practice I understood how to combine them together to achieve results in terms of value and texture. From then on I decided tthey were the mediums I wanted to use to create my art.

4. It must be quite a laborious process creating each piece. On an average how long does it take you to finish each piece?

I can't deny that it is a laborious process completing a piece, but I like to think of it as my labour of love. On average it takes a 100 hours to finish a piece.

5. Tell us how you choose the subject that you are going to portray.

My subjects are chosen by their expressions and their personalities. I draw with the hope of prompting an emotion in the viewer and capturing the inner essence of a subject. Making a viewer feel connected, excited, inspired, enchanted or even challenged.

6. Explain to our readers briefly about the methodology that you employ to create each portrait.

I begin each portrait by studying the subject. I spend a few hours, sometimes days studying the person I have chosen to portray. When drawing people I always start with the eyes. The eyes, for me, shape the whole face. I also study shapes and values and before I begin, whether I'm drawing from life or a photograph, I always make note of the lightest and darkest tonal values. Once I've understood all areas of the composition I start with the eyes and work through stages and sections as I go along.

7. Which of the portraits that you have created is your absolute favorite? What are some of the compliments that you have received for your works?

I actually don't have an absolute favorite portrait that I've created. I learn something from every new portrait I create which makes all them my favorite at the time. I have received some truly heartwarming compliments - some that I don't feel worthy of. Being compared to greats such as Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci are comments which take my breath away, mainly due to the fact the they are my art inspirations.

8. What other artists do you look up to? If you could peek into the toolbox/studio of other artists who would it be and why? Would you like to do a collaborative project with any other artists?

Other artist I look up to are those I've mentioned, Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. I would also love to look into the toolboxes of these two artists in particular because they created artwork with such precision, control and scale. I would have loved to see their process when creating a work of art. I would love to do a collaborative project with Italian artists Luciano Ventrone and Luigi Benedicenti.

9. What are your future plans as an artist? Do you plan to diversify your repertoire of skills to other forms of art?

My future plans as an artist is continue building my portfolio to exhibit in shows and exhibitions in the UK and overseas. I'm currently building a body of work for my first London Solo Exhibition at the Albemarle Gallery taking place in May of this year. After my London solo show I plan to diversify and extend my skills incorporating color and using other mediums such as oil paints and pastels. I also intend to expand my choice of subjects and work more on still lives and landscapes.

10. What lessons have you learnt as an artist that you would like to pass on to budding artists?

The biggest lesson I would like to pass on to other budding artists is to first learn and understand the genre of their art. To persevere through difficult times whether it be spiritual, emotional or financial. And to believe in their potential to accomplish massive goals and achieve great results.

Kelvin, thanks for such an extensive interview. It was a great experience learning about you. Wish you good luck!

FYI, Kelvin has been asked to join the prestigious Albemarle Gallery in Mayfair, London for a solo show which would be held in May 2014. So if you happen to be in London then make sure to visit the gallery and checkout Kelvin's original drawings.

To read more exclusive interviews of talented artists like Kelvin, you can subscribe to our blog. You can also choose to receive updates via email

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4 Responses to 'Artist Of The Week: Kelvin Okafor - Passionate Pencil Artist And His Incredible Lifelike Portraits'

  1. E-junkie Said,
    http://www.e-junkie.info/2014/02/Artist-Of-The-Week-Kelvin-Okafor-Passionate-Pencil-Artist-And-His-Incredible-Lifelike-Portraits.html?showComment=1391692571408#c8863987392408437809'> February 6, 2014 at 6:16 AM



  2. E-junkie Said,
    http://www.e-junkie.info/2014/02/Artist-Of-The-Week-Kelvin-Okafor-Passionate-Pencil-Artist-And-His-Incredible-Lifelike-Portraits.html?showComment=1392100585299#c1655063159468449800'> February 10, 2014 at 11:36 PM

    Indeed right, Angela, Kevin's work is unbelievable :)


  3. E-junkie Said,
    http://www.e-junkie.info/2014/02/Artist-Of-The-Week-Kelvin-Okafor-Passionate-Pencil-Artist-And-His-Incredible-Lifelike-Portraits.html?showComment=1392270139040#c4847555982927116128'> February 12, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    Haha..!! Same was our case when we saw Kelvin's work for the first time.


  4. E-junkie Said,
    http://www.e-junkie.info/2014/02/Artist-Of-The-Week-Kelvin-Okafor-Passionate-Pencil-Artist-And-His-Incredible-Lifelike-Portraits.html?showComment=1392296969437#c776213385889031668'> February 13, 2014 at 6:09 AM



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